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John Harbaugh considered kickoff to start overtime

Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh considered kicking off to start overtime instead of taking the ball first in a 23-20 loss to the Chicago Bears.

"We had that conversation," Harbaugh said Monday, per the Ravens' official website. "We thought real hard about taking the wind there. It's not so much deferring. You would take the wind is how you would do that."

The Ravens won the coin toss, but Harbaugh said his team could not determine which way the wind was blowing and took the ball. The coach reiterated he wasn't positive he would have kicked it away even if there was a definite advantage going one way. The Ravens' OT drive stalled, and the Bears drove down to kick the game-winning field goal on the following possession.

Several years ago there wouldn't have been much question whether Harbaugh should have taken the ball, but with the new overtime rules the rationale is up for debate.

Since 2012, when the NFL fully adopted the rule requiring a first-possession touchdown to end the game, there have been 32 overtimes played (including playoffs).

According to the NFL Media research department, just five of those games have ended on the first possession with a touchdown.

Twice that amount, 10, were won on the next possession by the team that kicked off (all on field goals).

Of the remaining games that went more than two possessions, the team that received first won 13 games and the kicking team only three. (The St. Louis Rams and San Francisco 49erstied on Nov. 11, 2012.)

The sample size remains small, but it does show that Harbaugh could have been justified, especially in inclement weather, for kicking first.

What the discussion certainly tells us is the old, crusty "book" coaches often refer to is becoming more obsolete by the day.

*We recapped every Week 11 game on the latest "Around The League Podcast." *

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