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Owners vote to adopt playoff OT rules in regular season

  • By NFL.com Wire Reports
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NFL owners voted Wednesday at the NFL Annual Meeting in Palm Beach, Fla., to change the regular-season overtime rules to match the playoff format and have turnovers automatically reviewed.

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Each team will have an opportunity for a possession in overtime unless the team that receives the first kickoff scores a touchdown on its opening drive.

The rule hasn't come into play in the postseason since it was instituted in 2010, with only two playoff games going to overtime. One ended on the first play, Tim Tebow's 80-yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas for the Denver Broncos over the Pittsburgh Steelers. The other had each team take several possessions before the New York Giants beat the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC title game.

Owners voted 30-2 to adopt the overtime-rule change.

Also, teams no longer will need to challenge turnovers, as is the case with scoring plays.

Two proposals were tabled. One would have allowed teams to designate a player suffering a major injury before Week 2 of the season as eligible to return from injured reserve. The other would have pushed back the trade deadline to after Week 8. NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora reported that many executives believe both changes will be approved at a later date.

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Competition committee chairman Rich McKay also predicted the proposals would pass at the next meetings in Atlanta.

"There were good ideas and suggestions, no resistance," he said. "We'll work on the language."

The owners didn't pass a proposal by the Buffalo Bills to have all instant replays reviewed by the booth rather than by referees on the field.

A proposal outlawing the horse-collar tackle made on quarterbacks in the pocket didn't pass, either. McKay said the ownership "didn't think this can impact... player safety."

"The rule was developed for the open field tackle when a defender has the chance to do something else (in making the tackle)," he said. "He's also able to use the runner's momentum against him. We didn't think that applied to the pocket, didn't see the injury risk."

Other rules changes: a team will lose a down for illegally kicking a loose ball; too many men on the field becomes a dead-ball foul; and a player receiving a crackback block is now considered a defenseless player and will result in a 15-yard penalty.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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