American Football overtime rules: College or Professional?

College overtime rules are that the ball is placed on the 25 and then you play with “normal” rules in attempting to score. A play clock is used but the game clock is not (I think). Both teams will have an opportunity to play on offense. The winner of the coin toss gets to decide if they want to start on offense or defense. Traditionally, the winner of the toss chooses defense. If there is a tie after both teams have had the ball, they do it again. From the third round on (IIRC), after a team scores a touchdown they are required to go for a 2 point conversion. The game cannot end in a tie.

NFL rules are much simpler. There is one 15 minute overtime period. The winner of the toss will generally choose to receive. The first one to score wins. If the period ends in a tie, the game is a tie.

Which system do you prefer?

I like college better. There will be no ties. I don’t like sudden death although I believe statistically there isn’t much difference in who wins the coin flip. The only thing I don’t like about the college system is the sometimes ridiculously high scores that result.

I voted for “other.” I would keep the sudden death format, but I wouldn’t allow field goals in overtime. The game could only end with a touchdown or safety. Right now it is too easy to win the coin toss, drive about 40 yards down the field, and then kick a 35-yard field goal to win the game.

Other – play for 15 minutes (like NFL) no matter what happens. At the end of the 5th quarter, whoever wins, wins; or it’s a draw.
For playoff games where a winner is required, you’d need a different system, though – I guess if the score is tied at 15 minutes, keep on going until either team scores…? (“sudden death”) – Or maybe have the teams take turns either at kicking 35 Yard FGs, or running 2 pt conversions, until one succeeds and the other fails (sort of analogous to Penalty Kicks after overtime in Soccer.)

I voted for NCAA, but I like this as well. The playoffs would be an issue - that’s a LOT of football to make people play if it’s tied after 15 minutes. Maybe do a 25 yard fight after the first or second overtime?

I voted for “other.”

I agree that it is too easy to “win the coin toss, drive about 40 yards down the field, and then kick a 35-yard field goal to win the game.”

I also have no problem with the sudden death format, because a mandatory additional quarter would make the games too long.

However, my preference would be for the game to be won by the first team to score 6 additional points. This would be accomplished by either a touchdown or two field goals.

Of the two, I prefer the NFL system - seems much less artficial. I might prefer a “slightly less sudden death” system where after a team scores, the other team has exactly one possession to answer, with the game continuing if that possession leads to a tie, or ending in team #2’s favor if they answer a field goal with a touchdown (or a touchdown with a touchdown + 2-point conversion). This would mitigate the first-mover advantage, and give teams an incentive to go for a touchdown rather than a field goal.

I kinda like the proposal I once saw online where teams would bid the worst possible starting yard line they’d take - person farthest away from scoring gets the ball, then play a standard NFL overtime.

I’m fine with sudden death the way it is. I like the tension of knowing that any score will win the game, and the coin toss does not confer as much of an advantage as people tend to think. I also think that the circumstances of natural gameplay should be preserved as much as possible (which is why I don’t like the college shoot out system).

If I were to roll with any change at all, it would be to remove the sudden death aspect, and simply make the OT an extra, regularly timed “quarter” (10 minutes, maybe even 7) in which whatever happens happens.

15 minutes - regular timing (all challenges from booth)
Coin flip determines possesion.
Just like three-on-three pick up basketball, you gotta win by “two” [nine points]. (explanation follows)

As soon as one team get ups by nine (or more points) the game is over. For example if your team scores three straight fields goals (while the other team is held scoreless) you win on the final field goal. If you score a TD (+extra point) and then force a safety you win, etc…

For me, at least, picking the best tie-breaking procedure overtime is not a matter of “justice” or “fairness.”

Suppose, say, my Giants and the Redskins play to a 10-10 tie. Suppose then that the Redskins win the coin toss in overtime, and kick a game-winning field goal on their first drive. Is it “unfair” that the Giants “never got a chance” to touch the ball? Maybe, but I don’t feel the least bit sorry for them. They had 60 minutes to win the game “fairly” and didn’t get it done.

I’d rather see the the game ended quickly, NFL style, than watch a seemingless endless series of possessions in NCAA overtime.

Since 1994 when they moved the kickoff it’s 60% if you win the coin toss, that’s too much in my opinion.

Agree with robby, especially since 30% of overtime games are won without the other team touching the ball on offense. Instead of 6 points though, I agree with making it a 4 point margin. That way, a safety + field goal gets you the win.

Hate college OT, especially since the stats count towards regular season records.

It’s precisely because NFL OT radically changes the checks and balances (or whatever signifier you want to use there) present in regulation time that I went with “other.” Not only are you not guaranteed a possession on offense in OT, the tradeoffs involved with the FG vs. going-for-it-on-4th-down are no longer present at all. I’ll go with the “first to +6 points wins” (+ over your opponent), or perhaps just each team gets a possession, then it reverts to sudden-death if still tied. There’s a good reason why basketball isn’t SD, while hockey is.

Hell, the tradeoffs between going for the FG and making a mildly risky pass into the end zone are gone. Who wants to watch a team get to the 20, then make two runs towards the middle of the field and kick a field goal on third down?

Were all of those on the first posession in overtime? If not, you haven’t helped your argument at all.
I voted for “other,” in that I’d modify the NFL overtime rules so that the first team to score 4 points in overtime wins. You’d still get teams “laying up” to take a field goal if they’re already up by 3 in OT, but at least they’d be trying like hell to score a touchdown the first time.

NFL, with the small addendum that both teams are guaranteed a possession. The NCAA system is just absurd.

But I’d rather see the NFL use the NCAA replay system, instead of its own absurd flag/challenge/timeout system. They already do for the last 2 minutes, why not the whole game?

Oh, and another advantage with +4 points over +6 points, is that after Team A receives possession, drives down field and kicks a field goal, Team B can turn around and win by driving down and getting a touchdown + conversion. Make it +5 if you want to force Team B to go for 2.

Changing the required margin of victory is an easy fix; it doesn’t require changing the whole structure of the game/stats like bidding on starting position, setting up a college-style OT system, changing how many minutes are available in the period and other suggestions I’ve read for fixing the OT problem.

I’m agreeing with ElvisL1ves about the replay system being changed, but wonder whether it would make games even longer than they are now.

The problem is that the Redskins didn’t get it done either.

Why not? If the winner of the toss wins 60% (over a statistically large number of games), then winning the toss gives that advantage, which certainly seems unfair. It doesn’t matter if some of those wins are on the toss winners’ second possession; in those games, the toss loser only got one possession, so they are still disadvantaged.

For the poll, I chose Other as well. The NCAA (and CFL, by the way) OT is just ridiculous, and actually going second in the NCAA format is a bigger advantage than winning the toss in the NFL.

Part of the problem with OT in football is that you want to keep games short. My preference would be to just allow ties during the regular season, but people seem to hate ties, so that’ll never happen. One option I like is to treat the end of the 4th quarter as the end of a quarter, rather than a half. The game just continues in the same way as the end of the third quarter, and it’s sudden death from that point on.

The NCAA rules with one alteration: have a kickoff to start, don’t just place it at an arbitrary yard line. Shorten the field by kicking from the end zone or something.

Anything’s better than the high school rules in California, although they might have changed since I last checked.

I vote for “other”. I’d like to see these rules:

NFL Regular Season: 1 additional 15 minute quarter, play the full 15 minutes just like a regular game. When fifth the quarter is over, if still tied the game ends in a tie.

NFL Playoffs: as many additional full 15 minute quarters as it takes to produce a winner. Whoever lost the 5th quarter flip gets to choose whether to receive to open the 6th quarter, then the opposite team picks for the 7th quarter, etc.

NCAA: No OT at all. Ties are ties, just like they were when men were men.