NFL owners approved several rule changes at the league meetings in Palm Beach, Fla., on Wednesday, including one that expands 2010-11 overtime rules to the regular season.
Regular season overtime rules are now consistent with postseason overtime.
In postseason overtime rules, both teams have an opportunity to possess the ball on offense unless the team with the first possession scores a touchdown on the first drive of overtime.
If both teams have the same score after each has had a possession, then it becomes sudden death. The next team to score wins.
Coaches and players pushed for the rule so that overtime would be consistent, NFL competition committee chairman Rich McKay said.
“Strategically, [coaches] like to prepare the same way in the regular season that they do in the postseason, and they really don’t want to have different rules and have to change their approach to overtime,” McKay said.
Also, NFL owners approved adding all traditional turnovers – fumbles and interceptions – to be automatically reviewed by a replay official in the booth. Previously only scoring plays were automatically reviewed.
Coaches on the sidelines will no longer need to use a challenge flag to ask for a review of a fumble and an interception.
It’s believed this rule change could help speed up the game, McKay said.
“We like the way the procedure worked on scoring plays, and we felt like this was a change we could make without adding game time,” he added.
A replay rule change that did not pass was the one proposed by Buffalo that would have moved all replay reviews to the official in the booth instead of the referee on the field.
NFL owners voted to table proposals that would create an injured reserve exception for one or more players on each team and moving back the trade deadline two weeks.
Those proposals will be discussed at league meetings in March.