Handy-dandy guide to NFL overtime rules

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Handy-dandy guide to NFL overtime rules

Prior to the 2010 season, NFL owners voted to amend overtime rules for the postseason to a modified sudden death format. Teams have the opportunity to possess the ball at least once in the extra period unless the team that receives the overtime kickoff scores a touchdown on its first possession.Here's a look at the overtime procedures for the postseason, as set forth by the NFL:
POSTSEASON MODIFIED SUDDEN DEATH
The modified sudden death system of determining the winner shall prevail when the score is tied at the end of regulation for postseason NFL games. The system guarantees each team a possession or the opportunity to possess, unless the team that receives the opening kickoff scores a touchdown on its initial possession.--At the end of regulation time, the Referee will immediately toss a coin at the center of the field in accordance with rules pertaining to the usual pregame toss. The captain of the visiting team will call the toss prior to the coin being flipped.
--Following a three-minute intermission after the end of the regulation game, play will be continued in 15-minute periods until a winner is declared. Each team must possess or have the opportunity to possess the ball unless the team that has the ball first scores a touchdown on its initial possession. Play continues in sudden death until a winner is determined, and the game automatically ends upon any score (by safety, field goal, or touchdown) or when a score is awarded by the Referee for a palpably unfair act. Each team has three timeouts per half and all general timing provisions apply as during a regular-season game. The try is not attempted if a touchdown is scored. Disqualified players are not allowed to return.
--Instant Replay: No challenges are allowed. All reviews are initiated by the replay official.Key Definitions:
--Possession: Actual possession of the ball with complete control. The defense gains possession when it catches, intercepts, or recovers a loose ball.
--Opportunity to possess: The opportunity to possess occurs only during kicking plays. A kickoff is an opportunity to possess for the receiving team. If the kicking team legally recovers the kick, the receiving team is considered to have had its opportunity. A punt or a field goal that crosses the line of scrimmage and is muffed by the receiving team is considered to be an opportunity to possess for the receivers. Normal touching rules by the kicking team apply.Following are the Approved Rulings pertaining to postseason overtime from the 2011 Official Casebook of the NFL, a supplement to the NFL Rule Book:
RULE 16SUDDEN DEATH
A.R. 16.1 -- Kickoff return for a touchdown
Team B receives the opening kickoff and returns it for a touchdown.
Ruling: Game over. Team B wins. A.R. 16.2 -- Onside kick
On the opening kickoff of overtime from the A35, Team A legally recovers the ball at the A46.
Ruling: As ball, first-and-10 on A46. A kickoff is considered an opportunity to possess for the receiving team. Team B is considered to have had an opportunity to possess the ball. A.R. 16.3 -- Onside kick
On the opening kickoff of overtime from the A35, Team A attempts an onside kick. A2 legally touches the ball at the A47, but muffs it and it is recovered by B1 at the A48.
Ruling: Bs ball, first-and-10 on A48. Team A is not considered to have had an opportunity to possess the ball. A.R. 16.4 -- Muffed kickoff
Following a successful field goal on the opening possession of overtime, Team As kickoff is muffed by B1 at the B35 and is recovered by A2.
Ruling: Game over. Team A wins. Team B had an opportunity to possess the ball.A.R. 16.5 -- Touchdown on first possession
Team A drives down the field on the opening possession of overtime and scores a touchdown.
Ruling: Game over. Team A wins. A.R. 16.6 -- Field goal on first possession
Team A kicks a field goal on the opening possession of overtime.
Ruling: Three points for Team A, but the game is not over. Team A must kick off to Team B. If Team B scores a touchdown or does not score, the game is over. If Team B scores a field goal, the game continues in sudden death. A.R. 16.7 -- Muffed punt
On the opening possession of overtime, Team A punts and B3 muffs the punt at the B22. A6 recovers at the B22.
Ruling: As ball, first-and-10 on B22. Team B had the opportunity to possess the kick. Both teams have met the minimum requirements for possession. The first team to score wins. A.R. 16.8 -- Fumbled kickoff return
On the opening kickoff of overtime, B3 returns the ball to the B30 where he is hit and fumbles. A6 muffs the loose ball to the B28 where B5 recovers.
Ruling: Bs ball, first-and-10 on B28. Since the ball was loose from a fumble as opposed to a kick, Team A is not considered to have had an opportunity to possess the ball. A.R. 16.9 -- Blocked punt
Fourth-and-5 on A45. On the opening possession of overtime, Team As punt is blocked by B3 at the A35. A2 picks up the loose ball at the A40 and runs to the 50 for a first down.
Ruling: As ball, first-and-10 on 50. Team B is not considered to have had an opportunity to possess the ball because it did not touch the ball beyond the line of scrimmage.A.R. 16.10 -- Blocked punt
Fourth-and-5 on A45. On the opening possession of overtime, Team As punt is blocked by B3 at the A35. B4 attempts to pick up the loose ball at the A40, but muffs it to the A33 where it is recovered by A4 who runs to the B40 for a first down.
Ruling: As ball, first-and-10 on B40. Team B is not considered to have had an opportunity to possess the ball because it did not touch the ball beyond the line of scrimmage. A.R. 16.11 -- Blocked punt
Fourth-and-5 on A45. On the opening possession of overtime, Team As punt is blocked by B3 at the A35. The ball hits the ground beyond the line at the B48 and bounces back to the A43 where it is recovered by A4 who runs to the B40 for a first down.
Ruling: As ball, first-and-10 on B40. Team B is not considered to have had an opportunity to possess the ball because it did not touch the ball beyond the line of scrimmage.A.R. 16.12 -- Blocked punt
Fourth-and-5 on A45. On the opening possession of overtime, Team As punt is blocked by B3 at the A35. The ball bounces beyond the line to the A48, where B4 muffs the loose ball to the A45 where it is recovered by A4.
Ruling: As ball, first-and-10 on A45. Because Team B touched the punt beyond the line of scrimmage, a new series is awarded to Team A. Since Team B had the opportunity to possess the ball, both teams have met the minimum requirements for possession.A.R. 16.13 -- Fumble
Third-and-5 on A30. On the opening possession of overtime, A2 takes a handoff and runs to the B35 where he fumbles the ball. B2 recovers the ball and runs to the B40.
Ruling: Bs ball, first-and-10 on B40. Both teams have had an actual possession. The first team to score wins.A.R. 16.14 -- Fumble
Third-and-5 on A30. On the opening possession of overtime, A2 takes a handoff and runs to the B35 where he fumbles the ball. B2 recovers the ball and runs to the B40 where he is hit and fumbles. A5 recovers at the B41.
Ruling: As ball, first-and-10 on B41. Both teams have had an actual possession. The first team to score wins.A.R. 16.15 -- Interception
Third-and-5 on A30. On the opening possession of overtime, B2 intercepts a pass at the 50 and returns it for a touchdown.
Ruling: Game over. Team B wins. Each team has had an actual possession.A.R. 16.16 -- Fumble
Second-and-10 on A30. On the opening possession of overtime, A2 takes a handoff and runs to the A38 where he fumbles the ball. B2 muffs the loose ball at the A35 and it is recovered by A5 at the A33.
Ruling: As ball, third-and-7 on A33. Since the ball was loose from a fumble as opposed to a kick, Team B is not considered to have had an opportunity to possess the ball.A.R. 16.17 -- Touching of a pass
Third-and-5 on A30. On the opening possession of overtime, A1 drops back to pass and throws the ball from the A23. The ball is tipped by B4 at the A25 and is caught by A3 at the A34. A3 runs to the A40 where he is tackled.
Ruling: As ball, first-and-10 on A40. Touching of a pass by Team B does not constitute an opportunity to possess the ball.A.R. 16.18 -- Incomplete pass
Second-and-5 on A30. On the opening possession of overtime, A1 drops back to pass and throws the ball from the A23 toward A2 at the B40. B4 jumps up to intercept the pass and lands with his left foot inbounds and his right
Ruling: As ball, third-and-5 on A30. An incomplete pass is not considered an opportunity to possess.A.R. 16.19 -- Safety
Third-and-5 on A7. On the opening possession of overtime, A1 is tackled in his own end zone for a safety.
Ruling: Game over. Team B wins. Both teams have met the minimum requirements for possession.A.R. 16.20 -- Field goal
Fourth-and-5 on B25. On the opening possession of overtime, Team As field-goal attempt is blocked by B3 at the line of scrimmage and lands at the B28 where it is recovered by A4 who runs to the B18 for a first down.
Ruling: As ball, first-and-10 on B18. Team B is not considered to have had an opportunity to possess the ball because it did not touch the ball beyond the line of scrimmage.
A.R. 16.21 -- Field goal
Fourth-and-5 on B25. On the opening possession of overtime, Team As field-goal attempt is blocked by B3 at the line of scrimmage. The ball hits the ground beyond the line at the B22 and bounces back to the B28 where it is recovered by A4 who runs to the B18 for a first down.
Ruling: As ball, first-and-10 on B18. Team B is not considered to have had an opportunity to possess the ball because it did not touch the ball beyond the line of scrimmage.A.R. 16.22 -- Field goal
Fourth-and-5 on B25. On the opening possession of overtime, Team As field-goal attempt is blocked by B3 at the line of scrimmage. The ball bounces beyond the line to the B20, where B4 muffs the loose ball to the B18 where it is recovered by A4.
Ruling: As ball, first-and-10 on B18. Because Team B touched the kick beyond the line of scrimmage, a new series is awarded to Team A. Since Team B had the opportunity to possess the ball, both teams have met the minimum requirements for possession.A.R. 16.23 Foul on "B" prior to possession
Trailing 13-10 after the first team to possess the ball in overtime kicks a successful field goal, Team A receives the kickoff and is downed at the A30. On its first play from scrimmage, QBA1 throws a pass that is intercepted at the 50 by B1, who is tackled immediately. B2 is called for roughing the passer during the play.
Ruling: As ball, first-and-10 on A45. Team B did not gain possession of the ball legally; therefore the game is not over, and Team As initial possession will continue.A.R. 16.24 -- Foul on "B" prior to double change of possession
Trailing 13-10 after the first team to possess the ball in overtime kicks a successful field goal, Team A receives the kickoff and is downed at the A30. On its first play from scrimmage, QBA1 throws a pass that is intercepted at the 50 by B1, who continues to run with the ball. B1 fumbles at the A20, where A2 scoops it up and runs for a touchdown. B2 is called for roughing the passer during the play.
Ruling: As ball, first-and-10 on the A45. Team A must accept the penalty, since that is the only way its initial possession will continue. If A declines the penalty and takes the result of the play, the game is over since As initial possession ended when the pass was intercepted.
A.R 16.25 -- Foul on "B" prior to double change, option for "A"
First-and-10 on A20. On the opening possession of overtime, QBA1 throws a pass that is intercepted at the A49 by B1, who continues to run with the ball to the A30 where he is hit and fumbles. A2 recovers the ball and is downed at the A30. B2 is called for roughing the passer during the play.
Ruling: If A accepts the penalty for roughing the passer, it will be As ball, first-and-10 on A35, and Team B is not considered to have had its opportunity to possess the ball. If A declines the penalty, it is As ball, first-and-10 on A30, Team B has had its possession, and the first team to score will win the game.A.R. 16.26 -- Foul on "B" after change of possession
Trailing 13-10 after the first team to possess the ball in overtime kicks a successful field goal, Team A receives the kickoff and is downed at the A30. On its first play from scrimmage, QBA1 throws a pass that is legally intercepted at the 50 by B1, who continues to run with the ball and is downed at the A30. B2 is called for holding during B1s return.
Ruling: Game over, Team B wins. Since Team As possession ended legally, both teams have met the requirement for possession, and the game is over. A.R. 16.27 -- Double foul with "A" change, game over
Trailing 13-10 after the first team to possess the ball in overtime kicks a successful field goal, Team A receives the kickoff and is downed at the A30. On its first play from scrimmage, QBA1 throws a pass that is legally intercepted at the 50 by B1, who continues to run with the ball and is downed at the A20. Team A is called for holding prior to the interception, and Team B is called for an illegal block above the waist after the interception.
Ruling: Game over, Team B wins. Since Team As possession ended legally, both teams have met the requirement for possession, and the game is over. A.R. 16.28 -- Double foul with "A" change, game not over
Trailing 13-10 after the first team to possess the ball in overtime kicks a successful field goal, Team A receives the kickoff and is downed at the A30. On its first play from scrimmage, QBA1 throws a pass that is intercepted at the 50 by B1, who continues to run with the ball and is downed at the A20. Team B is called for holding prior to the interception, and Team A is called for a low block after the interception.
Ruling: Fouls offset, and Team As initial possession continues. As ball, first- and-10 on A30. A.R. 16.29 -- Double foul after change, game over
Trailing 13-10 after the first team to possess the ball in overtime kicks a successful field goal, Team A receives the kickoff and is downed at the A30. On its first play from scrimmage, QBA1 throws a pass that is legally intercepted at the 50 by B1, who continues to run with the ball and is downed at the A20. After the interception, Team B is called for holding, and Team A is called for a facemask.
Ruling: Game over, Team B wins. Since Team As possession ended legally, both teams have met the requirement for possession, and the game is over.

49ers Mailbag: Which vets are on shaky ground?

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49ers Mailbag: Which vets are on shaky ground?

The 49ers’ new regime heads to the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis this week with the first major wave of offseason activity set to kick off.

Already, the 49ers have made roster improvements. And there figure to be plenty of activity ahead in the coming weeks.

Here are some questions submitted by readers on Facebook for this edition of 49ers Mailbag:

Do you see the 49ers cutting ties with larger contracts like Bethea, Torrey Smith and Ahmad Brooks?‬ (Blair Wilkins)
The 49ers have approximately $75 million in space under the salary cap – and that’s before any adjustment of Colin Kaepernick’s contract. So it’s not as if the organization needs to create cap room.

Any decision made to part ways with veteran players will be made solely on how that player fits into what the 49ers envision on the field.

And that’s what general manager John Lynch, coach Kyle Shanahan and his staff are doing now. They are studying the video from last season to determine which players fit their ideals.

Safety Antoine Bethea is scheduled to earn $5.75 million. Bethea, 32, enters the final year of his contract. There is no question he is everything the 49ers want in a player off the field. If one of the younger guys is not better than Bethea, there is no reason to get rid of him.

Brooks is on the books to earn $5.3 million in 2017. That’s not a huge amount for a starting outside linebacker or defensive end – whichever spot he might fit best. The 49ers must look to upgrade their pass rush. Brooks turns 33 next month. He’s good for six sacks a season. Again, it’s not as if the 49ers can’t afford him. And, as of now, it’s not as if the 49ers have anyone better.

Smith is scheduled to earn $8 million. He has been vastly underutilized in his two seasons since signing with the 49ers. He’s the most interesting case of the high-priced veterans.

Kyle Shanahan’s offense is predicated on using the running game to set up the play-action shot down the field. Smith is limited. He’s not a possession receiver. He’s not going to make plays over the middle. He is an outside receiver whose contributions come in the vertical passing game. But that’s what Shanahan wants.

If Smith is paired with a strong tight end, a running back who catch the ball out of the backfield, a slot receiver with short-area quickness to get open underneath, a very good receiver on the other side and an accurate quarterback who can throw the deep ball, there should be a role for Smith in the 49ers’ offense.

Will the 49ers continue to be aggressive pursuing free agents this offseason? If so, what positions?‬ (Bradley Lodge)
The 49ers have zeroed in on two veteran free agents and they signed them both.

The organization has already spent more money than it did all of last offseason on veteran free agency with the four-year, $16 million deal to sign defensive tackle Earl Mitchell, whom the Miami Dolphins recently released.

Nickel back K’Waun Williams has a history with 49ers defensive backs coach Jeff Hafley. The 49ers did not have to make much of a financial investment to sign him.

The 49ers will definitely go after a veteran quarterback or two in free agency or via trade. Pass rusher, inside linebacker and wide receiver are other positions the 49ers can be expected to look during free agency.

The opening of the new league year – when free-agent signings and trades can occur – is March 9. The draft is seven weeks later.

The 49ers must fill as many of their needs with smart deals that fit into the long-term plan with veteran acquisitions. Then, the draft is about taking the best players on their board when it’s time to select. Teams that reach for need generally strike out.

What are the chances of drafting a QB with first pick and playing them behind a Kap / Cousins until they're ready to become starter?‬ (Hillory Broussard)
If Colin Kaepernick returns, it will not be as a no-questions-asked starter. Just read what Lynch said on KNBR this week about the team’s needs:

“Do we have some places – probably the ultimate position, quarterback – where we need to improve? Absolutely. And we’re committed to doing that.”

That statement can easily be interpreted that Lynch does not believe the 49ers had a starting-caliber quarterback on the roster last season.

But if the 49ers were to go out and swing a trade for Kirk Cousins or Jimmy Garoppolo, it’s going to take a big commitment – in terms of draft picks and a suitable new contract. Then, the 49ers would have that player.

Cousins or Garoppolo would unquestionably fill the 49ers’ need at quarterback for 2017 and beyond -- at least in the minds of the 49ers' new decision-makers. There would be no reason for the 49ers to then draft a quarterback with the No. 2 overall pick – if the 49ers even had the No. 2 overall pick at that point.

49ers have already spent more in 2017 free agency than a year ago

49ers have already spent more in 2017 free agency than a year ago

Under the 49ers’ new regime, the club has already invested more in the free-agent market than a year ago under then-general manager Trent Baalke.

Just a reminder: The free-agent signing period does not officially open until March 9.

The 49ers on Friday reached a contract agreement with veteran defensive tackle Earl Mitchell, who is penciled into be a starter in the team’s new 4-3 base scheme under defensive coordinator Robert Saleh.

"As soon as Earl hit the open market, he became a priority for us to sign,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said in a statement released Saturday morning. “A man of high character, he represents everything we want to be as a football team. Earl is a tone-setter who plays the game with a tremendous passion and the effort necessary to win in this league. We believe those qualities are contagious and will help to make our team stronger. We look forward to the impact Earl will have on the field, in the locker room and in our community.”

It was the first significant move under Lynch, who also signed a player with NFL experience earlier in the week.

The 49ers also added cornerback K’Waun Williams to a one-year contract. Williams served as the Cleveland Browns’ nickel back for two seasons. The Browns released him before the start of last season and he was unable to play due to an ankle injury.

Mitchell was available to be signed before the start of the new league year because the Miami Dolphins released him last week in a move to save the team $4 million in cap space.

Mitchell took four free-agent visits and after wrapping up his tour with the Atlanta Falcons on Friday, he and the 49ers quickly agreed on a four-year, $16 million contract that includes $5.5 million of money in the first year, according to a source.

Last year, Baalke did little to improve the roster for coach Chip Kelly. The 49ers, who finished 5-11 in Jim Tomsula's one season, dropped to 2-14. Just hours after the season concluded, the 49ers announced the firings of Baalke and Kelly.

The only veteran free-agent addition who stepped on the field for the 49ers last season was offensive lineman Zane Beadles. The 49ers signed Beadles in late-March to a three-year, $9.75 million contract with a $1.75 million signing bonus. Beadles had a good season for the 49ers, starting 12 games at left guard, two games at left tackle and the final two games at center.

The 49ers have already shown more willingness to be aggressive under Lynch’s leadership.

Mitchell, 29, is a seven-year veteran who began his NFL career from 2010 to ’13 with the Houston Texans. He was a rookie in Saleh’s final season as assistant linebackers coach in Houston.

Mitchell joins DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead and Quinton Dial on the 49ers defensive line. The 49ers view Mitchell as a high-energy player who bring good character to the locker room. The signing of Mitchell could be an indication the 49ers are moving on from Glenn Dorsey, who is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent.

With 5.5 sacks in seven seasons, the 49ers do not figure to use Mitchell in passing situations. The club must try to bolster its pass rush in free agency or the draft. Last season, Buckner and Ahmad Brooks shared the team-lead with six sacks apiece. In 2015, Brooks and Aaron Lynch both led the way with 6.5 sacks.