NFL Rules Foil the Vikings Yet Again

Peterson doesn't know what to think about a tie either. - Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Ties are the worst, and the NFL should work to eliminate them altogether.

You all remember the 2009 NFC Championship Game, right?  You remember when the game went to overtime and the Saints marched down the field to score the winning field goal.  The loss stung (it still does), but many of us griped that the Vikings should have been given the chance to get the ball back.  The NFL listened, and in fact changed the overtime rules in 2010 and 2011, partially in response to that very game.  And eventually the rule change for the playoffs was applied to the regular season starting in 2012.  The rule change affected the first possession of overtime in that, teams could no longer win the game with a field goal on the first possession (although they could still with a touchdown).  The opposing offense would be given a possession before it went to sudden death if a field goal was the first score of overtime.  So, hooray for us for potentially affecting an NFL rule change.

And here we are again where the overtime rules have caused the Vikings to finish a game in the worst way possible.  This time, it's not a loss, but a dreaded tie.  It's interesting to consider that the Vikings might be the very team responsible for causing themselves to end a game in a tie.  And I don't mean because of their on-field play (which is really the reason).  I mean that, had the Vikings actually won the 2009 NFC Championship game like they were supposed to in regulation, this rule change might not have ever happened in the first place.  And in that case, the Packers would have walked out of Lambeau with a win, seeing as how they won the coin toss and scored a field goal on their first possession in overtime.  I don't know about you, but I think I'd take a loss over a tie.  A tie is just...dumb.  Sports are about victory and defeat, winning and losing.  It's not about...seeing eye-to-eye, and balancing the equation.  It's not about showing up for a participation ribbon.

I'm not suggesting that a loss is the desired outcome (draft position be damned), but I'm saying that it's better than a tie.  Even the players seemed mystified as to how to feel after a tie, as evidenced by immediate post-game reactions on twitter:




At least with a loss, you know that you didn't play well enough, or execute well enough, or game plan correctly or whatever.  It's cut and dry.  With a win, you know enough things went right against your opponent.  But a tie?  What does that mean?  How do you evaluate it?  Did you do enough things right to "not lose"?  Is that good?  You didn't win either, so clearly there wasn't enough good things.  It just leaves everything in a sort of unresolved stasis.  I watched the game with a good friend of mine who also happens to be a Packer fan (I try not to hold that against them), and we both felt...unfulfilled.  We were both a little angry and annoyed that the game ended in a tie, and we didn't really know how to react to it.

So, in the end, the NFL rules change that was supposed to make the game better, and more fair actually made the overtime situation worse in my opinion.  Why is there only one overtime period?  Why not force the teams to continue to grind it out until one team pulls away as the victor?  Get rid of the weird "field goal doesn't win it, but a TD does" on the opening possession, or if both teams have possessed but not scored, then it's sudden death or whatever the weird situational rules are.  Just make them play another full quarter of football until there is a winner.  If not, then go to OT #2.  And keep doing it until one team simply has had enough and throws in the towel.  What is the point of sudden death anyway?  Is it to try to keep the game shorter?  If that's the case, then just make the overtime periods shorter.  Give them only 8 minutes of overtime.  No sudden death.  Whoever is ahead after 8 more minutes wins.  If it's still tied, play another 8 minutes  until someone wins.  And someone will eventually win.  The teams will get too fatigued that one of the offenses will eventually just be able to march it down and score.

There is no reason for these bizarre overtime rules with conditional sudden death scenarios.  Ties are dumb.  Let's work to do away with them completely.

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