Fans DEMAND change

The championship games of the NFL really sparked strong responses from the fans. Those responses WILL provoke rule changes. Let’s take one at a time…
….the 1st game, the NFC championship witnessed an unbelievable “No Call” on …what seems to us in slow motion…as an obvious pass Interference. Had the flag been thrown, the New Orleans Saints could have ran time down and kicked a chip shot FG to win the game. It wasn’t! Fans have screamed, cursed, probably threw things about the “no call”. It’s commonly agreed at this point that there actually was a penalty but no flag. At this moment, the NFL hasn’t allowed “replay officials” to throw their own flags from the booth. For one….I wouldn’t be anxious for that….I mean…there’s holding on lineman and/or d-backs almost every play in the NFL. We’d be opening a Pandora’s box…will the booth officials determine Motion penalties? Holding penalties…ugh? Lining up inches offsides? Where will it stop? If the booth DOES start calling penalties that had been overlooked….would the game take 5 hours?… instead of the almost 4 hours now? Btw…if you haven’t noticed…on many plays the play clock has reached zero….and the ball is snapped just slightly after it has stopped moving and the play goes on. Do we want a booth official….wiping out all these plays…adding 5 yards to the needed 1st down and slowing the progress of the game & offense? YOUR thoughts…how would you change these no calls? All suggestions are appreciated and will be published with your initials. I really feel badly for New Orleans but…..bad calls ARE a part of the game…I’m willing to accept that…some fans are not. I will say my 15+ years of umpiring may have skewed my thoughts. Many fans who have never officiated, probably don’t understand the “instant” decision that must be made by the official and that some fans expect you to be right 100% of the time…usually the ones who haven’t ever officiated.
….the AFC championship game brought up a different issue…..the overtime procedure. The NFL often has very close games. In fact, we had 6 ties in regulation in the first 6 weeks THIS year….soooo….these tight, closely played games really are very common in the NFL. Currently the NFL has the coin toss, if the receiving team (team who won the coin toss) scores a TD…game is over. If it’s a FG, punt, or turnover… the losing team of the coin toss…now has a chance to win. We all know what happened, New England won the coin toss, marched right down the Field….put Tom Brady on their shoulders, had Bill Belichick give his customary 30 second “we’re happy to win” speech, then strut off the field holding the Rozelle Trophy (scary….I remember seeing Pete Rozell LIVE…I guess he just died yesterday ). There have been numerous suggestions (11 in one article) to improve this type of OT….this wasn’t the 1st time that OT has ended in the playoffs on the 1st possession…as recently as 2016, in the divisional playoffs, the Arizona Cardinals, won toss…scored TD in 3 plays and the game was over… Green Bay’s offense never saw the field…in fact barely had time to blink as the Cards raced down the field. Although unpopular, there is evidence that this OT method is working…. in 25 of the 45 NFL seasons since OT was introduced… there were NO ties as the final score for the entire season! If that’s what you want…no ties.
Let’s go back to the beginning….. I do believe the NFL responds to the fans ideas, feelings & emotions much quicker than any of the other major sports… Now they clearly see the unhappiness of the fans with the OT. However, keep in mind that the NFL owners have expressed the feeling that the players have “given their all” in the first 60 minutes…the owners must think that an extended OT will jeopardize the health and careers of their players. It’s a valid point…don’t know if I agree…but its valid. Sooo….let’s throw out playing playing OT in regular season, let those ties stand…it was a tie game period. I actually think that those tie games add more intrigue to the standings. For post season…let’s make it simple… let’s go back to real, normal football…. but discard these ridiculous rules—each team must get the ball once, you win with a TD but not a FG, yada-yada-yada. My premise is that the OT should be like a real football game. I would like to see a 5th quarter of 7:30 (1/2 as long as a normal quarter) length. Then it’d still be REAL football. Surely, each team will get the ball at least once…who can hold the ball for 7:30? For post season games, if still tied after 5 quarters, a 6th quarter of 6:00 minutes would be implemented…etc, etc… 7th quarter of 5 minutes, etc. Maybe even discard the coin toss to start this extra quarter. Possibly the team with the most offensive yards gets the ball. Or, maybe the team that came from behind to tie the game must kickoff . Or….some other, easily determined factor that actually ties in the play of the first 4 quarters into the OT…rather than a coin toss. Also…these OT stats would NOT count for individual or team offensive or defensive stats for the game or season. What are your ideas for OT? I know that there are many of you with great ideas….please share.
…Blues fans are deeply disappointed as “break” time in the NHL begins. What is YOUR suggestion for the Blues? Glancing through the +/- stats is rather alarming. Several key players have poor marks. For example, Tarasenko is a -11 for the season; Brayden Schenn is at -10; Pat Maroon is -10 for the season; Ivan Barbashev holds a -9 mark; Jay Bouwmeester is -8. The ONLY double digit PLUS player is O’Reilley at +14. Recently, I saw a highlight of Tarasenko’s 1st game as a Blue…he was flying down the ice as he scored a goal. I’ve heard innuendo’s by commentators, especially in the off season, about his “body conditioning”….ol’ South side interpretation—he doesn’t stay in shape year round! He does look slower to me…he doesn’t seem to have that extra zip on this shot or his step. I know everyone is hyped up about Bennington…yes…he has been solid (favorite word of most sports fans and announcers these days) but GK wasn’t the real problem in my mind…we’re 3-8 in regulation 1 goal games; 2-4 in OT and 0-1 in shootouts. If we were just .500 in those 1 goal games, we’d be in the post season hunt. We don’t score enough goals and most of our players don’t even LOOK like goal scorers. I’d like to see more skating in front of the net….not just 3-5ft outside the GK box…but slashing across the middle to accept a pass for 10-25 feet away from the net, then shoot…you can shoot right, left, up, down…you aren’t limited as we are now with all these shots from steep angles along the boards…ooopps…they call it the “wall” now. I do think that the Blues, will have a difficult time unloading some of these heavy contracts of…seemingly… mediocre NHL players.
..while I’m thinking of hockey…why don’t the Blues have their top hockey minor league team right here in St. Louis? You’d increase the usage of the Enterprise Center. Charge minimal prices to get the youngsters into the arena to watch a game….to me….hockey in person is far superior in person to watching it on TV. It’d be more use for the Center…..use only the “close” seats so you can REALLY see what’s happening on the ice. You could have special prices for kids…get them in the habit of watching hockey LIVE. I recall the ol’ days when SLU had hockey…it was great to go and watch the Bills under Bill Selmon. I’m guessing that the Soloman’s may have been behind the money ball on that one for SLU. Maybe…’d probably be a big loser financially…. so maybe it isn’t possible…but I’ll keep dreaming.
…..Cards fans are still a bit uneasy….yes, Goldschmidt is a good player but several questions continue to haunt many fans? Will Ozuna be ready on time or will he have that rag arm again? From afar it doesn’t sound like Ozuna cares too much and may be anxious to leave StL as a free agent next year. I don’t think that the Cards expect to resign him. Some players really don’t like being under the microscope constantly…as they are in the Lou…they’d rather march to their own beat. I think that Ozuna may not even make it to the end of the year…he could be shipped out as a short term bat to a contender in August. It depends upon the progress of the young Cardinals Outfielders in early 2019(especially O’Neill). Will Reyes EVER really live up to his hype? Some pitchers come all the way back from these extended arm issues…some never come back to their full “hype”. Is Wong REALLY really the “man” for 2b? Last year Wong’s 84.4 mph average exit velocity from the plate was not only the lowest of his career but also ranked him a dismal 213th among the 227 MLB hitters with at least 250 plate appearances in 2018. This isn’t new for Wong… he’s actually been on steady decline in exit velocity for each of the past 4 seasons. It was 87 mph in 2015; dropped to 86 mph in ’16 and then to 85.1 mph in ’17. Is Wong’s outstanding defense strong enough with a…seemingly…potent offense? Some would say that you don’t need 8 “strong” hitters….but you DO need very strong up-the-middle defense. Wong has demonstrated some great range @ 2B. Or…will the Cards gently shove out Wong for Munoz at the starting 2B slot…and let him stay there? Or…with all the young SS in the Card system, will one of them become a 2B? I believe that this IS the make/break year for Wong and the direction that the Cards management decide to go with 2B…must it be a strong hitter or is a outstanding defensive 2b enough?
…SLU basketball fans may be starting to wonder…for 3 years now, Coach Ford’s roster has always shrunk to 10 or less available players as we approach the heart of the schedule. For example, in Saturday’s heartbreaking loss to Davidson, 4 players logged 36+ minutes each. That’s too much. By now…in his 3rd year…these are all HIS players. Does he drive them too hard physically and/or mentally and the players “break down”? Does he recruit too many athletes with background issues? Are the players equipped for the academic challenges? Is it just coincidence? Is it that the hours required in practice, watching films, weight room, meetings, etc is too strenuous? Is the expectation bar set too high collectively and individually? Is it just bad luck each year? I don’t know… but..I do know that a roster of 10 strong players seems essential as the teams wind their way through the key games of Jan-Feb-March.
…both baseball and football fans are anxious to see which way Kyler Murray will take his professional career. He’s already signed a $4.66m contract with the Oakland A’s after being drafted last year. Now…after his spectacular year as QB @ Oklahoma, he may be drafted in the 1st round of the NFL draft. We all know what 1st round QB are paid….rumors are he’s leaning to football. If he DOES go the football route, he’ll have to return that baseball bonus money. As a ol’ guy, I’d recommend to my son to stay in baseball….longer career, less chance of injury, more money in long run. On the other side, right now in the USA, football is king…don’t know if it’ll be that way much longer….but right now… the buzz is all about NFL & college football with special emphasis on quarterbacks. Already, some football pundits already have him pegged Murray as a middle 1st rounder despite his non-drop back style of throwing. Apparently, he’s similar to Lamar Jackson (Balt) who had good success this year. But…Murray throws the ball significantly better than Jackson and played a much higher level of opponents than Jackson did in college…it’s the brand new style of QB entering the NFL. Btw….Drew Lock…who is much more the traditional style QB… also pops up in the 1st round of the in the forecasted draft that I was using. Looks like my forecast on him was off on his draft selection.
….StL fans are in disbelief that Andy Reid hired Steve Spagnuolo as his d-coordinator. Spags had a miserable run as the Rams Head Coach (11-41)….sooo….people around town aren’t jumping on his bad wagon. Last year he was the Defensive Coordinator for the Giants. The most important category for a DC (outside of winning games) is how many points did you allow and can you stop your opponents in the last 2 minutes of the game. His team looked like this….they were 16th (of 32) in points allowed–23.1ppg, the Chiefs were dead last in the NFL allowing 35.3ppg. If KC only gave up 23ppg, they’d be in the super bowl!! Although, a great deal of that has to do with the personnel…not just schemes…. so keep your eyes on the Chiefs in the upcoming draft and in the signing of free agents to improve their D.
….Vianney HS fans are in celebrating. Their Varsity Baseball Head Coach, Scott Brown, was named as the National HS Baseball Coach of the Year for 2018. The Golden Griffins baseball team won state this year but that really wasn’t a NEW thing for Coach Brown. In his 26 seasons has HC, he’s complied a 503-260 record (280-198@CBC; 223-62@Vianney). His clubs have won 18 district titles, been in 8 Elite Eight STATE finishes, 6 Final Fours, and has won the Metro Catholic Conference 8 times. Coach Brown now owns the most baseball wins at both CBC and Vianney! I had the unique distinction of being Scott’s 1st assistant on his 1st Varsity team @ CBC. Congratulations to him for his very successful achievement.
…Now I hope these blog fans made it to the bottom and some will respond to any part of these ideas. Send them to me…I’ll have them published with your initials…or any letters that you want me to use

11 Solutions to Fix NFL Overtime Once and for All
The most exciting player in football didn’t touch the ball in the extra period of Sunday’s AFC championship game. That’s a problem, so let’s look at our options.
By Danny Heifetz Jan 23, 2019, 10:17am EST

Getty Images/Ringer illustration
We must hold on to our moral authority to complain online, because without complaining, the internet would just be porn, cat photos, and dubious quotes attributed to dead presidents. But Teddy Roosevelt once said that complaining about a problem without proposing a solution is just whining, and a lot of football fans are whining this week.

The NFL’s overtime system has been questioned since it was implemented in 1974, but this week, it is facing the sharpest scrutiny since 2010, when the overtime rules were retooled. On Sunday, both the NFC and AFC championship games went into overtime, and in the latter matchup the Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots combined for 48 second-half points, 31 of which came from Kansas City to tie the game at the end of regulation. The Chiefs did not get the ball again. The Patriots correctly called heads on the overtime coin toss, elected to receive, and drove down the field to score a touchdown and win the game in sudden death. The Chiefs defense squandered plenty of chances to stop the Pats and get the ball, including three third-and-10 opportunities, but their loss sparked a few questions: How much influence should a coin toss have on the outcome of a game? Should overtime conclude after only one offense has stepped onto the field? Can we write into the rule book that if regulation ends in a tie, then the Patriots lose?

For the whiners among us, here are 11 possible solutions to the NFL’s vexing overtime problem, along with the pros and cons of each. Happy complaining.

The Status Quo

  1. Keep the Current Rules
    The Rule: “Each team must possess, or have the opportunity to possess, the ball. The exception: if the team that gets the ball first scores a touchdown on the opening possession.”

Pros: Defense matters. If the Chiefs wanted to win, then they should have forced a stop.

Cons: The current rule is bizarre. The original policy was amended because the team that won the coin flip had a disproportionate advantage. From 1994 (when the kickoff was moved back 5 yards) to 2010, the team that won the coin toss won nearly 60 percent of overtime games. Since the sudden-death rule was tweaked to exclude first-possession field goals in 2012 (for two seasons prior, the rule change was in effect for only the playoffs), the disparity isn’t nearly as dramatic (52.7 percent, with that difference partially due to more home teams winning the toss so far).

But the fairness of the rule is much more questionable considering how often playoff overtime games have been decided in a single possession by one team. As ESPN’s Mike Sando pointed out:

Here are the playoff OT games since rules changed to require a TD instead of a FG to win on the first possession. As @BenBaldwin noted, if both teams were assured possession, the second team with the ball would benefit from knowing what’s needed to win. @BrockESPN

It is bonkers that the team that wins the coin flip can end the game by scoring a touchdown on the first drive and then turn around and say, “If you wanted to win, you should have played defense,” even though its own defense didn’t have to do anything. If defense matters, both defenses should have to play. A coin toss should not determine which team gets the opportunity to keep the other offense from playing. Until teams are given the chance to have an equal number of possessions, some games won’t have just—or entertaining—endings.

  1. Same Rules, but Sudden Death Begins After the First Possession
    The Rule: Each team must have the opportunity to possess the ball.

Pros: It preserves the allure of sudden death but allows each team to touch the ball at least once. No matter what the Patriots had done on their first overtime possession Sunday, the Chiefs would have gotten the ball back.

Cons: It would not guarantee equal possessions. Let’s say that after the Patriots scored a touchdown, they went for two points and converted. Then the Chiefs got the ball, scored a touchdown, and made a two-point conversion to tie the game. Then the Patriots got the ball, drove 45 yards, and kicked a walk-off field goal. It’d be the same problem we started with: The Chiefs wouldn’t have the chance to respond because of the coin-toss outcome.

  1. Go Back to Sudden Death
    The Rule: First team to score wins.

Pros: Life isn’t fair. The rules are already too complicated. Let’s return to a simpler time.

Cons: Going down the field to get 40 yards, kicking a field goal, and winning is as unexciting to watch as a sports fan as it is difficult to accept as a loser.

  1. Play the Whole Overtime Period
    The Rule: Play the entire period (10 minutes in the regular season, 15 in the playoffs).

Pros: This is the simplest solution, and perhaps the most tempting to anyone who is exhausted just by reading these options, never mind hearing refs explain them. In 2017, the league shortened overtime to 10 minutes in the regular season; in 2018, there were two ties in the first two weeks of the season.

Cons: If reading these entries has been exhausting, imagine playing a 75-minute football game in subzero weather. Now imagine that game still being tied. The players would be exhausted, it would be less fun to watch, and, most importantly, this solution would greatly raise the risk of injury. Football is dangerous enough, and the league doesn’t need to add any more rules that put players at risk.

Inspired by College Football

  1. College Football Overtime
    The Rule: You can read the full rules of college football overtime here, but this is the gist:

Each team gets one possession starting from the opponent’s 25-yard line.
If the score is still tied after both possessions, the process repeats, but the team that went first goes second, and vice versa.
After two overtime periods, no extra points are allowed. Only two-point conversions.
Pros: Equal possessions would mean that more points could be scored and the game would be more fun. Ditching the extra points after two overtimes means games would end faster.

Cons: Putting NFL teams in the heart of the other team’s territory is antithetical to the sport and feels like a practice-drill gimmick. Luckily, the field position is the easiest part of the rule to change …

  1. Modified College Football Overtime
    The Rule: Take college football overtime rules, but instead of putting teams 25 yards away from the end zone, have them start somewhere else more palatable—the 50-yard line, their own 25-yard line, wherever.

Pros: This might be the closest we come to a rule that’s both fair and realistic. It would be far better to watch the Chiefs lose because their offense had the chance to score and failed rather than not getting the chance to score at all.

Cons: As The Ringer’s Rodger Sherman wrote two years ago, college football overtime is still influenced by the coin toss:

“If you’re looking for a system not influenced by coin tosses, college football isn’t the place. In that system, teams get to choose whether to play on offense first or second. The team that goes second has a massive advantage, knowing how many points it needs to tie or win the game. A study of the first 10 years of college football’s overtime rules found that teams that went second won 54.9 percent of the time. Another study found that teams that start on defense had a 52.1 percent win probability, smaller than the NFL’s but still significant. And this Redditor tabulated that teams going second in overtime had won 331 of 602 overtime games, almost 55 percent. Allowing both teams to touch the ball lends plausible fairness to the game, but it doesn’t make it even.

Yes, the team that goes second would have an advantage by going second (on the other hand, this is how baseball works, and nobody seems to have an issue with the home team batting at the bottom of extra innings). There is one way to eliminate the power of the coin toss that was proposed this week …

How about the NFL adopts the college football overtime system but with touchdowns only?

The coin flip doesn’t matter if, e.g.,
—In each OT, teams get one possession each from the opponents’ 25-yard-line
—TD or bust: no FGs, no safeties, no defensive TDs
—In the 1st OT, there’s no conversion attempt
—In subsequent overtimes, mandatory 2-point conversions

Pros: Silver’s proposal would eliminate the influence of the coin toss altogether and give each team equal possessions. The fear NFL owners have had since 1974—that the coin toss would affect the game’s outcome—would be mitigated.

Cons: The ball still starts on the 25-yard line, and special teams and the third phase of the game are still eliminated, as are defensive touchdowns, which are the best kind of touchdown. Eliminating field goals would piss off kickers and … wait, would anyone else be upset if we eliminated kickers from overtime? Some thought leaders have been on this train for a long time.

Let’s Get Real Nerdy

  1. Riley’s Rule: Win by 4
    The Rule: The team that gets a lead of four or more points first wins.

Pros: This rule comes courtesy of Ringer associate editor Riley McAtee and is a tweak to what the Basketball Tournament did to fix the sport’s fouling problem at the end of games. Eliminate the clock and add a target score of four points over the opponent. A field goal wouldn’t win the game on its own, but two would, as would a touchdown. It would reduce the chances of the smallest players deciding the biggest games.

Cons: It wouldn’t solve the situation that unfolded Sunday with the Chiefs, and it has the potential to extend games for even longer if teams begin trading field goals in overtime. It’s also an arbitrary number that would suddenly have huge importance for no reason.

  1. The Cut-and-Choose Method
    The Rule: Instead of changing the rules of sudden-death overtime, this fix would address the coin toss itself. The loser of the coin toss would decide where the ball will be placed—the 25-yard line, the 15-yard line, wherever they want—and the winner of the coin toss would decide whether to start on offense or defense from that spot. (“Cut-and-choose” stems from Andrew and Chris Quanbeck and was inspired by one person cutting a piece of cake into two pieces and the second person deciding which to eat.)

Pro: “Either way, the head coach is in control of his team’s destiny,” the Quanbeck brothers wrote in their proposal. If the goal is to maximize fairness with the coin toss, this would be the move, giving the rule the flexibility to adapt to the game as offenses and defenses fall in or out of sync with each other.

Con: It wouldn’t fix the problem of one team winning the game in one drive, though it would give opponents autonomy in the decision. Imagine listening to referees explain this on the broadcast, or trying to explain it to your grandparents, or to Rex Ryan.

  1. Auction Off the Field Position
    The Rule: Another rule that addresses the coin toss instead of overtime rules themselves: Get rid of the coin toss altogether and give the ball to the team who will take it closer to its own goal line by auctioning off field position.

Who wants it at the 30? The 29? The 28?

The specifics of this proposal, also created by the Quanbeck brothers, include a few variations—a live auction between coaches at midfield? a silent auction with two envelopes?—but no matter what, the team getting the ball would be the one that sacrificed more field position in exchange for possession.

Pros: It’d be the most efficient way to determine how valuable possession to start overtime is. It would stand the test of time even as the balance of power between offense and defense changes. (It’s also amazing to picture Bill Belichick and Sean McVay at midfield bidding on field position.)

Cons: If you thought the cut-and-choose method was bad, imagine the referees explaining this one on national television.

The Winner Is …

  1. Extra-Innings Baseball, but Extra-Possessions Football
    The Rule: A regular NFL overtime period with the spirit of college football’s equal possessions, but without removing special teams from the equation. Imagine a baseball game going into extra innings—they just keep playing!—but with possessions instead of half-innings. A coin toss would decide the kickoff, and the teams would play a non-sudden-death overtime period. The team that gets the ball first would either score on its possession or have to punt, just like in regulation. The team that gets the ball second would have to match or exceed the score posted by the first team on its drive. If the game is still tied after two possessions, the teams would keep going. (For example, if the first team punts, the opponent would be able to win with just a field goal.)

Pros: This would keep the spirit of equal possessions from the college overtime system and promote maximum fairness, but also preserve special teams, field position, and everything else that makes football flow and football coaches glow. It would also address the coin toss. The power of the coin toss in NFL overtime goes to the team that gets the ball first because of the opportunity to score first, but also because of the field position earned by getting the kickoff and punting if necessary. By contrast, the equal-possessions system favors the team that goes second, because it has the information advantage. This system could mitigate both issues by incorporating advantages from both.

Cons: Instead of mitigating the power of the coin toss, this proposal could exacerbate it. Also, this could give us our first five-hour football game. But it’s the only solution that attempts to emphasize equal possessions, deemphasize the coin flip, and keep the game both authentic and fun. Most importantly, it’s the best option to cut down on all the whining.

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