Changes to NFL Injured Reserve, Overtime Rules The Right Move?
The NFL is currently discussing the idea of allowing two players on injured reserve to return, and shortening overtime to ten minutes. Are these the right moves?
These two topics will be discussed at the NFL owners meetings next week. According to Judy Battista of the NFL and NFL Network, both changes will likely be approved.
Should these changes be made?
Let's start with the amendment to injured reserve. When it was originally implemented, the IR was used as a slot to remove a player from the active roster, to open a spot, without releasing them. The tradeoff would be that the player would NOT be able to return at any time throughout that season.
Just a couple of years ago, the NFL slightly modified the rule to allow one player from each team placed on IR to be given a designation to return. Adrian Peterson returned for the Minnesota Vikings last season under that designation, even though he only played a few snaps in his return.
Now the idea would be to allow two players to come off the IR during the season. Again, going back to Minnesota last season, the Vikings could have used this when they had to decide between Peterson and offensive linemen Matt Kalil on who would be designated to return. Under the change, they both would have been able to return to the field.
I don't think many fans, coaches, or members of the NFL office will have any issues at all with a second player having the ability to return from IR. This is by far the best move for the NFL.
How about switching overtime timing from 15 minutes down to ten minutes?
When the NFL switched their overtime format in 2010 to give both teams an opportunity to score (unless the first team scores a touchdown), people figured that overtime would be prolonged. For the most part that hasn't happened in regards to the actual time.
However, two games during the 2016 season ended in a tie. Seattle and Arizona tied in Week 7, while Washington and Cincinnati tied in Week 8. On top of that, almost half of the overtime games last season went over ten minutes.
Was there a switch in the trend last season? Was last season just an abnormally? Last October I wrote an article about that and if we should be surprised by games ending in ties. The answer is that we should be surprised because it doesn't happen as often as we believe.
Those statistics are also in a 15-minute window. Based on last year six games would have ended in a tie. Drew Brees said earlier today on the Dan Patrick Show that he doesn't like the idea of the switch.
Is it the right move? Any rule that makes the opportunity for ties to occur isn't popular with the fans by any means, and I can agree with that. I don't think it is going to be as detrimental as some believe, but the opportunity for more ties is deflating when it comes to a 16-game regular season schedule.
(Sidenote, the NFL is promoting this for safety reasons. My vote would be to keep overtime the same and just remove preseason games on the base of player safety...but, you know, there's revenue made for preseason games and not on overtime)