Had a new proposed overtime rule been in place last year, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would probably have been in the playoffs with a 9-6-1 record. That’s what Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times points out, anyway.
The NFL is proposing to shorten regular season and preseason overtime to 10 minutes, which would have led to a tie game rather than a loss against the Oakland Raiders in week eight of the 2016 season.
The Bucs lost that game after just over 13 minutes of overtime, and a record 23 accepted penalties for 200 yards by the Raiders. Oakland certainly tried to lose that game, but Tampa Bay just couldn’t manage to accept the win. That draining overtime loss was followed by a blowout loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday Night Football, just four days later.
Under the proposed new overtime rule, that game would have tied after ten minutes of overtime, the Bucs would have ended the season 9-6-1, and that would have gotten them into the playoffs — barely, and only if everything else remained the same, of course.
None of that matters for this overtime rule, on which I have no real opinion. Ten minutes or fifteen minutes? All the same to me. But it does demonstrate how thin the margins in the NFL can be, and how close the Bucs got to a playoff spot last year. Hopefully they won’t need that new overtime rule to get into the postseason this season.