We don’t need to get into the painful details of yesterday’s Super Bowl, other than to say Steph Curry & the Golden State Warriors (and the Cleveland Indians for that matter) will be sending gift baskets and thank you cards to the Falcons for stepping up and taking over the title of ‘biggest choke job’ in a championship game.
And go figure, Kyle Shanahan totally took a page out of the Ravens playbook en route to the disastrous meltdown.
Wild stat. Falcons called only 5 running plays after securing a 28-3 lead. @NFLonFOX
— Peter Schrager (@PSchrags) February 6, 2017
CLASSIC SELF IMPLOSION. Marty Mornihnweg would approve!
While there’s no denying the fact that the Falcons had the game in hand (even after blowing most of a 28-3 lead, they were up eight and at the Patriots 22-yard line with only 4:40 left in the game), the fact that overtime in the NFL championship game, and essentially the outcome, was decided by one thing, and one thing only is pretty embarrassing…
A COIN FLIP.
Per current structure of the rules, the team who possesses the ball first in overtime can win with a touchdown.
Essentially, the Patriots had momentum after scoring 25 unanswered points to tie the game, and with a win on a 50-50 coin toss (on which they made the call) they were able to continue that momentum immediately and scored with ease against a winded Falcons defense.
While it’s no sure thing that the Falcons would have scored a touchdown themselves (or at all given their second-half struggles) had they won the coin toss, it was not completely inconceivable. At very worst, it would have provided the Atlanta defense a moment of rest up, even if it was just a quick 3-&-out.
Regardless, the structure of the NFL rule – first team with the ball (pretty much always the team who wins the coin flip) can win without the opponent getting a stab at it – is flawed, and it was an ugly look last night on the biggest stage of all, where Falcon fans and non-Patriot fans were all left to wonder ‘what if Atlanta won the toss?’
The NFL really needs to consider a change of this rule to reflect those of NCAA Football, in which both teams have a chance to score REGARDLESS OF FG OR TD. Turn the event into a shootout if you will.
Look at it this way: if the current NFL OT format were in place in the other major professional sports, it would look something like this:
NBA – If the team who wins the tip off hits a three-pointer, the game is over. If they drain a basket inside the three-point arc the opposition has a chance to score.
MLB- If the away team scores in the top of the inning during extras, the game is over.
NHL- In the shootout, if the 1st team scores on the first shot, the shootout is over.
*yes, I understand in the NHL OT period first team to score wins, but the NHL is not exclusive possession like the NFL/MLB so both teams will get a chance to score, unlike the shootout where it’s exclusive possessions.
Totally sound logic, right?
I expect this rule change to come up during the League Meetings in March, no doubt; however, I’m not sure it will be met with open arms (surely not in New England). A change of this size would come with some heartburn, and likely will be met with mixed responses. But ultimately, it’s a rule that needs changed, and implemented for the 2017/18 season and beyond.
The only remaining question in my eyes is what we’d call it. Simply “The Falcon Rule?” Maybe “Make Overtime Fair Again Rule?”
Regardless, for Falcons fans, it will still be a day late and a buck short.