The NFL’s Biggest Crime


Walter Donich, Intern

The National Football League has received a mountain of criticism and have had multiple scandals during their time at the top of the sports industry in the United States. In just the past 10 years there have been two lockouts, multiple scandals and an attempt to neglect brain injuries from the sport. These scandals and issues receive a massive amount of attention and are important; however, a new issue has seen a rise with the fans, analysts and players (especially the Falcon’s players at the moment). The overtime system.

The current overtime system is horrific and has only been significantly changed once in 2011. While this rule change, stating that a game can’t end by a field goal on the first possession, has slightly improved the situation, there is still the possibility of a team not being able to reciprocate if a touchdown is scored.

The most recent example of a game being decided unfairly in overtime was the 51st  Super Bowl in which the New England Patriots were able to march down the field and score a touchdown in eight plays resulting in an automatic victory where the opposing Atlanta Falcons could not reciprocate. This was not the only game affected by the overtime rules. In the past five years there have been multiple games that have been decided in overtime, aside from the most recent Super Bowl. Most famously were two playoff games, one in 2012, between the Denver Broncos and Pittsburgh Steelers, ending in the first play, and another in 2015, between the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers, ending in six plays. These results were heavily affected by a thing of luck, a coin toss.

The coin toss in overtime essentially decides which team will have possession of the ball first. This means that whoever calls the toss correctly automatically has a better chance of winning because they are able to play offense and score a touchdown first.

My solution to this problem is quite simple, because it is already established in another league which is the overtime system used for college football. In college football the coin toss is actually the same, the difference is the manner in which the game is played. The way overtime works is that the team that is on offense first starts 25 yards away from the end zone and plays the game as usual. Whether the team scores or not, the other team is allowed a chance from the same position to score as well and whoever has the higher score after these possessions wins. If the scores are the same, they have another overtime period and continue this process until a team wins. This also leads to many coaches deciding to play defense first, in fact 324 out of 328 teams that won the coin toss in college football decided to play defense. Additionally, 55% of those teams who won the coin toss and chose defense won, giving a better chance to the second team.

If the NFL decides to make this change I believe it would be a step in the right direction towards making the game more fair and fun for the the league, the players and especially the fans.


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