Correcting Bill Simmons, Part 6: Bill’s not-so-great NFL overtime idea

In his retro-diary of the second half of Super Bowl XLIV, Bill Simmons explains his seemingly infallible NFL overtime idea.

9:25: Two straight first-down throws. Suddenly we’re on the Saints’ 36. I remember thinking, “Great, they’ll tie it, then whichever teams wins the coin toss will march down and score, and we’ll have to hear about how to fix overtime for the next nine months. Shoot me.”

(FYI: I know how to fix it. Win the toss and score a touchdown, game over. Make a field goal on the opening drive and the opponent gets one possession of its own. From there, sudden death rules. Find a hole in that idea. You can’t.)

Um, yes I can. Doesn’t his idea have the same problem as current system? The team that wins the toss still has the advantage. If Team A drives down and kicks a field goal, and Team B kicks its own field goal to tie the game, and now the game is decided by sudden death, doesn’t the team that gets the ball first (Team A) still have the advantage?

Sure, if Team A kicks a field goal, Team B has an opportunity to win the game with a touchdown, but they still are at a disadvantage if the game is tied after each team gets a possession. This isn’t fair, seeing as both teams were equally effective on their first overtime drive.

I like the blind bid idea. On a note card, each coach writes down the yard line at which he’s willing to take the ball, and whichever team that is willing to take the ball closest to its own goal line gets possession. Each team has an equal opportunity at possession and there is strategy involved. Do you have more faith in your offense or your defense? Would you rather take possession at your own 15-yard line or give the ball to to the other team at the 18-yard line?

It’s fair and fun.

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