The NFL Orders More Ties

That’s about the only way you can spin it. By reducing overtime to 10 minutes – while inexplicably keeping the Peter King Pussyboy Fair-is-Fair Rules in place – the league has guaranteed more of something their customers hate.

Ties are a waste of everybody’s time. That’s why in American sports, we just don’t do them.

Yeah, yeah. Soccer. I know. It’s the primary reason why soccer is a minor professional sport in America. If we are going to spend 8 hours and $400 on a sporting event, we are doing nothing if not paying for an OUTCOME – good, bad… or horrific. (Think Jeff Triplette officiated NFL game).

Of course, this move has been gussied up in the pretty flowered dress of “player safety” by saying that the 71st, 72nd, 73rd, 74th, and possibly 75th minutes of a tackle football game are exponentially more dangerous, exhausting, and possibly career damaging than the previous 70 minutes.

Show me your work, NFL.

And the pro-league spin on this, is that last season there would have only been “two more” ties under these rules, is an argument that misses the point. It’s hardly a matter of “what will a few more hurt?” It’s a matter of…. “why do we still allow this to happen?”

In every sport we have, ties have been aggressively hunted down, and virtually exterminated. Only in certain sports, where inducing an outcome may be completely impractical, are ties allowed to remain.

In hockey, the NHL has been the most progressive in reducing ties. In 1983 the NHL adopted the 5 minute overtime. In 2005 the NHL added the shootout after the 5-minute OT. And just last year, the NHL went to 3-on-3 for overtime to help avoid shootouts.

Now there’s a league that gets it!

As I like to always say: Overtime ain’t “fair-time.” It’s meant to produce a winner. You had a whole game full of “fair.” Now, it’s time we all went home.

In golf, the only major event that still doesn’t get it, is the USGA with their 18-hole Monday playoff in the US Open. This is a relic. Just like most of the USGA board members in Far Hills, NJ.

Sure, it ends on Monday (barring weather delays) but sometimes even takes overtime of the overtime like with Tiger Woods over Rocco Mediate in the 2008 US Open.

Everybody remembers Tiger’s putt on 18 on Sunday to force the Monday finish – “Did you expect anything different!?” – but how many people remember what happened on Monday?

Tiger and Rocco Mediate played 18 more holes – as per the USGA’s antiquated embrace of an era long since gone in American sports – and were STILL tied. So they THEN went to sudden death.

And Tiger won on the first hole. Which was the 7th hole at Torrey Pines. With a par.

Hey, nice finish. I don’t even think you can find that US Open winning putt on YouTube.

So let’s get this straight: the USGA believes that ITS championship is SO special, and SO important, that a mere sudden death playoff on Sunday would somehow cheapen the outcome? Yet, when 18 more holes on a Monday (with most of America at work, and 1/3 of the fans able to return to the course) STILL don’t produce a winner….

“Okay then… I guess we can do sudden death.”

It makes me want to punch somebody in the face.

The excitement and electricity of a Sunday evening sudden death (or even 3 hole aggregate, like the PGA and the British Open) finish at the US Open, would be incredible. But nah…

The NFL needs to go back and look at the statistics on it’s old overtime outcomes. Last I recall, the coin-flip winner won approximately 53% of the games, to the loser’s 47%. A six-percent spread is not insignificant, but it’s damn sure close enough to be fair for me.

Besides, we want excitement, we want an actual outcome, and we want to go home. It’s not that complicated.

About the Author

Steve Czaban is a 25 year sports radio veteran, who hosts an afternoon drive show in Washington D.C. He also appears on "Bob and Brian" in Milwaukee. "Czabe" also writes and edits his own commentaries for www.czabe.com and other on-line and print publications. He can be reached at czabe@yahoo.com.

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3 Comments

  1. I would like to see them go back to the old “sudden death” (or “sudden victory” in today’s PC world) with one exception-do away with the coin toss to start overtime and instead go to alternating possession. Since most teams think that it is advantageous to “defer” to the second half so they can attempt to get the double possession (score to end the first half and get the ball to start the second half), they now would be at a disadvantage to start overtime. It is a risk each team must take – a guaranteed “advantage” for the second half or a possible chance at a huge disadvantage for overtime.

    Imagine your Kirk led Redskins against the Patriots in the Super Bowl. NE wins the pre-game coin toss and elects to defer. Patriots kick-off, the game is back and forth, the Patriots score to end the second quarter. Pats get the ball to start the 3rd and score again. Your beloved Redskins are now down 14 pts. Krik puts on a show and leads his (and your) team to tie the game at the end of regulation. Overtime. Pats now have to kick since it is there turn. ‘Skins recover the onside kick. Kirk moves the ball but the play stalls. In comes your boy Dustin Hopkins to kick the 45 yarder for the win.
    Lord Belichick’s advantage of deferring has come back and kicked him in the fella’s.

    That, my radio friend, is a double win.

  2. Player safety my butt. This is about the NFL believing the games are getting too long and is allied to the reduction in breaks the league is trying for.

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