Sunday, March 21, 2010

NFL Overtime- Horribly unfair to sports commentators

If there is any vote besides the Health Care vote that people have been obsessed with this weekend, it's the NFL's competition committee's vote on proposed changes to the overtime rules.

Like the Health Care debate, commentators- writers and broadcast journalists- have rallied around common talking points. Although to be honest, there isn't, if you listen to them, two sides to this debate. In fact there is no debate.

The talking point ? 'Fair.' The word that keeps coming up and out of the mouth or pen of everyone involved is that the current rule- whoever scores first (Donovan McNabb)- is unfair. Everyone wants to see fairness returned to the game.

Follow the link above and you'll get an idea why- most people think that the team that gets the ball to start overtime 'often' or 'usually' wins. Not so. Yes, that happens about 40% of the time. That's um, less than half.

That means that 60% of the time, the other team gets the ball. With the current rule.

But what really irks me about this, honestly, is the use of the word 'fair.' This is football, NFL football. Fair ? What is this, t-ball ? Fair ? Oh, does someone get their itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny little feelings hurt if they lose ?

You bet your ass they do, this is football. You want fair, watch MLB baseball. Everybody gets their chance to hit the ball and no one goes home feeling they've been cheated because the other team scored the winning run and then immediately took the ball and went home.

Some argue that the NFL is the only level of the game that hasn't adopted a more equitable overtime rule.

Good for them. Anyone who has suffered through a multiple OT college football game, one that goes on forever with players dropping like flies, knows that madness that way lies.

This is a disease that has infected just about every other sport. Look at the NHL! The only thing wrong with a tie after 65 minutes of play is that too many people got in their heads that a tie is somehow wrong and replaced simple ties with a shootout. What about World Cup soccer matched decided by shootouts ? Absurd.

My problem with football's version of the shootout is the same as my problem with shootouts in sports that use it. It's like if you had a tie at a 5K, deciding the winner by having them throw a shot put. It's just not real sport.

The whole point of football is the battle for field position. As soon as you add a rule where each team gets the ball whether you succeed or fail on your offensive possession, the normal flow of the game goes out the window. I think it was Jeff Fisher (who has no right to complain about fair after the Nashville Nightmare and subsequent no-call of a forward pass) who brought up both kick-returns for TDs and pass interference calls.

Well, you're more likely to see teams throw bombs looking for pass interference calls when they know if they don't get a first down they aren't going to have to punt and defend as though their lives depended on it.

And what about a game that ends on the first play of overtime with a kick-return for a touchdown ?

Tough sh!t !

Football is not about offense. Football is about offense, defense and special teams, and you have to be able to master all three. If you give up a TD on the opening kick-off of OT, your special teams let you down and you lost.

Fair ?

You had sixty minutes to win the game outright. If you didn't do it, then you don't 'deserve' to win, in fact you don't deserve a second chance. If you do get the ball and you do score, more power to you. If the other team gets the ball, get your defense on or take the loss like a man and go home.

Fair ? Save the t-ball for someone with a lesser constitution. I don't want 'fair.' I want football.

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