Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Look at NFL Overtime

There are a few rules in every sport that flat out suck. One such rule in the NFL, and probably my least favorite, is overtime. The advantage for the team that wins the coin toss is huge. We saw the Chargers display this advantage as they knocked the Colts out of the playoffs in overtime this year, while the Colts weren't allowed to touch the ball in the deciding period.

So what is the solution? I have always thought the college system was better, but many people say that it wouldn't fit in the NFL unless the starting position of the 25 yard line was moved way back, at which point it'd take a lot of time to finish OT. Fair enough. Just because college overtime wouldn't work doesn't change the fact that the NFL system needs to go. You know your system sucks when the team that wins the coin toss celebrates. A coin toss should not elicit celebration, but if you win this one, you're going to jump for joy because unless your coach takes the wind, you're probably going to win the game.

Here is my proposition...well, it's not mine actually, I found the article at Slate, via MGoBlog. The author proposes an auction system to decide who gets the ball first. What is auctioned you ask? Field position. Here is how it works:

The auctioneer (the ref) will start at say, the 50 yard line, then the coaches play a little "name that tune" and decide how far back they would take the ball and score. This way, both teams get a chance to have the ball first if they think they can knock it in from their own 25 or so. After the ballsiest coach has made himself known, his team gets the ball and a regular NFL overtime starts.

There is a little more talk of strategy in the article, but my question is: how is this not more fair than the current system? Apparently this idea was floated a while back and never took hold, despite some support. Someone is going to have to do a lot of convincing to persuade me that this isn't a great system to decide who gets the ball first in overtime.

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