In response to Andy Reid’s article supporting college overtime rules, I have to disagree with a few of his points, (You gotta love college football overtime, 10/04/2009). While college overtime is indeed exciting, arbitrarily starting with the ball on the 25-yard line completely alters the strategy of the game. Special teams (aside from mid to short-range field goal kicking) are thrown out for overtime and teams with game-changers on special teams are put at a disadvantage.

The possibility of a kickoff return for a touchdown or blocked punt is nonexistent with the college rules. Though coaches always preach that special teams are just as important as offense and defense, the overtime rules fully contradict that.

Similarly, college overtime rules alter the normal play calling of both offenses and defenses. Offenses with the ball first in overtime play much more conservatively, rarely running plays where they could lose yardage knowing that they have to score at least three points to stay in the game.

Defensive play calling is altered as well because of the small margin of error defenses have by starting on the 25-yard line. Certain blitz packages and plays incorporating deeper overages are rarely utilized given the starting position of the offense. While the college overtime system makes sense in that it gives each team a chance to have the ball, a new system should be created taking the positive aspects from both the college and NFL overtime systems. A coin toss can decide who gets possession first.

But just like the beginning of the first quarter, one team should kick off to another, meaning special teams are not disregarded. If the team with the ball first scores, then it has to kick off to the other team, and the game isn’t over until each team has an equal number of possessions. While the college overtime rules do create excitement, the so-called “football” played in overtime is not true “football.” All aspects of the game should be incorporated while giving both teams a fair chance at winning.

Jay Schwab
LSA junior

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