Monday Morning QB (cont.)
Posted: Monday March 19, 2007 8:55AM; Updated: Monday March 19, 2007 5:48PM
Coincidence or not, a slightly greater percentage of overtime games in the last four seasons are being won on the first series of overtime ... and more than a third of them over the past five years.
I'd take any change in the overtime rules, as long as it moves us closer to a fair chance for both teams to get the ball in the extra period. Discussing a tweak is a start. It's not the solution, but here's hoping that the coaches and club officials on the competition committee can, at a minimum, convince their brethren to take this first step at making overtime games more equitable.
Two other ideas that the competition committee has been chewing on over in the last couple of weeks:
1. Making instant replay permanent. Replay was approved for five years before the 2004 season by a 29-3 vote. Now the league is at the point where it wants to update the equipment to include high-definition pictures with better resolution. But the owners are reluctant to spend millions for 32 state-of-the-art replay setups, then have the system whacked at some point down the road. On the other hand, if the system becomes permanent, owners would be motivated to buy the best equipment.
2. Establishing coach-to-defensive-captain communication, the same way the league allows coach-to-quarterback communication. This is one of the more controversial ideas in the league right now. There's a segment of traditionalists who think, We've done just fine for 80-something years without the middle linebacker having a speaker in his helmet. Then there's the cross-section of coaches and G.M.'s who think that if the offensive coordinator can talk to the quarterback, why can't the defensive coordinator talk to the middle linebacker?
There's some concern in the league about sign-stealing, and there's no doubt that several teams spend time studying the signals sent from the sidelines to the defensive unit, trying to figure out if, say, a blitz is coming and who's going to be blitzing.
The Ravens were very concerned about the Colts stealing their signals in the playoffs. Baltimore coaches take such precautions that they color-code their play-calling for every game. They put their defensive play-calls on four different-colored laminated sheets. On the first series they give their defensive captain, say, the blue wristband and call plays from the blue laminated sheet. After the series, the captain puts on the red one, and the coaches pull out the red laminated sheet. And so on, so that no one would be able to figure the pattern of play calls. They hope.
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