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2011's New NFL Playoffs Overtime Rules, Just In Case We Need Them

The Seattle Seahawks are up by just a handful of points over the New Orleans Saints with under eight minutes left in the fourth quarter, and now's as good a time as any to review the NFL's new overtime rules, which have been implemented for the first time this year.

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The rules are designed to prevent the team winning the coin flip from getting a couple decent plays and kicking a field goal without the other team having a chance at the ball. The new rules:

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  • Each team gets to receive a kickoff at least once, unless the team receiving the ball first gets a touchdown on its first drive. A touchdown ends it.
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  • If the team that gets ball first scores a field goal, the other team gets to receive a kickoff. A touchdown on that drive ends it.
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  • Once each team has received one kickoff, the next score wins, whether it's a field goal, touchdown, or what have you.
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  • If the game is tied after 15 minutes, another period will begin, with the next score ending the game.
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An addendum likely relevant only to the Atlanta Falcons and their clock-devouring offense: if the first overtime period ends before the receiving team's drive has ended, the next score wins it. #themikemularkeyrule

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Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.