The annual NFL Owners Meeting took place this past weekend, March 27-30, 2022, in Florida. Many topics of discussion were up for debate including modifying overtime rules and the lack of minority hirings by the 32 franchises.
On Tuesday March 29, the owners voted to modify the rules of overtime during the NFL postseason. Under these new rules, both teams will have a chance to possess the ball in the extra period instead of one team getting the ball, scoring a touchdown, and the game is over.
There has been outcry from NFL and football fans alike for this change after several instances the team that won the coin toss and took the ball right down the field and scored without giving the other team a chance to possess the ball.
The demands for the rule change began in 2017 after Tom Brady and the New England Patriots pulled off the unthinkable in Super Bowl LI (51) by coming back from a 28-3 deficit against the Atlanta Falcons and winning in overtime.
The most recent game that resulted in this rule change was this January’s AFC Divisional Round Game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills. The Chiefs won the OT coin toss and marched right down the field and scored a touchdown, ending the game, and the Bills didn’t get a chance to possess the ball.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, in the past 10 years, teams that won the OT coin flip in the postseason were 10-2. Seven of those wins were achieved on the opening possession. The change was proposed by both the Indianapolis Colts and Philadelphia Eagles.
Another topic up for debate was the lack of minority coaching hires made by each of the 32 franchises.
The NFL announced a new rule on Monday that would require all 32 teams to hire an offensive coach that is “a female or a member of an ethnic or racial minority”, the league said in a statement found on the NPR website.
Pittsburgh Steelers Owner Art Rooney II says that this is a step in the right direction towards making the league more diverse, something it has lacked since 2003. When the original Rooney Rule was put into place, the rule required teams to interview at least two minority candidates for a position on their staff. It has now been expanded to include women.
“We clearly do not have as many minorities in the offensive coordinator [job]. It’s really an effort to try to bring more talented minority coaches to the offensive side of the ball, both within the league and hopefully attract those talented individuals from the college ranks.” (NPR)
Both rule changes are very significant, and it will be interesting to see how they will both play out this upcoming season and in the future.