The Green Bay Packers have been knocked out of the NFL playoffs the last two years without even possessing the ball in overtime, but team CEO Mark Murphy still favors the overtime rules as they are.
Murphy has a stronger voice than many in the matter because he’s a member of the NFL’s competition committee, which is in charge of studying and recommending rules changes each year.
The current overtime rules guarantee both teams get the ball at least once if the first team kicks a field goal on the initial possession, but not if it scores a touchdown.
Last year, the Chicago Bears proposed a change that guaranteed one possession for both teams regardless, but Murphy voted against it because the competition committee had recommended staying with the rule as it is. According to the Chicago Tribune, 29 teams voted against the proposal.
“As much as it pains me, both of those games we stop ’em, we have a chance to win,” Murphy said. “Give those teams credit, they made the plays to score.”
Murphy was talking about the Packers’ losses in the NFC championship game last year at Seattle and a divisional-round game last week at Arizona. In both instances, the Packers allowed a touchdown on the first possession of overtime.
Murphy said he didn’t think it was likely the competition committee would offer a new overtime proposal this year, because it prefers to have a rule in place for at least five years to see how it works out. Though the NFL went to the current overtime system in the playoffs in 2010, it has been in use in the regular season only since 2012.
Murphy said the league changed the rule in the first place for one reason: to eliminate a team winning the coin toss, getting only a couple of first downs and then winning the game with a long field goal.
The competition committee in the past has considered, among other options, the college overtime rule in which each team gets the ball at the defense’s 25-yard line.
“There’s a sense (on the committee) that it’s kind of gimmicky, that it’s not real football,” he said. “No kickoffs, no punts. You play a whole game and then you do something completely different than what you do the whole game. But it is exciting and fans like it.”