NFL should change its overtime format for playoffs

By Larry Mahoney, BDN Staff
Posted Jan. 18, 2011, at 6:25 p.m.

Hey Patriots fans, get over it.

The Jets backed up their boasts. Don’t worry, the Jets won’t beat the Steelers.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has one major attribute that Patriots QB Tom Brady doesn’t: Mobility.

Roethlisberger can improvise with his quick feet.

You can have all the receivers covered and get a good pass rush only to have the quarterback find a seam and scramble for a first down.

It’s demoralizing to a defense.

Roethlisberger is surprisingly quick for someone who stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 241 pounds.

The Steelers also have two game-changing defenders in linebacker James Harrison and safety Troy Polamalu.

It’s going to be a Steelers-Packers Super Bowl.

By the way, the NFL has changed its overtime format for the playoffs.

It used to be a strictly sudden-death format: First team to score wins.

Here is the new format: If the team (Team A) that receives the kickoff in overtime scores a touchdown, the game is over.

If it doesn’t, the opposing team (Team B) will get the ball and will have a chance to match or exceed Team A’s point production.

For example, if Team A kicks a field goal, Team B can win with a touchdown. It could extend the overtime with a field goal. If it doesn’t score, it loses.

If it is still tied after the first possession for each team, it goes to sudden death.

Here’s a better format: No matter what Team A does with the opening kickoff, Team B should receive an opportunity to get the ball.

Why shouldn’t Team B at least have a chance to tie it, even if it concedes a touchdown?

Team B would still have to equal what Team A did in order for the overtime to continue.

If it exceeds what Team A does, it wins.

If they equal each other on the opening possession, it goes to sudden death.

And, under my format, they can’t kick the extra point at any time. They must go for the two-point conversion.

The reason they changed the format is that 59.8 percent of the teams that won the coin toss wound up winning. And 34.4 percent of them won on their first possession.

My format reduces the importance of the coin toss because the team that loses the toss knows it will still have at least one possession to tie it or win it.

Now for changes that are being discussed in NASCAR: They are looking at simplifying their points system.

It’s about time.

Under the current system, the winner is awarded 185 points, the second-place finisher earns 170 points and then then you have five-point increments through sixth place (i.e. 165 for 3rd, 160 for 4th); four-point increments from sixth through 11th and three-point increments the rest of the way. The driver who leads the most laps earns five bonus points and anyone who leads a lap earns five. The 43rd-place (last) finisher earns 34 points.

The new system being discussed would award 43 points to the winner, 42 for second place and so on. The bonus points are still up in the air but the winner should get three, the driver who leads the most laps should get two and anyone who leads should get one.

It’s less complicated and that’s good.

Instead of the top 12 finishers earning Chase spots, the new system would have the top 10 drivers qualifying along with the next two drivers with the most wins.

Putting more emphasis on winning is a positive, also.

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/01/18/sports/nfl-should-change-its-overtime-format-for-playoffs/ printed on August 20, 2014