Overreacting to Overtime: Why the New Overtime Rules are Bad for the NFL

Michael AkelsonCorrespondent IMarch 24, 2010

On Tuesday, the NFL ended a 50-year tradition by changing the playoff overtime rule.

The old rule declared sudden-death overtime.

The new one gives each team a possession unless a touchdown is scored.

While many support this changeβ€”I don't.

I mean, sure, the coin toss may have decided who represented the NFC in the Super Bowl this year, but is there really anything better in all of sports than watching sudden death?

Sudden death is when the intensity of the game is raised, and emotions run high. It's when the men are separated from the boys. Most of all, sudden death is when every fan's stomach drops the second the quarterback releases the ball.

You can argue that the coin toss decides the game, but that is not entirely true. The team that has won the coin toss in overtime has went on to win just 52 percent of the time.

Also, this new rule change completely takes away from the home-field advantage of teams like the Steelers and Packers. During sudden-death periods, teams play to kick field goals, and games played at Lambeau or Heinz field during the playoffs raise the degree of difficulty of making a field goal to a much higher number.

Having a clutch kicker has been one of the most important things to a team in playoff football, especially in sudden-death periods. 68.6 percent of overtime playoff games have ended on a field goal.

While some people believe that kickers shouldn't decide games, I disagree with that. To me, one of the most exciting parts of a football game is when the kicker comes in during overtime to try send his fans home happy. There is no feeling quite like the one you get for those few seconds when the ball is in the air going toward the goal posts.

Now you're going to tell me that a kicker can make a 46-yard field goal in the freezing weather, only to see the other team bring the ball down the field and hand his team a loss?

That's not right.

Coming in with the game on the line is hard enough for the kicker, but now you're telling me that a kicker who can make an overtime field goal in 20 MPH winds doesn't deserve the win?

That's just not football.

You can argue that kickers aren't football players, but I'd like to see you consistently hit field goals with the whole world watching and a team depending on you.

It's not so easy.

If anything, this new overtime change favors the team that loses the coin toss because this new overtime in playoff football becomes more of a guessing game than anything for the team who gets the ball first.

That team must then ask themselves:

Do we take a chance and kick the field goal (hoping they won't score a touchdown)?


Do we air the ball out and risk a turnover to try to score a touchdown and end the game?

Football is a game that should be decided on the field rather than the sidelines.

Like it or not, these changes will be in effect as soon as next season.

Only time will tell how they work out.


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