Edwards against changing overtime

Bravo for Herman Edwards' stand on overtime. While many have been clamoring for a change in the sudden-death rules, Edwards said recently that the old ways are OK by him.

``I'd keep it the same,'' he said. ``I just think when you change it,

what you're really doing is not playing the game of football anymore. If

it's a two-possession rule or moving the ball back to the 20 like in

college, the kicker is the guy who's going to win or lose the game for

you.''

  For a while it seemed as if a rules change was a foregone conclusion,

after 10 of the record 25 overtime games this past season were decided by

the team that won the toss on its first possession.

  But consider what the game would change to. Each offense assured of one

possession? OK, so we go from playing football for 60 minutes to baseball's

extra innings to break the tie. Set the ball at the 20, 25 or 40? Now it's a

field goal contest. Score at least six points to win, as someone in the

league office proposed? For a sport that has wanted to shorten its games for

decades, that suggestion is ludicrous.

  There is something to be said for the electricity of college football's

overtime rule, which led to Ohio State's victory over Miami for the national

title in January, or a World Cup soccer shootout.

  But in both cases, from this point of view, the electricity is

artificial. After a full game of striving and competing, let's break the tie

by playing a minigame of pseudo-football or faux-soccer.

  Here's an idea. If a team doesn't want to lose an overtime game after

losing the coin toss, then play great defense. Better yet, win the game in

regulation.

  ``To me, I like the pressure,'' Edwards said. ``If it's overtime, I have

a decision to make if I win the toss: Do I kick it off or receive? I just

think when you say each team gets a possession, the wind that was a factor

is not a factor now because I'm going to get the ball anyway. I just think

there's not enough sentiment that it's going to get changed.''

Edwards was right. While a majority of teams wanted some change, the

one-possession-each proposal didn't get the 75 percent vote required to

change the rule and we'll still decide OT games the old-fashioned way for at

least one more season.


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