Frantz: NFL’s attempt to fix overtime backfires 

If anyone could ever find a way to deal with a ridiculously bad situation by scrapping it and replacing it with a worse one, that someone would have to be the eternally masochistic National Football League.

Or congressional Democrats.

But that’s another story.

Congratulations, NFL — you’ve done it.

Oh, and as a bonus, by kinda-sorta changing your overtime policy, you’ve also managed to diminish the remarkable achievement of your current Super Bowl champion. Nice work.

While it’s conceivable that not a football fan on the face of the Earth actually liked the league’s longstanding sudden-death overtime format, at the very least it was simple. Win the coin toss, score, win. Lose the coin toss, play tough defense, get the ball, score, win. Elementary.

Under the new plan, the sudden-death rule is dead. Kinda. If Team A scores on its first possession, Team B gets a chance to tie or win with their own score. Unless Team A’s score was a touchdown, in which case the sudden-death rule would still apply, and the game would be over. Sorta. If Team A only scores a field goal, then Team B would have a chance to come back and tie. And if they do, then the game would continue, and the sudden-death rule would be reinstated. Unless of course Team B’s score was a touchdown. Then Team A has no chance to come back with another score of its own. But only if it’s a playoff game.

If it’s a regular-season game, then sudden death would apply right from the overtime kickoff again.

Got it?

The problem with the old system, of course, was that the team playing defense first was far too often left without an opportunity to play offense, and two months ago, that meant favorite son Brett Favre was left without an opportunity to lead a Vikings’ OT comeback against the Saints, thereby finishing his “In Your Face” World Tour with a berth in the Super Bowl. That, of course, was totally unacceptable. So they fixed it. And in the process, they tainted New Orleans’ victory and subsequent Super Bowl triumph.

Saints’ linebacker Jonathan Vilma: “If you read between the lines ... they’re saying well, if Minnesota would have had a possession who knows what would have happened.”

And he’s right. “The Vikings would have won,” they’re saying, “but Brett never got another chance.”

Of course he had his chance when he threw another of his classic “Brett being Brett” crippling interceptions at the end of regulation ... but I digress.

“It’s up to Minnesota to stop us,” Vilma correctly explained. “They didn’t stop us ... that’s their problem. I just feel like they’re slighting us.”

They are.

At the very least, the NFL should have waited another year before changing the rule, to avoid the appearance of slighting the Saints, and then they should’ve done it the right way: Scrap this sudden death, taking-turns nonsense altogether and play real football for another quarter. Shorten it to 10 minutes if you must, but let them play another period — offense, defense, and special teams, the way it was intended — with no gimmicks — and let the true victor emerge.

Sports personality Bob Frantz is a regular contributor to The Examiner. E-mail him at bfrantz@sfexaminer.com.

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