Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Simple Holding Penalty Could End a Playoff Game In New OT Format

According to ProFootballTalk.com, a safety would end the game in this new playoff format. The thinking is that the team with possession has already, in a sense, lost possession and given the other team a chance to score, which they've done with the safety.

Make sense?

Anyway, that means that something as simple as a holding penalty could end a playoff game. That's right. If an offensive player is called for holding while in their own endzone, the result is a safety. It's happened a couple times before with holding or with intentional grounding penalties, but I've never seen it end a game.

Under the new overtime format, it could.

Picture this: It's the AFC Championship game. Peyton Manning and the Colts are backed up to their own two-yard line after a great punt by Mike Scifres in overtime. It's first and ten, Manning drops back, looks, fires, and it's caught by Reggie Wayne up the sideline he goes for a 98-yard touchdown strike to end the game.

The Colts are on their way to the Super Bowl. The crowd goes wild.

But wait... The little yellow hankie is laying in the endzone. Uh-oh. Someone made a no-no in the endzone and out comes King Zebra.

"Holding, No. 67, offense. Since the penalty occurred in the endzone, the result is a safety. The game is over."

Nevermind, the Chargers are actually on their way to the Super Bowl on a stupid technicality.

Sure, the game could have, in theory, ended this way in the original format, but wasn't this new rule meant to prevent the downfalls of the old way of doing things?

Memo to the NFL: If you're going to do something, how about going all the way in fixing what you sense as a problem rather than throwing together some shoddy new rule that you believe will shut everyone up for the time being.

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