Play a Fair Game, Goodell

This article had a few words cut off the end. It is unclear what those words should have been, so that final sentence has been cut from this version.

By Michael Hawkins

The No Fun League is a pretty terribly run organization. It’s certainly an excellent business, but it’s pretty crap as far as quality sporting goes. From the tinker bell Roughing the Passer rule to the 6 required flags per play, the games are sometimes difficult to watch. It’s still a great sport and I’m not about to abandon my patriots, but c’mon. The rules make it a little onerous to enjoy at times.

The worst rule, perhaps, is for overtime (OT). The team that wins the coin toss gets to win the game. Not literally, of course, but it may as well be that way. It’s sudden death, so it’s a matter of moving down the field within 45ish yards of a field goal and booting that through. If they make it, the game’s over. It’s inane. I mean, hell, a game of beer pong even allows for rebuttal (depending on house rules; check with your local party animal for details).

What the NFL needs to do is play a full 15 minutes in OT. Make it a real game; make it a fair game. They won’t be that sensible, but a new rule has been proposed.

The competition committee recommended…to the 32 owners that a team losing the coin toss and then surrendering a field goal on the first possession should have a series of its own in OT. Such a rules change would need 24 votes for ratification.

This is still fundamentally unfair since it only applies to field goals. The first team to get the ball still has a huge advantage because if it scores a touchdown, the other team has no offensive reply. This is effectively half a football game: one offense, one defense. Goodell et al are making progress, but they’re being jackasses about it. They aren’t managing the superior sport of hockey where the beginning to any period is fundamentally fair. They’re dealing with a different scenario, a different sport, and they need to realize that. If they play a full 15, the coin toss becomes less relevant; all sports should reject embracing the role of chance. Let it come on its own.

And hell, if they want to copy the NHL so much, take a man away for the OT quarter. That’s probably a terrible idea, but 1) it would be hilarious to see the league contend with such a radical change and 2) it would be better than giving the game away to the team that happens to win the coin toss.

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