Football is not a sudden death sport

I like when I get to talk about unfair rules or bad refereeing when the team I like comes out on top. I don’t have to worry about losing credibility because I’m a sore loser or whathaveyou; it was a relief to me when the Patriots won their overtime game against the Jets.

Here’s my problem with the NFL rules for OT: The team that wins the coin toss has a huge advantage. It used to be that the game would end with whoever scored first, thus meaning the team to get the ball first would almost always win on a cheap field goal. The owners finally voted to change that two years ago, but they half assed the job. They made it so the game would continue if the first team scored a field goal, but it would end in sudden death if that team scored a touchdown (or, it would end if the other team scored a touchdown). That’s still plainly unfair. As it so happens, the Patriots scored a field goal, thus giving the Jets a chance to respond. QB Sanchez then, as I expected, failed to get the job done. The game turned out to be fair, but only by chance. Had the Patriots scored a TD on their first possession, the game would have ended and the Jets never would have been given a chance. Again, that’s not fair.

There are certain games that lend themselves to sudden death overtime. Hockey, for instance, is perfect for it. (In fact, hockey is the perfect sport, but I digress.) Soccer, insofar as it is a sport, works for the model. Football, however, does not. There is no point where both the defense and offense of a single team find themselves on the field at the same time. It would be as if a baseball game went into extra innings, the away team scored a run in the top of the 10th, and then the umpires called the game. That would be ludicrous for the very reason the NFL overtime rules are ludicrous: There are two primary aspects to the teams involved. To think of it another way, imagine how many teams have won the Superbowl with okay defense and great offense. Now ask yourself, if that team was forced to rely upon just its defense, who would have won the game?

I don’t expect the NFL to fix this flaw because, well, look at the garbage they pulled with the refs. And look at the guy they have running the whole show. It isn’t like this is an organization that’s hellbent on making things right or hiring the best personnel to fix these obvious problems. But who knows. Maybe in 15 years we’ll see some updates that actually take reality into consideration.

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I hate Roger Goodell

The No Fun League is a pretty terribly run organization. It’s certainly an excellent business, but it’s pretty crap as far as quality sporting goes. From the tinker bell Roughing the Passer rule to the 6 required flags per play, the games are sometimes difficult to watch. I still enjoy football, but the rules don’t make it easy.

The worst rule, perhaps, is for OT. The team that wins the coin toss gets to win the game. Not literally, but it may as well be that way. It’s sudden death, so it’s a matter of moving down the field to within 45 yards of a field goal and then making that. Often, teams get much closer. If they make it, the game is over. It’s inane. I mean, hell, a game of beer pong even allows for rebuttal (depending on house rules; check with your local party animal for details).

What the NFL needs to do is play a full 15 minutes in OT. They won’t be that sensible, but a new rule has been proposed.

The competition committee recommended Monday to the 32 owners that a team losing the coin toss and then surrendering a field goal on the first possession should have a series of its own in OT. Such a rules change would need 24 votes for ratification.

This is still fundamentally unfair. The first team to get the ball still has a huge advantage because if it scores a touchdown, the other team has no offensive reply. This is effectively half a football game: one offense, one defense. Goodell et al are making progress, but they’re being jackasses about it. Just play a full 15.