Peter King works overtime…

In Peter King’s Monday Morning QB column on Monday, he ranted a little about the NFL overtime rules. Saying that too much depended up on a coin flip, he suggested some changes. His readers suggest others in the Tuesday follow up.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/writers/peter_king/03/20/mailbag/index.html

Currently the competition committee (which includes both Bill Polian and Tony Dungy) is suggesting moving the kickoff in OT to the 35. The winner of the coin flip wins about 60% of OT games, and that is too much for the committee. The idea according to Bill is to not give one team too dramatic a field possession advantage which would result in a win not on the first possession, but rather on a subsequent one. You can check out his comments here:

http://colts.com/sub.cfm?page=article7&news_id=4716

The major problem with most changes to OT is that they either destroy the integrity of the game, or don’t really solve the problem of a coin flip advantage. Those methods are:
College football alternating possessions OT-Perhaps the most bizarre and gross of all solutions, this method leads to games that last forever and destroys all statistical continuity. I HATE NCAA overtime. It leads to games where QBs throw for 6 or 7 TDs, and turns 17-17 games into 45-44 psycho-fests. Please, let’s not adopt this.
Normal NFL OT with a guaranteed possession for each team-This would actually have the exact opposite effect of the intent. In this OT structure the team who LOSES the coin flip would have a massive advantage. They would be able to see what the opposing team did and match it. Imagine that your team wins the flip. They march down field and kick a field goal. Now the other team gets the ball. Three snaps produce nothing. BUT, they know they have to score so they proceed to go for it on every fourth down, thus giving them an easier time scoring than the first team, because they have an extra down to work with.
Ending games with a tie in the regular season-Doesn’t solve the problem at all. You still have to come up with a scenario that works for the post-season.
Weighted Field Goals-I have heard this idea go both ways. Some people like to give more points for long field goals (they’re harder-say 5 points for a 50 yarder). This is insane and would lead to teams taking intentional sacks and trying NOT to gain yards. Other people want to give more points for FGs that are taken closer to the end zone. This would permanently end coaches going for it on 4th and one at the goal line. It seems like a bizarre solution to a problem that isn’t that big a deal to begin with.
Must score a TD to win-I think this changes a key element of the game. People act like kicking isn’t ‘real football’, but it dramatically adds to the strategy of the game. A FG attempt in OT is one of the most tense and dramatic plays in the game, especially from 45 yards or more.

Frankly, it doesn’t bother me at all the OT can come down to a coin flip. After 60 minutes, there has already been so much luck involved, that one more coin flip is no big deal. Defense is part of the game. You can always pick off Grossman and run it back for TD. Moving the kickoff to the 35 is pretty innocuous and doesn’t corrupt the game too much. Any of the other solutions are like using a nuclear warhead to kill a gnat.

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