NFL to examine 2 possessions in playoffs OT 

NFL owners will vote next week whether to allow each team a possession in overtime in the playoffs if the team winning the OT coin toss kicks a field goal on the first series.

Previously, the game would end whenever either side scores, as happened in the NFC championship game in January, with New Orleans beating Minnesota on Garrett Hartley's kick. But NFL competition committee chairman Rich McKay says a trend has developed showing too strong an advantage for teams winning the coin toss to start overtime.

If the team that falls behind by three points on the first series also kicks a field goal, then the game would continue under current sudden death rules.

The proposal is only for the postseason.

"Statistically, it is pretty clear there has been a change," McKay said. "When sudden death was put in for 1974, it clearly worked very well and was a good system. It brought excitement and effectively broke ties. From '74-'93 you had a 50-50 (breakdown) in who would win between those who won toss and who lost the toss.

"Changes occurred over time, and the numbers have changed to 59.8 percent winning the coin toss and winning the game. The team that loses the coin toss wins 38.5 percent.

"We are trying to put in a system that emphasizes more skill and strategy as opposed to the randomness of the coin flip."

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Staff Report

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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