Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Overtime

AP:

The league changed its overtime rules Tuesday for postseason games. Starting next season, if a team wins the coin toss, then kicks a field goal, the other team gets the ball. If that next series ends with another field goal, play will continue under the current sudden-death rules.

If the team winning the toss immediately scores a touchdown, however, the game is over.

I was all ready to get indignant about this, but I like the specifics of this proposal. What you don't want is a system that encourages overtime -- you really want games decided in four quarters. You don't want longer games, don't want players getting hurt, and you don't want NFL coaches using even more conservative strategies and playing for ties in regulation.

An overtime system that is completely "fair" and predictable would encourage playing for overtime -- maintaining some significant aspect of randomness is good. On the other hand, what's annoying about the current system is that the team to get the ball first is likely to only have to drive the ball 30 or 40 yards to win the game with a field goal, which is the most anticlimactic ending possible. This new system creates an interesting tactical dilemma and encourages aggressive strategy. I like it.

1 comment:

gnuosphere said...

"What you don't want is a system that encourages overtime -- you really want games decided in four quarters. You don't want longer games, don't want players getting hurt, and you don't want NFL coaches using even more conservative strategies and playing for ties in regulation. [...] maintaining some significant aspect of randomness is good"

How about the following - which meets the above requirements...

the team that wins the coin toss wins the game. :)