Tuesday, March 2, 2010

NFL overtime change proposal sails wide right


Give the NFL this — it's trying. But don't hand the league much more credit. At least not when it comes to introducing the best overtime system for the league.

We all know that the current system is, well, unfair. And while our parents always taught us, "Life's not fair," we don't believe our parents when it comes to NFL extra periods. They should be fair. Both offenses should get a chance with the football. No one wants to see Brett Favre deprived of a chance to throw a back-breaking interception (or, maybe, lead his team to a game-winning field goal).

So the league's powers that be came up with this gem — if the team that starts with the ball manages only a field goal, the opponent gets a possession to "match" the three points or win the game with a touchdown. Of course, the first team can win the game without giving up the ball via a TD. Or the teams can go back and forth exchanging field goals until the bathroom lines at the stadium are so long, they snake around into the stands.

Bottom line: the proposal is gimmicky, not true football, somewhat fair but not completely fair and, more importantly, too different from the first 60 minutes of the game. Some people love the college football system, love its equal-opportunity nature. I can barely stand it. An overtime with no clock, no punting, no time management to worry about? 

That's not football.

The solution here — and this isn't the first time I've written on this topic — is simple. Overtime should be a 10-minute representation of the actual game. The teams play out the period, and whoever has the most points at its conclusion, well, wins! Now how 'bout that? Seriously. What's the problem with it?

At 10 minutes, it's not too long that players will complain about extra wear and tear. At 10 minutes, it's long enough that both teams aren't going to get that chance with the ball (and if one doesn't touch the pigskin, then it is undeserving of winning the game). At 10 minutes, it brings clock management, use of timeouts, field position and all that good stuff into play. In general, it's a true representation of the game of football, of every little nuance. 

What more could one ask for?

Of course, it's too simple a solution, too obvious, that it will never make the ballot. So for now, we'll have to settle for hearing about gimmicky ideas that could certainly make for entertaining overtime periods enjoyed by buffalo-wing chomping legions of fans. 

But the best solution? Ah, that'll have to wait. What's new?


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