Maybe the NFL had Rex Ryan in mind when it changed its rules regarding sudden death overtime in the playoffs. If there’s any coach who would be comfortable with them, it is Ryan, who is never beyond investing a few chips into long odds on fourth down.
The altered rule says the team receiving the overtime kickoff must score a touchdown to win on the first possession. A field goal sends the ball to the kicking team, who can either tie it and send it into sudden death mode or win with a touchdown.
So, here sits Ryan on fourth-and-2 from the Colts’ 20 after taking the overtime kickoff. Does the author of the ill-advised Mark Sanchez-to-Brad Smith fake-punt pass on fourth-and-3 in the loss to Chicago bring out Nick Folk and leave the rest in the defense’s hands?
“When you get close, you’re thinking touchdown,” Ryan said this week. “If you have the ball, you have to be thinking touchdown.”
The rules favor the kicking team in a sort of last-licks situation. But Ryan said he will not defer if the Jets win the toss. And if the Colts open with a field goal, well, bet that he’ll use every down the NFL allots him.
“Then you’re basically playing four-down football until you kick a field goal or score a touchdown,” he said. “I think that’s the advantage for the team that gets the ball second.”