Competition Committee won't look into overtime rules

Mike Brown weighs in on the overtime issues in the NFL.

"It isn't fair in all cases if you want to argue both teams don't have a chance with the ball, but both teams have an equal chance to get a hold of the ball," Brown said. "To me, it's quicker, decisive, and dramatic. I don't feel it's unfair."

In his first sentence, he says that not all cases are fair. Then he concludes that he doesn't this it's unfair. Technicalities of the English language included, this doesn't make sense. Yea, yea. What Brown says and does doesn't make sense. We know that. It's been established time and again. However, that doesn't justify the idiocracy that Brown, and the NFL, specifically speaking the Competition Committee, have when making confusing, bewildering, muddling, perplexing, mystifying statements.

Statically, it's not fair. On Friday, Rich McKay said that nearly 50% of the team's that won the coin toss, won the game on their first possession -- forcefully leaving the eventual losers without an offensive opportunity.

Q.  Rich, you talked a minute ago about overtime and there's nothing you're going to be in a position to propose this year.  Do you have the statistics on 2008, how many teams won the coin toss ended up winning the overtime game on that first possession?

RICH McKAY:  I do have those.  We talked long and hard about them.  In fact we put them in our survey and we talked to the players about them.  I think everybody is still comfortable with the system.  Let me give you what I have.

The team that won the coin toss won 63 percent of the games

Q.  On the first possession?

RICH McKAY:  No, they won 43.4 percent on the first possession.

Q.  And then you said 63 total?

RICH McKAY:  That's correct, 63.3 percent of the games they won, and they won 43.4 of them on the first possession.

Q.  Before I let you guys go, are those numbers at all troubling to you guys that they're so high, particularly 43 percent on the first possession?

RICH McKAY:  I'll speak for myself personally.  They are troubling to me personally in the sense that I would like to see a game that you would think was “more balanced”, but I will say that when you talk to the membership and you talk to the players, I think they're comfortable with the fact that they had a chance to play defense, the game is decided in sudden death.  There is a sense they like the system and the excitement that the system brings, and there's not a real complaint by them that, oh, well, we're not getting a chance to match.  Because in their feeling, and they're very clear about it, hey, we could have helped ourselves, all we had to do was stop them.

I sense more concern, and I've had some, but I've sensed more concern with the media about it probably than they do, meaning the players, the coaches, the members of the league.  It's been something that we didn't end up with any proposal this year.

The issue isn't that the team that won the coin toss eventually won the game. It's that nearly 50% of the losing teams didn't get that offensive snap. These are Rich McKay's numbers, not mine. They were troubling to him too.

Back to Brown's statement in which he says that overtime is "quicker, decisive, and dramatic". In truth, he's right. It is quicker, decisive and dramatic, as McKay also points out. And make no mistake about it, the NFL is an entertainment business. Still, it's confusing to me that an NFL owner would actually point out that the system is fair, and that the three descriptive words include absolutely little argument on a team's chances towards success. Quicker only means that the networks can switch over to their afternoon game, or prime time programming, where advertising is strongest. Dramatic, it is. But so is every overtime-based system in other sports in which both teams receive an equal offensive shake.

The solution is simple. Once both teams have at least one handle of the football, either an offensive snap, or on a kick (punt, kickoff) return, then the game goes into sudden death. All regulation rules apply. If 56.6% of the game's that went into overtime in 2008 allowed both teams an equal shake, then where's the problem? How does it hurt the league, or anyone else for that matter, if the other 43.4% are allowed to respond? If a third possession is required, then it's required. They'd still be as decisive and dramatic. Make it about the health of the sport by completing games fully, and fairly so the games are won on the field, not the probability of a coin flip. Don't do it because you want it to be quicker, or decisive, or dramatic. That's just irresponsible for an owner to say.

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