Back in January of this year, I picked on the NFL’s Overtime Rules and their reliance on the dreaded Coin Toss.  Ultimately, I found it unfair that games could end by the luck involved with the flip of a coin.

Now, I’m going to find fault with the NFL about their rules for letting overtime games in the regular season end in ties.

I was reminded about how silly tied games are after Sunday night when the Seahawks and the Cardinals finished in a 6-6 draw after 3.5+ hours of playtime.

For all the effort invested, it seems kind of pointless that all of the hard work ended in such a meaningless way.

I mean, there was no winner and there was no loser.  It was just… a push?

When there are only 16 regular season games and so much on the line, especially in tight divisions, does it make sense that the NFL allows contests to end in a stalemate?

But, the current rules for NFL preseason & regular season games state that if the score is still tied at the end of the one and only overtime period (an extra 15-minutes), the result will be recorded as a tie.

There is no other major sport that does this.

MLB, NBA, and College Football overtime games keep going until a winner is determined.

In other sports that do allow draws like NHL, Rugby, and European Soccer, those games actually count towards a points system and teams are awarded accordingly.  (For example – the Barclays Premier League awards 3 points to a winning team, 0 to the losing team, and 1 point to each for a tie.)

Since the NFL has no overall points system, overtime ties really amount to nothing and the result is that a draw just kind of floats away to oblivion.

Well, it is true that a tie does count on some level when the league does its seeding for the playoffs, but the Wild Card system ensures that fringe teams will get in anyway.

Note: Before 1974, the NFL followed the rule of sudden death in overtime.  Simply, whoever scored a point first wins.  Eventually, this was modified in 2012 for more fairness, so that each team was allowed to possess the ball, unless the kickoff team scores a touchdown or safety first.

Luckily, NFL postseason games do not allow ties, as each playoff game is one of elimination.  Multiple overtime periods keep going until a team wins.

So, why does the league allow ties in regular season games again?

Seahawks QB Russell Wilson stated on Sunday that its just plain dangerous and the risk of significant injury too great if NFL players kept going for hours.

But, I argue that so far, there has never been more than 2 overtime periods in the playoffs (where no tied games are allowed).  Can’t NFL players just stick it out a bit longer in the regular season?

Instead, maybe the solution that Wilson presented on Sunday would work.

He suggested that after a tied game ends, the team that wins the coin toss gets the ball on the 35-yard line and can only kick a field goal (from 53-yards at that point).  If the team makes it, they are declared the winner and the game is over.  If they miss it, the other team wins.

Unfortunately, that idea relies upon coin tosses, which I think should be outlawed.  Like I’ve said previously, luck has no place in a competitive, contact sport.

The reality is that coming up with a good solution that fits all directives is difficult and, I’m not sure I have a better idea.

It just feels wrong that hard-fought battles by NFL players are left out on the field after a tied game.



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