November 14, 2012

Everyone's a Loser in a Tied Game

By - Andy Garcia

Tied games were common in the early days of the National Football League, because they would only go into overtime during the playoffs.

But in 1974, the league changed the rule to allow overtime sessions during regular season games as well.

Since the change, we have only seen a total of 18 tied games in the NFL -- most recently being the 24-24 draw between the Rams and 49ers this past Sunday.

Photo by: Jeff Chiu
Still, that's 18 more than we should have had.

Why are tied games even allowed to begin with? Players spend 75 minutes beating the tar out of one another for what? A worthless tie?

Everyone knows a tie is like kissing your sister. People don't want to watch an entire game for there not to be any winners or losers. It takes away from the competitiveness of any sport.

That's why Americans hate soccer.

Nobody wins in a tied game. The players, the fans, everyone loses. There's no fun in it.

Plus, some NFL players don't even know that ties are possible.

Reminiscent of Donovan McNabb circa 2008, Rams wide receiver Danny Amendola wasn't aware that the game ended in a tie after the 15-minute overtime expired.

49ers safety Dashon Goldson also added, "I didn't know you could tie. When I saw both sides walking onto the field, I was like, 'Where's everybody going?'"

How professional players don't have knowledge of basic rules is beyond me. I also don't understand why they'd openly admit to it and embarrass themselves, but it just goes to show that the players don't bother to learn such a rule, because it is understood that there shouldn't be tied games in the first place.

Roger Goodell has spent much of his time as league commissioner doing two things -- trying to make the game safer for the players, and protecting the league's image.

But in the process, he's hurt his own image with the fans. He's made the game softer and less enjoyable. Tack on last Summer's brief lockout, and NFL enthusiasts don't have a very favorable opinion on Mr. Goodell right now.

That is why it would be an astute move for him to do away with the tied game possibility.

It doesn't seem likely that anyone would object to this proposal. It'll be a nice start to get himself back in the good graces of the fans.

So what is the best way that the NFL can do away with tied games?

Of course, you want to limit the amount of time it would take for a team to win an overtime game. After all, this is the era of trying to avoid injury to players.

There are a few different ways to change the overtime rules in order to keep it even for both teams involved and still present a fairly easy manner in which they can score.

One of the more obvious options is to implement the NCAA overtime rules.

While there are some questionable college football rules such as needing only one foot inbounds when making a catch or being ruled down even without contact from an opposing player, I think their overtime method is genius.

For those not familiar with the setup, I will explain.

A coin-toss decides who earns possession first. That team starts off 1st-and-10 at the opponents' 25. They must try to score a touchdown or field goal, as usual.

Once they do so, or if they turn the ball over, the other team gets their chance. If the score is still tied after each team gets their turn with the ball, another overtime session is given.

Beginning with the third overtime, teams must attempt a two-point conversion instead of an extra point after a touchdown is scored. Also, if the defense scores a touchdown on a play in which it earns a turnover, the game is over, since it satisfies the condition of both teams having a possession each.

They could even add a twist to it, like the short-lived Extra Fun League (better known as the XFL) did, where if the first team scored in a certain amount of plays, the opponent would have to score in a less amount of plays in order to win.

But if the NFL wanted to go a completely different route and have a unique set of rules in the extra period, they could try to implement something like ESPN analyst Merril Hoge recently suggested -- no punts.

That would definitely be interesting.

The NFL could keep the current overtime format, but force teams to go for it on 4th down instead of punting. So if a team began with possession of the ball in their own territory and went 4-and-out, the opponents would take over in great field position.

You can bet that teams would think twice about choosing to receive the ball first during the overtime period.

Regardless of the direction the NFL chooses to go, what's imperative is that they figure out a way to eliminate tied games. Use any combination of rules, it doesn't matter. Just please, stop the metaphorical incest.

No more tied games!


  1. I agree they need to change it, but I don't think they will, mainly because there have only been 18 ties in the last 38 years, so they don't really come into play all that often.

  2. Just because something doesn't come into play very often doesn't mean you should leave it be. A bad/stupid rule is still a bad/stupid rule regardless.

    The tuck rule, for example. Didn't come into play often, but you saw what happened when it did. Lol