â†µThe Fifth Down at the NYT examines overtime rules today, and highlights the unfairness of the coin toss. If you care to defend the coin toss because "life's unfair," then feel free to introduce other completely unfair elements into the game at random moments, like land mines or random dog attacks "just to spice things up." (Mike Vick joke goes here.) If you think fairness matters, you'll agree that the overtime system needs serious overhauling, since the team that wins the coin toss wins most of the time based on a random, non-athletic event fair only in its unfair application to both teams. â†µâ†µ
â†µThe most intriguing proposal is not the adoption of the Kansas City tiebreaker, the collegiate system for breaking ties at the end of the game. Seven overtime games would kill network executives, and greatly exaggerate the chance of injury. No, the solution that most tickles the ivories involves another thing Americans are very, very fond of: â†µgambling. â†µâ†µ
â†µâ‡¥3). Silent Auction: Each coach writes down a yard-line at which they would elect to start their offense. The numbers are given to the referee in sealed envelopes; whichever coach picked the lower yard-line wins the auction and get the ball first. The game plays out in sudden death. â†µâ†µ
â†µBetting on your coach to figure out the optimal strategy for starting the overtime: now there's a lively way to end the game and figure out what coaches actually paid attention during statistics class. Also, we'd start working in penmanship into the equation of coaching excellence. ("Um, Coach Phillips, is that a '48' or a '43?'") â†µâ†µ
â†µIn addition to the random fairness of the plan, you should also note that it gives the Detroit Lions a new and exciting way to lose football games. Whatever the NFL is going to do about overtime, it's certainly not doing anything now: in meetings in March the league deferred any address of the overtime situation since no one had a clear alternative to the current one. This leaves the possibility of a team winning or losing a Super Bowl on the coin toss wide open, and if the NFL wants their Bud Selig moment to happen, well, it's still just sitting there waiting to happen. â†µâ†µ
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