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Last Night's Winner: Slightly Less-Sudden Death

In sports, everyone is a winner—some people just win better than others. Like those who love to complain about the NFL's overtime system and have now been appeased....with something else to complain about.

People hate when OT games end with a field goal, but now they will end with something completely fresh and new: An incomplete pass on fourth down. Or better yet, teams will trade field goals ... so that the game can later end with yet another field goal. The fine people at Alcoa have their work cut out for them with these fantastic finishes.


The new overtime rules that guarantee a possession to each team (except when it doesn't) seems more fair than the previous version, and I suppose it is, but it doesn't really address the fundamental problem—that sudden death may not be the best way to solve a football game. Yes, it's thrilling and dramatic for fans, but that's because they're living in constant fear that one flukey mistake will cost their team a game. A defensive back falls down, a special teamer screws up his assignment, a holding penalty doesn't get called and it's all over. And in a season with only 16 games and a one-and-done playoffs, that hurts. A lot.

While sudden death football is exciting, the ending is never quite satisfying, is it? Even under the new rules, games can still end on a field goal, Marty Mornhinweg can still take the wind, and fans will still find a way to feel cheated when the ball doesn't bounce their way. It's an imperfect fix for an imperfect system. Plus, it seems like it might benefit Brett Favre and that's too much to stomach.

Coaches critical of overtime vote process [National Football Post]
NFL overtime changes a good start, but still not enough [Dallas Morning News]

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