Few sports implement rule changes as frequently as the NFL, but they’re often subtle. This year the league made a major change to its playoff overtime procedure and, as expected, Madden NFL 11 will reflect that.
Ian Cummings, Madden 11’s creative director, told Giant Bomb the new overtime rules will be enabled by default in the game’s Play Now and Online modes. “We felt that type of one-off game is kind of ‘always the playoffs’… in that it’s always important, there’s no next week, and there’s no ties.”
In a season mode, overtime games will proceed as they have since the NFL implemented OT for regular season games in 1976 – true sudden death, first one to score wins.
The rule change, for those not in the know, covers only postseason games, not regular season games. In overtime of a postseason game, initial possession will be again determined by coin toss. If the receiving team scores a touchdown, the game is over. If it only kicks a field goal, then the opposing side will get a possession.
There are many permutations of this, but the bottom line is: Both teams are guaranteed at least one offensive possession unless the receiving team scores a touchdown. After both teams have had one offensive series, the game reverts to true sudden-death, with the win going to the first to score.
Under the old setup, that was often the receiving team driving a comparatively short distance and immediately kicking a field goal, leading to criticism that the coin toss disproportionately affected who won the game. With the chance of a postseason game, even the Super Bowl, pivoting on such an arbitrary determination, the league felt compelled to act.
Me, I think they should just man up and do it like soccer. Another 15-minute period, no sudden death. Yeah, they hit each other a lot harder than in soccer; soccer players also run about a zillion miles during a regulation match, whereas there’s only a combined 11 minutes of physical action in the average NFL game. And if the prospect of going another 15 is so fearsome, maybe that’ll encourage coaches not to be such church deacons with the playbook going down to the end of a close game.
It’d be great if EA Sports could turn on that option, but it seems less likely than a playoff mode in NCAA Football 11.
Madden 11 will Include NFL’s New OT Rules [Giant Bomb]