Remember that awful Seahawks-Cardinals game in 2016? The one that ended in a 6-6 tie? If that wasn’t one of the worst (it actually had pretty good defensive play, for the record) games in NFL history, it was certainly one of the strangest, especially the trash fire that was the last five minutes of it.
That wasn’t even the only tie that season ... Cincinnati and Washington also tied. There have never been more than two ties in season, a record that’s already been tied this season, fittingly.
But that’s not why the NFL “fixed” its overtime rules in 2017. The competition committee mostly had its eyes on player safety when it approved the rule to change the extra period from 15 to 10 minutes in length.
“First of all, the number of plays that these guys play, then take that to the next week, is really a competitive disadvantage,” said Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh at the time. “Guys get worn out. It’s hard to recover from one week to the next.”
It’s a valid concern, and something that would have to be figured into the equation if the league were to again change its overtime rules to accommodate fewer ties. At least that’s what would have to happen if fans had their way.
A survey of more than 2,000 NFL fans gathered from SB Nation’s 32 team sites revealed an overwhelming majority are in favor of altering the NFL’s overtime rules.
A total of 69 percent (nice) want to change the way overtime is handled. Of the audience surveyed, 47 percent would like to see the NFL embrace the same overtime rules used by college football where there are no ties. Teams trade possessions in the extra period, starting at the defense’s 25-yard line. (Here’s a thorough explanation of how it works in college football).
Maybe the most surprising thing the survey revealed is that 31 percent want to leave the rules just like they are now. To which I can only say — what is wrong with you?!?
Why there weren’t more picks for rock, paper, scissors is also a mystery.
The NFL is always a little hesitant to embrace the college game — just look at how long it took for spread concepts to become a regular part of professional playbooks. The league flirted with adopting the NCAA’s targeting rule this spring before settling on its own confusing compromise, an NFL specialty when it comes to rule changes. So it’s unlikely the competition committee would go this route with overtime.
There are two ways changes to the overtime rules might possibly make it onto the competition committee’s offseason agenda. The first is if we get more of them, and with 15 weeks still to play, it’s possible. The second is if the Cowboys, Patriots, Ravens, or another team with an annoying, pushy owner ends up missing the playoffs because of a tie.
Other than that, it looks like the 31 percent of fans surveyed here will get their way.