When the coin-toss acually mattered

The NFL approves a new overtime rule for the playoffs

by Despina Doukas

Last Tuesday, the  National Football League (NFL) approved a new overtime rule for the playoffs that will give each team at least one possession in overtime, unless the team that wins the overtime coin toss scores a touchdown on their first possession.

According to the New York Times, the goal of the rule is to make overtime outcomes less dependent on the coin flip. If the team that has possession of the ball first scores a touchdown, the game is over. However, if that team kicks a field goal, the other team would get a possession and would win with a touchdown or tie it back up with a field goal. If nobody scores on the first drives, or if both teams kick field goals, the game will revert to sudden death.
The overtime rule passed easily with a 28 -4 margin, surprising most people, since it has been under debate for many years.

“We felt this year’s proposal gave us the opportunity to make a pretty good rule even better,” said Rich McKay, the Atlanta Falcons’ president and a member of the competition committee, which reccomended the rule change.

“I really believe the more you talk about the issue, the more you understand the statistics, the more you say there must be a change.”

According to ESPN, several owners, including Robert K. Kraft of the New England Patriots and Bob McNair of the Houston Texans, said they had heard from fans about their dislike of the sudden-death system, and it was time to change the rule.

“Our fans like this rule,” Kraft said to The New York Times. “Especially at the playoffs, you don’t want to be at home, lose the coin toss, they kick a field goal, and all of a sudden it’s over. We’ve got to keep it fresh.”

Many people were still opposed to the new rule, and believe pressure from team owners did not give coaches much of a choice, but to support the change.

Super bowl Champion coach Sean Peyton was disappointed in the rule change, fearing it will be too complicated for fans.

“I hate it,” said Payton, to CNN. “I’m not a big fan of the rule that was implemented. I’m probably going to have to spend a half-hour explaining it to my wife.”

“The old rule was an asset, not a liability”, he continued.

Dawson students are also divided on the issue.

“If they’re making it harder to win in the overtime then it could be a bad thing because then games would go on forever and there wouldn’t be much of a point in doing so,” said Joanne Marinos second semester CinVid Com. “Overtime should just determine who wins the game because they couldn’t do it in their given time period.”

Jessica Reardon, a second semester preparatory arts student disagrees.

“The new rule makes its fair for both teams who will each have a fair chance of scoring unlike a coin toss which is basically pure luck”, said Reardon. “I don’t know if it will improve the NFL in the playoffs but it will make it more dramatic to watch because you get to see what both teams can do under the pressure of an overtime game in the playoffs which is basically win you’re in lose you’re out.”


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