Overtime has always been a bit of a controversial issue in the NFL. The league has been trying to strike a balance between ensuring that a game doesn’t end in a tie, while also getting the players off the field in a timely manner after regulation ends.
However, the main focus on overtime in the past few decades has been the issue of fairness. No longer was the main focus simply ending the game, but rather ending it in a way that produced a fair winner. Simple sudden death was not sufficient, as the team that got the ball first had a clear advantage.
So the NFL adopted a half-measure. Both teams now get a possession, provided that the first team does not score a touchdown. This has been the rule for several years now, but Super Bowl 51 was the first decided by overtime, and it raised questions as to whether this system has gone fair enough to produce fair results. So today’s Question of the Day is:
Do you think the NFL needs to change its overtime rules?
My answer: Yes I do. I’m fine with the rules as they stand for a regular season game. The season is grueling and long, and while the system is not completely fair, it’s good enough to produce a quicker result, which should be a fairly high priority during a lengthy regular season game.
But each team should absolutely get a possession in the playoffs. I don’t buy the "they had their chance to win in regulation argument" because the same could be said for the winning team. Sure, the Falcons should have won with a 25-point second half lead, but why does that mean they deserve a disadvantage in overtime? Surely the Patriots falling behind 28-3 is just as bad of a feat.
I still don’t quite understand why the league decided to adopt this half solution. Guarantee both teams one possession and be done with the controversy.