NFL Overtime Needs To Be Over (At Least in It's Current Form)

Corey McSweeneyAnalyst IJanuary 6, 2009

One of my favorite scenes in the Dark Knight is when Two-Face takes out his two-headed coin and talks about fairness and how a 50-50 coin flip is the only fair way to settle something.

It’s great because, like the rest of the cast of that movie, Aaron Eckhart, the actor playing Two-Face, plays the part. It’s just fantastic. The second reason it’s a great scene is because it epitomizes just how far his character has fallen from where he began the movie and just how jaded he has become with the idea that a coin flip is the only fair thing left on the planet.

Let me preface what I’m about to say with making this clear: The Colts absolutely deserved to lose that game Saturday night. If it wasn’t for Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis, that flukey play from Peyton Manning to Reggie Wayne, and a couple costly turnovers for the Chargers, San Diego would have absolutely smoked the Colts. That’s a fact.

Even in overtime, when Ron Winters and his crew called all those penalties (which they are known for doing on a consistent basis), the Colts dug their own grave. While those penalties were ticky-tack stuff, they still were legitimate penalties. You can’t blame that loss on the refs. Please don’t think that what I’m about to say has anything to do with my allegiance to the Colts.

That brings me to my point. Overtime has to be changed. It has to.

100 percent.

In this day and age when the NFL is so important (and it is, ask all the fans who have their precious time and money invested in these teams), the NFL has a responsibility to provide a fair game. The first four quarters are fair.

Since the current overtime rule has been put in place, roughly 33 percent of the teams who have won the coin toss have scored and won the game without the other team having a chance on offense. I realize that means two thirds of games aren’t decided one the first possession, meaning both teams get the ball at least once, but it still means that one third of the time a team is done because they lost a coin flip.

That’s not the way the game is played. You have to keep the game consistent all the way through; that’s what the NBA does with their overtime, and it’s what the MLB does too; you just keep playing, same rules, just some more time.

That’s what the NFL needs to do. Yeah, it might not be as exciting as sudden death overtime, but, heck, if you want to make it exciting, why not make overtime a field goal shootout? Or a punt, pass, and kick competition? Those are exciting. But being fair is more important than being exciting.

Now, I don’t think you can have another full 15 minute period. The NFL is so violent that you must take into consideration all that extra punishment these huge men would being enforcing on each other. But you must make the period fairly long because having a five minute period or something similar isn’t that much different than a sudden death period.

A 10-minute period would be good because it would allow for a fairly thorough period where both teams get their shot at the victory but would also eliminate some of the extra punishment.

Just don’t let Aaron Eckhart get control of the NFL playoffs.