Jared Lankford: NFL opting for no-win situation

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Several years ago, an owner of a pizza restaurant went to see his banker about a series of bounced checks he had cashed for a customer.

The banker said he knew the person who had written the checks and that the bank — more frequently than it wanted to admit — dealt with this particular individual’s overspending problem.

After solving the issue of how to recoup the money, the banker offered a free piece of advice to the restaurant owner on how to prevent a reoccurrence of this embarrassment.

He said, “If you won’t cash checks, I won’t sell pizzas.”

Generally, my readers can count on me to stay in my lane and focus writing about local sports. However, this week, the NFL announced that it was shortening its overtime from 15 minutes to 10 minutes.

The rule, as are most these days, is rooted in player safety.

In simple economic terms, a shorter period means fewer plays and less potential for injuries.

Using stats compiled by Austin Knoblaunch, of NFL.com, there have been 83 overtime games over the last five seasons, 22 of them lasting at least 10 minutes into overtime (the average time elapsed in overtime in the last five years is 7 minutes, 43 seconds). There have been five games that ended in ties in those five seasons — an average of one per year. If overtime had ended after 10 minutes, there would have been 16 total ties, for an average of 3.2 times per season.

The thing about statistics is, they can be manipulated to show that this change is for the best.

While I am for player safety, let’s not forget that the NFL is a business and that the goal is to pry as many of people’s hard earned dollars from their pockets as possible.

According to Team Marketing Report’s Fan Cost Index, the average cost for a family of four to attend a Chiefs game last season was $374.68. The total price was based on four average-price tickets, two small draft beers, four small soft drinks, four hot dogs, one parking spot, two game programs and the two cheapest adult-size caps.

The total did not include meals, gas or lodging to and from the venue. In case you were wondering, Dallas topped the list at $634.78

That number will go up this year, with Kansas City increasing the cost of parking from $30 to $60. I hope there is gold sprinkled in that asphalt at Arrowhead.

If fans are expected to shell

out a car or house payment to attend a game, the least the NFL could do is remove the possibility of a tie.

No Chiefs fan in his right mind has ever said, “I sure hope we tie the Broncos today.” Cheerleaders don’t chant, “Go, Fight, Tie!” Notre Dame wasn’t trying to tie one for The Gipper. A coach has never said, “You play to tie the game.”

No football team wants to lay it all on the line so that they can bring home the tie.

I understand that the NFL owners and NFL Players Association wanting to protect their investments and clients, but they could always expand the rosters to 60 and gain more depth.

Football is violent by nature. Its players are our modern day gladiators. The crowd demands its pound of flesh, a show, entertainment and a champion to hail as supreme.

My solution to overtime is simple: Each team gets one possession beginning at their own 20-yard line. If neither team scores on its first possession, then the next score wins. Also, if the first team scores a touchdown on its opening possession of overtime and the second team also scores a touchdown, the second team must go for a 2-point conversion to either win or lose the game.

I’d pay to watch that.

Jared Lankford is the sports editor of Cassville Democrat. He can be reached at sports@cassville-democrat.com, or 417-847-2610

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