Dear NFL, the Overtime Rule isn’t the problem

In the past few years, everyone has been clamouring for the NFL Overtime Rule to be changed. Many don’t believe that the team that loses the coin flip doesn’t get a fair chance to win. Therefore, once again, the NFL will go into voting to make proposed changes to the OT rule. This is the main proposal.

Under the proposal, if the team that wins the toss proceeds to score a field goal on its first drive, the other team would get the ball. And if that team also scores a field goal, the present sudden-death format would then be in place. However, if the team that wins the toss drives for a touchdown, the game is over.

This would be interesting, and I’d rather this than both teams getting a possession. Nevertheless, I’d rather they look at some other rules, rather than changing the overtime format.

To begin, between 1974 and 1993 (as shown in the article previously linked), there was no difference whatsoever in win percentage for the winner and loser of the coin toss. Which brings me to my argument; the problem is that the game is too offensively oriented. There are far too many rules to protect baby the quarterback, and many rules to give the wide receiver as much of an advantage as possible. Sure, the defensive game isn’t completely dead, but these rules are making it harder.

To change the overtime rule to where each team gets a chance puts even less emphasis of the defense. I’m willing to go as far as to say it will take the defense out of overtime as well. This is why I’m against the change. The losers shouldn’t complain; rather, they should just shut up and make a defensive stop. Changing the rule, in my opinion, is just admitting that you’re taking out yet another aspect of defense from the game.

Thankfully, the conservatism of the owners will probably mean that the rule won’t change. Then again, the offensive-minded rules won’t be adressed either, sadly. There are a few rules which annoy me, personally:

  1. 5-yard defensive holding always resulting in a first down. Quite obvious, it’s just giving the offense even more rewards.
  2. Illegal contact. It only penalizes a corner for being aggressive, even if the ball isn’t thrown to his area. As well, this rule doesn’t exist in the NCAA.
  3. Defensive pass intereference. It always assumes the catch would be made. While it is a big foul, the NCAA has this one right yet again, giving a maximum of 15 yards on a DPI.

I doubt we’ll ever see these changes in our lifetime, and I’m willing to bet on it. While it won’t stop me from watching NFL football, it does have me shaking my head a bit.

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~ by The Slurpee Man on March 19, 2010.

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