NFL’s Overtime Rules Continue To Confuse


Last year it was Donovan McNabb who didn’t understand that there were ties in the NFL, but this year it’s Rich Gannon that couldn’t grasp the intricities of the extra period. During overtime of the Cincinnati-Cleveland game, the Bengals called timeout to give kicker Shayne Graham some time to prepare for the game winning kick. Gannon immediately chastised the team for leaving too much time on the clock for Browns’ return man Josh Cribbs.

There’s only one problem with that….it’s called “sudden” death for a reason. Via Shutdown Corner….

No, Gannon didn’t like the timeout because he thought that if Graham hit the field goal, it would leave too much time for dangerous Cleveland return man Joshua Cribbs(notes) to take back the subsequent kickoff for a touchdown. You know, that dreaded post-score overtime kickoff that has felled so many teams throughout history.

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Gannon’s partner in the booth, Ian Eagle, quickly and politely informed Gannon that the game would be over if Graham successfully converted the field goal, since NFL overtime is sudden death. Gannon laughed and apologized for his mistake. Awesomely, Eagle then asked if McNabb had infiltrated the broadcast booth. Nah, Ian, if that were true, Gannon would have vomited when the game got down to crunch time. (Rimshot!)

It was a ridiculous mistake, but unlike McNabb’s ignorance of overtime rules (and his continued defense of said ignorance later in the week), we’ll give Gannon the benefit of the doubt and say this was more likely a slip of the tongue than a complete misunderstanding of how overtime works. But, of course, it didn’t seem possible that McNabb wouldn’t know about ties, so maybe we’re giving Gannon too much credit.

No offense to Yahoo, but yes….you’re giving him way too much credit. Ties rarely happen in the NFL, and McNabb’s mistake was somewhat excusable. To have played multiple overtime games in the NFL, and not know that the game ends on a score, is just the opposite of that.

Rich Gannon doesn’t know how NFL overtimes work either (Shutdown Corner)

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