NFL owners dropped the ball on OT change

Of the three issues contemplated at the NFL owners meetings, overtime was the one most botched. NFL owners rejected a proposal to give each team the ball in overtime and delayed until May a decision on expanding the playoffs from 12 to 14 teams. The overtime proposal received 17 votes from the 32 teams Wednesday, seven short of the 24 needed.

 

Of the three issues contemplated at the NFL owners meetings, overtime was the one most botched.

            NFL owners rejected a proposal to give each team the ball in overtime and delayed until May a decision on expanding the playoffs from 12 to 14 teams. The overtime proposal received 17 votes from the 32 teams Wednesday, seven short of the 24 needed. There was one abstention -- from the Oakland Raiders.

The vote came a day after the NFL announced a new remedy for the officiating problems that plagued last season's playoffs. Instead of putting together crews of all-star officials for playoff games, the league will rate cohesive crews and have the highest-rated groups work the postseason.

The playoff expansion should not even be considered because then the NFL playoffs will become like the NBA postseason – watered down worse a flat Budweiser.

            The overtime rule, however, needs to be changed from the current sudden death program and it goes beyond the increasing number of games in which the team that wins the coin toss in overtime wins the game on its first possession. That was the case 58 percent of the time last season, when there were a record 25 overtime contests. The Raiders have lost their last three overtime games after losing the coin toss and never getting possession.

            Those who favor the current system will argue that the defense should stop the opponent and earn that possession for the offense. Counterpoint, if a team wins the toss and moves down the field for the winning score, it only had to play one side of the ball. Therefore, they did not truly earn the victory in overtime.

            Plus, if a team's defense gives up a score, it should only be right that the offense should have the chance to match or surpass that score. That is one area where the college game has it right. The team that wins the toss gets the first possession at the opponent's 25-yard line, where it operates like a regular series. The team that loses the toss gets the chance to either match or surpass the opponent's score.

            Those who oppose the college overtime rule might suggest that the advantage is unfair because a team is already in field goal range and some teams have better kickers than others. Counterpoint, is it really that unfair if both teams are under the same set of rules? Certainly not.

            You cannot say that about the sudden death system because if a team wins the coin toss and marches down field for the winning score – both teams did not have to play both offense and defense.

Vince D'Adamo can be reached via e-mail at vdad7@yahoo.com


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