NFL: An Idea to Improve Overtime

Michael IelpiCorrespondent ISeptember 11, 2009

CANTON, OH - AUGUST 3: Referee Walt Coleman of the NFL directs  the coin toss as the Indianapolis Colts play against the Washington Redskins in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game at Fawcett Stadium on August 3, 2008 in Canton, Ohio.   (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

We've played only game of the 2009 NFL season and the first overtime game has already taken place.

The Pittsburgh Steelers won the coin toss and marched down the field for the game-winning field goal. The Tennessee Titans never got to touch the ball on offense. I am not sure how anyone can be a fan of the current overtime system unless their team won the game.

I know many will argue that the coin toss winner wins the game only 50 percent of the time. That is true. But, it does not make it fair when a team drives down the field to kick a field goal and ends the game without the other offense getting a shot.

In all of the other major sports, each team has a chance with the ball or the puck to score with their offense in either overtime or extra innings. Why does professional football have to be different?

My solution to overtime in the NFL is do a system similar to what college football does, but instead of starting at the opponents' 25-yard line, have the team start on their own 25-yard line. Should the team who got possession of the ball score first, then the other team starts at their own 25.

There are no kickoffs. Kickoffs are one of the more common places on the football field for injuries. Kickoffs are the equivalent to a child's playground when it comes to injuries. So taking them out of the equation is probably a good thing.

If the team that starts with the ball fails to score, they do have the option of punting. If the team that started with the ball gives up the ball to the other team, (either by way of turnover, punt, loss of downs, missed FG, etc.) the spot where the other team gets the ball will be the start of their possession in the overtime.

Should the second team fail to score, it becomes sudden death.

This system would also make the winner of the coin toss think of whether to start first or second. In the college overtime format, the winner of the coin toss usually wants to start on defense. This way they will know what they will need to do on offense or they can win the game on defense if they return an interception or fumble for a touchdown.

In this format, the team who wins the toss will be equally compelled to start either on offense or defense.

If a team has a better offense, they may want to take the ball first. If a team has a better defense, they may want to start on defense and could win the game with a turnover.

If both teams score equal points, you play another overtime, with no forced two-point conversions.

After two overtimes the game ends in a tie, unless it is the postseason, which you continue playing until someone wins.

To me, it is either that system or just playing another 10-minute quarter straight to the finish. Both methods give each team with a shot at the ball on offense and a chance to win it on defense and there really cannot be any complaints.

While their have been a few Super Bowls that were very close to going in overtime, none have crossed into the fifth quarter. One day it will happen, and if the outcome of the Super Bowl has a lot to do with the coin toss, it may finally force the NFL to change its ways.

Is it too much to ask that we get a little more football to watch and never have a dispute based on a coin toss?