NFL’s new OT rules miss the mark
The NFL blew it with the new overtime rules. Worse than a shanked punt.
[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=Jeff+Fisher&iid=7329412″ src=”0/0/5/3/Tennessee_Titans_v_5662.jpg?adImageId=11615128&imageId=7329412″ width=”280″ height=”253″ /]Titans coach Jeff Fisher, co-chairman of the competition committee, was on board with the charge to change the rule from sudden death to allow the team that loses the overtime coin toss a chance to get the ball. The team that loses the toss now would get a possession, too, but only if the team that wins the toss kicks a field goal on its first possession. If it scores a touchdown, the game is over. If the teams trade field goals then the rules would revert to sudden death.
The rule was passed by a 28-4 vote of the NFL’s teams at the owners’ meetings in Orlando on Tuesday and will be implemented for the 2010 playoffs. Butit could be adopted in time for the 2010 regular season when the owners meet again in Dallas in May.
The notion that overtime had to be changed became de rigueur in the past few seasons when statistical analysis revealed that the team that won the toss was winning nearly 60 percent of the time. Coaches were coming out and saying things like, “It’s a shame this game had to be decided by a coin toss.”
No game has ever been decided by a coin toss. What no coach is willing to admit is that if he’d had more brass in his boxers he wouldn’t have kicked that 20-yard field goal with 4 seconds to play to tie the game. Hey, Nancy, punch it in the end zone or leave your fate up to the flip. And by the way, even if you lose the toss you’re still gonna send your defense onto the field, right? Maybe the statistical analysis should have read differently: 60 percent of teams that lost the coin toss had defenses that didn’t answer the bell.
And does anyone else think that if this is implemented in the regular season it’s gonna lead to more ties? Think about it. Say the team that wins the toss takes 5-6 minutes off the clock and gets its field goal. Now the team that loses the toss gets its possession. Whatever it does, it’s gonna want to run as much time off the clock as possible, because if it winds up settling for a field goal it doesn’t want to give the ball back with too much time remaining.
Now suddenly we’re expecting a coach who played for the tie at the end of regulation to do something different in the final 2 minutes of overtime?
If I wanted longer games I’d watch major-league baseball. If I wanted ties I’d watch soccer. I don’t care if it’s just for the playoffs. Put the premium on coaches’ decisions at the end of regulation.
Sorry, NFL, but you got this one wrong.