'Bret Favre' Overtime Rule Change a Big Blunder

Glenn Franco Simmons@fotodifrancoAnalyst IMarch 30, 2010

NEW ORLEANS - JANUARY 24:  Brett Favre #4 of the Minnesota Vikings grabs the back of his right leg as he sits on the turf after getting knocked down on a play against the New Orleans Saints during the NFC Championship Game at the Louisiana Superdome on January 24, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has performed superbly as commissioner, but he and the NFL owners laid a rotten egg with the new overtime rule.

On Sirius NFL Radio, former 49ers center Randy Cross mocked the change.

"I was sure glad that...we cleared up this whole overtime and the playoffs," Cross said. "You did know that 34 percent of the games in overtime are decided on the first possession, and that's just not fair, is it? About 20 to 22 percent of those were field goals, and 10 percent or so were touchdowns on the first possession. Those were the 34 percent that were 'unbelievably unfair' because nobody touched the ball a second time."

Former New York Giants linebacker Carl Banks literally hit it on the money about this new playoff-only overtime rule.

"Make a case all you want that the coin toss played too much of a factor in the outcome of a game," Banks said. "My take on that is that they can now say there will be certainty in overtime so we can actually go out and sell more ad time because your commercial will get played.

"You are guaranteed two possessions, so that's another 30 minutes that the frickin' public has to watch a game, but it's a little weird to me, Randy, that when it all comes down to it, the game is still decided by the coin toss if both teams play to a tie. That's basically extending the fourth quarter and going to sudden death. At the end of the day, it still comes down to a friggin' coin toss if the game is tied."

Banks zeroed in on one potential motivation for the gimmicky change.

"Listen, there are a lot of sponsorship dollars," he said. "The NFL has a big stable of sponsors that have to be satisfied, and sometimes there is inventory left over if the game is decided upon the first field goal.

"If we stretch this out in real time, another 30 to 45 minutes, do you know the amount of spots {the sponsors} can get in there? At the end of the day, apples to apples, it still gets decided by a coin toss if the thing gets tied up {on field goals}."

If the team that wins the coin toss scores a touchdown, Banks understands that the the game is over. However, if it converts a field goal, the other team gets what he has coined with the moniker, "do-over."

Cross pointed out potential airtime conflicts and playoff games extending way too long.

"How would you like to be on the field, playing in the NFC Championship game, and the AFC Championship game is starting at 3:30," Cross said. "Let's say you are sitting on the field, let's say, and you are in a city, say New York, and you are getting ready to play the game, it's kind of cold.

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"This game is going to say who is going to go to the Super Bowl, but in San Diego, they're not done yet. They drive down and kick a field goal. Well, heaven forbid that...San Diego is actually going to the Super Bowl. What we're gonna do is give the Colts another shot. Then the Colts kick another field goal, so now it's sudden death, but coincidentally the fifth quarter is over. Now you are going to keep on going.

"All of this is going to take a long time," Cross continued. "Do you think they are going to just start the NFC Championship game behind it? Or are the guys going to have to stay in the locker room, keep on stretching, and then that game ends, and there has to be a 15- or 20-minute break between games, do you go out and warm up again? Is that a part of the deal?"

While the NFL may be correct in saying overtime has been studied for a while, I've labeled this rule change "The Brett Favre do-over."

There are some fans and NFL owners, I believe, who thought the Vikings got shortchanged. This feeling prompted what I believe was a hurry-up conclusion to a long-studied overtime issue.

For all the crybabies saying the Vikings "deserved" to be in the Super Bowl, your argument is with Favre's propensity to throw interceptions at really bad times, not the previous overtime rule.