Patriots win Super Bowl LI in overtime
I hated seeing Belichick, Brady, and the Patriots win the Super Bowl too, but don't blame the rules!

Possibly bitter over the New England Patriot's unprecedented comeback victory in overtime of Super Bowl LI, a CBS Sports blogger (and probably many others) is arguing that the NFL should adopt college football overtime rules. The author asserts "But the one thing college football does better than the NFL? Overtime, without a doubt.".

Um, no. Absolutely not!

The college football overtime rules is something that I despise about that game. For many reasons.

College overtime isn't football

First of all, it's a totally different rule set than the regulation game. The CBS writer claims that "The overtime rules in college football are straight forward." I disagree on that point as well, as college overtime is full of caveats of its own. After all, if it were so simple, then why would sites like Sports Illustrated and ESPN feel it necessary to feature posts titled "How does college overtime work?"? For example, why is the ball placed on the 25 yard line? Why not the 30? or the 50? or the 10? Why not just put the ball on the two and give each team one play to score a two-point conversion? Seems pretty arbitrary.

Another arbitrary college overtime rule is that after two overtimes, teams are required to go for two-point conversions because the rules-makers realized they needed some way to limit multiple overtimes. It's a more complicated and arbitrary ruleset than the CBS writer gives it credit for, and it's no less complicated than NFL overtime rules which is played virtually identically to a regulation game, except that it has a hybrid "sudden death" that allows for the game to continue if the opening possession results in a field goal.

Granted, there are plenty of arbitrary rules already in football. Why does a touchback go out to the 25 yard line? Why are kickoffs from the 35 yard line? Why is a touchdown worth 6 points? And so on. So if we're stuck with arbitrary rules, we might as well keep them consistent between regulation and overtime.

Devin Hester return TD
Special teams stars like Devin Hester are
completely irrelevant in college overtime.

Perhaps most importantly: college rules completely ignore special teams. Have an explosive punt or kick returner like, say Devin Hester? Well, in college football, he never gets to step foot on the field - at least, not as a return man. Same goes for an exceptional punter (like Hall of Fame punter Ray Guy) or a standout kick coverage unit (like perpetually-snubbed gunner Steve Tasker). They all get to sit on the sidelines and watch because they're arbitrarily no longer part of the game. Special teams is part of football, and should be part of overtime. Any overtime rule that neglects special teams is not football....

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One of the things that I like about preseason is that I get to watch all the Bears games, since NFL Network shows re-broadcasts of every preseason game. I don't have any of those fancy satellite TV services, which means I'm stuck with only the regular season games that are broadcast on cable. So I didn't get to watch the Bears week 1 loss to the Houston Texans. I didn't miss much.

Offensive ineptitude ruined any chances of Chicago staying in their week 1 match-up against the Texans.

My preseason perception of the Bears as being inept on offense was validated by the final score of 23-14. Granted, the Texans are one of the better defenses in the league, but sloppy play has been the Bears M.O. throughout preseason. The defense actually gave the team some opportunities, but offensive mistakes just undid any gains that the Bears made early. Botched snaps, sacks, an interception, and fumbles ended too many drives, and the defense just couldn't hold back the Texans' offense.

I did get to watch the Bears' game against the Eagles on Monday night. It looked very similar. The defense played very well throughout much of the game, holding the Eagles to only nine points up through almost the end of the third quarter. Jacoby Glenn and Tracy Porter made some key pass break-ups that ended Eagles drives and gave the Bears offense opportunities to buffer the score. But once again, a fumble and an interception from Jay Cutler gave the Eagles a two-score lead. Cutler was under siege right from the start of the game, and the very first play from scrimmage was a sack of Cutler. It also didn't help that Connor Barth missed a field goal early in the game. So much for replacing Robbie Gould in order to save salary cap space. As Jay Gruden pointed out, you get what you pay for. With the offense being as bad as it has been, Gould was likely going to be the team's leading scorer this year. That should have made him a valuable commodity who is worth paying, even though he is "only a kicker". Cutler eventually left the game with a hand injury, only to have other players make costly mistakes. The Bears were driving at the beginning of the fourth quarter with Brian Hoyer under center, until Jeremy Langford gave up the first fumble of his pro career.

Eagles at Bears 2016 - Carson Wentz
The defense stood firm early, but the Carson Wentz phenomenon
was too much for it to handle without help from the offense.

Then the flood gates opened. The defense just couldn't contain the Eagles anymore. The defense managed to make a fourth down stop on the goal-line, only to give the Eagles a second chance (and a walk-in score) due to an offsides penalty. This sequence also saw starting nose tackle Eddie Goldman go down with an apparent leg injury after being bent over backwards. He had to be carted off the field. Hopefully, the injury isn't as serious as it looked...

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In Thursday's preseason opener against the Buffalo Bills, the Chicago Bears decided to ignore a newly-passed NFL rule change that moved kickoffs from the 30 yard line to the 35 yard line.

Special teams coordinator Dave Toub had been given permission from the officiating staff prior to the game, since apparently, the rule is vague enough that it does not completely clarify that the ball has to be kicked off from the new location. However, after kicking from the 30 twice in the game, the league told the Bears, "No, you can't do that anymore."

Bears 10, Bills 3 - Bears kickoff from the 30 yard line
Despite a rule change moving the kickoff to the 35 yard line, the Bears kicked off from the 30 yard line in Thursday's preseason game.

The Bears had supposedly elected to kick from the old distance so as to give their special teams unit some live practice at covering kicks.

I think this rule change passed by a margin of 26-6 in the off-season. The argument in support of the change is that by moving the kickoffs up five yards, there will be more touchbacks, fewer returns, and therefore fewer injuries. A majority of injuries in NFL games happen on kick return plays - although the exact percentage escapes me at the moment. Although the real reason for this rule change might just be that the other teams in the league are terrified of players like Devin Hester, Josh Cribbs, and DeSean Jackson.

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Welcome to Mega Bears Fan's blog, and thanks for visiting! This blog is mostly dedicated to game reviews, strategies, and analysis of my favorite games. I also talk about my other interests, like football, science and technology, movies, and so on. Feel free to read more about the blog.

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Devin Hester becomes the best ever!Devin Hester becomes the best ever!09/23/2014 He may not be a Chicago Bear anymore, but Atlanta Falcons kick returner Devin Hester is still one of my favorite NFL players, and he made headlines this past week. Hester returned a punt for a touchdown in Atlanta's Thursday night blowout win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and in doing so, he surpassed Deion Sanders and became...

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