Could the NFL use a silent auction to determine possession in overtime?

The New York Times recently discussed how the NFL would be better served if it changed its overtime format from sudden death to something more fair.

One idea drummed up (although not by the NY Times, but by a Packers fan named Chris Quanbeck) was to have a silent auction between the two head coaches to determine field possession.

Quanbeck’s idea was to auction off possession of the ball in the natural currency of the game: field position. The team that was willing to begin closest to its own goal line would receive the privilege of possession.

Quanbeck and his brother Andrew described several auction options. Here’s the one that seems most realistic:

3). Silent Auction
Each coach writes down a yard-line at which they would elect to start their offense. The numbers are given to the referee in sealed envelopes; whichever coach picked the lower yard-line wins the auction and get the ball first. The game plays out in sudden death.

Fairness and drama — those are two requisites of any sport. As with the N.F.L.’s replay challenges and tennis’s Hawk-Eye challenges, the auction system aims for a more just conclusion but also to make it more appealing to fans. The sealed bids add strategy and suspense. They would lead to more second-guessing of coaches, which would be more fun for everybody except coaches (which is why it will be difficult to get this through the competition committee).

But how can this not be better for the league and its fans?

While the New York Times agrees that this is a great idea, I think this would be absolutely ridiculous. If we’re going to do all this, why not just keep the freaking coin toss? Why make this be a guessing game between the coaches, who have better things to worry about (i.e. trying to win a football game) then to try and figure out what the other coach will be writing down?

Why doesn’t the NFL just have the team mascots run around the field once and race for which team will get first possession in overtime? Or better yet, if the league is looking for more drama, why don’t we have the cheerleaders strip at midfield and the fans can vote on which team should be award first possession? I hate to crap on this guy’s idea, but aren’t we getting a little ridiculous here?

The NFL needs to either keep the current sudden death formula or adopt the college football format where each team gets at least one possession. Anything else would be too involved and seem unnecessary.

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