Herz: NFL needs to implement variation of college overtime

Eddie Herz

Editors Note: All content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

The NFL is as fan-driven as a professional sport can be. Without any fans, the league would not exist.

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That is not to say fans like everything about the current state of the game though. For example, a whirlwind of complaints has surfaced since the NFL adopted a new roughing-the-passer rule. As a result, the NFL will most likely look into tweaking the rule.

Another element of the game that has stirred negative outbursts this year and previous years is the tie.

Most fans can agree that allowing a game to end in a tie is both pointless and irritating. The NFL needs to consider getting rid of the outcome completely.

A tie is non-existent in the MLB. Teams will play through the night and even pick a game back up in the morning if necessary. There never have and never will be a tie in the NBA. The NHL adopted a shootout at the end of an overtime period before the 2005-2006 season to exile the tie once and for all.

This leaves the NFL as the only major American professional sports league that still allows a game to end in a draw.

Why has every other sport steered elsewhere? Because ties do not resolve anything and simply waste fans’ money.

Ironically, that is especially true for the NFL considering there are only 16 regular season games and eight home games. Popular online ticket reselling website Vivid Seats reported in 2017 that the average price to attend an NFL game has increased six percent annually.

Vivid Seats noted that the average price to attend any regular season game was $169, a number which has increased since. Even preseason games can cost nearly $100 depending on the team. A ticket for the New England Patriots versus Kansas City Chiefs game in 2017 cost fans an average of $692.

Attending an NFL game is a rare occasion for most when taking the price and high demand into account. From a fan’s perspective, attending a game that ends in a tie may be even more frustrating than seeing your team lose. This is because ties raise an unnecessary “what if” question that could have easily been answered with the continuation of the game.

Sure, ties are still decently rare to come by. But, through three regular season weeks in 2018, there have already been two. The gap of talent between teams is growing thinner each season. With that being the case, ties are becoming even more likely.

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NFL overtime has the potential to be the most exciting aspect of the game for fans. But, the NFL is doing overtime completely wrong.

Professional football includes some of the world’s best athletes. But at the end of four quarters, even those athletes are exhausted. Driving down the length of the field and putting together a productive drive is hard enough in regulation. Doing so when they are nearly out of energy in overtime is too much to ask.

This is why the NFL should implement a variation of collegiate overtime in order to require less energy of players and ultimately expel the tie.

In the NCAA overtime, a team starts at the opposing team’s 25-yard line to begin the extra period. After the first team’s offensive drive, the opposing team gets a chance to score in the same scenario. Whichever team is on top at the end of the two drives is named the winner. If the score is tied, the two teams start over in another overtime period.

This would be great for the NFL because it would be extremely exciting for fans, though starting at the 25 would be a little unfair for defenses considering the capabilities of the average NFL offense.

Instead, an offense should be required to start at its own 45-yard line. Needing 25 yards to get into acceptable field goal range and 55 yards for a touchdown is not too much to ask from both an offense and defense. This essentially means an offense needs around two first downs to put themselves in scoring position.

The tie is useless. It leaves both fans and players unsure of how to react after a game. Applying this revised overtime plan will give attending fans their money’s worth, while simultaneously being more ideal for NFL players.

Eddie Herz can be reached at sports@collegian.com.