Thursday, March 25, 2010

ESPN Tries to Rewrite History With Rule Change

It seems that critics of the NFL overtime system have finally had their way. After years of heartbroken fans trying to waylay their anguish my masticating the rules system, Espn pundits have finally succeeded in reprising the NFL overtime system. In doing so they have also succeeded in adding an asterisk t the Saint's 2009 Superbowl championship. When the saints defeated the Vikings in the NFC championship game a few months ago I tuned into the postgame coverage to revelp in my teams victory only to see one of the networks pundits, Steve Mariootci, crying over Viking's Quarterback Brett Favre's lost. The National Sports media's Bias was never more apparent than in this moment and that bias has finally seen its fruition in the passing of the new "Favre overtime rule."

The NFL adopted the new overtime system three decades ago to cut down on the number of ties without extending game time. Its important to note that NFL games are the most physically demanding individual competitions in sport. The games are so demanding that despite the fact players get a full week of rest in between games NFL carriers rarely last longer than 10-13 years, with only the best athletes lasting longer than that. NFL games usally involve about 150 plays each of which end with most or all of the participants getting knocked down and physically assaulted and shoved. To grant a comparison go outside or to a local park and ask a friend to push you hard enough to knock you onto the ground. Now imagine getting knocked down about 50 times over a three hour period by the strongest athletes in the world. Teams of 50 players often end the year with up to 10 players suffering serious enough injuries to be placed in injured reserve. Its not uncommon for 10% of the stars in the league to receive serious injuries over the course of a season. Out of respect for the physical reality of the game, the league has fought off efforts to extend games or to extend the season more than it already has. The overtime system being replaced was created to insure tied games could be resolved as quickly as possible.

For years now the sports media, which overwhelmingly includes people who haven't done anything athletic since high school, has complained about the "fairness" of the overtime system. As I recall fair usally means everyone get the same opportunity. The Coin flip isn't predetermined, the rules aren't changed, and most importantly of all we are not going to be getting the best football out of the players in the overtime period. Players who have just finished a full NFL game are going to be sloppier than earlier in the game. Is it"fair" that they are forced to play longer than the required time because you want to give the other team a "fair" shot at winning the game. The team who wins the opening coin flip wins on the first possession about 33% of the time, hardly an outrage. If the same team doesn't score on there first possession, they are huge underdogs winning only 30% of the time. Is that fair to the poor team who win the coin toss? They have a PI go uncalled and now they have only a 30% chance to win.

The overtime rule fits the pure definition of fair. From the time the overtime possession begins anyone can win. If your getting the ball all you have to do is get an ok return and put together 5-8 plays to get a reasonable shot at a winning score. If your on defence all you have to do is force a fourth down and prevent big plays. Is that so hard? Even if they get a return to the 40 yard line they still need to to allow 30 yards for a field goal. They could allow a big play, allow a big return, or even allow a methodical drive down the field into field goal range. Do you want me to feel bad for them? Their season was on the line and they let a team dink and dunk into soft coverage into field goal range. The only teams with a real reason to hate sudden death are teams with bad defences. I guarantee you that the 2000 ravens didn't stand on the sidelines sweating over the overtime coin flip. The Steal Curtain wasn't preparing their post game complaints about the coin flip. The players union and many coaches hate this rule. They should hate having to put more demand on their bodies in an already tough NFL season.

Espn has reduced itself from being a legitimate journalistic source to being a first class joke. I stopped tuning into ESPN and the NFL network after the NFL championship game. I have never seen an Espn pundit cry over a saint's lost. I do not expect them too, I expect them to be objective, to carefully analyze the sort they talk about, and to admit when they were wrong and too LEARN from their mistakes. Take for example Peyton Manning, who after a win against the Jets was on his way to his second Superbowl, he became the golden boy of Espn as soon as the time ticked on the end of the AFC championship game. Espn and the sport betters of the world layed everything on the Colts in the Superbowl. In their view the colt had "earned" their ticket to the superbowl, while the Saints had been "dominated" by the Vikings and only made it into

the last 11 super bowls have been won by the team with the SMALLEST margin of victory in the championship game EVERYTIME except once(when the panther lost to the patriots in the last play of the game). Perhaps this is because every time that a team wins big in a championship game the National Media (cough* ESPN) goes bonkers for them and creates the ever valuable "us against the world" atmosphere that teams fine so valuable. Perhaps its because NFl are decided by more than total yardage and the team that played the best rarely has alot i common with the team that puts up the most offencive yards. Perhaps Defences play a big part in turnovers and offences aren't just "giving away" a game. Perhaps Espn should stop acting so surprised every time the team they crown world champion loses.

Brett Favre is a good player, but he's not your boyfriend and he's not a fan of you.

As soon as the National Media's blood lust went unquenched in the Superbowl, momentum to change overtime rules quickly picked up steam. They spent the next few week advocating more and more that the rules be changed since they now felt that Farve had been denied more than just a trip to the Superbowl. After 30 years of basically no controversy and ZERO complaints about the NFL overtime rules from players, coaches, and most owners (note: the viking voted against this stupid new rule) the NFL passed the new rule to try and shut up the media. IT will not work. Hopefully after the far to quick gut decision to chage a fundamental way the game is changed proves to Be a failure they can revise there decision. But Espn will undoubtedly throw a caniption and demand their toys back. Seriously we need competition in sports media.

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