Could we have a showing of hands? How many people watched last week’s playoff game in which Kansas City lost to New England in overtime? Wow! Everyone?
Fasten your seat belt! I’m in a mood. The way the Chiefs’ season ended was blatantly unfair, and sadly, it’s unlikely the NFL is going to do anything about it.
The game was riveting. Every time you thought it was over, the other team fought back. KC rose from the dead and tied the game as regulation time ended.
Before the coin flip in overtime, I told my viewing companion — if New England won the toss, the Chiefs would lose. And that’s exactly what happened. Game over!
What a letdown. We go from sky-high exhilaration to … Pooooff! Nothing!
If you’re unfamiliar with overtime rules, the NFL is different from the college game. In the NFL, if the kick-off-receiving team scores a touchdown — they win. It’s over! The other team doesn’t even get the ball with a chance to match the score.
If the receiving team doesn’t score a touchdown, the team that lost the coin toss gets the ball with a chance to win. But last weekend, just as I predicted, the Patriots marched down the field and the Chiefs were helplessly shut out. Given no shot to respond.
It was incredibly disappointing to see Andy Reid and precocious Patrick Mahomes on the sideline watching Tom Brady lead the Evil Empire to victory. Every fan with a pulse knew the Golden Boy would score the winning touchdown if the Pats won the coin flip.
In college football, both teams get the ball on their opponent's 25 yard-line. If the game remains tied, they keep resetting the football until someone wins decisively. Both teams have an equal chance to win the game.
What happened to Kansas City also happened to the Green Bay Packers a few years ago — Aaron Rodgers, one of the all-time greats, didn’t get a chance to tie the score. Why? Because the Packers lost the coin toss.
Does any of this make sense? Hell no!
So, why doesn’t the NFL change its unfair rule? Because they prefer the status quo, even if it’s unfair.
The league can cite statistics that say the odds are almost as good for the team that loses the coin toss as the one that gets the ball first. But that begs the question — what about the teams like the Chiefs who were not given an equal opportunity to win in overtime? It’s crazy!
Meanwhile, if you think the Chiefs have a beef, imagine rooting for the New Orleans Saints in their game against the Rams that finished just before the Chiefs’ game started.
The referees in that game blew it! They missed a blatant pass interference call that would have given the Saints a first down on the 6-yard line with less than two minutes to play. New Orleans could have easily run the clock down and kicked a chip-shot field goal to win.
Most pundits said it was the worst non-call in the history of the NFL playoffs.
Due to the missed call, the Rams went on to win. I would be screaming bloody murder if I rooted for the Saints — they should be going to the Super Bowl, not the Rams.
Unfortunately, you can’t go back and change the result.
Referees are fallible. Mistakes happen. You can’t review every play.
So, are we going to cry in our beer and boycott the NFL by not watching the Super Bowl? Heck no. The commercials are interesting. And it’s fun rooting against The Evil Empire.
Beats watching Judge Judy reruns.
— R. Michael Owens is a retired Philadelphia lawyer. Contact Michael at: Rmykl@comcast.net.