Playoff OT might change

Trying to impress: Florida’s Maurkice Pouncey, who is considered among the top centers in the draft, runs a drill during the combine in Indianapolis.

Associated Press

Trying to impress: Florida’s Maurkice Pouncey, who is considered among the top centers in the draft, runs a drill during the combine in Indianapolis.

INDIANAPOLIS — An NFL spokesman said Saturday that the league could change its overtime format for playoff games during a meeting next month.

Under the proposal, the first team to score six points would win. Both teams would get the ball at least once unless the first team scored a touchdown, Greg Aiello said. If the first team made a field goal and the other team tied the score, action would continue until a team scored again.

Under the current rules, the first team to score wins.

"There have been various concepts that have been discussed in recent years," Aiello said. "But this one has never been proposed."

The competition committee will discuss the concept with teams and players during league meetings March 21-24 in Orlando, when it could come to a vote. At least two-thirds of the teams would need to agree to adopt the change.

The debate gained steam after the NFC title game, when New Orleans beat Minnesota 31-28 in overtime and Brett Favre's Vikings never got the ball in the extra period. Under the proposed rule, Minnesota would have gotten another possession because New Orleans scored only a field goal.

Overtime was adopted for regular-season games in 1974, a sudden-death format that allowed games to end in a tie if neither team scored in 15 minutes. Overtime for playoff games always has been sudden death.

Look at me: Dan Whalen doesn't look much like an NFL hopeful. The 6-foot-1 quarterback from Case Western Reserve has been hanging around the combine trying to meet teams. He wasn't invited despite being a finalist for the Gagliardi Trophy last season, which honors the nation's top Division III player.

He has been in the NFL. Last season, he was a public relations intern for the Browns. But for now, he's not interested in wearing a press pass.

Not after throwing for 9,720 yards and 87 touchdowns in his career. He will have his pro day on March 12 at Ohio State, and he hopes — even expects — to get a shot in the league.

"My goal is not just to land on a roster and play on a practice squad," he said. "I think with every opportunity I get, I can make the most of it; maybe start an NFL game and see what happens from there."

Long way from home: Vladimir Ducasse's journey from Haiti to the University of Massachusetts to the combine has been a long and unlikely one. Ducasse was sent to live with an uncle in the United States at age 14 while his father stayed behind. He didn't play football until his junior year of high school, when coaches and friends persuaded the then-275-pounder to try out.

He chose UMass even though larger schools pursued him and developed into a 6-5, 330-pound I-AA All-American.

"Not too many small-school players get the chances I get," said Ducasse, whose father lost his home but was not hurt by Haiti's recent earthquake. "So there's a lot of pride behind it."

Order official: Coin flips broke three ties and finalized the first-round order. Jacksonville got the 10th pick and Denver the 11th after 7-9 seasons. Tennessee got the 16th pick and San Francisco the 17th after 8-8 seasons. Atlanta got the 19th pick and Houston the 20th after 9-7 seasons.

Playoff OT might change 02/27/10 [Last modified: Saturday, February 27, 2010 10:19pm]

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