January 17, 2016

"He had it on heads, he was showing heads, so I called tails, and it didn't flip. He just tossed it up in the air and it did not turn over at all and it landed on the ground."

"So we obviously thought that was not right. He picked the coin up, flipped it to tails and then he flipped it without giving me a chance to make a recall there. So it was confusing.... I think he was trying to avoid the embarrassment of what just happened. He flipped it quickly.... It's unfortunate it comes down to that."
[Aaron Rodgers is] right, or he's at least tapped into a debate that will rage on over the next few weeks. Coin toss or not, the NFL's overtime rules have been challenged for decades, especially by college football fans used to a more wide open format. This was an epic slugfest that deserved one more drive. Palmer and Rodgers made up a classic heavyweight bout and because of the rules in place, we were deprived of more magic.
For the annals of famous coin flips — along with the naming of Portland, Oregon and the death of Ritchie Valens.

How else could you decide who gets the ball first?
The XFL, a short-lived American football league, attempted to avoid coin tosses by implementing a face-off style "opening scramble," in which one player from each team tried to recover a loose football; the team whose player recovered the ball got first choice. Because of the high rate of injury in these events, it has not achieved mainstream popularity in any football league....

44 comments:

Michael K said...

The Packers got the Hail Mary ! What are they complaining about now ?

Did you see that run by Larry Fitzgerald ? Come on.

Meade said...

The Dr. Pepper challenge. Only instead of winning $100,000 in tuition money, the winner's team gets first possession.

Tank said...

Coins don't kill Packers, Cards do.

Give it to the old guy.

Gahrie said...

The NFL's overtime rules are a function of the TV contracts...TV needs predictability, and consistent game times.

They have been moving away from sudden death NFL overtime rules gradually. It used to be a first drive field goal ended the game with no chance for the other team. (see 2010 NFC championship game)

Soon the NFL will simply adopt the college overtime rules.

Fabi said...

The NFL overtime rule is ridiculous. The coin toss has far too much impact on the outcome. Let them play one more quarter or trade possessions until one team has scored more points -- anything but what they have now.

I am not a robot or a Packers fan.

DLS said...

There should be no coin flip, and no kickoff. The teams should submit a blind bid for field position, and the lowest bidder gets the ball spotted at the specified field position. Losing bid chooses which goal to defend. First team to score wins.

Easy, simple, and you can't say it isn't fair.

Humperdink said...

With the emphasis on all offense in the NFL, scoring a TD on the first possession shouldn't end the game. Each team should get a crack.

BTW, the defensive call on the Hail Mary was just plain stooopid. Who rushes the passer with everything you've got on a Hail Mary, leaving minimal coverage in the end zone?

Also, is the bigger whiner than Arians in the NFL coaching ranks?

Go Steelers (expectations are not high)

jr565 said...

How else to choose who goes first - Eenie meanie, minee, moe?

Michael K said...

jr565, what ever you do, don't say the next stanza of that rhyme.

John Smith said...

Each coach makes a secret "bid" identifying worst field position they'd be willing to accept to get the ball. Whoever bids the worse field position gets the ball at that spot. If they bid the same, coin flip. Sudden death from there.

LarsPorsena said...

They should play another full quarter.

Curious George said...

So the current method resulted in a Packer loss? I'm good with that.

And the Hail Mary? No catch.

Barry Dauphin said...

Don't complain about the rules after the game. Instead do the smart thing and actually cover Larry Fitzgerald.

Gahrie said...

They should play another full quarter.

What they will probably go to is something like the college system.

Each team gets a possession, starting on their opponents 35 or 40 yard line. You either score or lose possession, and the other team gets a possession. If you are still tied at the end of the two possessions, repeat. After the second set of possessions, if you score a touchdown, you must go for a two point conversion.

Michael K said...

"do the smart thing and actually cover Larry Fitzgerald"

Palmer deserves some credit there as he is not known as a mobile quarterback and he evaded the pass rush which opened up Fitzgerald. He was also playing with a recently dislocated finger on his passing hand. Some of his passes were obviously affected but, mercifully, not that last one.

khesanh0802 said...

@jr565: "Rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock!"

David said...

The NFL has not gone to something like the college system because it would extend the games too long. That results in early games overlapping later games, and later games overlapping regular programming. It's a money and TV thing, and it would take a lot for the NFL to change that.

Rogers is 0-7 in OT games (0-3 in playoffs) so he's pretty frustrated.

Limited blogger said...

How A-Rod flicked the ball 60 yards while falling backwards to tie the game was just remarkable.

Of course if you are going to re-flip the coin, you let the person make a new call.

The NFL is the most compelling TV sport there is, but they often fumble the details.

JSD said...

XFL...bad memories. That was a disaster on so many levels. Everybody knew Vince McMahon was a piece of shit. But General Electric Jack Welch and NBC Bob Wright dumping NFL for XFL has to rank right up there with New Coke. GE had been a juggernaut for decades and NBC was number one. But the number crunchers thought NFL’s broadcast rights were too steep and that was the day the music died for both companies. Although GE’s stock price cratered for other reasons (GE Capital was swimming in bad loans), XFL was a harbinger of bad decision making at the very top. Even smart people make stupid blunders.

Original Mike said...

I think tied hockey games should be settled by goalie fights at center ice.

JAORE said...

Cheated on the coin flip!

Wussies everwhar.

Big Mike said...

Two very good teams; I wish they both could have moved on in the playoffs. I think whichever team was the receiving team to start the second half should kick off to start the overtime. Just alternate. I think that each team should be guaranteed a possession in the first overtime, with "sudden death" after that.

Mark said...

Each team gets a possession, starting on their opponents 35 or 40 yard line.

No. That favors offensive-strong teams. The better system would be to kick off and each team gets a possession whether the first team scores a touchdown or not. Or simply play another complete quarter or half.

Mark said...

GB made its call. They called tails for the coin flip. That's it.
The first toss was not a flip. There was no second coin flip, there was no flip it again. When the second toss was made, that was the first and only coin flip. You don't get to change your call.

Of all the things to bitch and whine and cry about.

Mark said...

By the way, AR, you wouldn't have had that opportunity of a coin flip if the refs had not given you that call at the end of regulation where your receiver did not establish full and complete control and possession of the ball in the end zone before it was knocked out. That call could have easily gone the other way.

George Grady said...

The NFL should borrow from Name That Tune.

"We can score a touchdown from our 45!"

"Well, we can score a touchdown from our 35!"

"Score that touchdown!"

If you get the touchdown, you win. If you don't, you lose.

Patrick said...

Mark, the receiver maintained possession. When it was "knocked out," the receiver's hand was still between the ball and the ground. That was the correct call.

FullMoon said...

Gang fight with all players and coaches. Simple

MadisonMan said...

You should not play a game that is so close that it comes down to the behavior of (very very very) fallible officials.

This was an entertaining game, apparently (I didn't watch). Every remaining team should be thanking Arizona for dispatching Rodgers.

Peter G. said...

From an ESPN article last November, after the Patriots won the overtime coin toss and decided to kick:

"The raw numbers since 2012 appear to support the advantage for the receiving team, although the sample size isn’t big enough yet to be certain. Receiving teams have won 33 of the 65 overtime games that did not result in a tie, a 50.7 percent rate."

Yes, the receiving team has an advantage because it wins 50.7% of the time. That's 7/10s above 50%, not 57%. And it's close enough to break-even that teams sometimes do decide to kick, depending on the circumstances. That 2012 date is significant because as noted above, that's when the NFL changed the overtime rules and made it so the receiving team had to score a touchdown on their first possession for the game to end; before that only a field goal was required to win the game, and by the 2000s the receiving team had a distinct advantage (by that time kickers how gotten really good at making longer field goals).

For those pushing for the college rules in overtime, the team winning the coin toss almost always elects to get the ball last, because they have information that the team going first doesn't have, namely that when getting the ball they know whether they need a FG or TD to win or tie. And the result of all this is that the team that gets the ball last wins 61% of the time, which is why they almost always (literally 99% of the time) choose to get the ball last.

Lastly, there is quite a bit of irony here in that the last time the Cardinals and Packers played in the post-season, it went into overtime, the Packers won the toss and elected to receive, and then Rodgers fumbled on the third play and the Cardinals ran it in for a TD and won the game. It happens to the best of them (and Rodgers is the best of them).

aritai said...

Strange they haven't figured out how to make even more money out of this. Number the tickets (they already are) and put a random number genitor output on the big screen with the winner getting to make the call, and getting the game ball to boot. And go stand with whomever sings the national anthem on the field. Oh my. The not-paid well enough, and taxed to much commissioner should have thought of this by now. We'll see if he reads Ms. A.'s blog. If I was he, I would. Thanks Ms. A for all you do.

FullMoon said...

Let the United Nations decide

dwick said...

Time for another Obama Executive Order...
Who cares if NFL overtime periods aren't in the Constitution.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

Juneau, Alaska was founded by two miners, Joe Juneau and Richard Harris. When it came time to choose a name, they decided it by a coin toss, and Harris won. The name was to be Harrisburg. No one knows how the town eventually came to be called Juneau.

FullMoon said...

Curious George said...


So the current method resulted in a Packer loss? I'm good with that.

And the Hail Mary? No catch.


ACLU and CAIR suing to remove that reference to Christianity from football

Phil 3:14 said...

Would he complain if the Pack won?

Birches said...

Why would he get to choose again? Packs fans. Stop Whining. Tackle Larry Fitzgerald BEFORE he goes off on a 40 yard run.

Birches said...

And I hate college rules. I think the rules are fine now. Didn't like that a field goal could win a game before. But a team's defense should be able to hold off 7 on a first drive. If not, well, you deserve to lose.

averagejoe said...

Oh fer crissakes, they changed the damn rule in the first place because of all the whining from the losers that they lost by a field goal, so now you have to score a touchdown to win on first possession, which is bullshit, but that's what the losers wanted- And now, surprise, surprise, the whiny losers are still losing and whining. You lost, loser! Dry your tears and get the fuck out of here with your stupid rule changes to make it more "fair". Too much time hanging out with dimbulb Hollywood tramps, discount double check douchebag...

StephenFearby said...

The reason I like to watch / second guess NFL football games is that (compared to most other sports) it involves the complex interaction of many different pieces. 32 for chess (white and black), 22 for football (offense and defense).

With time expired after the Hail Mary touchdown catch, the commander of the pieces (Mike McCarthy) had a very important choice to make.

(1) Tie the game be kicking the extra point and send the game into overtime...where you have a 50% chance of getting the ball on a coin flip.

But there is another important factor to consider. The Packer's stable of elite wide receivers was pretty much depleted having lost Jordy Nelson to IR during the season and then Randell Cobb to a chest injury during the first quarter.

The team was left with "James Jones, Jared Abbrederis and Jeff Janis as their only three available receivers -- none was in their top-four receivers at the start of the preseason.

It was a risk to take only four receivers into the game, but the Packers decided not to add one to their roster after Davante Adams suffered a sprained MCL in his right knee in last weekend's wild-card win over the Redskins."

http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/14585257/green-bay-packers-lose-randall-cobb-chest-injury-3-receivers


(2) Decide to try to win the game immediately with a two-point conversion...from the two-yard line.

The odds would seem to improve with a fast, mobile quarterback with a record of making good run/pass decisions. Unlike a year ago when was limited by injury, Aaron Rogers has his wheels back.

A good play call would have been coming out with a heavy formation (fullback and a tailback, maybe two tight ends) with Rogers under center. Rogers fakes a hand off to the powerful/shifty Eddie Lacy (5-11, 234) who barrels into a crease on the left side of the line -- the side that Green Bay earlier had the most success with the running game.

While the defense is honoring the fake hand-off -- at least until determining it was only a fake -- Rogers takes off to this left on a bootleg. The defenders on this left side are caught in a quandary. Try to keep up with Rogers (who has a head start, but is still well behind the line) or continue to defend against the wide-receiver split out to the left who is making moves to try to get open.

I'd say the odds or pretty good that Arron Rogers either makes his two yards by running or by completing a pass to the uncovered wide receiver. If so, game over.

A commentary (which also reviews the odds of making two-point conversions, without reference to mobile quarterbacks who can make good decisions on the fly as an important variable):

"...If you believe that momentum is a meaningful concept in terms of how teams win and lose football games -- and I am admittedly skeptical -- why would you ever let the game slip into overtime? Having knocked the Cardinals onto the ropes with one of the more stunning sequences in playoff history and with a minute to figure out which play you wanted to run while referees reviewed the touchdown, why wouldn't McCarthy think that his chances of winning the game were better with one immediate play?

All things weren't equal, and that included Arizona's coaching advantage. McCarthy played it safe yet again, and it ended up costing his team another postseason in the prime of the 32-year-old Rodgers' career. He coached to put off losing as long as possible."

http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/14586612/an-aggressive-bruce-arians-got-win-mike-mccarthy-learn-nfl

Kansas City said...

I have not read the comments but the answer to the best overtime format always has seemed obvious to me - you use the best end of game scenario and use it to frame the overtime. That means you have tie game, put about 6 to 8 minutes on the clock and let the teams play it out (with a coin flip for who kicks off - or continue the kick off sequence from the original coin flip at the start of the game). It would replicate a tie game with 6 to 8 minutes left -- the best NFL game scenario. If the teams still are tied, you do it again.

Meade said...

Well presented, StephenFearby. Two-point conversion is the play Mrs. Meade called for right after Janis caught that Hail Mary pass. Before I had the chance to mansplain to her why that would be a bad idea, Arizona had already won.

Chicks.

StephenFearby said...

Mr. Althouse wrote:

"...Two-point conversion is the play Mrs. Meade called for right after Janis caught that Hail Mary pass. Before I had the chance to mansplain to her why that would be a bad idea, Arizona had already won."

I knew something was wrong with what happened at the end of regular time but what it was only came to me without thinking about it much later in the evening...after my wandering mind's default mode network finally spit out the answer. Since Mrs. Meade does not have to rely on default mode network-itis to immediately assess a situation correctly, the Packers might consider hiring her as Mike McCarthy's sideline minder.

(Andy Reid could also use one to help out with clock management.)

Meade said...

Althouse, StephenFearby, and the New York Times: tuesday morning quarterbacks par excellence. (Actually, Althouse called the play at the time)