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NFL Overtime Rules Leave Fans Disappointed Again, Serious Reform Needed

John Williams

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NFl Overtime

The 2016 MLB World Series was an all-timer, and had it been an NFL game, it never would have happened. The NFL overtime structure is due for a change and they could take a few lessons from Major League Baseball. The Chicago Cubs were up three runs in the eighth inning but the Cleveland Indians battled back to tie the game. After both teams went scoreless in the ninth inning, the game proceeded to extra innings. In the top of the tenth inning the Chicago Cubs took the lead on a double-play by Ben Zobrist.

By the NFL's standard of overtime, that would have been the ballgame. The Cleveland Indians wouldn't have had a chance to come back in the bottom of the tenth. They didn't catch up to the Cubs and so the Cubs won the World Series.

The point is, Cleveland had its opportunity to force another inning and even to win it in the tenth. If only Matt Ryan and his Atlanta Falcons had been so fortunate.

NFL Overtime, Patriots, Falcons, Super Bowl LI

The NFL has yet to figure out an overtime system that allows its highest paid players to go back and forth. Imagine an overtime system in any other sport where the league's MVP that season wasn't afforded the opportunity to have an impact on the outcome of the game once it had gone into overtime.

It simply doesn't happen.

In the National Hockey League it's a rarity for one team to possess the puck in overtime in the playoffs and win on their first possession.

In Major League Baseball, both teams get an equal amount of at-bats to try to win the game.

The National Basketball Association plays five-minute overtime periods during the regular season to decide a game.

FIFA plays an extra 30 minutes of time before deciding the game on penalty kicks. And still, each team gets equal opportunity to win the game.

The NFL allows games to be decided without its highest profile players having an opportunity to match their counterpart.

Roger Goodell, you can fix this.

College football's overtime isn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it is far superior to what the NFL overtime currently is.

Each team in college football gets an untimed possession starting in the opposing teams territory.

  • If team A scores a touchdown and team B scores a touchdown; tie game, do it again.
  • If team A scores a touchdown and team B fails to score, game over.
  • If team A scores a field goal and team B scores a touchdown; game over.

Whoever ends the period with the highest score wins the game. It's simple and straightforward and it gives both teams an equal opportunity to win the game. Instead the NFL's rules leave the league MVP on the sideline, resigned to the fact that he didn't have an opportunity in overtime to impact the game.

I've heard arguments that the Falcons defense should have stopped them, and those people aren't wrong; under the current rules, that's the way football goes. But it doesn't change the fact that NFL overtime rules are weak.

Here's my solution...

Adopt the overtime system used in college football and put each team at the 50 yard line. Overtime will be played in "periods" with each team getting a possession. When a period finishes with one team having a higher score, that's the winner.

A sport is at its best when the top competitors have the opportunity to outdo one another.

All that said, I think the New England Patriots were still going to win the game because they were playing really good football, while the Atlanta Falcons weren't playing great. The Atlanta Falcons and their MVP quarterback, Matt Ryan still should've had a chance to impact the game in overtime.

It's time for a change.

The NFL has made many rule changes over the years to make the game more offensive and appealing to the fans. This should be the next one. While the outcome may have been appealing to one fanbase, it left another feeling like they didn't get a fair shot in the overtime period.

According to the Google Trends database of the most searched Super Bowl LI team by state, the disappointed fanbase was far more popular. An otherwise meaningless stat that may hold some clue as to why the NFL has seen a decline in ratings.

NFL Overtime, Patriots, Falcons, Super Bowl LI

NFL, don't leave your MVPs on the sideline to watch helplessly as their defense folds. That's no way to decide a championship.



Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could.

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11 Comments
  • XaqFields

    This is spot-on, John, spot-effing-on.

    I was chatting with your fellow writer Jess Haynie during the game and as the Patriots were driving down the field I said “It would be a shame if the Falcons don’t even get to touch the ball.”

    I’m unsure why the NFL chooses to set their overtime rules in a way that robs the fans of the opportunity to come away from the game feeling like the best team won. It used to be sudden death — first points wins. That was awful. The current rule where you at least have to score a touchdown on your first drive to keep the opponent from touching the ball is better, but still flawed.

    But in the Super Bowl!? The mother of all football games, and we allow it to end without ever giving the other team the opportunity to match the score again? This Super Bowl, widely believed to be the best one ever, will always be marred by that one fact, for me. It was won on a coin toss.

    I have a simple solution: take however much time you want to figure out a better overtime process during the regular season. I get that there are multiple games stacked on top of each other in the first 17 weeks, and it’s just not reasonable for every overtime game to last an extra hour. But the playoffs and especially the Super Bowl? Just run the whole extra quarter! If they’re still tied after that quarter is over, then go into sudden death. At least then you gave both teams an opportunity.

    Not to mention, didn’t Fox make like an extra $50 million on the ~10 real minutes of OT? Why wouldn’t the NFL want to stretch that out to 60 minutes + if need be? It’s the last game of the year. Nothing comes after that. The players have a full offseason of rest before the next game. PUT IT ALL OUT THERE.

    • https://InsideTheStar.com/ Bryson Treece

      @XaqFields:disqus I rememeber chatter back when they put this new system in place about doing it to lessen the burden on the players playing that extra quarter. Similar to the argument for shortening the preseason. I don’t necessarily agree with it, mind you, but I see it.

      I’d like either the 5th quarter and then sudden death, or allowing each team one drive, maybe two. If still tied after that, sudden death.

      • XaqFields

        Yeah, the burden on the players is definitely an issue. That’s why I wouldn’t be opposed to having the overtime rules changed for just the Super Bowl. That way it’s just one game –the final game– and not something the players are subjected to multiple times per year.

        For the remaining games, I agree with your latter suggestion where maybe both teams get one drive (regardless of whether the first team scores or not) and then if there’s a tie you go into sudden death.

        • John Williams

          I agree, you don’t want to create more situations where players are taking blows to the head, risking long term injuries etc. In the college form of over time when they are starting at like the 25 yard line. A guy charted college OT’s and found that 71% ended after 1 period. If the NFL adapted College rules but put the ball outside of FG range, I bet this would hold up as well.

    • John Williams

      Thanks for the feed back. I also understand why they limit in the regular season. Even the NHL does that. I just don’t see how they can justify it in the playoffs. It’s not putting the best foot forward of the product in my opinion.

  • Kevin Brady

    I agree that the NFL overtime rules are flawed, and even confusing. But I don’t think the Falcons really deserved another chance with the ball. They had plenty of chances during regulation and simply blew it. Would like to see them possibly play the entire quarter out during the playoffs, but that’s also asking a lot of these players. Just my two cents.

    • XaqFields

      I definitely understand that perspective, but I also think you can flip it and point out the Falcons thumped the Patriots for 3/4 of the game (IE: the Patriots had 3 quarters to not allow the Falcons to go up 3 scores on them) and it’s a shame they didn’t even get to handle the ball in overtime.

      With that said, that final Falcons drive where they were sitting in field goal range and rather than hitting the Pats with a couple runs and kicking the field goal, they got cute and ended up getting sacked out of FG range…. it definitely is tough for me to have TOO much sympathy for them. They had it in the bag right there.

    • John Williams

      I totally get this opinion. The Falcons blew there opportunity, but deserve isn’t the issue. It’s about fairness and the league maximizing it’s product. To have Matt Ryan, the league MVP sitting on the sideline only to watch limited the league and it’s product.

      Had it been Tom Brady or Peyton Manning or Aaron Rodgers on the sideline helpless as the defense gave up the game tying score, it would be such a waste of their most marketable assets.

      I don’t think a change is necessary to the regular season overtime, but the playoffs need a change.

  • Thomas Hare

    I think e college rules would k if we start at the 50!

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Where In The World Is DE Taco Charlton?

Kevin Brady

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Sean's Scout: Defense Comes Alive In Loss At LA Rams 2
Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Over pretty much the last decade, the Dallas Cowboys have been rock solid with their first round picks. With selections of Ezekiel Elliott, Travis Frederick, Byron Jones, Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and Leighton Vander Esch (just to name a handful), Dallas has rebuilt the core of their roster through the NFL Draft.

It's nearly impossible to bat .1000 in any round of the draft, however, and this appears to be the current case with the Cowboys' 2017 first round pick.

Defensive end Taco Charlton has not had the sophomore season that he, or anyone, had hoped for. A healthy scratch last Sunday, Charlton has only been active for 1 of the Cowboys' last 5 games, and has not recorded a sack or tackle since week 9.

Prior to disappearing with injuries and "attitude issues," Charlton had only recorded 1 sack on the season and was beginning to fall behind his Hot Boy-brethren. Defensive end Randy Gregory has reached his form over the last few weeks, Tyrone Crawford is having arguably a career year, and DeMarcus Lawrence is one of the best ends in all of football.

This doesn't leave much room for Charlton, who's now having issues even getting on the gameday roster. Rod Marinelli dodged questions about Taco Charlton earlier this week, vaguely saying they are "moving forward" and that he'd like to talk about other players on his defensive line who are performing.

Calvin Watkins on Twitter

Rod Marinelli on Taco Charlton's benching and being inactive last week: "We just keep moving along keep going forward. It's kinda been out there I'd leave it at that. I'd rather talk about our two tackles.

Charlton has not been quiet about his displeasure as of late, either. He's taken to Twitter to voice his frustrations, saying that not only is his shoulder fine but that the Dallas media is making up stories about his absence. He's also posted some cryptic tweets such as this one, with a picture of Allen Iverson and a caption reading "Every players needs that one coach to believe in them."

https://twitter.com/TheSupremeTaco/status/1072203745868554240

Maybe Taco is right. Maybe he just needs increased opportunity and a support system/coach that believes in him whole-heartedly. After all, Charlton has faced nothing but doubters and detractors since the second he was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys.

But in the NFL, the ultimate "what have you done for me lately" sport, it's hard to imagine he'll get that unwavering support anywhere in the league. He's going to have to "earn" his playing time, as head coach Jason Garrett spoke to earlier in the week. But with the plethora of talent the Cowboys are already putting out there on the defensive line, it's becoming difficult to see exactly where Taco Charlton can fit in on this defense.

It's possible, and fine, if it is simply not a fit between Charlton and the Cowboys at this point. But I'd also be wary of giving up on your first round pick in just his second NFL season. Another offseason with the team, working on his craft and getting fully healthy, should do Charlton wonders, and hopefully allow us to get a better read on his future with the Cowboys going forward.

Until then, we are all left to scratch out heads and wonder what in the world is going on with the Cowboys and Taco Charlton, and if the former first round pick will have a future in Dallas at all.



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Cowboys, Bears Proving Defense Can Win the NFC

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys, Bears Proving Defense Can Win the NFC

2018 has seen the emergence of high-powered offenses in both NFL conferences. The Kansas City Chiefs sit atop the AFC and the NFC is spearheaded by the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams. Through 14 weeks, these three teams are the top three offenses in the NFL, each averaging over 30 points per game. This year, for the first time in NFL history, two teams scored more than 50 in the same game.

Thanks to this consistent impressive offensive performances, you would think "offense" is the name of the game for the 2018 NFL season. Well, not so fast, my friend. Despite sitting atop the NFC, the Saints and the Rams have recently suffered losses that indicate hope is anything but lost for defensive teams in the league.

The Chicago Bears were able to bring down the Rams last Sunday Night 15-6. The same offense that averages 33 points per game was limited to six points. Sean McVay's remarkable offense went home with no touchdowns to talk about on the plane back home. Instead, they probably discussed Jared Goff's four interceptions.

Weeks earlier, the Dallas Cowboys shocked the world when they brought down the Saints. Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas simply couldn't move the ball against Leighton Vander Esch, DeMarcus Lawrence and Byron Jones. 13 points were all the Cowboys needed to score to beat an offense that was averaging 37 per game heading into week 13 but was only able to put up 10 in Dallas.

The Cowboys are the #4 seed with the Bears slightly ahead of them as the #3 seed in the NFC. Together, these teams have defeated the top two in the conference. Now granted, playoffs will definitely be different.

For starters, if they are to advance to the divisional round, they'll be on the road. Chicago was surely benefited by playing in such a cold weather versus a Los Angeles team. As far as the Cowboys are concerned, few times has AT&T Stadium been as loud as when they beat the Saints.

Hopefully, we'll get to see both of these elite defenses advance to the Divisional Round to  square off against this couple of high-powered offenses again. We will not only be witnessing amazing football games, but a great discussion regarding the everlasting debate between offense and defense.

For years, "defense wins championships" has been a widely accepted statement in football. The Cowboys and Bears have made that same statement resound recently with their impressive wins.

Can they do it again in January football? Can they do it on the road?

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys, Bears Proving Defense Can Win the NFC" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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Cowboys en Español: Los Colts No Son Cualquier Rival

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Fantasy Football - Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings - Week 2 2
Andy Lyons / Getty Images

Al igual que el resto de la afición de los Dallas Cowboys, parte de mí se siente confiada respecto a este equipo visitando a Indianapolis Colts y resultando victoriosos. ¿El problema? Los Colts no son un rival sencillo de vencer. Si crees que la racha de los Cowboys los intimidará, piensa de nuevo. Los Houston Texans llevaban nueve victorias al hilo antes de enfrentarse a este equipo.

Siendo objetivos, este puede ser el partido que evite que los Cowboys cierren su temporada con ocho victorias al hilo para terminar el año con un récord de 11-5. Ni los Tampa Bay Buccaneers ni los New York Giants deberían presentar amenaza alguna contra Dallas. Lo mismo no se puede decir de Indianapolis.

Por primera vez en mucho tiempo, Andrew Luck está realmente de vuelta. Gracias a una reconstrucción de su línea ofensiva, su nivel de juego a regresado al nivel que conocíamos de él desde que llegó a la NFL. Afortunadamente para los Colts, Luck se ha mantenido sano toda la temporada y no se ve rastro alguno de sus lesiones anteriores en el emparrillado.

T.Y. Hilton está teniendo un muy buen año y sin duda alguna presentará un reto para Byron Jones y el resto de la secundaria de los Cowboys. Eric Ebron en la posición de tight end también será un dolor de cabeza para la defensiva.

Lo más interesante se dará en las trincheras. Los Cowboys han hecho un muy buen trabajo presionando quarterbacks opuestos en la temporada, pero si el centro de los Colts, Ryan Kelly está sano el domingo, se enfrentarán al mejor duo de centro-guardia en la liga actualmente. Con Quenton Nelson al lado, Luck estará muy bien protegido.

Sin embargo, Kelly no ha jugado debido a una lesión y aún está por verse si tomará el campo el domingo por la mañana. Los Cowboys hicieron un muy buen trabajo a la entonces ofensiva #1 de la liga, los New Orleans Saints, pero eso no significa que la ofensiva #8 que tienen los Colts no los retará.

Promediando 27 puntos por juego, la defensiva necesitará ayuda de Dak Prescott y compañía para ganar el partido. Dallas continúa moviendo el balón efectivamente, pero es tiempo de anotar touchdowns y no goles de campo.

Ezekiel Elliott será, una vez más, clave para la victoria. Enfrentándose a una defensiva Top 10 contra el juego terrestre, mover las cadenas con Zeke no será tan fácil. El novato Darius Leonard como linebacker ha sido algo espectacular otra temporada al igual que Leighton Vander Esch. Liderando a toda la NFL en tackleadas, estará listo para recibir a los Cowboys al Lucas Oil Stadium.

Lo más importante de este partido...

Por más impresionante que sea la racha de cinco victorias consecutivas, los Cowboys tienen que demostrar que pueden ganarle a un equipo fuerte estando de visita. Porque hay que admitirlo, Jason Garrett y su equipo no han tenido éxito fuera de casa. Claro, le ganaron a un equipo debilitado de Philadelphia Eagles y a unos Atlanta Falcons que va 4-9.

Este equipo "nuevo" de los Cowboys no ha ido contra un rival de calidad siendo el visitante. Es tiempo de demostrar que lo pueden hacer, ya que si quieren contender en postemporada, es justo lo que necesitarán... jugar bien de visita.

Sinceramente creo que los Cowboys ganan este partido. Principalmente gracias a su defensiva, pero también veo a la ofensiva dominar el tiempo de posesión en un juego de pocos puntos. Es tiempo de mantener esa racha.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: Los Colts No Son Cualquier Rival" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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