The Super Bowl had its rules restructured in recent years. It is now a rule that Super Bowl can never at any time end in a tie. The old system had a sudden-death system where both teams had the same chance to at least get a single possession. When the team that won the coin toss doesn’t manage a touchdown, the other side got the ball, and the game continued. As time lapsed and both teams happen to tie, the game ended.
In the past years, the rules have been changed slightly with the introduction of an extra fifteen minutes when the game ties. Both teams play with three timeouts until there emerges a winner. If that doesn’t happen, they play another fifteen minutes until there is a winner. In spite of their having over 50 games, Super Bowl has never gone to overtime. The closest was between Patriots and St Louis Rams at 17-17 with 1 and a half minute remaining. Adam Vinatieri however with the help of Tom Brady managed a touchdown as the clocked ticked down to zero.
Extra time to players results to more venting out and exasperation rather than players offering assistance to their next move. This is in comparison to halftime where time is limited as players are more concentrated. At halftime, teams aiming to win may make major adjustments with their tactics to figure out why their current one is not working as well as come up with ideas on what to do differently.
The rules of overtime are usually the same in the Super Bowl as they are in the regular season although there are few differences.
There was a time the New England Patriots were trailing the Atlanta Falcons 28 – 3 with slightly a few minutes left in the third quarter but came for a 34 – 28 overtime win. The fact that the game was decided in overtime has led to the debate on the merits and demerits of overtime.
Battling criticism of their inherent unfairness, the NFL came up with overtime procedures for playoffs from 2010 and for the normal season from 2012 onwards. The rule that the first team to score points will emerge, winner, was done away with.
Every team now has an opportunity to possess the football unless a touchdown or safety is scored which makes the game over. For instance, if team one can only manage to score a field goal on its first possession, Team 2 will have an opportunity to take the football and can, therefore, win the game with only a touchdown.
The NFL overtime rules are not very far away from replicating a penalty shootout where the first to get eliminate the other. Touch down for one team automatically means that there is no opportunity for the opponents to make a response. This doesn’t seem right because, at the tail end of a very tough game, defenders are out of steam. Both offenses should have the capacity to exploit the exhaustion of the opposing defenders.
The Danger of Lengthy Playing
Trading touchdowns one of after the other in overtime will make the game longer than it already is. The normal length of an NFL game is around 3 hours and 15 minutes. The longer the players are on the field, they more susceptible to injury they become. This happens especially when the players are exhausted. This is a major concern especially in this era of player safety awareness.
In summary, there is a need to evaluate college football systems where going second in scoring because of a touchdown or a field goal is good enough when one can go fourth down. Overtime could be both beneficial and detrimental to a game depending on many factors.