Super Bowl Announcers: Bill Cowher Is Just Plain Wrong About NFL Overtime

Leonard SuttonContributor IFebruary 7, 2010

DURHAM, NC - FEBRUARY 11:  Former Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Bill Cowher attends the game between the North Carolina Tar Heels and the Duke Blue Devils on February 11, 2009 at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, North Carolina.  (Photo by Kevin Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin Cox/Getty Images


Well, Super Bowl XLVI is just about to start and the irrepressible Jim Nantz just started in with his inane drivel pouring out of his pie hole. I have nothing against Nantz. I don’t even know the guy from Adam, but it just seems to me that he really loves the sound of his own voice.


The pundits and so-called analysts have made their predictions, and Warren Sapp is somewhere else than Sun Life Stadium (or whatever it’s called this week) thanks to his Saturday morning arrest for Domestic Abuse (I think that’s the charge). The NFL Network has dismissed him from his duties as one of their analysts.


Bill Cowher, the former head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, is part of the pre-game show, which seems about 13 hours long, on CBS. As each of the analysts on the program gave their predictions about the game, somehow the subject of overtime came up and what Cowher opined about the NFL’s version of overtime is diametrically opposed to my view on the same subject. In short, Cowher stated that both teams should get the ball at east once when an NFL game goes into overtime. Uh, no Bill, they shouldn’t, and here are a few reasons why.


1. Overtime is just that, extra time to determine the winner of a game that ends with the score tied. Each team has had four quarters, two halves, 60 minutes, to out perform the competition. For both teams to get the ball in overtime makes the previous 60 minutes worthless.


2. The first possession in overtime, just like the beginning of the game, is determined by the flip of a coin. Either a head or a tail will determine which team gets the ball first. This is the point where both teams have an equal chance, and it should be the last.


3. Once a team is awarded the ball, it’s up to the other team’s defense to stop them and get the ball back for their offense. Remember, they had 60 minutes to do that earlier, and didn’t do it.


4. This is about the NFL, not the NCAA. The college game does have the overtime rules that allow both teams at least one possession, and the NFL should distinguish itself from the NCAA, not align itself with it.


5. The NCAA overtime rules allows each offense to get the ball at the opponents 25 yard line. The extra period doesn’t even start with a kickoff. This eliminates special teams from the game, unless a field goal is attempted. The extra period should only begin with a kickoff, and if each team is guaranteed an offensive possession, then a kickoff could conceivably be eliminated. Which would eliminate the possibility of a return for a touchdown. This, in my opinion, takes an element away from the game that the collegiate game lacks, namely excitement.


If the overtime period is played with both teams getting a chance at offense, then why play the regulation game at all? Just flip the coin and each team will get the ball until one of them comes up short on offense. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? No, I know it doesn’t. I have great respect for coach Cowher.  That’s why in my opinion, when it comes to overtime in the NFL, Bill Cowher is just plain wrong.