can’t stand it any more.
of these people with their each team needs a possession and desire
for fairness crap. It sounds so wonderful in theory. Well… truth
be told, not keeping score when young kids play sports sounds
good too… in theory.
to reality. And the trouble is, the reality is much more
reality is that there is one decision to make... and it has already
been made. After that, I think the rest is common sense. And from
that, my solution. Let’s start with a short story…
few years ago I was listening to a radio program, and a head coach
was on. I forget what city the station was in, and couldn’t tell
you the head coach involved if I tried. But the basic point I
recall taking from one segment of the interview was that most
coaches don’t like overtime at all. And the reasons are simple
you get to overtime, you begin doing things you wouldn’t normally
do. Part of it is the sudden death nature of first-team-to-score.
But another part is that you seldom plan for overtime. And I mean
that in a very simple way. For example, you are asking players
to go beyond the 60-minutes they had been conditioned to play.
Tired players are, as this coach explained, in his opinion more
likely to get injured.
injury idea… it does create some problems…and it is at the heart
of creating the decision I referred to...
regular season overtime isn’t worth it. Let’s conduct a study
on something no one is mentioning… injuries. Hold on… hold on…
I know the concept of injuries in overtime has been mentioned
many times. Heck, I just told you I heard about it during an interview.
And I’ll bet you’ve heard about increased injuries being an overtime
concern many times as well. So ok… I’m not actuallty conducting
a study here... I’m asking... if we all know injuries are a concern
for tired players, where are the numbers? Have you seen anyone
do any research into this? I keep seeing all these studies about
which team scores first and how coin flips decide games and such.
Has anyone conducted a study on overtime injury rates? Do players
get hurt more often when asked to play extra time?
think this is worth noting. I think it’s worth looking into. I’m
not going to do it though… because for this little essay, it’s
the thought that counts. Why? Because if injuries are more likely
to happen in overtime, then maybe calling it a day and ending
things after four quarters is the best solution of all.
wait… problem with that. See… the NFL needs overtime… they sort
of need extra work to not be a factor in injuries. Which is one
reason you might not see too many people asking about it.
for one reason, the season is so short. A tie in the standings
isn’t helpful when the results are based on just 16 games. In
a very quick look over the 2009 schedule, I counted 13 overtime
games during the regular season. And would you believe that 3
of them involved Pittsburgh? Quick… what happens to the Steelers
and their place in the standings if 9-7 becomes 8-5-3? See? Starts
to become fun.
there’s another pesky part recognizing the injury problem. See…
if the NFL acknowledges that injuries are more likely by playing
overtime, we suddenly have a real argument against expanding the
season to 18 games. And we can’t have that.
end result of these factors alone… standings becoming a potential
nightmare and a desire to extend the schedule… essentially means
that eliminating regular season overtime isn’t an option.
NFL wants overtime. The NFL will not eliminate regular season
we’re playing overtime.
I know that doesn’t surprise you. After all, I haven’t heard anyone
asking for overtime to be eliminated. But I do believe it’s important
to have that decided and out of the way. Because once you have
agreed to play overtime, if you really want fairness, I think
my suggestion is the best. And it’s really simple.
play a complete extra quarter. 15 minutes… beginning to end. No
alternating possessions. No catch-me-if-you-can match the scoring
or end it.
t he whole thing.
average NFL game consists of approximately 120-130 plays, with
each play lasting roughly 6-7 seconds from beginning to end. Do
the math and you’ll hit roughly 15 minutes of actual play out
of 60 minutes of game time.
have heard suggestion involving giving each team one possession.
Well... ok... if both offenses are going on the field, we’re looking
at more than halfof a quarter of play. Finishing out the full
period isn’t that much more at that point. And during the regular
season, if tied after a fifth period, then add it to the standings
as a tie.
real beauty of the plan is found in the playoffs.
the postseason, I suggest you play until the score isn’t tied
at the end of a quarter, and if it is tied you play it exactly
like it’s a true game. So after one overtime period, a team wouldn’t
have to give up possession of the ball. After the second overtime
period, there is a break and the team that kicked off for overtime
receives a kick to start the third overtime period.
importantly… the game doesn’t end just because someone scores.
And it doesn’t become a competition of matching points. Heck…
if you can go on a 15-minute drive and kick a field goal to win
it without the other team taking possession, more power to you.
Minnesota against New Orleans game? If New Orleans gets the ball
first and can sustain a 10-minute scoring drive for a field goal…
awesome. Under my plan, after the field goal Minnesota gets the
ball. They have 5 minutes to score a touchdown or kick a field
goal. If they get stopped quickly, maybe they punt and hope to
get a defensive stand and one last crack at a game tying field
goal. Or perhaps they end up facing third and 9 on the 11-yard
line with just 10 seconds remaining… and deciding to go for the
win or send the playoff game to a second overtime period.
short… strategy is back in play. Strategy that involves structure
and clock management… two of the most important aspects of the
there’s my solution. When it comes to overtime… play or don’t
play. If you’re going to have it… and the NFL is going to have
it… then commit to it fully if you want fairness. Don’t turn it
into a game of alternating possessions. Keep the clock involved.
Play a full extra period.