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!

Probably 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.

No possibility of a tied game

Another of my biggest complaints with college football overtime is that it favors the offense, exhausts the defenses, and leads to inflated scores and stats. A 10-10 defensive struggle that is unresolved in regulation can end up turning into a 38-35 shootout. Don't forget that this supposedly-exciting "shoot out" could turn into a slog of exchanging field goals indefinitely.

The current college rules also don't allow for a game to end in a tie. I know that with only 12 or 13 games, every game in college football counts, and a tie would look awefully confusing to any top 25 pollsters. But the reality is that sometimes a tie might be more representative of the outcome of a hard-fought game than some inflated triple overtime score.

Lastly, by not permitting a tie, the college overtime rules permit a game to go on indefinitely until a winner is decided. This is a rule that changed in 1995. Prior to that year, college football games could end in ties, but the rules committee decided that was undesirable. Even regular season games must go on until there is a winner. This can wear out the players and can dramatically increase the risk of injury. I can understand the desire to play a playoff or championship or bowl game until a winner is determined (even though I disagree with it), but is it really necessary for every single regular season game too...?

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