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Quick Inside Slant: Week 7

Impressions of the 2016 NFL Season as perceived by a Creative Writing graduate student, part-time amateur stand-up comedian and collegiate intramural flag football legend.

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By: Dustin Fisher

Just because their team doesn't lose it doesn't mean the fans don't lose.

Just because their team doesn’t lose it doesn’t mean the fans don’t lose.

Sorry I’m late, but I just got done watching the Seattle/Arizona game on DVR. I wish somebody had told me not to do that.

Nobody Wins

For the purpose of this article, I’m going to ignore the horrible, no good, very bad kickers from that game. An NFL game seriously ended in a tie. Granted, it doesn’t happen that often. Since the extra 15-minute sudden death period was added in 1974, only 21 games have been played to a draw for an average of once every other year. Since the rule change in 2012 made the sudden death period into a moderately slow death period, four games have been tied. Three of them would NOT have been ties under the old, actual very sudden death rules. This article is not an indictment on that rule. But it is an indictment for a stupid third column messing up all the playoff scenarios at the end of the season.

Do Your Homework, Wingo

Trey Wingo and other very short-minded talking heads have been seen publicly saying that the Panthers’ tie in the 2014 season actually helped to win them the division that year. First of all, no it didn’t. It in fact wasn’t even close. Don’t be fooled. They finished the year at 7-8-1, a half game over the 7-9 Saints. So yes, they won the division without needing to go to any tie-breaking procedures. Yay. That’s probably as far as Trey Wingo’s research went. BUT, had the Panthers lost to the Bengals rather than tied them, they would have had the same record as the Saints. The first tie-breaker within the division is the head-to-head games, which the Panthers and Saints had split. The next tie-breaker is the team’s division records. The Panthers were 4-2, while the Saints were 3-3. So even if the Panthers had lost that game to the non-conference Bengals, they would have beat out the Saints as the champion of the worst division in NFL history. So Trey and all the other people with Donald Trump-type of research staffs are technically wrong anyway.

More than that, the implications of his thought are incorrect. The tie wouldn’t have won the Panthers the division anyway. Perhaps a non-loss would have won them the division. But there’s another scenario in which a team can play a full game and not lose. It’s called a win. Now maybe I’m just being picky with his phrasing, but as I already mentioned, he’s wrong anyway. As he often is.
Draws Are For Soccer and Baths

Ties aren’t exactly on par with concussions. They’re annoying and silly, but they aren’t life-threatening. Still, if we can get rid of them, let’s try. Because they are pretty darn annoying. Just think if we didn’t have them anymore. We wouldn’t have to spend so much stupid time and energy calculating playoff scenarios at the end of the year. We wouldn’t need the Cowboys to win OR tie, and the Giants to lose OR tie, etc. As a fan who doesn’t want to have to worry about that nonsense, it’s pretty irritating. As someone who does all those calculations without benefit of a computer program, it’s tragically irritating. And who the heck is happy about that game? The Cardinals aren’t. The Seahawks aren’t. The statisticians aren’t. The fans aren’t. Nobody feels like they won. Certainly not NBC. There are already horrible ratings this year and I’m not sure having a 6-6 tie in a primetime slot is helping any. And it seems like it would be easy enough to fix. In fact, here are ten easy fixes off the top of my head:

Ten Ways to Eliminate Ties in the NFL

  1. Play another 15 minute period. Same rules. Somebody has got to score. If they don’t, play another. The odds of this going on any longer than another period are astronomical (small, that is). Once somebody scores, they win. Game over. Hazard pay for the team trainers. Simple. Baseball and basketball do it. And they play the next day. Granted, they’re not crashing their bodies into each other an extra 25-50 times, but that’s how you win the battle of attrition. Play until a team scores or quits.
  2. Play another period, but move touchbacks up to the 35. In fact, maybe eliminate kickoffs in these extra periods entirely so that people don’t die.
  3. Take a page from soccer and hockey and have a skills competition to determine a winner. Maybe have each quarterback throw a ball from the 25. The first one to hit the goalpost wins.
  4. If tied at the end of OT, the home team wins. Incentive for the visiting team to not mess around.
  5. Start the first drive from the 35-yard line. NO PUNTS. Yeah, that’s right. If you don’t make your 4th down conversion, the other team gets the ball right there. [Inspired by Dan Quinn]
  6. Take a quick twitter poll like they do in The Voice.
  7. If tied at the end of OT, whoever was on defense first wins. WHOA! New strategy in selecting who starts with the ball. I’m intrigued already!
  8. Have each starting kicker, punter, and left tackle run a 100-yard dash against one another. Best two of three wins.
  9. Whoever had the funniest Instagram post leading up to the game wins.
  10. Leave it up to Paul, the World Cup predicting octopus.

paul-the-octopus

Sure, some of these ideas might sound a bit silly. Nine of them, to be exact (though I do like #7). But I see no reason that 106 people – none of which are me – can’t just play as long as it takes for one of these incompetent offenses to score. And if we’re really so worried about player safety, then let’s go ahead and get rid of kickoffs and make jumping over the center illegal all the time, even if you don’t make contact or make contact with someone else or just a little contact with his jersey. Because it’s the intent of the rule that should matter. But I said I wasn’t going to talk about the kicking game, so that’s an article for a different day.

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Dustin Fisher is a writer, comedian, storyteller, and stay-at-home dad. Follow along with his dad blog at http://daddyneedsanap.com/ or buy his first book, Daddy Issues.

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Dustin Fisher is an amateur standup comedian, storyteller, freelance writer, and stay-at-home dad, all of which are just better ways of saying “unemployed.” He worked in the area of collegiate recreation for the previous 14 years at UMBC, Miami University and the University of Baltimore. There, he became somewhat of a folk legend on the flag football field and actually got paid to play fantasy football. Dustin is currently in the MFA program at the University of Baltimore seeking a Masters degree in Creative Writing. He has made contributions to various publications including The Good Men Project and the Baltimore Fishbowl. For more about Dustin, check out his stay-at-home dad website, Daddy Needs a Nap. Dustin lives with his wife and daughter in New Carrollton, MD in a house surrounded by too many trees to get the Dish Network.

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