On April 25, 1974, the NFL adopts a new overtime rule for regular-season games to prevent tie games. The rule change comes as part of sweeping effort to improve the action and tempo of games. The league also moves goal posts from the front to the back of the end zone and limits contact defensive players can make with receivers.
The new overtime rule mandated teams play an extra period if the score was tied at the end of regulation play. In overtime, the first team to score was declared the winner. If the score was still tied after the overtime, the game resulted in a tie. The NFL has since modified the overtime rule.
The season before the overtime rule was adopted, the NFL had seven ties in the regular season. Unlike some changes in NFL rules, the adoption of overtime was beneficial. From 1920 to 1973, the league had 256 ties. Since the 1974 rule change, ties have decreased significantly.
Most fans dislike ties; so do players. “It’s not losing … but it’s damn sure not winning,” NFL receiver Stefon Diggs once said.