Will NFL Sudden Death Finally Receive a Pardon?

Three things are guaranteed in life: death, taxes, and a team the Patriots beat in the playoffs pushing for rule changes in the offseason. Andy Reid would have been better served drawing up a defense that would have guaranteed HIS team a possession five weeks ago, but in his defense the NFL overtime rules are the worst in sports. Pure sudden death definitely had its drawbacks but at least it was simple. The fact that the NFL has to flash the overtime rules on the screen every time a game is tied with less than four minutes to go is how you know it’s too complicated for its own good.

I’m in favor of the NFL adopting the college football overtime rules. Short of that, I think I have an easy fix for the current overtime mess. Give each team the opportunity to possess the ball at least once. No questions asked. Team that had the ball first scored a TD? Cool. Now the other team gets its shot. If it’s tied after that, then go to sudden death. The team that gets the ball a second time in overtime could win on a field goal at that point, but at least the other team could’ve gone for two after scoring their touchdown.

In other rule book news, we may not see any changes to Instant Replay next year. While replay certainly helped the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game, the Chiefs were by no means robbed the way the Saints were. Maybe we’d see changes to Instant Replay if the Patriots benefited from a (non-)call the way the Rams did. Or if Belichick didn’t support expanding it.

My first choice would be to eliminate replay all together. My second choice would be to take coach’s challenges out of the process and install a neutral observer in the press box. to handle all replays. If we’re going to keep the system the way it is right now, though, why not allow coaches to challenge everything? Pandora’s box has already opened.

John Harbaugh made some great points on this topic earlier this week. Watching football at field level is tough. Oftentimes fans in the crowd and fans at home have a better view of the play, in real time, than the on-field official. Why not use all the technology available to make sure the game is officiated properly and fairly?

Whatever happens, at least credit the NFL for being the league most willing to continually tweak its product and give the fans what they want.

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