Philadelphia Eagles: The NFL needs to rethink it’s archaic overtime rules

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

After another Sunday where a team, the Philadelphia Eagles could not respond in overtime, it is time the NFL takes a hard look at how they do overtime.

Sunday afternoon, the Philadelphia Eagles yet suffered another crushing loss, this one at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys. The loss drops the Eagles to 6-7 and all but ends their hopes of returning to the playoffs this season.

There were a lot of things that went wrong for the Eagles, and there are a lot of fingers that could be pointed, especially at the officials. The referees made some pretty egregious calls, but that is a topic for a different day.

On this day, we saw an issue that has been hurting the NFL for a long time, but it seems this is not talked about enough. That issue is how the NFL goes about conducting overtime. This isn’t just an issue that comes up after the Eagles loss, but rather, today was a reminder that the league needs to find a solution to overtime.

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First of all, how is it that a professional sporting event can end in a tie? Who wants to play 60, possibly 70-minutes and walk away with a tie? Baseball doesn’t do it; they’ll play 18, 19, even 20 innings to declare a winner. The NBA and NHL are the same way; someone is going to walk away from those games deemed a winner.

So why is it in the most popular sport in America that the game can end in a tie? There have already been two this season, and countless others in season’s past. We all remember the Eagles-Bengals game in 2008 when Donovan McNabb claimed that he didn’t know games could end in ties.

The first issue the NFL needs to address is how to not have games end in ties. It’s not fair to fans, coaches, or players and the fact of the matter is, teams don’t work all week to tie.

The next issue with NFL overtime is that if the team who gets the ball first scores, then the opposing team doesn’t get a chance to respond. The NFL changed the rules a few years back to where if the first team to get the ball kicked a field goal, then the other team would get to respond.

That rule change really didn’t make much of a difference. If the first team with the ball finds the end zone, the game is over. Sure, the defense could get a stop, but the offense should get the opportunity to respond, right?

So basically, the winners of these overtime games could really be decided by a coin-toss. We are trusting a completely random process to determine the outcome of football games. One team could be the superior team, but lose a game because of probability.

The Eagles 2016 overtime loss to Dallas and Sunday’s game come to mind. The Cowboys won the toss, scored, and the game was over. Carson Wentz never even had the opportunity to respond in either of those games. Granted, the defense needs to get a stop, but is it really right not to let the best player on the other team have an impact on the outcome of overtime?

Lastly, overtime is way too short. The NFL made a questionable decision when shortening overtime from 15 to 10-minutes. It only makes sense that since that rule change, the number of ties has only gone up. All the league is doing is taking the excitement and competitiveness out of the game.

So how can the NFL fix these issues? It really isn’t that hard. All they have to do is look to their NCAA counterparts and how they do overtime. College overtime is one of the best and most exciting aspects of the sport. So, why has the NFL neglected this change for so long?

First of all, in college overtime, there are no ties. They play until a winner is crowned. Second, a coin-toss doesn’t have the ability to determine a winner, plus the opposing team actually gets a chance to respond. Lastly, you don’t have to worry about time running out because there is no clock.

Remember the LSU-Texas A&M game from the last week of the college football regular season? The game went seven overtimes and was one of the most exciting games of the season. There was no tie, and that is what the fans want.

How can the NFL go about implementing these rules? Starting from the 25-yard line may be too easy for offenses. So how about keeping the same rules as college but starting each drive from midfield?

Plus, to keep the excitement up, just like in college, after the second overtime teams must go for two after touchdowns. Who wouldn’t want that? The enthusiasm and the ability to fix all those aforementioned problems make this decision a no-brainer.

I understand that the NFL likes to distinguish themselves from college with some slight differences. But college does overtime right, and the NFL needs to take a page from the NCAA playbook.

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Nobody wants ties, and nobody wants the winner of a game to be determined by a coin-toss. So NFL, it is finally time to address this issue. It is time to change overtime. College football does it right, and it is time you do too.