Most people complain about the overtime rules in the NFL but mostly in college football. NCAAF decided in its infinite wisdom that if there’s a tie at the end of regulation both teams will start at the opponents 25-yard line with the opportunity to kick a field goal or score a touchdown. Before I delve into these mysterious overtime parameters, that last sentence proves that the rules in overtime must change immediately.
Every football game begins with the opening kickoff. They even start the 2nd half with a kickoff. So why not do it in overtime? At least the NFL got that part correct. I’ll get to the pros shortly.
Starting a possession at the 25-yard line is almost like a shootout in hockey or soccer. Just giving a team the ball, already in field goal range, basically guarantees they’re going to score. More importantly, that’s just not how the game of football is played. There’s a reason why a team has offense, defense, and special teams. It’s asinine to take away the kickoff which would usually put the team on their own 25-yard line. This ridiculous rule is why a game can be tied at 21 apiece after the 4th quarter and end up with a score of 66 – 63 after a hundred overtimes.
The NCAA thought they made an overtime saving move by not allowing teams to kick an extra point after the 3rd overtime and must attempt a two-point conversion. Just listen to that – the 3rd overtime! Give me a break. Better yet, give the kids a break. I’m tired of just thinking about it, so imagine how physically tired the players must be! That’s not how football is supposed to be played.
All we hear about these days are C.T.E., brain damage, concussions and a slew of other long-lasting and potentially life-threatening injuries, yet college football doesn’t seem to care. It’s more important for the BCS to make sure there are no ties than protecting players from health risks. There have been tie scores in football since they wore leather helmets and shoulder pads made of cardboard. At least the NFL shortened overtime to a 10 minute period as opposed to 15 to try and avoid these issues. Still not good enough!
The question is how do we change the rules in overtime especially in the collegiate ranks? First I’d start with a kickoff after the coin toss. I think a 12 minute overtime would fit nicely. If the receiving team kicks a field goal then their opponent would get a chance to score as well. But first, there needs to be another kickoff which is what’s supposed to be done after a team scores. However, unlike the NFL overtime rules, if the team with the ball first scores a touchdown then the other team should also get a chance to put the ball in the end zone. Just because a player gets lucky with a heads/tails call doesn’t mean that their opponent shouldn’t be allowed to have a possession to get even. Just ask the Atlanta Falcons from last years Super Bowl!
So the bottom line is overtime will begin with the kickoff as if it were the start of the game. Both teams will have the opportunity to score regardless if it’s a touchdown or field goal on the opening possession. However, if the team who has the ball first turns it over then it counts as a possession and the other team can win with any kind of score. That’s how the NFL handles that aspect of overtime and I fully agree on that account. I do believe in the next year or two that the NFL will make the change that even if the first team hits pay-dirt the opposition will get a chance to score a TD themselves.
That’s my only issue with overtime in the NFL. They’re willing to accept tie scores, they’re attempting to keep the players healthier with a shortened overtime and they kick off the ball to start OT and after a team scores. If they allow each team an equal chance where both possess the ball no matter what then I believe that’s the best way to conduct overtime in the NFL and college.
If the NCAAF insists on not having tie games then there’s not much that can be done. They have to come to grips with the fact that teams will tie each other and it’s not the end of the world. It shouldn’t and wouldn’t affect the college rankings. If anything it will make things more interesting in my opinion at least.
Look, I’m not the biggest fan of tie games either. I prefer a winner and loser but this isn’t a perfect world. I mean what’s left? Having a field goal battle to determine the victor? Maybe which quarterback can throw the furthest pass or have a race between the two fastest players on each team. That’s just about as bad as the rules they have in place now. Football is about putting drives together and executing plays to the best of their ability. Same for the defense as they scheme to stop their opponents from scoring. That’s football folks.
So my message to the NCAAF is to stop this overtime nonsense and take a page or twelve from the NFL. College football needs to revamp their whole OT system and the pros need to change that one rule to make the game as fair as possible. Both teams should possess the ball even if the first squad scores a TD. As for college football, please stop placing the pigskin at the 25-yard line to start overtime. Instead, begin OT with a kickoff and play football as it’s meant to be played. Anywhere between 10 – 15 minutes will do and more often than not you will get a winner. The NFL doesn’t even average a tie game per year so if that’s the NCAA’s biggest issue then they need not worry so much.