Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Rule Only Phil Luckett Will Love

Good to know that with the NFL's billion-dollar-gravy-train heading for a lockout cliff in a mere 11 months, the owners and competition committee have agreed to change the menu in the dining car to include a new soup appetizer called "Overtime Reform."

I can see how satisfied fans will be in 2011, with no games on Sunday, saying: "Well, at least these games which we are definitely NOT watching right now, won't be determined by some bogus overtime where a soccer-style fairy kicks a winning field goal after a decidedly un-manly 35 yard drive by the team that won the coin flip."

The rule has been in place for 36 years. Between 1974 and 1993, 46.8 percent of overtime games were won by the coin-flip winner. Since 1994, it's 59.8 percent.

What happened in 1994? The kickoff was moved from the 35 back to the 30, and kickers became wicked accurate over the years.

Well, so what?

How do we know this trend of coin-flip winners won't swing back to the middle again on it's own? Averaging the before and after numbers, it's a 54-46 split which isn't any great outrage.

Besides, the overtime sample of total games is too small, in my opinion to know for sure what has caused the trend.

So now, we have a convoluted, post-season only (for now), "solution" to something that wasn't really a "problem" in anybody's mind but Peter King and aggrieved Viking fans on message boards.

Speaking of King, the guy is amazing. He's super connected, right? He's one of the "premiere" NFL journalists out there, right? He's got a good bead on what's happening, yes?

Not exactly.

On Tuesday, (that would be, um, ONE DAY earlier) King said the proposal wouldn't pass. King: "I don't think this is the year. McKay's making progress, but I spoke to three team officials at the Ritz Carlton Grande Lakes who aren't ready to support change."

Wide right, Pete. Good work.

Funny thing is, the coaches are apparently pissed about this. Why? For one, they weren't really consulted, which they seldom are on competition issues. Secondly, it will add another layer of "This Coach Is A Mouth Breathing Idiot!" decisions that will haunt coaches on sports radio and TV.

Example: Team A drives ball in overtime down to the 5 yard line. 1st and goal. Three runs later, ball is still at the two. Kick field goal, and hold? Throw for touchdown and go-home-everybody win? What if it's 3rd and goal and you pass, and your QB throws a pick? What if you kick a field goal, and the other team marches down and scores a touchdown to win and shove it up your pussy coach's ass?

The answer to all of these scenarios is: "The coach is an idiot."

No wonder they hate it. We here in "Couch Nation" always know the right decision.

Because we make it on Monday.

I must also point out, that Team B, which did not win coin-flip, but sees Team A kick field goal (fucking cowards!) now has FOUR downs to play with all the way down the field until they too must decide if they want to kick a field goal to tie and extend game further (fucking pussies, you better go for it!).

Let's say Team B is coached by the biggest pussy ever. (Norv). He kicks field goal to extend game. Teams then trade halting, futile drives that end in four consecutive punts.

They are now holding the following playoff game from starting, because we are 14:53 into extended overtime which (with injuries and timeouts and Viagra commercial #732 on the day) has translated into an extra hour. You have been drinking all day at the stadium, are freezing your ass off, and ready to rip the other teams heads off, and we're all waiting for Norv to call a semi-risky deep pass to win the damn game.


If they stupidly apply this to the regular season, I can easily see TIES going up. That should make Donovan McNabb unhappy, and a little bit confused.

I can also predict something else: much more boring end-of-regulation strategy. A team with the ball and :53 left on their own 40, will likely knees (if allowed by lack of timeouts on the other side) than risk crushing turnover.

Since overtime now ensures you will at least touch the ball, this allows coaches (wussies) to kick the "Don't Be An Idiot" can down the road a little.

Lastly, how about this. What if - for reasons we can't untangle - coin flip winners under the new rule, actually INCREASE their winning percentage!

Can't happen? You don't know, and neither do I.

In the meantime, even Morely Safer is tapping his wrist watch, and looking pretty pissed off.

A dumb idea all around, but hey, the league is going to self-destruct in a year anyway. Why should I care?

It's their league. I just bet on it.


  1. Normally, I agree on most of your points, but I would definitely have to disagree here. I think this rule is great, especially since it is just in playoff games. It probably won't even make an impact at all.

  2. Just for the record, the new playoff rule does not ensure you will touch the ball. If the team that wins the opening toss drives for a touchdown, it's game over then and there.

  3. The only fair solution would be that in order to win, you need to be ahead and have possession of the ball. Once you get the ball and you're ahead, you win.

    If having the kickoff moved back has caused a seriously unfair advantage to the receiving team, then why not just kickoff from the 35 in overtime? There's only one kickoff in OT and it's only 5 yards. What's the big deal.

  4. Czabe I think you're missing something with the rules. According to USA Today if the score is still tied after both teams have had at one possession then traditional sudden death applies. So if Team A kicks a FG, and then Team B kicks one to tie it back up, then its sudden death. There is no incentive to run out the rest of the clock if the teams have traded field goals.

  5. Good one, Mike. "I think this rule is great . . . it probably won't even make an impact." I know that I absolutely love rules that I think will have no impact.

  6. A simpler (and more fair) solution would have been to just say that playoff games can't end in a tie. If the clock reaches 0:00 and the score is tied, just play on... use the play clock but not the field clock, it's worthless at this point. This would bring strategy back into play.
    OLD RULES (and new rule):
    Team B has the ball with :59 in a tie game and team A has no time outs. Team B is 2nd and 15 on their own 20 decides to run three times and take their chances in overtime.

    Under my proposal, if the just run out the clock then they are giving team A the ball in pretty good position after a punt. :10 left on the clock doesn't matter as team A gets to keep playing as long as they get first downs.

    First to score wins... and no pussy putzing around.

  7. Comments like "This Coach Is A Mouth Breathing Idiot!" are why I miss your radio show.

  8. Does a possession mean actually running a play?

    Team A gets the ball in OT. They drive down to the 20, then fumble. During the fumble play, Team B picks up the ball, runs around for 5 seconds, then fumbles it back to Team A. Team A kicks a field goal. Is the game over?

    Team B had possession and didn't score. There are certainly other unforeseen circumstances that will arise from this.

    Imagine the CBS graphic trying to explain this to the uninformed viewers IN THE PLAYOFFS. Goodell, call your office.

  9. If they won't let a field goal win the game on the first posession in overtimes, then what about the scenario when a field goal was kicked in the first quarter that allowed the game to be tied in the first place? If you are not going to allow a field goal to decide the first posession OT win, why have them at all? There is an offense and a defense on each team, if both aren't good enough to win the game in overtime then they were lucky to be in overtime in the first place.

  10. I haven't seen this stat in a long time, and I would really like to. Everyone talks about the percentage of times the team winning the coin flip wins the game. Last year I saw a stat of the percentage of times the team that wins the coin flip wins the game ON THE FIRST DRIVE. The percentage has been very stable over the years.

    In other words, the main criticism of the current rule is that both teams don't get a chance with the ball. In a large number of cases, the team getting the ball first DOES NOT win on that first drive.

    I'm a fan of the original way I believe.