AROUND THE NFL

How Overtime Impacted the 2018 Season: Let’s Make A Change

Winning and losing is what separates the men from the boys. In my case being a father of two beautiful daughters, women from the girls. That’s what you’re taught growing up in a competitive at nature household. Growing up you learn nothing else in sports matters, not stats, not exciting plays, but at the end of the outcome that scoreboard is in favor of your team. In middle school, we play until a winner is decided. In high school football, we play until a winner is decided. In College Football we play until a winner is decided. In the highest most elite level of football you can possibly play, we end in ties. Billy Bob Thornton in Bad News Bears put it best.

I know a tie's a lot like kissing your sister, as my old coach used to say.

At least as the quote in the movie continues they say it’s like kissing a really hot stepsister and that’s how it was earlier this year for the Cleveland Browns. Opening the season with a revamped team ready to have “the biggest turnaround in history”, opening against a division rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers, after going 0-16 the year prior, and most of all at home. The Browns have had a measly record of 1-18 and most of all 13 straight home opener losses going into the game. They get dominated in the first half, come out in the second half and sent the game to overtime tied 21-21. Not to get into all the details of the game, but it ended 21-21 in a tie. Fast forward to this moment right now. The Steelers sit having to play week 17 and have a series of events happen in order to get into the playoffs. The main one winning against the Bengals and the other is the Browns beat the Ravens in Baltimore in order to capture the division. With the NFL rules being structured how they are currently the Steelers have a record of 8-6-1. If the overtime rules were structured in the same format as these athletes have had their whole lives and Pittsburgh wins, the Steelers are leading the division owning the tiebreaker over Baltimore and only needing to win against the wounded Bengals this upcoming week. The Browns have a record of 7-7-1 and are now eliminated from the playoffs. A win against Pittsburgh in that overtime would’ve given the Browns another week to fight on and finish that historic turnaround. Instead, the Baker Mayfield show is going to end next week and Cleveland will still thirst for a playoff birth all offseason.

Earlier this year the Vikings and the Packers also tied. It was ironically the week after the Browns-Steelers game. The Packers fell apart a couple weeks after the tie basically eliminating themselves from playoff discussion once McCarthy was fired. The Vikings own the 6th seed at 8-6-1 as it stands, if that tie would’ve fallen in favor of them they would have clinched the playoff spot and the Eagles would be eliminated from playoff contention. Eagles are 8-7 and are only alive due to that overtime tie and of course great play from backup QB, Nick Foles. Deja Vu.

Regardless, according to an article by Fansided back in September, here are the rules of overtime in College Football and the direction I pray the NFL goes in.

  • Each team is guaranteed one possession. Each period of overtime requires a possession from each team, much like the way innings work in baseball.
  • There is no game clock, only a play clock.
  • Each team begins their possession on the opponents’ 25-yard line.
  • If the first team scores a touchdown, kicks a field goal or fails to score, the other team gets the chance to outscore or match the first team.
  • If the teams remain tied after one overtime period, the teams swap the order of possession, so the team that had the last possession in the first overtime period starts with possession in the second overtime period. The team will continue to swap the order of possession for every period of overtime necessary until there is a winner.
  • If the teams remain tied after two overtime periods, when a team scores a touchdown, they are forced to go for a two-point conversion. This is to help speed up the overtime process if it getting lengthy.

Under this format, we won’t have to worry about anybody feeling like they’re kissing their sisters, but most of all the fanbases and teams will have the closure they need for the outcome of a game. The same closure athletes have been getting as they developed into the million dollar players they are. We get to a certain level and we overcomplicate things that are already laid out for us. Go back to the basics. Wins or losses, there’s no room for ties.

Happy Holidays to everyone, except for whoever is the one who decided this overtime format was the most efficient way. To that person I say:

 

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