A look at the station NFL owners met this week tells you everything you need to know about how they do business.
As the world nears war and millions of Ukrainian refugees need the basics to survive, league owners held their annual meeting at a hotel charging $2,515 a night for a deluxe room with ocean view and $3,850 for a premium ocean view suite – before taxes and fees, of course. Hard to believe the wealthy have found a way to do their business virtually in 2020.
That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t meet in person. But the images the billionaires generated of the beaches of Palm Beach were about opulence, not about their concern for the underdog as they would have you believe.
How much the guys could think of hanging out at a resort with four pools was clear in their haphazard decision to change the overtime playoff rules so both teams have possession, instead of requiring the team who loses the toss in the extra session to play defense and prevent the opposition from scoring a touchdown.
The owners voted almost unanimously for both teams to get OT possession on warnings from some of their most successful coaches, including Andy Reid and John Harbaugh.
“I’m not for them,” added Harbaugh. “I don’t think adding plays at the end of the game is the solution. I don’t think expanding games is the solution.
Harbaugh also believes games must be won in regulation.
Reid capitalized on a first-possession touchdown to record a dramatic win over the Buffalo Bills, sparking outrage among people who think anything can be rectified with legislation.
“I don’t know exactly where I stand,” said Reid, chairman of the coaching subcommittee who has a say in the rule changes. “I saw that it worked both ways. It worked as we did.
Competition committee chairman Rich McKay said 10 of the 12 playoff games since 2010 have been won by the team that won the coin toss before overtime. Seven of those results were first-possession touchdowns. Twelve of 136 playoff overtime games… does that warrant a change?
Forget the league just had its highest-rated playoff weekend ever (the divisional round) under the old rule. Even though the number of winning teams in the overtime draw is almost squarely 50% for all games, the knee-jerk reaction prevailed.
If the NFL wants to even the playing field, let defenders play pass defense in overtime. No sticky waiting or interference calls. It’s nearly impossible to cover elite receivers unless you have a world-class passing rush and the officials apply holding penalties to offensive linemen and your pass throwers don’t put the hand inadvertently facing the quarterback, which is another rule that needs watching.
We all know NFL rules favor offense because that’s what owners prefer. This is what determines television ratings. And their 11-year TV deal is estimated to be worth over $110 billion.
But let’s hear the reason, not the hotel’s wait staff while they offer dishes like the delicious Florida stone crab claws or the more common blue crab nachos with cheddar cheese and salsa.
The Tennessee Titans submitted the best overtime proposal in the playoffs. They wanted the team that scores a touchdown on the first drive to also make the two-point conversion to win. This gives the defense at least two chances to win. It makes sense. And it’s too good to be true for the owners. Too many coconut-lavender lemonades, maybe.
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During a break in the owners’ meeting, Jeffrey Lurie was asked about his timeline for the Eagles to compete for a Super Bowl.
He provided a vague non-answer that will nonetheless be debated when the 2022 season opener comes.
“I think we have a great, great teaching coaching staff,” Lurie said. “It’s about building the roster for now and for the future. No timeline. I know that if you are disciplined and focused on maximizing the present and the future, you have a chance.
Totally okay with discipline and focus. Excellent teaching team? We will see.
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Speaking of rule changes, in 1974 the NFL decided to move the goal posts from the goal line to the baseline at the back of the end zone. That’s a difference of 10 meters more.
Why not move the posts back five meters more?
This could easily be done as the post supporting the post is already beyond the baseline. It would be harder for someone to jump up and block a low field goal attempt, but who does that anyway?
More than anything, it would reduce kicks that coaches don’t want to try because they want to play percentages on fourth down rather than giving up field position with a missed kick.
Contact Bob Grotz at rgrotz@delcotimes; you can follow him on Twitter @BobGrotz.