No one wants to see overtime in the preseason. On Friday night, the Buccaneers and Steelers nearly did.
Trailing late in the fourth quarter by eight points, the Bucs drove the length of the field, and they scored a touchdown. With only 10 seconds left and trailing by two, Tampa coach Bruce Arians called for a play that, if successful, would have tied the game and forced the two teams to keep playing.
Fortunately for everyone, the play failed.
“No, I didn’t want to go to overtime,” Arians told reporters after the game. “But I would like to run that play better. I would like to have seen it executed better.”
But if it had been executed better, the final score at the end of regulation would have been, barring a kickoff return for a touchdown by the Steelers or a last-snap miracle, 30-30. And the exhibition contest would have been extended, creating more reps for players and greater risk of injury.
Yes, ties stink. But in the preseason, where the final score matters only to those who have gambling problem, a tie at the end of regulation doesn’t need to be resolved by extending the game beyond 60 minutes. Of all the rules changes that the NFL could make in any given year, this is one that has been overdue for decades.
Of course, it won’t happen until a preseason game goes to overtime and one of the players tears an ACL during the extra period.