They must have nothing better to do
"You Gotta Be Kidding!"
by Mickey Charles CEO, sportsnetwork.com
Hatboro, PA (Sports Network) --
It appears that the owners of NFL teams
need something else to occupy their time besides fighting over who will get
more of the spoils of the season, themselves or the players, and/or who will
be in their foursome at the club this weekend. So, they address the way the
game is played under the guise of improving it for the fans and, so they
profess, the game itself. Right!
Sometimes, it is the obvious over which they agonize for without seeming to
grapple with these apparent to all other conundrums there is not much else to
keep them busy. For example, how difficult to embrace instant replay and
bring the game of professional football into the present, to correct the
ineptitude of the referees, other than for the fact that it can be a
highlight film of men too old to be keeping up with the game making decisions
that affect the outcome, decisions that are wrong? OK, instant replay is in
but it must have limitations, so they claim, since it holds up the game.
Total, unadulterated nonsense. What holds up the decision making process when
watching the instant replay is the dictum that the referees stare at the
obvious until their vision is blurred.
The referee has 60 seconds to watch the instant replay of the previous action
and decide if the original call was correct. Is that pretty clear? One
minute!!! The referee must see "incontrovertible visual evidence" for a call
to be overturned. If the challenge fails, the original ruling stands and the
challenging team is charged with a timeout. If the challenge overrules the
previous call, the call is reversed; should there have been an official score
change, the score will be changed again, resulting in the original score and
with no loss of a timeout.
NFL Referees have 60 seconds to review a call. .
Because of the limited number of challenges, and the possible penalty of a
lost timeout, coaches typically reserve their challenges for key plays and
that, of course, opens the door for greater incompetency.
So, in anticipation of arguing about which side, owners or players, will carve
out a larger bite of the monetary pie that is the NFL, they found the time for
yet another change to justify their existence and reason for jetting around to
various meetings. Apparently, they think they know. Not. Like the
government, they form committees for the sake of having something to do and to
legitimatize their seeming involvement in the machinations that are the basis
for each of the committees.
That brings us to overtime.
Lending credence and proof to the suggestion that these folks actually watch
the collegiate games for more than prospects they came up with this beauty.
In overtime, if the team that has possession of the ball first scores a
touchdown, the game is over. But if it kicks a field goal, the other team
would get a possession and would win with a touchdown. If nobody scores on the
initial drives, or if both teams kick field goals, the game will revert to
The reason for the change, so they say, is the increased accuracy of kickers
since 1994, when the NFL moved kickoffs from the 35 to the 30-yard line, which
created better field position for the teams that won the coin toss and opted
to receive. Statistics examined by the committee, the same folks
that were asked to develop a horse and came up with a camel, showed that,
beginning in 1994, teams that win the coin toss have won overtime games 59.8
percent of the time. Those statistics also gave evidence that, since 1994, the
team that won the overtime coin flip prevailed 34.4 percent of the time on the
Some would argue that the coin flip in OT is not big a deal.
Aha! Win the coin toss and you are likely to win the game, one way or the
other, in OT. Win the coin toss and odds of you winning on the first
possession are not that great.
I am okay with that since it presupposes that the other team either wins on
its first possession or one of them wins on its second position...at a 59.8 to
40.2 clip/advantage. Not exactly revealing or the stuff you put in time
So, with that extraordinary data in hand, the NFL's competition committee said
the change was necessary because a growing percentage of overtime games were
being won by the team that won the coin flip, in part because of improved
field goal accuracy. OK, acceptable to me and not exactly sufficiently
problematic to cause a rules change. Actually, in light of claims that instant
replay, with a decision mandated in one minute (admittedly, never the case),
this change expands the game quite a bit via the OT route. Give and take on a
And the puzzlement increases for coaches that have determined their options on
the field during overtime. Do they keep the offense on the field for a fourth-
down gamble or kick a field goal on the opening possession of overtime,
knowing the other team could still win when they get a possession after? Once
the announcers have it figured out, or so they think, they will make inquiry
of the coach before telling you what they think and anyone speaking Mandarin
ought to be good with that.
How much simpler it would have been to state that each team gets possession at
least once and, whether they score a field goal or touchdown, anything at all,
the opposition is allowed possession to determine if they can equal or best
the score just achieved. Following one possession each, sudden death kicks in
and neither team may employ military equipment to realize the stated purpose
of "sudden death."
Head coach Rex Ryan and Josh Mauga #53 of the New York Jets celebrate a 23-20 ovetime win over the Detroit Lions last year. Michigan.
While team schedules have been posted this past week, they are not, in and of
themselves any indicator that all is well in the exceptionally rich world of
professional football. Instead of bullets, they are dodging bank accounts,
check books, endorsement deals, advertising commitments, network schedules,
season ticket sales, vendors who do not know how many hot dogs, hamburgers and
cans of beer to prepare, manufacturers whose Chinese suppliers have held up on
production of shirts/sweaters/jackets/hats. Are you still buying into the
"I love the fans in this city!" statements?
Think about it for a moment...all the OT statistic means is that the team that
wins the coin toss figures to get the ball one more time than the other guys
if neither scores on the first possession. And, read the new rule again,
carefully. Why go for anything but a touchdown? When that happens the rule
either becomes relatively meaningless or it will be time for another committee
to gather, collect some more statistics and make yet another change.
They may own the teams but do they know the game? Can they bring themselves
to think like the fans, the people that make this sport, any sport, what it
You gotta be kidding!