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NFL will re-evaluate overtime policies, commissioner Roger Goodell says

TAMPA — The NFL will re-evaluate its overtime policies in the offseason, commissioner Roger Goodell said in his annual Super Bowl address Friday.

The rules, which some say are unfair to the loser of the coin toss, were pushed to the forefront after the Colts lost to the Chargers in an AFC wild-card game this month. The Chargers won the overtime coin toss and marched 75 yards in 10 plays for a touchdown to clinch the victory. The Colts never touched the football.

One solution under consideration, Goodell said, would be a requirement that teams not attempt field goals on the first overtime possession. Another possibility would be moving the opening overtime kickoff forward from the 30-yard line, making it less likely for the receiving team to have prime field position.

"What we've seen in our statistics is that, historically, about 30 percent of the games in overtime are decided with a team who wins the coin flip scoring on the first possession," Goodell said. "That number has risen to about 47 percent, and I think that's significant.

"When you couple that with the fact that our field goal kickers are much more accurate than they have been in the past, that is a danger."

The NFL has not been shy changing rules, and there are at least minor alterations annually. But major changes are harder to pass because all modifications require passage through voting by the league's 32 franchises.

Other topics covered:

• The league's television blackout policy isn't likely to change, Goodell said, despite tough economic times and the impact on ticket sales. Five Lions games were blacked out in the Detroit area in 2008, meaning the team didn't sell out before the 72-hour window before the game. "The blackout policy is a long-standing policy in the NFL," he said. "It's served us well. It's served the public well. I do not anticipate any changes."

• Regarding the players' union's assertions Thursday that teams are being untruthful about profit numbers used in collective bargaining negotiations, Goodell labeled a union report on league finances as "fiction" while emphasizing he thought the sides could reach an accord and hopefully avoid a work stoppage in 2011.

49ers: Jimmy Raye, 62, agreed to become the team's seventh offensive coordinator in seven seasons. Raye, a former Bucs assistant in the mid '80s, replaces fired Mike Martz. Coach Mike Singletary wanted a veteran coordinator who would build game plans around a sustained running attack.

Rams: Kevin Demoff, a senior assistant for the Bucs the past three seasons, was hired as executive vice president of football operations and chief operating officer.

Jurisprudence: Former Vikings great Carl Eller refused to cooperate with Minneapolis police during a run-in in April because he knew he was drunk and wanted to delay or prevent an alcohol test, Judge Dan Mabley said in a seven-page ruling. Mabley found the Hall of Famer guilty Monday of fourth-degree assault of an officer and second-degree refusal to submit to chemical testing. Eller, 67, will be sentenced Feb. 23.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

NFL will re-evaluate overtime policies, commissioner Roger Goodell says 01/30/09 [Last modified: Friday, January 30, 2009 8:08pm]
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