Seven years ago, after the Saints beat the Vikings in the NFC championship with a first-possession field goal in overtime, I argued that the postseason overtime rule should guarantee the team that kicks off a chance to match or beat the score — field goal or touchdown. The NFL opted for a half-measure, allowing the team that loses the toss a chance to extend the game only if a field goal is scored.
It’s now time to go the rest of the way. In the euphoria arising from a 25-point comeback and eventual victory by the Patriots in Super Bowl LI, the victory feels incomplete because, ultimately, the Patriots won the game in part due to winning the flip of a coin.
I know it won’t be a popular viewpoint in some corners of the country, but I’d be making this argument no matter which team had won the toss and scored a touchdown on the first drive.
Frankly, I doubt the Falcons could have gotten down the field and scored. But the outcome would be more clear and satisfying if they’d at least had a chance to try. While that shouldn’t be the rule for the regular season, in playoff games the only fair thing to do is to give each team at least one possession in overtime.