The insane ending to the Cardinals 26-20 win over the Packers in the divisional playoffs will make it one for the ages. But it was a tad anticlimactic because one team never possessed the ball in overtime and shows why the NFL needs to change its OT rules in the playoffs.
A quick review of the NFL's overtime rules: each team gets the chance to possess the ball in overtime, unless the team with the opening possession scores a touchdown. In college football, both teams get to possess the football, no matter what happens on the opening possession.
The Cardinals won the coin toss and scored in three plays when Larry Fitzgerald took the game over. The game ended as soon as Fitzgerald scored on a short pass and we never got to see if Aaron Rodgers could drive the Packers and force a tie. It's not right that a coin toss still has that much impact.
I know the argument from those liking the current rule — the Packers defense needed to make a stop and get the ball back. True, to a degree. But it ignores the fact that the Cardinals defense was let off the hook and did not have to prove itself. Why should one team have to play defense because of a coin toss while the other doesn't?
The Cardinals defense utterly failed in the final minute of regulation, letting the Packers escape a 4th-and-20 and then allowing a Hail Mary pass on the final play. It's rare to see a defense choke that spectacularly. And yet because their offense did not fail, the Cardinal defenders could have spent OT with their feet up since they never had to prove themselves; all because of a coin toss.
A simple change would be to give each team a possession (barring a defensive score on the first drive) and then make it sudden death. The current rule is OK for the regular season because of TV demands and the possibility of ties but there's no excuse for the playoffs where there are no ties.
I am not a Packers fan and wanted Carson Palmer to get his first playoff win but the end still was unfulfilling. I wanted to see Rodgers with the ball once more and see if the Cardinals defense could redeem itself. Instead, because a coin fell one way and not the other, only one defense had to play in the overtime and the other got a reprieve. Let's change the rule.
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SB Nation presents: Green Bay's luck runs out after failing to cover Larry Fitzgerald