The Arizona/Green Bay game certainly was a game for the football fan. Close to the very end, which is where things went wrong, and in my opinion, an example of what is wrong with the current overtime system.
What Aaron Rodgers did at the end of the game was nothing short of amazing. This is exactly what every NFL fan craves and the NFL desperately needs, drama at the end of the game. Which is why it was so anticlimactic to see the game end in overtime without the Green Bay offense ever setting foot on the field. Any team who can stage such a comeback deserves a chance. It shouldn’t be determined by what essentially amounts to a coin flip (as long as the coin flips). Watching Arizona march down the field was amazing in their own right. Larry Fitzgerald deserves a huge amount of kudos for essentially winning the game single handedly. Having said that, it does leave a bit of a sour taste in my mouth that the game was decided by amounts to a coin flip after four hard quarters of play, rather than a continuation of good hard football.
I just don’t understand the resistance of ownership and the league to allow the players to play rather than find a cheap and easy fix to decide a game. I get the concern for player injuries and the money invested in them, but let’s face it, football is a high health risk game, and the players and owners accept this. An extra few minutes of play really won’t make much difference in the grand scheme of things (especially in a playoff situation). I think both teams would walk away much more satisfied if both had a chance to score (or at least get their hand on the ball).
The current system:
Under the current overtime system, the team winning the coin toss will have the option of receiving the ball. The team with the ball first tries to drive the ball down the field. If they are able to score a touchdown, game over. If they score a field goal, the other team will get the ball and have a chance to do the same. If the team with the ball first can only score a field goal or has to punt, then the game assumes a fairer stance, as both teams have the opportunity to score. But, when the team scores a touchdown as Arizona did last night, it leaves a feeling of being cheated for both the fans and the opposing team, especially given how the game was building up at the end.
I personally would like to see an additional quarter played. Put another 15 minutes on the clock and let them play. What happens at the end happens. If it is a playoff, let them play till somebody wins, plain and simple. If 15 minutes is too much, put 10-12 minutes on the clock, but you really can’t drop too much time off because run the risk of a single team possession again.
Another option is to leave it to the kickers. Much like a hockey shootout. Start at the 20 yard line and start kicking. Each kicker gets a shot at the 20 to make a Field Goal (FG). If both make it, move it back five yards and do it again until somebody misses. As much as I don’t like this option, I would much rather see this than watch a team march down the field to a score to end the game without the other team ever getting a chance to be on offense.
In college football, they place the ball on the 25 yard line and each team gets a shot to score. If one-team scores and the other doesn’t, game over. If one scores a FG and the other a TD, game over. If both score a TD, but one converts a 2-point conversion and the other a one-point conversion, game over. But at least both teams had a shot. I would much prefer this to what the current overtime system is.
There is any number of options to ending an overtime game. Why taint the ending with what essentially amounts to an unsatisfying coin toss. By nature of the game, it was already a close and intense game (otherwise it wouldn’t be tied). Why ruin the momentum that both teams might or might not have by denying a team the ball? Let the boys play the game! Give the fans a quality product! I think we can all live with a loss if our team at least had the chance to control their own destiny.