All I can think about with this new NFL overtime rule is that Herman Edwards must hate it.
Edwards was king of the conservative approach in overtime, passing up touchdown opportunities in favor of lining up for a field goal.
It's a strategy that, combined with other elements (in fairness to him, I guess), cost the Jets a shot at an AFC Championship Game five years ago.
If he were still coaching, he might have to think twice before employing that strategy again.
The new rule, passed earlier this week, states that in a playoff game, the team that kicks off in overtime, if it allows a field goal, has a chance to match or beat that field goal. If the receiving team scores a touchdown, the game is over, and if the kicking team ends up matching the field goal, the game goes back to sudden death. (I probably could have been clearer presenting that, but I also can safely assume you know the new rule by now.)
It remains to be seen how coaches will play overtime. But you have to think, with first possession in OT, and the ball inside the 20 or so, a team will be forced to take a couple of shots at the end zone in order to end the game rather than take their chances with a field goal and kicking the ball away to the other team.
Edwards never would have done such a thing...in fact, he didn't.
This rule will result in a couple of things - not the least of which is me violating my ban on ever having Doug Brien (seen at left, beating San Diego a week before becoming the goat at Pittsburgh) appear in my blog again. There's the possibility that it will also be put into effect for the regular season as well as the post-season. I bet it happens. If so, I bet there is a tremendous increase in onside kicks in overtimes - why not take the chance, because then all you have to do is score if you recover it...and if you don't, all you really have to do is hold the other team to a field goal to make sure you get the ball back.
The other result will be much longer games, which could impact whether or not it is passed for the regular season.
Despite the games being longer, this rule will make the games more entertaining. There will just be so much more action in overtime.
So I guess I like it. My problem with everyone who has ever complained about the overtime format, though, is that football is a multi-faceted game. There is offense, defense, and special teams. If you don't win the overtime coin toss, your special teams needs to make it difficult for the other team to get good field position. Then your defense needs to prevent the other team from marching down the field on you, hopefully getting the ball back to your special teams on a punt, then handing it over to your offense to win the game.
I understand the complaint that it puts too much emphasis on the game-ending field goal - but there are plenty of good offenses that lost overtime games because defenses held.
All that said, I hope this rule is also adopted for the regular season - it's probably better for football.
*Rex Ryan is reportedly upset that Leon Washington is not working out with the team at their complex. Something about this rubs me the wrong way. The Jets have been good to Washington. They want to work it out with him so that he will stay. He has been a fan favorite for his kick return ability. I have a feeling if it was up to him, he would go elsewhere...at least that seems to be the message he's sending. If that's the case, I don't know that I want him back. It seems to me he has an inflated view of himself (especially for someone coming off a devastating injury). He's never going to be someone's number one...or even number two...back. He's a once-in-a-while back, every-kick-return type of player. I don't think he'll thrive anywhere else. He fits right with the Jets.
*This could have been a good year for Dwight Gooden. He and Darryl Strawberry are supposed to be inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame this season (along with Frank Cashen and Davey Johnson). It's a sign of good faith by the Mets towards two fallen stars. Strawberry has worked at rebuilding his image (numerous times, this time with the Mets as the organization he is closest to), and he can be seen in the dugout during spring training lending his advice. Gooden is bound to fall out of favor yet again after this week's traffic accident, where he was found to be under the influence of drugs. I wonder how the Mets play this, and whether they will still put him in their Hall of Fame on August 1st. They have to be thinking twice about it. Early indications are that the event will still take place.
*While we're on the topic of the 1986 Mets, let's catch up with Hall of Famer Gary Carter, head coach of the Palm Beach Atlantic University Sailfish. The Sailfish are 12-10, having won 10 of their last 11. They started the season 0-6...so they've also won 12 of 16. Seems like that Gary Carter magic is finally catching on.
Interesting note on all this - Carter made this move to be 'closer to his family'. But the college season is over by May 22nd...plenty of time to hook on with a Major League club if one comes calling. That's an aspect of his working at a college (instead of a minor league team) that I hadn't considered.
*I can't escape Ted Robinson. He was doing the radio call of Butler-Kansas State, and I was in the car listening to the end of that game. My only consolation in this whole one-sided rivalry, though, is that I am convinced, if I was unbiased listening to him (which I am not), that he is not a good broadcaster. Especially with basketball. I thought his call of the end of the game was terrible. But at least he didn't say, "Butler did it!", which I'm sure will be the headline everywhere this morning.
In related news, Kentucky gave the final KO to my bracket last night. RIP.
*A week from tonight there will be baseball that counts. I can't wait.