By Brady Stiff
I shouldn’t say hate, because I think it’s a step in the right direction.
The new NFL overtime rules, meant only for the postseason (for now at least), are confusing at best.
If the team that gets the ball first (Team A) scores a touchdown on the first possession, the game is over. If Team A kicks a field goal or doesn’t score at all, Team B then gets a possession. Should Team A have kicked a field goal, Team B must at least kick a field goal to continue the game. If they manage a field goal, then Team B must kick off, and the game becomes sudden death. If Team B scores a touchdown with their first possession, the game is over.
Are you getting all this?
I think they’re almost there. It’s not quite what I think they should have, but it’s better than the old rule. What they wanted to get rid of, was the chance that the coin toss ends up deciding the game. The rule they’ve created still allows that possibility, and I think that’s where they got it wrong.
I say if you want to get rid of the chance, then GET RID OF IT! Guarantee both teams a possession and go from there. The way the new rule sits, it still allows for the coin toss to decide the game. It defeats the whole purpose of making a rule change. All you’ve done is make the rule more confusing. Donovan McNabb will definitely need some help with this one.
The way I would have it would be to guarantee each team a possession. Whatever happens, happens, and if one team has more points than the other at the end of two possessions (one for each team), then the game is over. If each team scores a touchdown, a field goal, or doesn’t score at all, then it becomes sudden death. I think that’s much easier to understand.
Some will tell you they want the college-style overtime for the NFL. While that style can be exciting, I was debating the subject with my friends (yes, I actually have some) the other night and one of my buddies brought up a good point. They should play the overtime like the game is played normally.
Think about other sports and how they do overtime. In basketball, they play five more minutes (not sudden death). In baseball, they play extra innings, treating each inning like the ninth (ie if the home team gets a lead in the bottom of the inning, the game is over). In soccer, they play 30 extra minutes of non-sudden death soccer before going to penalty kicks (this may vary between leagues, check local listings). In hockey, they play five minutes of overtime before going to a shootout. Hockey’s OT is sudden death, but it’s different than football because there’s no coin toss, and it’s highly unlikely that the team that wins the opening face-off goes right down the ice and scores. I do wish, though, that they would extend the overtime from five minutes to ten.
A lot of people have said that the NFL’s rule change is a knee jerk reaction to what happened to Brett Fav-re in the NFC Championship game (even though the interception he threw came in regulation). Well, what I say to that is take a look at the other famous knee jerk reaction in sports.
In 2002, Major League Baseball’s All Star game was halted at a tie in the 11th inning because both teams ran out of pitchers. It’s hard to tell them to keep playing because it’s just an exhibition game right? A game played for fun, right? Well, since then, the winning league in the All Star game gets home field advantage in the World Series. I haven’t heard one person say they like this rule. That’s another article for another day.
So, like I said, I think this new rule is a step in the right direction, but it’s not quite what I want to see.