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Is this the year the NFL is introduced to modified sudden death?

  • By Dan Hanzus NFL.com
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With the postseason close enough to taste, this seems like a great time to brush up on the modified sudden death rules that will be in effect for all 11 playoff games.

Oh, you forgot about the modified sudden death rules? Don't sweat it. Voted in by owners and enacted prior to the 2010 season, modified sudden death guarantees each team a possession or the opportunity to possess, unless the team that receives the opening kickoff scores a touchdown on its initial possession.

Just like the old days, the new overtime session will begin with an important coin toss.
Just like the old days, the new overtime session will begin with an important coin toss. (Kirby Lee/US Presswire)

In other words, the team that loses the coin toss no longer loses the game if they surrender a field goal. Instead, they will receive a kickoff of their own and have a chance to tie the game with a field goal, or win outright with a touchdown. If both teams trade field goals, you enter a traditional sudden-death scenario, with the first score ending the game.

The overtime will play out in 15-minute periods. Each team has three timeouts per half, and all general timing provisions apply as during a regular-season game. All replay challenges come from upstairs. There are dozens of permutations about what constitutes "the opportunity to possess," but common sense prevails in each case thankfully.

Got all that? Now all we need is for two teams to finish regulation tied, something that hasn't happened in the playoffs since the 2009 NFC Championship Game.

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