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Opening Arguments

Sudden death

Enough with the trivialities of health care, the deficit and unemployment! Let's talk about something really important:

The NFL is considering changes to its overtime format for the playoffs only while it holds its annual meeting here in Orlando. The competition committee has recommended that a team losing the coin toss and then allowing a field goal on the first possession would get a series of its own in OT. If that team also scores a field goal, the game would go to sudden death.

As it stands now, overtime is 15 minutes and the first team to score wins. Such a rules change would need 24 of 32 votes from team owners for ratification. Commissioner Roger Goodell has endorsed the idea.

As you know, the overtime rules in college football are different. Each team gets a possession at the 25-yard line and then has four downs to score. The game continues until somebody wins. I love the college football overtime. Each team has the same opportunity to win. The NFL would never go for this rule for a variety of reasons: fear of player injury, and no set time for the overtime to end.

The playoff OT rule change seems like the NFL's way to mimic this system, but there has to be a better way. I would love to see a 10-minute extra quarter added. No sudden death. The game can end in a tie in the regular season, but then go to sudden death in the playoffs if the game is still tied at the end of the extra period.

As usual, I have mixed feelings. The conservative in me likes the extra series of downs to catch up with a field goal in OT. That would be the smallest increment of change to the way things are. But my libertarian side likes the idea of an extra 10-minute quarter, then sudden death if the score is still tied. That would make skill a little more important in determining the outcome, blind chance a little less.

Of course, we could make a liberal change to the rules. If a team is down by only a field goal at the end of the game, they'd get OT as one last chance to catch up. That would, you know, level the playing field for


Bob G.
Tue, 03/23/2010 - 10:52am

Yeah, and prety soon, sports may go the way that our educational system WANTS to go...

"We 're ALL winners...and EQUAL, too"
(who knew?)

Tue, 03/23/2010 - 12:17pm

I'm probably not the first person to think of this, since I'm not a big sports fan, but here's a rule tweak that makes sense to me:
In the overtime period in the NFL, the first team to score at least FOUR points wins.