The NFL hasn’t had a massive rule shakeup in a while, but the Ravens plan to change that.
According to ProFootballTalk (citing multiple sources), the Ravens plan to propose a pair of rule changes on the concept of “spot and choose.” Let’s break down what that means.
Spot: One team picks where the drive starts.
Choose: The other team chooses whether to play offense or defense.
The two proposals are both based on this concept, but the difference is on how overtime should end. One proposal is a sudden-death finish, meaning whichever team scores first would win the game. The other proposal is a 7:30 long overtime, and whoever has the lead by the end of the period wins the game.
ProFootballTalk says one of the sources involved “in the development of the proposal” said the idea went back to a 2003 article on Football Outsiders, written by Michael David Smith. Although there are some changes between the two (Smith’s proposal is for kickoff rather than the drive itself), the idea behind both is the same.
Here’s what Smith wrote at the time:
So there is a point, probably somewhere between the 30-yard line and the 50-yard line, at which the advantage in sudden-death overtime would actually switch from the receiving team to the kicking team. Where is that point? It doesn’t really matter. We could simply let the teams decide for themselves.
Part of the fun in this proposal is that both teams have a say in what happens. There’s strategy in both decisions, rather than just giving one team the ball because a coin flip said so.
Say you’re playing KC: Where would you spot the ball so that they’re *forced* to play defense? The 5? Then if they choose to play offense anyways and score and win, we’d blame randomness less than we would with the current setup, right?
— Mina Kimes (@minakimes) March 4, 2021
Another reason why fans seemingly enjoy this proposal is because it’s something different. We’ve seen multiple variations of overtime in football from college rules, to the XFL, to the AAF, to the FCF and more. Each league has a different interpretation of how overtime should be handled.
The Ravens’ rule change will be proposed at the NFL owners meeting, which takes place virtually on March 30-31. In order for the rule to pass, 24 team owners must approve it.