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NFL Approves Overtime Rule Changes

ORLANDO — In a move that will at least remove the NFL’s nightmare scenario of a Super Bowl that’s unduly impacted by the flip of a coin, the league’s owners on Tuesday surprisingly approved a modified sudden death overtime proposal.

The new rule, which will be in effect for the NFL’s postseason only, allows the team that loses the coin flip at the start of overtime to have a possession unless a touchdown is scored — either offensively or defensively — on the first possession.

Twenty-eight of the owners voted to approve the proposal, with four voting against it — Buffalo, Minnesota, Baltimore and Cincinnati. Twenty-four votes were needed to approve the proposal.

The league’s coaches were said to be overwhelmingly against the measure, but the owners were swayed by the weight of statistics showing that 59.8 percent of the games since 1994 — when kickoffs were moved back to the 30-yard line — were won by the team winning the overtime coin toss.

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