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Overtime Games Should Rock

So, it's the middle of January, and I'm beginning to realize that within two weeks my TV football viewing options will be limited to EA Sport's college football for Play Station 2, but if the NFL keeps up it's appearance as the "No Fun League", like it was in last weeks Steelers/Titans game, I might just stop next year after the bowl games are finished.

It's been an incredible season for great football games at all levels. The state finals in Champaign this year started off with a great double overtime game for the 2A championship betweenCarthage&Aledo. The NCAA actually made the BCS work as it matched up the only two undefeated teams, with Ohio State & the University of Miami bashing helmets in one of the most exciting double overtime games this season for the National Championship.

Mean while the NFL is having a record year of games that end regulation tied and the only exciting part is wether your team wins the coin toss. A total of 25 games in the regular went into overtime. Surprisingly only one of those ended tied after overtime. Or maybe it's not really a surprise?

With the watering down of the league finally looking to be evening out, partially due to tougher salary cap regulations and the fact that every team but the Bears has managed to secure at least one decent quarterback, teams are becoming more equally balanced. On top of the equality of teams, (how else can you explain almost every game in the last week of the regular season having an effect on the playoff picture) the league has taken the defense out of the game in exchange for more scoring.

While it's not talked about as much as juiced baseball in the MLB, rule changes in the NFL over the last decade have prompted more passing and affected the game to where defense and running are afterthoughts. What does this have to do with overtime in the NFL? Everything.

The NFL is the only professional league that relies on a coin toes to determine possession for an overtime contest. And with the exception of the NHL it's the only sport that has a sudden death. Unfortunately unlike it's hockey counterpart it's more like a slow death.

Watching a 30 something yard field goal get kick on 2 & 9 with no time limit is about as exciting as watching C-Span. And three times in a row, didn't make it any better. I have nothing against field goals (or the skinning foreign guys who sometimes kick them) when the games on the line and time is winding down, but if the NFL can't follow suit to the NCAA & high school with an equal chance overtime. Then they should be out lawed in OT.

If NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue can't take a hint from the fans, he should take a hint from the heat MLB Commissioner Bud Selig got when he tied the All-Star game last July. American sports' fans want true winners from their games, not first & ten field goals. Unfortunately the NFL wants to leave those in the stands calling tails on a two headed coin.

By Vincent Johnson
1/14/03

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