By: Ryan Wooley
After all the changes the NFL has made to the way their game is played over the years it still amazes me that in 2012 a regular season game can end in a tie.
With Sunday’s game between the San Francisco 49ers and St. Louis Rams becoming the second game in the last four years to suffer the dreaded ending, I think it’s time to make a new rule that there must be a winner—no matter how many extra sessions the game goes.
I mean seriously, of all the professional sports why is the most popular one still using a system that is outdated and actually penalizes other teams? If you look back to 2008 when the last tie happened between the Eagles and Bengals, the tie actually helped Philadelphia get into the postseason because at 9-6-1, they technically were a half game up on multiple 9-7 teams that would have beat them out for the final Wild Card spot because of tie-breakers.
Even more than that though, what about the fans? They invest time and money into a game to see a win or a loss, not for both teams to run out of time to decide a winner. I can’t even imagine how pissed I’d be to be down at Ford Field with my family and pay at minimum $300 for tickets, $25 for parking and $100 in food, only to see the Lions tie with the Packers.
I’m not exactly sure why it took as long as it did for the NFL to decide to change how the overtime rules worked between sudden death and the chance for both teams to possess the ball (providing the receiving team doesn’t score a touchdown) but something needs to be done.
The NHL of course changed to the shootout and as fun as it was at the start, yes, it can get boring if seen multiple times—but at least there is a true winner.
Now I’m not saying to make a gimmick out of it like the NHL and just have field goals being kicked starting at the five yard line and move back ten yards each time, but maybe in the second overtime you adopt what they do in college football by giving each team the ball at their opponents 25 yard line and add your own rule by outlawing field goals, so you either score a touchdown and force your opponent to match the score or the game is over. If both teams fail to score, each team gets another chance.
Whatever way they decide to go is fine with me as long as a change is made. However with yesterday’s ending it not only spotlights a terrible rule within the league, but ruined was actually a great game.
Follow Ryan Wooley on Twitter @WooleyMammoth85