Here’s a scenario; let’s say Team A kicks the ball to Team B. Team B runs with the ball and the ball is knocked loose. Team A grabs it, and starts to run with it, but drops it in the confusion. Team B then scoops it up again, and is able to run it in for a score. That could mean the game is over already from the initial kickoff.
But I assume any turnover is considered a change of possession, no matter how brief that possession is, and it doesn’t matter if they end the play maintaining possession or not.
Correct, possession is defined as “actual possession of the ball with complete control.” So if you’re chasing a fumble and touch it but never fully control it, it isn’t considered a possession. If you hold it and then fumble, it is a possession.
The NFL has this exact example in their overtime rules explanation.
A.R. 16.14 FUMBLE
Third-and-5 on A30. On the opening possession of overtime, A2 takes a handoff and runs to the B35 where he fumbles the ball. B2 recovers the ball and runs to the B40 where he is hit and fumbles. A5 recovers at the B41. Ruling: A’s ball, first-and-10 on B41. Both teams have possessed the ball and the first team to score wins.
Which also means that you can have a situation where team A scores on their opening kickoff (either a field goal or a TD in the new playoffs rules). The Team B gets the ball. During a play, Team B fumbles, Team A picks it up, has possession, but then fumbles it back to Team B. The game is now over since both teams had a possession and one team already scored.
I was going to say the same thing. The requirements for having a “win” in overtime have been met at that point and the game is over.
It’s the same reason why teams currently don’t kick an extra point in overtime; for now, a touchdown in overtime wins the game regardless of anything else, so the game is already over before any extra points can be attempted.
Can’t do that, legally. As long as the ball is live, play must continue.
Certainly, Team A should take a knee or go down or out of bounds as soon as they gain possession, but the officials cannot blow the play dead until the play is over.
ETA: As an example from the college ranks, which, I know, is not quite the same: this season, the game between Kansas and West Virginia went into overtime. Kansas scored a TD and XP on its initial possession. Then, on its first possession, West Virginia threw an interception. The Kansas cornerback who intercepted the pass returned it 80+ yards for a TD. Once he gained possession of the ball, the officials did not blow the whistle, but let the play continue to its conclusion.
If the first team to possess the ball scores a field goal or touchdown, after which the second team loses possession by an interception or fumble, the down will be permitted to run to its conclusion, and all rules of the game will be enforced as customary, including awarding points scored by either team during the down. Only fouls that require the down to be replayed, fouls that negate a score, or palpably unfair acts will be enforced.
So if Team B fumbles, Team A regains possession, but then Team A fumbles and team B recovers and scores, team B gets those points for their score. But if the play ends without a score, the game is over.
And the new rules add some interesting strategy. Say both defenses are completely gassed, as is the usual case when you go into overtime, and the offenses are pretty much moving at will. Team A scores a touchdown, kicks the PAT, are now up by 7. Team B scores a touchdown, and are now down by 1. Do they kick for 1 point, thereby giving the ball back to Team A who now only need to get into field goal range to win? Or do they go for 2, and win or lose the game right there?
I went to a Monday Night game at Arrowhead years ago. It was an ideal evening, with no wind. When we crested the hill overlooking the stadium, the parking lots were covered with a haze of smoke. It was quite the experience.