x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

New overtime more 'even' than suddenly over

We interrupt the deserved bashing of the NFL over its lockout of the game officials to offer praise.

We interrupt the deserved bashing of the NFL over its lockout of the game officials to offer praise.

A new format for overtime games was introduced this year by which both teams were guaranteed one possession. Previously, if a team that received the kick-off to start OT scored, it was game over.

With field-goal accuracy increasing so much from long distance that kickers can strike from the car park (20 for 23 from 50 yards and beyond, thus far), the system had become unfair to the unlucky loser of the overtime coin toss. A couple of first downs after the kick-off return and the opponent already was in range for a three.

On the opening weekend, the Minnesota Vikings won the flip, then motored 55 yards towards a field goal. No celebration followed because the rule change afforded Jacksonville its chance.

The Jaguars made little of it, failing to record a first down. They had only themselves to blame, not the whims of fate from calling "heads" instead of "tails".

With teams so evenly matched anymore, the correction could not have been more timely. There were three extra-period games last Sunday, none that was impacted by the altered format.

Yet we must dish out some grief to the league for describing the revised set-up as "modified sudden death." Commissioner Goodell, sudden death is defined as the first team to score wins. Nothing modified about it. Your plan works. Sudden death, it is not.