I am still a newbie at this whole blog thing, so I am not quite sure if there is an accepted process for editing previous posts. So far, I have made minor changes to most of my previous posts. I have corrected grammatical errors, tried to resolve some formatting issues, and even added the disclaimer to my third post. After posting yesterday, I had some additional thoughts on the topic of the overtime format for the NFL. I originally considered appending my new thoughts to the end of my previous post, but since these ideas seem to be pretty long in their own right, I decided to go with a new post for today instead.
Continuing my thought from yesterday’s post, one idea that is repeated about overtime in the NFL is that the coin flip at the start of OT basically decides the game. The concern is that the team that receives the kickoff will drive down the field and kick a field goal to win with the other team’s offense not having the opportunity to score. Some percentage of the time this does occur. However, it never occurs without the other team’s defense also on field. I think the arguments against the current OT rules show bias against defense and special teams. The gist of those arguments is that offense (and only offense) is important and contributes to the team winning the game. The defense and special teams are just along for the ride. However, the offense, defense and special team units each contribute to the team winning the game. All three should be considered equal parts of the team, and all three are required to play their part to help the team secure the win. When the other team get to receive the kickoff at the start of the game, the team’s kickoff unit and then its defensive unit need to step up to prevent the other team from scoring
As far as the coin flip at the start of OT deciding the game, the same argument can be made for the coin flip at the beginning of the game. If outcome of the opening coin flip had been different for a particular game, the entire flow of that game would have been different, including the final score. One could imagine that from the initial kickoff, two teams exchange scores for the entire game. Team A receives the ball and scores first, and then also happens to have possession at the end of the game and scores to win the game. If Team B had received the kickoff to begin the game, it is entirely possible that the flow of the game would have been similar but with Team B scoring at the end to win the game.
Another argument against the current OT format is that it could prevent the better team from winning the game. However, I do not think that the OT period should be considered as giving the better team an opportunity to win. If you consider the outcome of a particular game as proving which of the two teams is better (at least at that particular time and place), then the answer was already provided prior to OT. The two teams played a full game to a draw thus proving they are equal, neither better than the other. The overtime is just a method for selecting a winner. That is particularly necessary in the playoffs since only one team can move on. If the current method is not much better than flipping a coin, then I do not see that as being unfair. Each team had ample opportunity to secure the win in the first 60 minutes and failed to do so. The chance of wining in OT is 50/50 (i.e. a coin flip), so what is the problem with using a coin flip to start the OT process?