In a recent article on collegiate sports coaching, Kassandra Ramsey alerted us to the declining rate of female coaches in Division One basketball. Men substantially overshadow women in coaching. Unfortunately, it is much worse in professional sports. Additionally, head coaching positions are majority white-male dominated. In the NFL, this lack of divergence from the mean […]Continue reading
What an interesting college football off-season this is shaping up to be. College football players are wielding their newly found freedom with the NCAA’s transfer portal. Last summer, the NCAA announced the creation of a new transfer portal that would allow college athletes to pursue transferring to another school without first obtaining their coaches permission. […]Continue reading
On Sunday, football fans witnessed one of the most exciting NFL Championship Sundays ever. Both the NFC Championship game and the AFC Championship game went into overtime. There is nothing better than watching two teams fight it out so effectively that the game ends in a tie and is forced into overtime. Overtime is almost like a second game where both teams get an equal shot at becoming the victor. However, that is not exactly true for NFL overtimes.
A Coin Toss Decided the Outcomes of Both Championships
To no one’s surprise, the teams that won the two coin tosses won the games. The implementation of the “sudden death” rule on Sunday left many fans upset that each game was essentially decided by a coin toss. The games were decided by a coin toss as it was an almost certainty that the team that won the toss would take possession, score first, and win. Both teams did exactly that.
Although some may argue that the NFC Championship game was decided by a blown call at the end of the fourth quarter, the game still went into overtime. The team that won the toss, the Los Angeles Rams, won the game without the New Orleans Saints ever getting an opportunity to score. In the AFC Championship game the team that won the toss, the New England Patriots, won the game without the Kansas City Chiefs ever getting an opportunity to score. Accordingly, fans were upset that the NFC and AFC Championship games were essentially decided by a coin toss.
The NFL Needs to Change This, Especially for Championship Games
The NFL needs to change this. This is especially true as it pertains to championship games. The team that does not take possession at kickoff (usually the team who loses the toss) is essentially at an unfair disadvantage. Some may argue that there is no disadvantage because the defense should be able to hold off the opposing offense. This is a fair argument. However, it would be better if both teams were guaranteed a chance to perform on both offense and defense. Such a change would ultimately make the game more competitive. It would force both teams to prove they deserve to win offensively and defensively.
The NFL Needs to Adopt Some Variation of College Football’s Overtime Rules
The college football overtime rules are much better than the NFL’s. The NFL can certainly learn from college football in this area. Like the NFL, overtime in college starts with a coin toss. Where it differs is in the fact that both teams are guaranteed a possession. This means that both teams will have the opportunity to play both offense and defense. This is better because it forces both teams to earn the win on both ends of the field.
If the team that gets the ball first scores, they must defend it and hold off the other team’s offense. The college overtime period starts at the 25-yard line.[i] If the game is still tied at the end of the overtime period it keeps going until a team wins.[ii] However, once the game reaches a third overtime period, the teams may no longer kick after a touchdown and are forced to attempt a two-point conversion.[iii] This goes on until a team wins.
Some may argue that this type of overtime makes for a long game. That is true, a game could be extremely long if both teams keep scoring. However, that is an extremely rare occurrence. Even with that possibility, the NFL needs to consider some variation of college football’s overtime rules. Allowing who gets to advance to the Super Bowl to be determined by a coin toss is simply unacceptable.
[i] Chris Chavez, How Does College Football Overtime Work? Rule, NFL Differences Explained, Sports Illustrated (Aug. 14, 2017), https://www.si.com/college-football/2017/college-football-overtime-rules-explained.
Five Up Five Down is where we rank the 5 best NFL Teams and 5 worst NFL Teams. Who really cares about the teams in the middle. As Ricky Bobby from Talladega Nights would say, “If you’re not first, you’re last”. The Five Up Five rankings for Week 3 reflect what we learned in week 2. We learned the importance of having a good placekicker and the awesomeness of Patrick Mahomes II. So, here are the results after the first 32 games played.
Five UP: 5 best NFL teams
1. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (2-0)
They beat the Saints and the Eagles, which is why they’re #1 in our 5 Up 5 Down Weekly NFL Rankings. Best team to watch if you are a fantasy fan right now. The team is putting up points like playing Madden 19 on the easy level. Ryan Fitzpatrick leads the NFL in passing (819 Yards 8 TD’s a 151.1 QBR), looks like Conor McGregor and is playing like Dan Marino! #FitzMagic is real, and he is the first QB in NFL History (99 Years) to throw for 400 yards, and at least 4 TD passes in each of his team’s first two games. This might be a mirage, but it’s a fun mirage. The Bucs are home versus the struggling Steelers (0-1-1) whose defense is struggling against the pass.
2. LOS ANGELES RAMS (2-0)
The Los Angeles Rams have it all going on right now. A defense that generates points and an offense that is by far the most creative this side of New Orleans. The defense is loaded with playmakers (Suh, Peters, Donald). The offensive line is playing stout. The Rams can play better since Todd Gurley has not been himself yet. Next up: the battle of the LA Chargers (1-1) that would make Snake Plissken happy. Don’t be surprised to see the Rams at the #1 position in our NFL rankings next week.
3. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (2-0)
Jacksonville fans will not like our NFL Rankings Week 3! Everyone said that the one thing that is holding the Jaguars back from being serious Superbowl contenders is Blake Bortles. Hmm…Blake looked good in getting his revenge last week against the Pats throwing for 377 yards, and 4 TD passes against the New England Patriots. My biggest concern with this team, like the Rams, is depth. Plenty of time to add a piece or two, but this team has plenty of time to move up these Unafraid rankings. Jacksonville will have a chance to go to 3-0 at home versus the (1-1) Titans.
4. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (2-0)
Only Ryan Fitzpatrick has been more exciting to watch than Patrick Mahomes II (582 Yards, 10 Touchdowns, 143 QBR, with zero INT’s). I still have issues with the Chiefs defense, but we’ll see. That offense is loaded and watching a young QB come in and dominate the NFL is very exciting. Kid Dynamite (My new nickname for him), will have a challenge this week at home vs. (1-1) 49ers and a stout defense. The Chiefs could be a good bet to rise in my NFL Rankings Week 3.
5. CINCINNATI BENGALS (2-0)
Sure we laugh at this thinking they will fail, and Marvin Lewis won’t get fired again, but this team has been very impressive! They won both of its games to start the season in dominating fashion, 34-23 against the Colts and Ravens. The Red Rifle has been very terrific to start the season (108.5 QB Rating with 6 TD passes and just 1 INT). Geno Atkins has been unblockable with three sacks. The only reason why I have him at #5 is that they are the Bengals. If these two performances were by the Patriots or Eagles, they would be #1. That’s how impressive they have been. Next up: at the (1-1) Carolina Panthers.
Closing in on the top 5: 6. Minnesota Vikings (1-0-1), 7. Miami Dolphins (2-0), 8. Denver Broncos (2-0).
Five DOWN: 5 worst NFL teams
28. DETROIT LIONS (0-2)
It seemed like things were trending in the right direction for the Lions, then the season started. They got blown out by a rookie QB at home against the Jets and last week they tried to come back but fell short vs. 49ers. Matthew Stafford is taking a beating and hasn’t played well (76.7 QBR) the running game which was thought to be better with the additions of LeGarrette Blount and Kerryon Johnson has failed largely because of the offensive line not creating any running room. Will Matt Patricia be the latest Patriots coordinator to fail as a Head Coach (156-227 .407 Winning %). Well, his mentor brings the Patriots (1-1) to town on Sunday night, which could mean a 0-3 start.
29. OAKLAND RAIDERS (0-2)
The season started off with a catastrophe trading Khalil Mack away. Funny, Jon Gruden said at his press conference on Wednesday, “Its hard to find a great pass rusher !” really? Derek Carr played much better in week #2 but this team gets no pressure on the opposing team’s QB, and the Wide Receivers are not getting separation. Jared Cook has been a stud, but the Raiders look like they at best will be an 8-8 squad. The Silver and Black travel to South Beach to face the surprising (2-0) Miami Dolphins.
30. CLEVELAND BROWNS (0-1-1)
They have played better and really should be 2-0. Doesn’t matter they had a kicker who cost them two games and Mr. Gonzalez is now gone. They replaced Gonzalez, not with a proven veteran (Santos or Forbath were available since Bailey said no), but with a rookie who had a 69% FG percentage at UCF. Yikes! I like the talent on this team, but the dysfunction of what has produced (1-32-1) football is still intact. Think of this: the Browns have not won on a Sunday since December 13, 2015 (vs. 49ers). That is over 1,000 days. They have a chance to end that streak next week vs. Oakland but tonight they are favored for the first time in a long time vs. the N.Y. Jets (1-1) A chance for Cleveland to get out of the doghouse in our NFL rankings. Maybe the team needs back on Hard Knocks; they had more hope then.
31. ARIZONA CARDINALS (0-2)
Okay, they could be #1 in our power poll, but I like the Cardinals, so I gave them clemency. What they won’t like is that fact they have scored a whopping 6 points in 8 quarters of play. Sam Bradford looks like he should retire. He set an ominous mark on Sunday against the Rams with the lowest yards per pass completion ever. Checkdown Sammy had 17 completions for 90 yards that averaged a paltry 3.33 yards. It wasn’t that good, and the OL has been pitiful. The Josh Rosen watch is on as the Cards will look to score some points at home versus the Chicago Bears (1-1).
32. BUFFALO BILLS (0-2)
The Buffalo Bills are the worst team in the NFL. Hey, they still have the best fans, but man will this year be tough to watch! It’s so bad they have players retiring at half-time! What happened? They were just in the playoffs. They already are at minus 55, the worst point differential in the league, with a date coming up with Kirk Cousins and the high-powered Vikings (1-0-1) on the road. Josh Allen will get his 2nd NFL start with the 2nd worst offense (have already yielded 11 sacks) going up against the #1 defense from last year (Bills are 16.5 point underdogs Sunday). This could get a lot uglier.
Knocking on futilities door: Houston Texans (0-2), Seattle Seahawks (0-2), Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1-1)
Come back next Wednesday for Five up Five down: 5 best NFL Teams, 5 worst NFL Teams Week 4.
I had a cool time in high school, but for the most part, I felt like a fish out of water, but then came the University of Oregon. I didn’t know what to expect when I got to Eugene. All I knew about the U of O was Nike, Prefontaine “Track Town USA”, and Duck football. I learned quickly what the 541 was all about. I loved my time in Eugene. My favorite breakfast spot GJ’s, our favorite bar Taylors , the U.I. dorm , the CASS and most importanly, Autzen stadium, the crowd, and the student section. AMAZING!!! I’ll never forget Apartment #90 which consisted of #1 aka SP aka Samie Parker, #2 aka O-S*#@*y aka Onterrio Smith and myself aka Rice-Daddy. Man, if those walls could talk, lol, but I’m glad they can’t. Oregon was totally different than any other place I had ever been into my whole life, but yet it was home. Some of my fondest memories are from my time in Eugene. College was truly some of the best years of my life to date. A lot of things in my life may change, but one thing that will remain the same is I will always and forever be an Oregon Duck!