There is a Way to Fix NFL Overtime
Is it to have a field goal contest starting with a 35-yard field goal and moving back in five yard increments until one of the kickers misses, thus making the kicker who made the longest try the winner?
No. That’s stupid. Nobody on the planet likes penalty kicks in soccer or shootouts in hockey. Adding that idea to the end of football game would ruin every close game. Think of it this way; can you imagine a playoff game, or even a Super Bowl, decided by a skinny white guy shanking a 40-yard kick?
Is it to adopt the NCAA overtime system in which each team gets equal tries to score from the 25-yard line until someone finally succeeds when the other team doesn’t?
No. This is stupid, too. Slightly less stupid than turning an NFL game into a segment of the Punt, Pass and Kick contest, but still not a good idea. Where’s the kickoffs? Where’s the between the 20s creativity? Where are the in-drive momentum shifts that can happen when a team has to go 80 yards to score? The NCAA system might still be football plays happening, but the beauty of what makes football a dominant sport is lost watching two teams trade boring plays and field goals for 5 overtime segments.
Is it to switch back to straight sudden death style overtime?
No. This isn’t stupid, though. It’s the best of the three options so far. At least the sudden death option is football the way the previous 60 minutes were played. A kickoff, return, offense, momentum… etc. But – and this is a big but considering I’m the first person to run around telling people how sports just aren’t fair sometimes – I DO want to see both teams have a chance at winning the football game.
Is it to sit the coaches next to Carson Daly and Fred Durst and hear them argue over who she ga…
Wait. Different problem being solved there.
Is it to play a 10-minute overtime period with the same rules and regulations as the rest of the game, and if the teams are tied after 10-minutes, have a second 10 minute overtime period?
Yes. The major American sports do not tolerate ties, they play a predetermined amount of extra time. In baseball, that time is segmented into innings exactly like the rest of the game. In basketball, there are 5-minute overtime periods that go on until a winner is determined at the end of the time. The NFL should govern its most sacred commodity, the results, with the same attention to consistency and fairness that the MLB and NBA do. To not let these guys play football the way the game was meant to be played while deciding the hardest fought games is a travesty.
And, honestly, if you’re going to argue that players might get injured during overtime periods, you must not be watching the rest of the games. If you check your channel guide, I’m sure there’s something that’ll keep you entertained on the Food Network.
There Aren’t Any Super Bowl Favorites Left
The Atlanta Falcons lost to the four win New Orleans Saints. The Chicago Bears couldn’t muster more than six points against the Houston Texans, and the Texans’ vaunted offense only put up 13 to beat them. The New England Patriots let the Buffalo Bills hang around and almost gave up what should have been a sure victory. The rough and tumble New York Giants got blown out by the Cincinnati Bengals.
Those four sentences don’t necessarily mean that the teams that lost don’t have a chance at a championship this season, but the certainly mean that the road these teams has to take is exponentially bumpier than any of us thought it would be a couple of weeks ago.
If I had to chose one team to win it all this season, I don’t think I’d be able to give an answer that I believe in.
There May Not Be Any Favorites, But There Are A Lot of Options
In the same breath as my point about there not being any clear cut Super Bowl favorites right now, there are an awfully lot of good teams to choose from. By my count, there are 14 teams good enough to make the playoffs right now. Those teams are the Patriots, Ravens, Steelers, Texans, Colts, Broncos, Giants, Bears, Packers, Vikings, Falcons, Buccaneers, 49ers and Seahawks. Of those 14 teams, 10 of those teams are good enough to win the Super Bowl.
This isn’t parity, mind you – there is a very defined line between the haves and have nots in the NFL – but an unusually long list of teams that could actually lift the Lombardi Trophy this February.