Tuesday, March 23, 2010

It's past time to change overtime

The NFL's competition committee has suggested a possible change to the league's playoff overtime rules. The potential rule change, which would have to be approved by 24 of the league's 32 owners, would give both teams an overtime possession unless the team that gets the ball first scores a touchdown. If the teams remain tied after one possession each, it becomes a sudden death situation. The idea is to prevent a team from winning the coin toss, moving about 30 yards down the field, and winning on a long field goal without the other team ever getting to touch the ball (see: 2010 NFC Championship game).

I say: don't just make this rule change for playoff games, make it for all games! The NFL has always had one of the worst overtime systems in all of sports. To me, it's akin to ending a hockey game after the first player makes a goal in a shootout, or declaring a baseball team a winner if they score a run in the top of the 10th. This "modified sudden death" idea still places too much emphasis on a coin toss, as the team that wins the coin toss gets a crack at ending the game with a touchdown. But at least under the proposed rule change, the team that loses the coin toss wouldn't lose just by allowing a long field goal.

I still like college football's overtime better, but I understand that the NFL wouldn't want to make their games, which are often too long as it is, even longer. At least this new rule would put the emphasis on players making plays rather than players calling "heads" or "tails."

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