Dear NFL: Time to ditch the tie

Photo Courtesy: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Photo Courtesy: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

”I don’t have a sister, but I’m going to say it’s like going to prom with your sister.”

Forgive Jared Allen for bringing back repressed memories of forced games of dress up and tea party with big sis, or maybe, just maybe, of the worst prom EVER. It’s just that, how do you react when you’re playing a sport at its top level and you go home without winning or losing?

Save me the conversation about the world’s game, soccer, having ties. Playing to a draw is an inherent part of that game. The teams get a point for a tie that goes toward playoffs and advancement. The NFL doesn’t do that. Their stalemates are a nuisance and aggravation, and it’s time for the league to say goodbye to the dreaded tie.

Sunday the Packers and Vikings became the 37th and 38th teams since 1974 (when the league adopted Sudden Death Overtime) to go home with this uneasy feeling, finishing without a winner in a sport where most of them have never experienced anything but winning or losing. And it wasn’t just the guys on the field who didn’t know how to feel about it.

“I’ve never seen a stadium just quiet after a game. I’m pretty sure the general feeling was … what … happened?” Packers Defensive End Mike Daniels said.

Fans pay good money for tickets, particularly in Green Bay, where many of them are sold on the secondary market. They don’t go to football games to see a tie, and they aren’t forced to at the high school or college level, at least in most places. That’s why it’s baffling to me why the NFL still allows for games to end this way.

It’s not like the league is unwilling to toy with its bonus time policies. They already changed the format, not rewarding a team who gets the ball first by allowing them to win with just a field goal. Now, it’s time to take it a step further and play until a winner is found.

It’s a simple change. Either keep the clock running and start a new quarter or play with only a play clock and don’t worry about game time. The league already has it right from a purists standpoint. They don’t resort to the gimmick of penalty kicks, shoot out or even college football’s method of giving teams the ball already in scoring position. Teams have to grind to put points on the board, same as during regulation, and they shouldn’t feel like the clock is playing against them when they aren’t even losing the game.

The NFL has plenty of issues to deal with, but is there a change to be made that would be easier than this one? The fans, the players, and especially Donovan McNabb aren’t interested in a tie, and the NFL shouldn’t be either.

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