In a 28-4 vote, the NFL elected to revise the rulebook pertaining to how overtime plays out in post season games. The rule will go into effect immediately, starting with the 2010 NFL season. Baltimore, Minnesota, Cincinnati and Buffalo were the four teams not in favor of adopting the rule change as proposed by the NFL Competition Committee.
Beginning next season, if the team that wins the coin toss kicks a field goal on their first possession, then the opposing team will be given the ball back in an attempt to match the score, or win the game with a touchdown. If the team winning the coin toss scores a touchdown, then the game is over. If the team losing the coin toss matches the field goal, then the game would continue, but under the current overtime “sudden death” rules.
Again, this rule change only pertains to playoff games.
The rule change was sparked by the 2009/2010 NFC Championship Game that was decided in overtime. The Minnesota Vikings dominated the game, but the Saints tied it in regulation due to several blunders by the Vikings offense. In overtime, the Saints won the coin toss and won the game on a field goal without Minnesota ever getting the ball back.
It is safe to say that if the rule works out in the upcoming post season, it will be expanded to the regular season as well.