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  • Writer's pictureScott Hatter

You Play to Win the Game!

Ties are boring and dumb, just look at Burrow's expression. Literally, nobody wins. So why does the NFL keep rules in place to allow teams to "not lose?"




From the 1989 season through the 2008 season (20 years) there were 5 tied games in the NFL. Over the last 7 seasons, there have been SEVEN! And in 2016 and 2018, there were 2 each season. That means, over those seasons, a total of 14 teams have seen a "1" in the "T" column in the standings. Even crazier, though maybe not surprising, the Bengals are three of those 14 teams, with the latest "non-loss" coming this past Sunday vs. the surprising awful Eagles. Just to make it look more extreme, because stats are for telling the story you want to tell, that's 43% of tied games involving Who Dey Nation.


As I watched the end of that disaster on Sunday, I came away with one thought that I can't back away from: "both of those teams deserve a loss." As in, the NFL should step in and change the tie to an "L." In the last 30 seconds of OT alone, the Eagles kept throwing the ball in the middle of the field, almost throwing a pick, that even if completed would have run out the clock, to settle for a 59-yard field goal attempt, only to commit a false start, and then ultimately punt. PUNT! With less than a play-clock's worth of time remaining between two winless teams, the Eagles decided to give up instead of go for the win. And then, after a fair catch on the 7 - the 2nd fair catch inside the 10 in OT alone (WHAT!?!), the Bengals knelt to end the game. Again, deciding to give up instead of trying. I'm a little surprised Bayou Joe didn't go rogue and just take off running. No competition at this level should have a "give-up" option (don't get me started on Soccer - where they have strategies to play for a draw).


Thoughts on how to fix this (these are all NEVER going to happen, but so what, this is what rants are for):

  1. Both teams participating in a game with a tied score at the end of the overtime period, get a loss. As Herm Edwards once said, "you play to win the game." This one is pretty simple. If no one wins, then everyone loses. There is no such thing as half of a game. In the standing that is mathematically worth half of a win. There should be no credit for a half. It's like an incomplete in school. You didn't finish, you get a zero. If you don't like it, well try harder.

  2. Play until one team wins. People like to hate on the college rule, but there hasn't been a tie in the NCAA since 1996. It's called progression people. For a sport that likes to make rules to benefit scoring, the overtime rules in the NFL are boring. Don't time the period. Keep the current rules and just play until someone wins.

  3. If you like the current rules, for some unknown reason, then treat it like the NHL. At the end of overtime, if neither team has put in enough effort to win, then send it to a field goal contest. Start at the 30 yard line (a 48 yard attempt) and then move back 5 yards until one kicker misses. And no, I don't think you should get an overtime loss or a "tie" in this instance. You win or you lose.

  4. Similar to option 1, but even simpler: Get rid of overtime. Everyone complains about the rules, so if you can't figure it out, just get rid of it. But again...no ties. If no one can claim victory after 60 minutes of game time, then you both lose. Sure, you will end up with teams that get wins because the other team went for 2 and lost, but that is a consequence I am willing to live with. Sure, it's possible you could lose going for 2, but if you don't, you know you will lose, because why...you play to win the game. And if no one wins the game...well then...you BOTH lose.

  5. Similar to old tales of war, pick your fastest guy and race from end zone to end zone. Tyreke Hill's value suddenly spikes with his new role as Kansas City Chief's Tribute.

At the end of the day, I'm open to just about anything. Just keep whatever that was on Sunday afternoon off the field and off of my television. Neither of those teams wanted to win. You could see it. That's fine, give them what they want.

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