The NFL's New(er) Overtime Rules
So the Super Bowl is a little over a week away and while I'm really excited to watch the big game, I'm a little sad that football season is over. Over the summer, the NFL will be reviewing a whole slew of new rules and regulations, as they do every year, while new players are being drafted and training camps start.
One element to the game I wish the NFL would reconsider is how overtime is played. While some of my least favorite teams got their butts kicked in overtime thanks to the current system, I can't help but wonder if the rule is really all that fair.
Previously, overtime was played like this: a coin is flipped to determine which team will punt and which will receive; the first team to score wins the game. Basically if the receiving team makes it past mid-field at all they can just kick a field goal and end the game - no passing even necessary.
To make overtime a little more fair, a coin is flipped to determine which team will punt and which will receive. The game can no longer be ended with a field goal: if they kick a field goal, the other team has an opportunity to possess the ball and either tie it up again with a field goal, or end the game with a touchdown. The game is really only ended now with a touchdown.
Naturally, the receiving team will strategize to end the game as quickly as possible: so naturally everyone tries for a touchdown. But if the game could be tied again from both teams scoring a field goal, why can't it also be tied with a touchdown?
Football is seriously the only sport I know of where the outcome of overtime can be determined simply by the flip of a coin. If a team chooses to receive, and they happen to score a touchdown, the game is over without the other team having a chance to run an offensive play that might also result in a touchdown and keep the game going.
Look at overtime in other sports: in hockey, both teams have equal potential to be on offense to score a goal and end the game. Their athletic ability to win a face off determines this, not the flip of a coin. In baseball, if the game is tied after 9 innings, extra innings are added until a team scores. However, if a team scores in the top of 10th inning, the other team has a opportunity to tie or win again in the bottom of the 10th. In soccer, both teams have opportunity to possess the ball to score a goal, same deal in basketball. Heck, even golf has players keep playing holes beyond 18 until one player wins.
Football is the only sport where the offense and defense have designated turns to possess the ball. Their fate is pretty much sealed with the flip of a coin, and this 50/50 chance, when compared to other sports, really is not a fair chance at all.
Does anyone else agree? Do you think the rules are fair?