Monday, January 5, 2009

OT in the NFL (sport)

A familiar question came up yet again while I was watching "Around the Horn" on ESPN. Should we change the current overtime structure in the NFL? There are many proponents of the college system, where both sides get a chance for a scoring possession. For those who want it to stay the same, they use the reason that "it's up to your defense to stop them". After some quick thought, here's my proposal:

In OT, first team to 6 points wins (or if the OT period is over then the team leading wins)

The pros:

If your defense gives up a touchdown, then your defense failed and you deserve the loss as opposed to giving up a cheap FG, regardless of who won the coin toss.

If you give up a FG and score a touchdown, you win, like in college.

The cons:

There may be more ties and extended OT games (maybe make the second OT sudden death in playoff games)

The strategy changes:

If you're already down a FG and you're backed up near your own endzone, you should almost always take the safety to win back field position.

The play to win or tie conundrum will still exist when there's not much time left.

I'm sure there are more pros and cons and I'd love to hear them if anyone wants to leave comments. But I think this would be the best compromise between the current structure and the college structure. However, this is likely to lead to many more ties and may lead to more frequent or more complicated playoff tiebreak situations.


wildman said...

My brother's suggestion (and one that I think is interesting) would be that instead of a coin toss to start overtime, they would instead auction off who gets the ball. The auction would involve where each team was willing to start from on offense (i.e. no kickoff). The farther back in your own end you were willing to start, the more likely you would get the ball. In essence the auction could be silent (2nd price?), dutch, japenese or whatever. An interesting idea for sure.

The Pretender said...

Besides the fact that this would probably be too difficult for the regular fan to understand, I'm not a fan of skipping the kickoff because special teams in the NFL really is important.

The basic complaints are that (1) the coin toss is luck, to which my friend says that they had 60 minutes to win on skill so they're not allowed to complain about luck. (2) it's only 35 yards/1 pass interference play to get the FG, mentioned by Jim Nantz on Inside the NFL. My system would solve that problem.

Also note that the recommendation by the Sports Guy in this column is pretty much the same as my idea.