What a weekend of NFL action! Last Weekend’s NFL Divisional Round (outright Quarterfinals) featured four games with an average margin of victory of 3.8 points; three ended with tie-breaking field goals and the other one going to overtime.
As a quick recap, the Bengals eliminated the top-seeded Titans with a 52-yard field goal by Evan McPherson (USA); the San Francisco 49ers also pulled the road upset, with Robbie Gould (USA) scoring a 45-yard field goal to eliminate the Green Bay Packers; and the Rams eliminated the Champions, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with a 30-yard field goal by Matt Gay (USA).
Tom Brady (USA) was close to making yet another epic comeback -and with seconds to go he was close to accomplishing- but he will not extend his “World Championships” record to eight. More importantly, it could have been the last game ever for the best player ever, although he has mentioned he wants to play until he is 45 -he is 44- and still led the league in several standards during the season.
Finally, the Kansas City Chiefs eliminated the Buffalo Bills in a great fuel between Patrick Mahomes (USA) and Josh Allen (USA) that went back and forth all the way: the teams scored 25 points in the final two regular minutes of the game, more than in any other postseason game in history. Both quarterbacks combined for 844 yards without giveaways.
Several commentators are placing this game among one of the best ever. Unfortunately, the beauty of this game was tarnished by the anticlimactic fact that the Chiefs won with an unfair overtime rule.
The overtime is technically 10-minutes long but the game ends as soon as one team scores. In a game that went back and forth, it went down to a coin toss that favored Kansas City that allowed them to have the possession and score first. That was it. Exciting in a way but not for the best reasons.
NFL players undergo a lot of physical stress and any minute added is any minute where they are more exposed to injury. It is understandable that the games have to end as soon as possible. But the rule should change at least for the playoffs, where a full season’s effort could be nixed out of luck.
There are several ways that have been suggested throughout the weekend, and some of them are sound and certainly better than the Status Quo.
A couple of examples: having the better-placed home team start with possession -that way both teams can strategize accordingly and it also rewards merit-, or allowing possession for the other team until one scores more points, and then alternate two-point conversions -just as in college-.
Even something as exotic as allowing a team to “earn” their possession with a field goal after receiving a score is much better than the current system.
The NFL certainly knows its TV well. It also does not want games to overlap, but in the postseason games could be arranged so they do not overlap, and fans wouldn’t mind an extension of games as epic as those we witnessed last week. Do not sabotage your own sport, not to mention the corporate word “product”, that decision-makers probably utilize.