Do you remember your parents telling you “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?” I think a fine example of that is the NFL’s new overtime rule for the playoffs.
The new rule states that if a team wins the coin toss, elects to receive the kickoff, drives down the field and scores a touchdown, the game is over. However, if the team that gets the first possession kicks a field goal, the other team gets a chance to tie or win. If they kick a field goal, then the game continues under the sudden death rule. If the team who gets the ball second fails to score, the game is over.
Many people have been advocating for a college-type overtime rule for some time. They say it is only fair for each team to get a possession. But I think the rule is unnecessary.
The reason I’m against the new overtime rule is because I don’t think it does anything for the game of football. In fact, if anything, it takes away from the sport. I think there used to be an element of suspense that will not be there any more. It’s exciting to know that you have to stop them or else. I think that it’s so much more intriguing when it is sudden death.
I would rather watch a game in OT with the regular season rules rather than the playoff rules. To put it simply, the job of the defense is to keep the other team’s offense from scoring points. And the job of the offense is to put points on the board despite the defense’s best efforts. Should we really be rewarding a team with another possession because their defense can’t do their job?
I’ve heard some say that they don’t like the outcome of the game to hinge on the flip of a coin. But the fact of the matter is, since 1998, teams that have won the overtime coin toss in the playoffs have won only seven of 14 games. It doesn’t seem like the coin toss makes that much of a difference.
Rather than tinker with the rules, the better option for playoff teams is to make sure your defense is ready to play. I think I heard someone say this once: “Offense sells tickets; defense wins Super Bowls.” Sounds like pretty good advice.