I’ve always liked sudden-death overtime in sports. Knowing that on any play, at any moment, the game could end, pushes the excitement to a nerve-wracking level. It’s truly the thrill of victory for one side and the agony of defeat for the other.
It works perfectly in hockey, where each side can score or be scored upon once the puck is dropped. In pro football, however, there’s a groundswell of support for changing the rules. That’s because since 1994, when the league pushed kickoffs back from the 35 to the 30-yard line, the team that wins the coin toss has seen its winning percentage rise from 50% to 60%.
Of course, I still think teams should stop whining and get a defensive stop. But I’d also be ok with a slight tweak of the rules as follows:
-Overtime is sudden death if the team that wins the coin toss scores a touchdown on its first possession. However, if that team kicks a field goal, then it kicks off and the other team has a chance to tie with a field goal or win with a touchdown.
-Once each team has had a possession, if the score is still tied, it’s sudden death on any score.
This slight wrinkle would eliminate the receiving team driving just for a field goal and put a greater emphasis on a touchdown. And if the defense can’t stop the offense from scoring a touchdown, then that’s just too bad.
THERE IT IS!