This weekend's NFL playoff games will be the first in which the league's new postseason rules for overtime are in use.
The new system, which owners approved by a 28-4 vote in March, eliminates the possibility of a team winning with a field goal on the opening possession of overtime.
The team that gets the ball first in overtime can win the game by scoring a touchdown. If that team gets a field goal, its opponent gets a possession with a chance to tie the score with a field goal or win it with a touchdown. If that team gets a tying field goal, the game proceeds on a sudden-death basis. If neither team scores on its first possession of overtime, the game is sudden death from there.
“I don’t know if I’d say I’m eager” to see the new format utilized, said Atlanta Falcons president Rich McKay, the co-chairman of the NFL’s competition committee. “I guess I would say I am interested to see if there are any strategic changes that we didn’t anticipate. We’ll need a few years to get a large enough sample.”
Competition committee members said the change was necessary because a growing percentage of overtime games were being won by the team that won the coin flip, in part because of improved field goal accuracy.
SAINTS’ IVORY OUT
Rookie running back Chris Ivory has been placed on injured reserve by the New Orleans Saints with an injury to his left foot.
Ivory, a one-time Washington State running back and the Saints’ leading rusher with 716 yards, was injured in Sunday’s season finale.
To replace Ivory, the Saints signed DeShawn Wynn, who returns to New Orleans after first signing with the team as a free agent in August. He played in four games before being waived in October.
BRETT BAD BOY, AGAIN
The New York Jets say a lawsuit filed against them and Brett Favre by two massage therapists is “completely without merit,” and the team had not been aware of the accusations.
Christina Scavo and Shannon O’Toole contend in a lawsuit filed Monday they were subjected to sexual harassment and job discrimination. They are seeking unspecified damages from Favre, the Jets and a team massage coordinator, saying they lost their part-time jobs after complaining about sexually suggestive text messages from Favre while he was with the team in 2008.
The lawsuit came five days after the NFL fined Favre $50,000 for not being forthright in an investigation into allegations that he sent lewd text messages and photos to ex-Jets game hostess Jenn Sterger.
Eight-year coach Marvin Lewis agreed to an unspecified contract extension that will make him the longest-tenured coach in Cincinnati Bengals history. The San Francisco 49ers were given permission to talk to Oakland Raiders offensive coordinator Hue Jackson about their head coach opening. The Denver Broncos will kick off their search for a new coach by interviewing Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey, who also will be talking to Cleveland. St. Louis said it has granted the Browns permission to speak to Rams offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur.
John Madden and Ronnie Lott, both in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, will co-chair the NFL Player Safety Advisory Panel that will review rules, equipment standards and game video, among other things, and make recommendations to commissioner Roger Goodell. Former Iowa State and Miami Dolphins defensive back Barry Hill has died of complications from pneumonia following surgery at age 57. New York Giants veteran offensive lineman Rich Seubert has had surgery to repair a dislocated right kneecap.