No, I’m not referring to the corporate noose that happens to accompany most dress shirts (although, those suck too). I’m talking about the ridiculous concept of playing 75 minutes of professional football and simply walking away from it with no result.
This is a reality I hate so thoroughly and so passionately I’ve spent multiple NFL Recap preambles on it. In fact, it was just last year I went off on this all-too-familiar tangent when the Rams and 49ers played to a 24-24 draw.
This year, my frustration stems from Sunday’s Vikings-Packers tie. For the second straight season, two division rivals hooked up in an all-important game to help decide a tight division race and came away with an unfulfilling conclusion.
In an age where we’re debating player safety on a seemingly weekly basis, it’s lame to play five quarters of football and not give someone either the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat. In the NFL, where millions of dollars and men’s jobs are at stake, this is unacceptable.
Aaron Rodgers is still standing on the Green Bay sideline (sporting that awful porn-stache, no less), so to say this hurts the NFC North race is a bit overstated. The Vikings are dead, the Pack are on life support even if Rodgers returns this season, and that division is going to come down to which underachiever is less mediocre: Detroit or Chicago.
So my issue lies more with a game that almost ended in a tie.
The primetime affair between the Broncos and Patriots was dangerously close to ending in a stalemate; the Pats erased a 24-0 halftime deficit to force overtime, both teams had the ball in the extra session, and were it not for a Redskin-esque special-teams gaffe by Denver with 3 minutes left, the Sunday Night game would’ve ended in a draw as well.
As a conference game, the Patriots and Broncos playing to a tie would have been a trainwreck if the two teams ended up with identical regular-season records. Let’s say both teams ended the year 12-3-1. They tied head-to-head, they end up with the same conference record, and have the same record against common opponents. Then you’re assigning homefield advantage throughout the playoffs based on something as trivial as how many points they scored or the cumulative hotness of their cheerleaders (ok, so maybe one of those is made up).
I’m not necessarily advocating for the return of sudden-death overtime. The only thing that matters to me is ushering in a system that ensures that ties are impossible. In the playoffs, the two teams play until there’s a winner. I would urge the league to enact the same rules for the regular season as well.
After all, a tie could cost a team a shot at even making the playoffs.
Playoffs? We’re not talking about playoffs. We’re talking about Week 12:
Saints 17 Falcons 13
New Orleans was held to a season-low 17 points and still won. That’s a great omen for the Saints heading into next week’s primetime preview of the NFC title game in Seattle.
Jets 3 Ravens 19
For the second time this season, Ed Reed returned to Baltimore only to be handed an embarrassing loss. Reed is one of the greatest safeties ever and a lock to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, but it might be time to hang up the cleats.
Ok, NFL – if you’re going to baby QBs, baby all of them. Last week, the Saints were handed a win on a BS call for a legal hit on Drew Brees. This week, Jason Campbell gets concussed on a similar hit and no call. At least try to be consistent.
Bucs 24 Lions 21
I think Matthew Stafford is one of the best young QBs in the game. But if he’s going to take the next step, he’s 1) got to win home games against lesser opponents and 2) stop throwing so many killer interceptions.
Bad news for KC: they’ve lost two straight after starting 9-0. Good news for KC: three of the last six teams to do so went on to win the Super Bowl.
History is fun.
Bears 21 Rams 42
St. Louis has won two straight games scoring 80 points with no quarterback. I give up on this NFL season.
Oh, and in the battle of the Long brothers, big brother Chris beat little brother Kyle. As if I needed more ammo to throw in my little brother Rick’s face after last year’s “Har-Bowl”…
Panthers 20 Dolphins 16
Don’t look now, but Carolina is in the midst of a franchise-record 7-game win streak. If Cam Newton ever gets some elite targets to throw to, the Panthers will be scary good.
Jaguars 13 Texans 6
I don’t root for a guy to get fired…but when you can’t get in the end zone at home against the worst team in the league, it’s time to start cleaning house. Start sprucing up that resume, Gary Kubiak.
Colts 11 Cardinals 40
Apparently, Bruce Arians brought all of Indy’s 2012 mojo over to Arizona for 2013. Because right now the Cards look like a legitimate NFC wild-card contender, while the Colts look like a team intent on getting its quarterback killed.
Titans 23 Raiders 19
Every week, there’s a game of such little interest the NFL highlight shows don’t even bother giving you more than two key plays and the final score. Because of the Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. Matt McGloin QB duel, this was that game.
This was an NFL rarity: a game that actually surpasses the hype. Brady outdueled Manning in an epic comeback; Knowshon Moreno ran for more than 200 yards on one leg, and Bill Belichick took the wind instead of the ball in overtime exactly 11 years to the day after Marty Mornhinweg did it with disastrous results. This may have overtaken Broncos/Cowboys as Game Of The Year.
Redskins 6 49ers 27
As we prepare for another December to forget in Washington, I propose we start a fun game to close out the season: Let’s take the number of off-field Redskins controversies and stack them against the number of games the team actually wins. I think we all know which pile will be bigger…