NFL notebook

Owners mull OT overhaul

Associated Press / March 18, 2010

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NFL owners will vote next week whether to allow each team a possession in overtime in the playoffs if the team winning the coin toss kicks a field goal on the first series.

Previously, the game would end whenever either side scores, as happened in the NFC Championship game in January, with New Orleans beating Minnesota on Garrett Hartley’s kick. But NFL competition committee chairman Rich McKay said a trend has developed showing too strong an advantage for teams winning the coin toss to start overtime.

If the team that falls behind by 3 points on the first series also kicks a field goal, then the game would continue under current sudden death rules.

The proposal is only for the postseason.

“Statistically, it is pretty clear there has been a change,’’ McKay said. “When sudden death was put in for 1974, it clearly worked very well and was a good system. It brought excitement and effectively broke ties. From ’74-’93 you had a 50-50 [breakdown] in who would win between those who won the toss and who lost the toss.

“Changes occurred over time, and the numbers have changed to 59.8 percent winning the coin toss and winning the game. The team that loses the coin toss wins 38.5 percent.

“We are trying to put in a system that emphasizes more skill and strategy as opposed to the randomness of the coin flip.’’

Miami inks Incognito
Free agent guard Richie Incognito signed a one-year contract with the Dolphins, his third NFL team since December. He has started 47 games but concedes he has a reputation for being “a less than model citizen.’’ Last year the Rams benched him in two games, each time after he drew two personal fouls. The Rams waived him after the second benching, and he started the final three games for Buffalo . . . 49ers All-Pro linebacker Patrick Willis underwent surgery on his right knee to remove an inflamed fluid sac that kept him out of this year’s Pro Bowl. The surgery is considered minor and he isn’t expected to be sidelined long . . . The Eagles released former All-Pro right guard Shawn Andrews. The former first-round pick has played in just two games over the past two years because of back injuries.

Skins nab Grossman
Quarterback Rex Grossman, who led the Bears to the Super Bowl after the 2006 season, signed with the Redskins. He spent last season with Texans, working with new Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan . . . Quarterback Derek Anderson, who spent five up-and-down seasons in Cleveland before being released, signed with the Cardinals for a chance to push Matt Leinart for the starting job . . . Free agent defensive end Dwan Edwards signed a four-year contract with the Bills. A person familiar with the negotiations told the AP the contract potentially is worth $18 million. A six-year veteran, Edwards had 56 tackles and two sacks for the Ravens last season . . . The Bears released former Pro Bowl defensive back Nathan Vasher, who collected 19 interceptions in six seasons, including eight in 2005 . . . The Titans signed defensive end Jason Babin to an offer sheet. Under a special clause the Eagles put into Babin’s contract, they have one week to match the offer. Without the clause, Babin would be an unrestricted free agent because of his six years of NFL service . . . Packers tight end Spencer Havner was arrested this week on suspicion of drunken driving after crashing his motorcycle in Grass Valley, Calif., suffering a broken shoulder blade.

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