The NFL heads into the third weekend of the 2018 season within touching distance of history it would rather not make.
With Weeks 1 and 2 both having seen thrilling ties, one more would see 2018 become the first year in which there have been three ties in a single season since overtime was adopted in 1974.
Ties are an outcome that prompt bemusement in the world of American sports. The NFL is the only one of the four major sporting leagues in which they are possible and when they occur they are regularly greeted with disdain.
Though a tie is treated as superior to a loss when it comes to the standings, there is still little in the way of benefit to either team when a game finishes even. And yet the NFL's overtime rules in their current guise increase the likelihood of ties.
The league in 2017 cut the length of the overtime period from 15 minutes to 10. Both teams have a chance to score, unless the team that wins the coin toss scores a touchdown on the first possession, but the reduced time in which they have to do it has proved key in the opening two weeks of the season as there have been ties between the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings, largely down to the failings of various kickers.
Minnesota and Cleveland have since parted with the kickers in question, Daniel Carlson and Zane Gonzalez, the latter having cost the Browns in their Week 2 loss to the New Orleans Saints. Yet no kicker can ever be without fault and, for a league that has suffered numerous public relations hits in recent times, it seems clear that the best course of action would be to remove the possibility of a result from which fans gain no pleasure and reduce the chances of engrossing contests being decided by one swing of the leg.
1971 - The last time there were ties in Week 1 and Week 2 of a #NFL season:— OptaJerry (@OptaJerry) September 17, 2018
Miami Dolphins 10 - Denver Broncos 10 (Sept. 19, 1971)
Los Angeles Rams 20 - Atlanta Falcons 20 (Sept. 26, 1971)
NFL coordinators are increasingly looking towards the college game for innovations to their gameplans, and the league would be wise to do the same and copy its overtime rules, which see each team given the ball on the 25-yard line in an untimed period that continues until a winner is determined. If the two teams are still tied after each team has had two possessions, they then must attempt a two-point conversion rather than an extra point after they score a touchdown.
Kickers can still decide a game, but in college the emphasis in overtime is firmly on the offense. The adoption of such rules in the NFL would be fitting as the league continues to trend towards more high-scoring affairs with recent player safety rule changes making defenses' jobs ever more difficult.
Introducing an overtime period that would keep players on the field for an undetermined period of time would appear to fly in the face of efforts to improve player safety. However, by abandoning the kick-off in overtime, the NFL would also be removing the play the league identified as the one that causes the most concussions.
That would appear to be a trade-off most players would accept given the collective dismissive attitude towards ties. Such a move would also make commercial sense for the NFL by keeping more television viewers glued to games that go into overtime for longer. Ties do nothing for the NFL and their removal from the league is long overdue. The NFL gets its future stars and an increasing number of plays from college, to eradicate the inconvenience of the tie, it should look to the same source.
|Brotherly g-love! Tommy Fury follows Tyson into the pros|
|Ozil´s international retirement can help Arsenal - Emery|
|If you sack Lopetegui, you have to sack us all – Isco|
|Lopetegui defiant amid Real Madrid sack reports|
|Sri Lanka spinner Herath to retire after Galle Test|
|Ronaldo returns for Old Trafford welcome amid disquieting noise|
|Garcia claims third Andalucia Valderrama Masters title|
|Ex-England international Waldrom retires|
|´Massive personality´ Hart can lift Burnley, says Kompany|
|Liverpool felt wrath of ´emotional´ Klopp, says Shaqiri|
|Reid: Jenkins capitalised on Kaepernick movement|
|Manchester United v Juventus: Ronaldo out to end dismal scoring record against Mourinho|
|Injured Ribery to miss Bayern´s clash with AEK|
|Wilshere would have stayed at Arsenal under Wenger|
|Mahomes stars again as Chiefs crush Bengals|
|Bolt must accept ´much less´ to join Mariners, says A-League chief|
|Klopp compares Liverpool to dog without favourite toy|
|Young leads Hawks to first win, Thunder fall in Westbrook´s return|
|Spalletti hits out at physical Milan – I had three players asking to be replaced|
|Cowboys, Ravens lose after missed kicks in final seconds|
|Hernangomez secures Nuggets´ win over Warriors with last-second block|
|Hasler returns to Manly on three-year deal|
|Sarri: Chelsea fans must respect Mourinho|
|Ronaldo learnt from Scholes – Pjanic praises Juventus star|
|CA dismisses spot-fixing claims|
|WATCH: Will Ferrell leads chants with LAFC fans|
|MLS Review: Galaxy on track for play-offs as Timbers, DC clinch spots|
|Elliott secures win at Hollywood Casino 400|
|Thunder´s Westbrook makes season debut against Kings|
|Saints beat Ravens after Tucker misses extra point|
|Rondo, Paul and Ingram banned after Lakers-Rockets fight|
|Saints QB Brees reaches another historic milestone|
|Biglia: VAR should have checked Nainggolan tackle|
|Gattuso not blaming Donnarumma for derby defeat|
|Seventh in Mexico will secure Hamilton´s fifth world title|
|Rooney fires DC United into MLS play-offs|
|Alonso slams ´amateur´ F1 rivals after latest crash|
|Spalletti fears lengthy Nainggolan absence|
|To the Max! Verstappen destroyed shoe fending off Hamilton|
|Icardi delight after Donnarumma error gives him another derby winner for Inter|
|Guardiola: Versatility the key for Stones|
|Vettel frustrated as mistakes continue to hamper title challenge|
|ECB refutes spot-fixing claims against England players|
|I thought we would do better - Hamilton queries Mercedes strategy|
|Inter 1 AC Milan 0: Icardi settles derby with dramatic late winner|
|Hamilton denied title party as Raikkonen wins in Austin|
|Patriots RB Michel out against Bears with gruesome knee injury|
|Kohli hails Rohit partnership after comprehensive India victory|
|Silva downplays his role after Everton super subs seal victory|
|Injured Bairstow out of final white-ball matches in Sri Lanka|
|Pliskova feeling confident after impressive start in Singapore|
|Big-hitting Imrul rescues Bangladesh in opening ODI|
|Leinster suffer late defeat at Toulouse, Newcastle snatch dramatic victory|
|Chargers pip Titans to dramatic London win|
|Everton 2 Crystal Palace 0: Substitutes Calvert-Lewin and Tosun clip Eagles´ wings|
|Thunderstorms push Andalucia Valderrama Masters into reserve day|
|Edmund masters Monfils to claim maiden singles title|
|Kohli and Rohit fire India to comprehensive ODI win|
|Manchester United didn´t play - David Luiz blasts Mourinho tactics|
|Svitolina out to silence ´haters´ in Singapore|
|Emre Can facing surgery on thyroid problem|
|Tsitsipas claims maiden ATP crown in Stockholm|
|Mariners boss Mulvey knows nothing of Bolt contract offer|
|WATCH: Vinicius Junior scores free-kick - then sees red!|
|Gronkowski ruled out of Bears clash|
|Khachanov enjoys home comforts with comprehensive Kremlin Cup win|
|Isner wants Wimbledon tie-break rule named after him|
|Hummels lauds ´outstanding´ Lewandowski|
|Liverpool´s defensive improvement no accident – Gomez|
|Pliskova overpowers defending champion Wozniacki in Singapore|