By MIKE FEIFEL
I may sound like a politician when I say this, but change is coming.
I am not sure how the word change became such an "in" word. Especially when it's followed by actions that make you scratch your head and ask what lame brain came up with this idea? It's Madness!
If you are thinking I am talking about the health care issue you are wrong.
I am talking about two of the most popular sporting events every year the NFL playoffs and the NCAA basketball tournament.
First, let's focus on the NFL's decision to change their overtime format. The idea of "sudden death" is what separates the NFL from college and high school formats, which use alternating possessions in the overtime period.
This change comes about as a result of the New Orleans Saints topping the Minnesota Favres in overtime of the NFC title game. Yes, Favre played for the Minnesota Vikings but if you listen to the complaints, the team is never mentioned.
The Saints won the toss, elected to receive, and behind their star quarterback, Drew Brees, marched down the field and kicked the winning field goal to send them to their first Super Bowl.
So what's the issue you ask? (I asked the same thing!)
The rules are the rules, right? They have been in place since overtime began in the post-season in 1941 and extended to the regular season in 1974.
The problem was people crying that Brett Favre (not the Vikings) did not have a chance to win the game in overtime. If the Minnesota Favre's got to the Super Bowl, it would have been the perfect showdown between Peyton Manning and Favre.
Since the media and the fans were thwarted, the drums of change began to be thumped.
Now, the proposed overtime "Favre rule" includes some the following as quoted by the NFL.
1. "Both teams must have the opportunity to possess the ball once during the extra period," (this is where they lose me) "unless the team that receives the opening kickoff scores a touchdown on its initial possession, in which case it is the winner. " (What? What about a field goal?)
2. "If the team that possesses the ball first scores a field goal…the other team shall have the opportunity to possess the ball. If [that team] scores a touchdown on its possession, it is the winner. If the score is tied after [both teams have a] possession, the team next scoring by any method shall be the winner. (Follow the bouncing ball…?)
3. The third rule is if the game is not decided on the first possession or simply put, if none of the teams understand the rules, the game will be decided by sudden death. Finally, these rules only apply to the postseason. (scratching your head yet?) How can you play under one set of rules in the regular season, and change the game completely for the playoffs?
Bottom line, this change is a knee-jerk response to Brett Favre 'not getting the chance' to lead his team to victory. They forgot he had 60-minutes of football before that and he did throw the bad pass that was intercepted late in the fourth quarter, killing a Minnesota Favre drive for the potential winning score.
To be bluntly honest, if Favre wins in overtime and gets to the Super Bowl, no changes would be discussed. It's clearly, the Brett Favre rule.
Yet, the rule passed with a 28-4 vote in favor of the change. Who was one of the four voting against it? The Minnesota Favres.
The next change I want to talk about is the NCAA tournament expanding to 96-teams next year a full rant will have to wait a little while until the new format is officially adopted. But according to just about every source, it's just a matter of time.
I just can't wait to fill out my poster-sized bracket and analyze the No. 96 versus No. 33 matchup or figure out where the heck St. Mary's of the Plains is located rather than how they did or whom they played. I also can't wait to listen to ESPN discuss who the 97, 98, and 99 teams are and why they should be in the field.
What are these people thinking? We already have those matchups. It is called the NIT!
The 16th seeds are 0-104 against the #1 seeds. Do they really think that adding 31 more teams makes sense?
Either we keep each system the same or we should invite all the teams in. Then, just like most youth leagues, let them cut down the nets, give the coach a Gatorade shower, hand trophies to all participants, and call it a day.While we are doing that, we could also make sure Brett Favre has as many chances as he needs to make it to the Super Bowl even if it is just to sing the National Anthem!
We do not need anymore rule changes.
It truly is…MADNESS!