Saturday, March 27, 2010

There are better ways to handle NFL OT

Months after the New Orleans Saints played their way into the franchise’s first Super Bowl appearance, the NFL chose to adjust its sudden death overtime rule in playoff games. But rather than taking a step forward, the league diluted its extra period’s format.

The league changed the overtime rule – in the playoffs only – allowing the period to continue if the team who wins the coin flip kicks a field goal on its first possession. If the second team matches the field goal, the game will revert back to a sudden death format.

The idea is to allow both teams an opportunity to have the ball, but it just tones down the overtime period.

Personally, I like the sudden death format. If a team thinks they should get a possession, then force a turnover or stall the opposing offense – in short, play defense.

In college football, each team gets the ball at the 25-yard line. After each team takes its turn trying to score, the team with the most points wins. If it is still deadlocked, the process starts over. This system isn’t much better.

The best way for the NFL to handle overtime, if they insist on changing it, is to simply extend the game. Rather than debating between sudden death or some variation of that – like what was just installed – just add another 10 minute period.

Play the game for 10 more minutes and at the end of the game you have a winner or another 10 minute period until someone wins. There is not a need for complicated formats with silly rules, but that’s what the NFL has. It is also dumb to have the overtime rule apply only to postseason games.

Keep it simple NFL, just extend the game.

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