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Monday Afternoon Musings: The Bears and Overtime Rules

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Wcg_thumb_notes_medium You may or may not have heard of the absolute travesty (sarcasm injected) last year in the NFC championship game when Brett Favre threw a late pick*** which allowed the Saints to take the ball in overtime and win on the first possession of overtime.

***(Quick side note--this is the third time in three seasons he's done this. One of the other two was also an NFC championship game)

That quickly, of course, brought back the good, solid, conversation-starter that is "Is the NFL Overtime system crap, completely crap, or totally crap?"

It's an interesting topic, and comes up often, especially when big games come down to it. So to note, the owners are discussing it at meetings this week. Let's take a look at the proposed change, and how some feel the Bears should look at it.

First things first, the league commissioner is all for it:

The league's competition committee has proposed changing overtime rules for the postseason only. The proposal would afford the team that loses the coin flip a chance to have a possession if the opening possession doesn't end in a touchdown. Sudden death would resume after both teams had a possession.

Well that's all well and good. Seems fair for competitors--if you don't get a touchdown on the opening possession, the other team gets a chance at it. If they score a touchdown, they win. If they don't score, you win. If they get a field goal, then you go to sudden death.

The general idea, of course is to maintain some of that sudden death impact, but reduce a system where the coin-flip-winning team has won the game nearly 60% of the time since 1994. Says one impact owner from the league:

"The statistics have gotten to the point where it's time to consider making a change," (Giants co-owner John) Mara said. "I'm very uncomfortable with the fact that 60% of the time the coin-toss winner ends up winning. Particularly now with the increased accuracy of field-goal kickers, it sets up an unfair advantage to the team winning the toss."

Kickers have converted field goals with a success rate of 79.8% since 1994.

That's very well and true. The reasoning for only limiting the change to playoff time is simple--injury to players. There's no reason to do too much to risk injury to players during the season, as you'd hate to see a player get hurt in an overtime game in week 2, because he was on the field more than he would typically expect to be. But the playoffs, they are a different beast. Surely, you don't want something like what happened in the NFC championship game to be the way it goes, right? Two tough teams, battling it out, and then something as arbitrary as a coin-flip decides the outcome.

My counter-argument to that would be--you had all game to step up and make a play. In overtime you should feel it even more critical to do so.

I, personally speaking, don't feel too strongly one way or the other. I don't think there will be a change this year, but I could see it happening sometime soon. The movement has been out there for a while. I kind of enjoy the way the situation goes now, but I can understand why some would want change.

Brad Biggs took the time today to lay out why the Bears, in no uncertain terms, should absolutely never want a change. Ever. The highlight:

Let's review the Bears in overtime over the last decade. They've played 14 overtime games in that span and have a record of 11-3. Five of those games were decided on a field goal on the first possession of overtime and they are 4-1 in those games

Check the article out as well to go down a memory-lane trip for those overtime games, brilliantly summed up by Biggs and laying out why the Bears should vote no.

So what do you think? Are you for or against this kind of a shift? Do you think it should cover the regular season? Why? Do you think this is backlash because King Favre suddenly had it work against him, or because it's truly considered a problem?