OT should be a sudden death, not an equal opportunity


Photo courtesy New England Patriots

This time of year a lot of nitwit suggestions are made about how to improve pro football. Almost annually one is some form of tinkering with overtime.

Why?

Not surprisingly, Atlanta Falcons’ general manager Thomas Dimitroff recently half-heartedly suggested each team should get the ball at least once regardless if a touchdown is scored on the first possession, thus eliminating the sudden death his team suffered in Super Bowl LI when the New England Patriots came from 25 points down in the second half to beat them on the first drive of overtime. That proposal, though understandably heartfelt, is ill-founded.

Dimitroff said “we would like to have an opportunity’’ to at least possess the ball once. I’d say holding a 25-point lead and a 99-percent chance of victory with barely a quarter to play indicates you possessed the ball more than enough to win. If you still blow the game, it’s bogus to suggest you were a victim of anything but self-immolation.

Sudden death is still the best form of overtime. If you can’t get it done in four quarters then you’ve had enough chances. After that it’s every man for himself. One-and-done is more than the opposite of bogus. It’s brilliant!

What was not brilliant was a proposal from NBC Sports’ Mike Florio, who had an overtime suggestion that was well off the nitwit chart. His idea to settle the issue? A two-point conversion battle.

With Florio’s plan, one offense and defense goes to one end of the field, and the other offense and defense goes to the other. A two-point conversion attempt occurs at each end, three times per team, with either two or zero points scored and the snaps occurring 25 seconds apart to keep things moving. Heck, why not do it simultaneously, like a track and field meet?

If the game remains tied after three tries each, Florio proposed, they go back and forth until someone wins. Florio claimed “It would be exciting, frenetic, compelling, and it would involve as few as six extra snaps. And we’ve yet to hear a good argument against it.’’

Here’s one: it’s stupid. It would be akin to settling the World Series with a home-run derby. Why play actual football to decide a football game?

Florio further suggested the officiating crews be split, with four at one end of the field and four at the other. So we decide a game with half the officials keeping an eye on two-point conversion tries? How about blind-folded skeet-shooting instead?

A proposal to limit overtime to 10 minutes rather than 15 during the season thankfully also fell on deaf ears at the owners’ meetings. It was proposed as a way to limit the length of games and the players’ exposure to injury, and both are noble thoughts. But the fact is: Few overtimes last that long. So you’d be fixing something that isn’t broken.

The problems with pro football are many, but overtime is not one of them. Frankly, I’d favor going back to the original rule, which was you score you win. Period. After a four-quarter stalemate, no one should be entitled to further considerations. But it’s clear many feel no one should lose on a field goal today, when a 45-yard try is considered little more than a chip shot for the game’s top kickers.

Okay. I’ll give you that. But give you the ball back after you give up a touchdown on the first drive of overtime? Sorry. You lose.

 

 

 

 

 

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16 Comments

  1. Rasputin
    April 6, 2017
    Reply

    So you prefer a coin flip being more decisive in the result than each team’s plays from scrimmage. At least we’re back to disagreeing. College OT rules are better. The result is purer and they’re more fun to watch.

    • April 6, 2017
      Reply

      College OT is the worst of all possible solutions. Games never end, and you have scores that look more like NBA all-star games. What they have now in the NFL works. But I’m with Ron: The idea of legitimate sudden death was OK by me, too. But I would not have touchbacks come out to the 25. Never liked that idea anyway. Start them at the 20, and let the better team win.

  2. Joseph Wright
    April 6, 2017
    Reply

    Don’t worry about Rasputin disagreeing with you, Ron and Clark. He once made an agrument with me with one of his points being Mike Boryla was a Pro Bowl QB (“Cliff Harris went up against more Pro Bowl QBs in the ’70s in the NFC East.” Boryla–only the biggest butt of Pro Bowl jokes ever.

    • Rasputin
      April 6, 2017
      Reply

      Says, Joseph Wright, the guy who claimed Lou Groza was just a kicker and not a tackle, lol. On Pro Bowls it was 8-3, that’s just a fact, so it doesn’t matter whether you count Boryla or not. But he actually won the Pro Bowl for the NFC in a comeback by throwing 2 TD passes at the end.

      • Joseph Wright
        April 6, 2017
        Reply

        Yeah. So the MVP went to the kickoff return specialist–on the LOSING team! Only a pure idiot would mention Mike Boryla’s Pro Bowl performance–the mere appearance was absurd (fans watching TV:”What the hell is HE doing here?”)–to “validate” how “good” Boryla was. LMAO! The most desperate, bogus, last-minute All-Star game appearance–in ANY sport–EVER!

        • Rasputin
          April 6, 2017
          Reply

          Actually Howard Cosell said Boryla should have been Pro Bowl MVP. Only an idiot would be harping on this when the tally was 8-3. Are you so butthurt you’re just going to follow me around from thread to thread continuing to faceplant on every topic? Tell me more about how Lou Groza was just a kicker, lol.

  3. TheJJWattExperience
    April 6, 2017
    Reply

    “I’d say holding a 25-point lead and a 99-percent chance of victory with barely a quarter to play indicates you possessed the ball more than enough to win. If you still blow the game, it’s bogus to suggest you were a victim of anything but self-immolation.”

    Agreed.

    There’s no reason an overtime should be “fair.” Each team had 60 minutes to win the game in regulation. That was a fair.

    • Rasputin
      April 6, 2017
      Reply

      “There’s no reason an overtime should be “fair.””

      Really? Should any portion of the game be fair? If so, why? Isn’t the point of having a game so that the best team can win on the field with a minimum of external luck deciding the outcome?

      And don’t conflate this general issue with the Falcons’ example or any other specific game. So what if they blew a big lead in that particular game? That’s not always the case, and isn’t what this debate is about.

      • April 7, 2017
        Reply

        Why is “sudden death” not fair? Both teams had 4 quarters to win the game.Both teams had the ball many times with many opportunities to score. If you get to OT sudden death is the most exciting situation and is the ultimate test of your team. Nothing unfair about it. The game is not “decided” by a coin flip. It’s decided by your offense and your defense. As it should be.

        • Rasputin
          April 7, 2017
          Reply

          With the coin flip deciding which team gets possession, perhaps the only possession. Sudden death makes more sense for sports where possession is more fluid, like soccer or hockey.

          • April 7, 2017

            I like what they have. The college setup is a joke, with two teams playing until the next morning.

          • Joseph Wright
            April 7, 2017

            I’m with you, Clark. Thanks for the thumbs up on my Bert Jones/John Elway: David Thompson/Michael Jordan cross-sports parallel.

          • Rasputin
            April 7, 2017

            Now run along, boy, and go fetch Mr. Judge and Mr. Borges their coffees.

        • Rasputin
          April 7, 2017
          Reply

          I should clarify that I support college rules while keeping the NFL time limit for the regular season, so games wouldn’t last that much longer.

        • Rasputin
          April 7, 2017
          Reply

          Either a time limit or a fixed maximum of possessions. But I certainly like the current NFL rules a lot better than the old sudden death format. Possession has way outpaced field position in importance in the 21st Century.

    • April 7, 2017
      Reply

      Agreed.

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