Steelers propose NFL rule change for overtime

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Overtime rules could change for the regular NFL season and if they do, you can partly credit -- or blame -- the Steelers.

Probably at the request of coach Mike Tomlin, the Steelers have proposed a change to the overtime rules that appear to have a good chance of passing when the NFL owners vote on various proposals at their meeting next week in Palm Beach, Fla.

The Steelers proposed that the new overtime rules used only in the playoffs for the first time last season also be used during the regular season.

In the regular season, the first team that scores any way wins. In the playoffs, each team is guaranteed at least one possession unless the team receiving the ball first scores a touchdown -- which happened in the Steelers' playoff loss at Denver when the Broncos struck with an 80-yard touchdown pass on the first play from scrimmage in overtime.

The rules proposal has broad support, said Rich McKay, chairman of the NFL competition committee. He said both the NFL Players Association and the league coaches have endorsed it.

"Our feeling was, maybe for consistency's sake, we should do so,'' McKay says of passing the overtime rule.

The Steelers also have proposed a rule that would increase the protection of the quarterback. While a horse-collar tackle draws a penalty, one exception is when the quarterback is tackled that way within the pocket. The Steelers proposed to make that a penalty too.

A pet rules proposal of Steelers president Art Rooney for several years also will be put up for a vote through the competition committee. If passed, each team would be permitted to place one player on injured reserve at the start of the season who could return to play eight weeks into the season. That way a player hurt in the preseason or in the first game of the season could return to play roughly halfway through the season. As it stands now, there are no exceptions and all players placed on injured reserve at any point in a season cannot return to play that season.


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