Rewriting NFL’s History Based on New Overtime Rules

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Rewriting NFL's History Based on New Overtime Rules So, the NFL has heard enough of games "being decided by a coin flip" and will institute a new overtime format in the postseason. This is a decision that could play a major factor in determining a Super Bowl champion in future seasons.

In due time, we'll know who will be affected and how they'll be affected. Until then, all we can do is take a look back and see how this rule would have shaped the NFL this past decade.

(Before we get started, let's clear something up: Anyone who says an NFL football game is "decided by a coin flip" is a loser, a fatalist, a — for lack of a better word — scaredy pants. Football is a man's game, and nothing's manlier than digging down deep, standing toe-to-toe with a high-powered offense and forcing a three-and-out. The new rules will make for a more exciting finish, for sure, but the old system wasn't nearly as unfair as it's been made out to be. Rant over.)

OK, on to the rewriting of the history books, taking into account playoff games that have gone to overtime since the 2000 season.

2000
Actual final score: Dolphins 23, Colts 17

Lamar Smith ended the Colts' season with a 17-yard run in overtime. The Dolphins went on to lose badly to the Raiders 27-0 in the divisional round.

Rewritten final score: Same
This one stays the same, as under the new rules, a touchdown still wins the game. Lamar Smith, you are still a champion.

Impact: None. The Dolphins would have still gotten smacked around by Oakland the following week, and the Ravens would still win the Super Bowl.

2001
Actual final score: Patriots 16, Raiders 13

In case you forgot, Tom Brady's fumble was deemed a pass, he drove the Patriots down the field, Adam Vinatieri nailed an impossible 45-yarder in the midst of a blizzard and the Patriots rinsed and repeated in overtime to advance to the AFC Championship Game.

Rewritten final score: Raiders 19, Patriots 16
The game that is arguably the most memorable game of the decade would have been altered significantly with the new rules in place. Brady's and Vinatieri's heroics would be just mere footnotes in this one, as the Raiders, who received the ball after the converted overtime field goal, march down the snowy Foxboro field. Charlie Garner busts free on a 25-yard scamper before Jerry Rice slips through the defense. Rich Gannon hits Rice on a go route, and the Raiders head home with an amazing victory.

Impact: Huge. The Raiders travel back to Oakland after the Snow Bowl and celebrate the victory a bit too much. The following week, the Steelers mop the floor with the hungover Raiders (who traveled across the country and back twice in a weeklong span), and go on to shock the Rams in the Super Bowl. The Steelers' Super Bowl win is the first of three in the decade, and the Steelers become the undisputed "Team of the Decade."

2003
Game 1
Actual final score: Packers 33, Seahawks 27
The "We Want the Ball and We're Gonna Score" Bowl ends in a flash, as Matt Hasselbeck's bold prediction turns out to be oh-so-brutally wrong. His pass was picked off by Al Harris, who returned it 52 yards for the defensive touchdown and playoff victory.

Rewritten final score: Same
Under the new rules, this one stays the same.

Impact: None — not immediately at least, as the Packers played another overtime game that same postseason.

Game 2
Actual final score: Eagles 20, Packers 17

David Akers was twice the man, first kicking a game-tying field goal with five seconds remaining on the clock, then booting the game-winner in overtime.

Rewritten final score: Same
This one doesn't change because both teams had possessions in overtime. Brett Favre threw a pick (stunner!) and the Eagles eventually win.

Impact: None. The Eagles move on the NFC Championship Game and fall to the Panthers. Speaking of the Panthers …

Game 3
Actual final score: Patriots 32, Panthers 29
OK, this Super Bowl didn't go to overtime, but hear me out. You'll recall this game had no scoring in the first or third quarters, with the teams displaying a flair for the dramatic. You'll also recall the fourth quarter was, essentially, defined by two-point conversion attempts — some successful, others not so much.

John Fox called for the deuce with more than 12 minutes left in the game and the Panthers failed to convert. Fox again called for the two-point conversion with just under seven minutes to go, hoping to take a three-point lead … and the Panthers failed again. After the Patriots scored to regain the lead, Kevin Faulk ran the ball in for two crucial points. The teams then exchanged field goals, with Adam Vinatieri's winning the game.

Rewritten final score: Same
Now, had the new overtime rules been in place, would Fox have been so determined to get those two points, knowing that he'd at least have a shot at winning in overtime? Well, yes. Those decisions were made to set the Panthers up for a tie, so he'd probably make them again.

Impact: None … but with a footnote. Would the Patriots have gotten to this point had they not won that Oakland game back in '01? Yeah, this baby's taking on all sorts of layers now.

2004
Game 1
Actual score: Jets 20, Chargers 17
Nate Kaeding
missed the would-be game-winning field goal late in the overtime period, and Doug Brien booted the actual game-winner with just five seconds left in overtime.

Rewritten final score: Same
This overtime featured punts galore, so nothing changes.

Impact: Again, this impact gets transferred along to the following week.

Game 2
Actual score: Steelers 20, Jets 17
How 'bout them apples? The Steelers eliminate the Jets with the same final score of the previous week's Jets-Chargers game. Jeff Reed kicked the game-winner 11:04 into overtime to send the 16-1 Steelers to the AFC Championship Game.

Rewritten final score: Same
The Jets received the opening kickoff of overtime but could muster just 10 yards on six plays before punting away to Pittsburgh. The Steelers then marched methodically down the field, going 72 yards on 14 plays before Reed finished off the game.

Impact: None. The Steelers still get embarrassed at home the following week by the Patriots, to the tune of 41-27.

2006
Actual score: Bears 27, Seahawks 24
The heartwarming story of Robbie Gould takes center stage, as the field-goal kicking, construction working, garbage picking phenomenon (wait, was that Tony Danza?) kicks a 49-yarder in overtime to win it for Chicago.

Rewritten final score: Same
Seattle had its chance, but only picked up one first down on the opening possession of overtime. Following a Seattle punt, the Bears drove 34 yards before Gould's kick.

Impact: None. The Bears still get the honor of losing to the Colts in the Super Bowl.

2007
Actual score: Giants 23, Packers 20
This game is remembered as much for the rosy red cheeks of Tom Coughlin than it is anything else. Well, OK, the interception that Brett Favre threw in overtime is remembered fairly well.

Rewritten score: Same
Obviously, the Packers got the ball in this overtime session, and Favre quickly proceeded to politely hand the ball back over to the Giants. Just minutes after Corey Webster stepped in front of Favre's pass, Lawrence Tynes booted a 47-yarder through the frigid Wisconsin air to send the Giants to the Super Bowl.

Impact: None. Sadly for New Englanders, the Patriots still fall in the Super Bowl and lose their bid for perfection. All thanks to Brett Favre.

2008
Actual score: Chargers 23, Colts 17
This game was largely defined by special teams, so it's ironic that it wasn't won by a field goal. San Diego punter Mike Scifres was perhaps the only punter in history to steal headlines from Peyton Manning (though we know that a kicker once did just that), and Nate Kaeding tied the game up with a chip shot of a field goal late in the fourth quarter. But in overtime, Darren Sproles broke a 22-yard run to end the game and the Colts' season.

Rewritten score: Same
Under the new rules, the Chargers would still have walked off the field as champions, as the team to possess the ball first can win the game with a touchdown.

Impact: None. The Chargers go on to lose in Pittsburgh the following week.

2009
Game 1
Actual score: Cardinals 51, Packers 45
This game was awesome. Kurt Warner's Farewell Tour met head-to-head with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, as neither defense could stop anything. The game, though, was decided on defense, with Karlos Dansby returning a Rodgers fumble 17 yards for the game-winning touchdown. The win propelled the Cardinals on to the divisional round and inspired certain writers to pen 400-word love letters about the existing overtime system.

Rewritten score: Same
Again, this one's not changed by the new rules, as the Packers had their chance to score. Unfortunately, the fact that Dansby caught the ball out of Rodgers' hands prevented the world from seeing another "tuck rule" call alter a playoff game. The next week, the Cards get walloped in New Orleans.

Impact: None.

Game 2
Actual score: Saints 31, Vikings 28
Ah, yes. The NFC Championship. The game that seems to have expedited the process of changing the overtime rules.

If, for some reason, you don't remember, this would be the game in which Brett Favre had the Vikings in perfect position for the game-winning field goal in the game's closing minutes and calmly rushed for a small gain on third-and-15 before Ryan Longwell sent a straight and true kick through the uprights to send the Vikes to the Super Bowl.

Ha! You know what happened, and it was hilarious. Why do you even ponder passing?! This is not Detroit, man! This is the Super Bowl!

Rewritten score: Saints 37, Vikings 28
Under the new rules, the Vikings would have gotten the ball after Garrett Hartley kicked the overtime field goal. So, how did the score end up as 37-28? The answer is …

Impact: More hilarity. The common belief seems to be that had the Vikings gotten the ball in overtime, they'd have righted their wrongs, fought off their demons and scored to win the game and make the Super Bowl … yet common sense says just the opposite.

Let's say the Saints kicked their field goal and kicked off to the Vikings. The Saints would be daring Favre to pass, praying for another embarrassing interception. Eventually, the Saints would stop Adrian Peterson and force a third-and-8. Favre drops back to pass, is flushed to his right, throws across his body and … intercepted. Though the game is officially over with the change of possession, Darren Sharper rubs it in with a 55-yard interception return for a touchdown. The Superdome goes bananas, and the Minnesota radio guy blows a gasket.

Let's face it: You can change the rules all you want, but you can't mess with destiny.

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