This past weekend’s game between the Arizona Cardinals and Green Bay Packers was an absolute classic. It will surely be remembered for years to come. However, the ending may not have been deserving for most who watched it. Aaron Rodgers never got a chance to touch the ball in overtime which is not okay. The rules need to be adjusted.
Everybody knows the details by now. The Packers stormed back with a miraculous final drive to tie the game on a Hail Mary to little-known Jeff Janis. After a coin toss debacle, Arizona got the ball and before you could blink, they scored and it was over. It was a sudden resolution to such a classic that we didn’t want to end so soon. It is not fair to have a team’s season come down to a coin flip. It’s been done this way forever; we even saw a moderate rule change that prevented an opening possession field goal from winning the game in OT, but it’s become clear that is not enough.
A coin flip like the one on Saturday is extremely, extremely rare, but obviously it could happen. I still don’t know what should have been done. Should Rodgers have gotten a chance to re-call his pick before it was flipped? Who knows, but the fact that an NFL playoff game came down to that was deplorable. Now, it could be argued that if Green Bay played defense they would have gotten the ball back. Well, sure, but that shouldn’t matter. In fact, the play that set up Arizona could be argued as a bit fluky. You had Carson Palmer avoiding sacks and tossing the ball all the way across the field to a wide-open Larry Fitzgerald. Palmer has never shown moves like that, but he did on Saturday and it ended Green Bay’s year without a rebuttal.
Anything can happen on an opening possession. A defender could fall and leave a guy wide open, a guy can catch a ball against his helmet or any other crazy outcome. For the playoffs only, this needs to be changed. It’s not a regular season game in October, it’s the divisional round. It’s pretty simple, take a modified version of the college rules. Both teams get the ball. If the first team scores a touchdown, then the second team gets a chance to equal it. If they do, then it becomes next score wins. That’s the only thing that needs to be changed. You still start from your own 20-yard line, as that doesn’t need to be changed. If the opening score is a field goal, an ensuing touchdown will still win it obviously.
An NFL playoff game should not end with Rodgers, Tom Brady or any star and team that fought and clawed all game on the sideline without getting a chance. It’s just not the way to end a season. Essentially all the hard work put in during the season, all the effort Green Bay put in to tie that game can come down to 50/50 chance coin flip. It just leaves a sour taste in your mouth. Sixty minutes of blood and guts can’t come down to that, especially with a Super Bowl on the line. It’s time to adapt some more and make this right.