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In Defense of Ties

Last week I argued on my home blog that the NFL should make only very minor tweaks to the regular season OT system. Commenter spoonfulofpeter made a great point though:

I'm actually in the small group of pinko, soccer-lovin', wiener boys that favors ties. A tie would be a more accurate representation of the game's final score. That you could lose a 20-17 game in OT due to a defense that's exhausted from 60 minutes of play after a closely fought battle in regulation and have that count just the same as a 28-0 shutout seems entirely unfair.

The tie is accurate. OT puts people at risk of injury, screws with TV schedules, and leaves most people feeling wholly unsatisfied. Not that ties are satisfying, it's just not that much different.

Of course this will never happen in an American sport, but I think it's a better system. If we're okay with ties after 75 minutes, why not be okay with them after 60?

This argument pretty much won me over: bring back regular season ties!

We all know this will NEVER happen, of course. As SoP points out, American sports fans LOATHE tie games. However, in addition to his arguments, I'll add this one: It will possibly simplify postseason tie-breaker scenarios too. Take 2008 as an example, where the Eagles (9-6-1) made the playoffs over the 9-7 Cowboys, Bears and Bucs.

There also is this problem: NFL coaches are so risk-averse that most would gladly take that tie game as a result rather than, say, go for two and the win at the end of a game. The vast majority would only go for the win if a tie game would directly result in elimination from playoff contention.

If I was running the league, we'd have no regular season OT, and this would be the OT format for the playoffs:

In the wild card round, divisional playoffs, and conference championships, it would be a "first to six" OT format where (duh) the first team to score six points in OT wins the game. It can be a TD, two FGs, three safeties, etc.

In the Super Bowl (if one ever went OT), the first 15 minutes would not be Sudden Death. Still tied after that? 2nd OT is then Sudden Death.

What do you think, sirs?