ORLANDO, Fla. - It isn't easy convincing 24 of 32 NFL owners to approve rules changes, but momentum seems to be growing to tweak the sudden-death format for postseason games.
Commissioner Roger Goodell said in February that he wasn't holding his breath for a change in overtime rules. Yet even he expressed cautious optimism Monday about the proposal by the league's competition committee. "It's got the potential to be a better system," he said.
Under the plan, which would apply only to postseason games, a team that scored a touchdown on the first drive of overtime would win. If the receiving team didn't score and the opposing team scored a touchdown or field goal, that team would win. The kicking team also would win on a safety or a defensive return for a touchdown on the opening possession of overtime.
If the receiving team kicked a field goal, the opponent would get a possession. If it scored a touchdown, it would win. If it scored a field goal, the game would go to sudden death, with the next team to score winning.
Players and coaches traditionally have favored the current approach, but some owners and club executives appear willing to give the new plan consideration. The Giants are in favor of it and the Jets are leaning against it, according to owner Woody Johnson.
"We like the current format, but we'll certainly listen," Johnson said.
Competition committee member Bill Polian, president of the Colts, also favors the proposal, which could be voted on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Union wants say on OT
If NFL owners are to adopt new postseason overtime rules, the players association wants to have a say in it.
"We believe it needs to be bargained because of a change in working conditions/rules," NFLPA spokesman George Atallah said. "It's something we need to talk about with them."
The union might not get very far, however. When asked if the league believes the overtime rule would have to be collectively bargained, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said, "No."
Roethlisberger on carpet
"We take the issue very seriously," Goodell said. "We are concerned that Ben continues to put himself in this position."
Roethlisberger was accused of sexual assault in a lawsuit filed last July by a woman who said he raped her in 2008 at a Lake Tahoe hotel and casino. He has denied the allegations in both cases, and has not been charged in either case.
Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo, the Giants' former defensive coordinator, Monday signed two more former Giants, cornerback Kevin Dockery and tight end Darcy Johnson. Other former Giants on the Rams' roster are defensive tackle Fred Robbins and safety James Butler.