To the @NFL: It’s Time to Change the Over-Time Rules

Last night, both the NFC and AFC Championship games went into overtime. The NFC Championship game ended in an unusual way, but it wasn’t the OT that made it in any way controversial.

It saw one of the most egregious Pass Interference no-calls in recent history, from any angle, and any viewpoint. It was clearly a play on the receiver and not a play on the ball, and he hit him before the ball was in a catch-able range. If that wasn’t PI, nothing is; but that’s not what this article is about.

This article is about the unabashed embarrassment that is the NFL’s over-time rules. There are many reasons to disagree with the rules philosophically, but there is absolutely no way you can stand by them after Super Bowl 51.

Super Bowl 51 took the rules in their worst form and put it on display in front of the largest audience in American pro-sports. You would think that would be a convenient time to make the rules more logical and balanced, but no. The league simply cannot help themselves.

The NFC Championship game thankfully ended in a hectic but competitively reasonable fashion. The Saints had the ball, messed up, and the Rams capitalized. But that game, too, could have ended like the AFC title game. The Saints could easily have won the game on that drive, and we’d be sitting here talking about the entire Super Bowl hanging in the balance of a coin toss.

There is an argument to be made that sudden-death style rules make over-time more exciting. The reality is, they simply don’t. Nothing kills a tense competitive atmosphere more than a game ending out of nowhere, with half of both teams not getting a say in the matter. There is even an argument to be made that sudden-death makes it a better spectator experience, but this is also false. Watching the game last night, with multiple people of varying interest in football, not a single person felt the rules made any sense, even people who don’t follow football and were watching purely as a casual spectator.

It doesn’t make it more hype. It doesn’t make it a better watch. It leaves you with nothing except a sense of anti-climax and frustration.

Aside from the bad taste OT often leaves in peoples’ mouths, there simply is no excuse for one team to end the game on the first possession of a period. The reason the game went into over-time was the full roster, offense and defense, of both teams were so evenly matched that the game was tied after 4 quarters. For it to be possible for only half of each team to fight for the W, in a game where most players only play on one side of the ball (unlike hockey or basketball in which offense and defense more or less happen simultaneously) is purely inexcusable and moronic.

It’s not like this is a non-issue either, this NFL season had an unprecedented amount of over-time games, including some that were similarly decided because of a coin-toss, Eagles/Cowboys being a notable example. More importantly, this has happened multiple times in the past 3 years, including a Super Bowl. If the Super Bowl is supposed to be the crowning achievement of professional sports, and the pinnacle of competition, how can it possibly be decided by a coin-toss?

The NFL does a lot of things questionably. PI rulings are unusually inconsistent, roughing the passer is apparently constituted as brushing Tom Brady’s sternum with your hand, and pulling Nick Foles by his horse-collar and hurling him to the ground isn’t. But nothing, and I mean nothing, is as frustrating, illogical, embarrassing, anti-climactic, and as overdue for a reboot as the NFL’s over-time rules.

Quick Hits: Butler’s Big Night Caps Off Start to Sixers’ Tough Stretch

In the Sixers’ away game against the Indiana Pacers Thursday night, there were reasons for optimism up and down the roster, but not the least of which was Jimmy Butler exploding for 27 points and 5 rebounds.

Impossible to ignore was Embiid’s limited but crucial presence, as he played 35 minutes with frequent breaks due to lower back soreness and stiffness. It sure felt like he only played 25 minutes or so, but he took plenty of short breaks to the bench to be worked on by the training staff.

Butler was uncharacteristically athletic and jumpy tonight, which was a sight for sore eyes.

Every single one of Indiana’s starters posted a negative +/-, even Thad Young who had 27 points. All of the Sixers’ starters, even including Chandler, somehow, had a positive +/-.

This game comes as a huge morale boost as the Sixers begin a truly hellish stretch of games over the next few weeks. Plenty of away games against Western Conference teams, and every team until they play the Knicks in February have winning records.

This game was against a well-coached, fantastic shooting and strong defensive team, and the Sixers came to play tonight. This was especially significant as the Pacers are among the echelon of teams that the Sixers would play in either the first round of the playoffs (4/5 seed game) or the second round. Of course, on any given night Oladipo would probably have a better game, and Muscala isn’t going to be knocking down corner 3’s in a 7-game series.

Speaking of 3-balls, Redick went 6-9 from beyond the arc, including some contested shots off the dribble and plenty of Dribble-Hand-Off action with Embiid.

The Sixers are back in action against the Thunder Saturday, in another early game in the gauntlet.

Joel Embiid Triumphantly Returned to Talking Shit on Twitter, and It’s Glorious

After the Philadelphia 76ers’ dominant 149-197 win against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Joel Embiid did something we haven’t seen in a while: he took to Twitter.

For reasons unknown, Embiid has been relatively quiet on social media this season, compared to last season where he would post pictures of him dunking on Russell Westbrook even after a loss. If I had to guess, Embiid wanted to let his play speak for itself as he embarked on an MVP campaign. But regardless of the ‘why,’ here is Embiid’s tweet about the game last night:

Embiid hilariously refers to the pre-trade Butler drama in Minnesota.

For context, the Minnesota Timberwolves was the team Jimmy Butler demanded a trade from in order to end up on the Sixers, and Embiid is specifically referring to an event which took place at a Timberwolves’ practice.

Butler came to the practice, even though he was not really supposed to because of the trade request, hopped into the scrimmage with the 3rd string lineup, and proceeded to beat the starters, including Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. Reportedly, Butler talked a lot of mess to the starters, as well as making a scene in front of the front office. Butler later claimed (on a podcast with teammate JJ Redick) that he only took a single shot in the scrimmage.

Butler’s primary grievance with the two young Timberwolves was their lack of urgency to win, and Embiid’s tweet shows that not only is he about that hustle, but he’s trying to prove a point in doing so, as Butler did in the scrimmage earlier this year.

For one thing, I hope Embiid will start to feel himself a little bit again. He seems to have doubted himself at times this year despite his unprecedented performance, and with a long, hard stretch of games coming up, the team could use the confidence.

Nick Foles is the Monta Ellis to Carson Wentz’s Steph Curry

I love Nick Foles. You love Nick Foles. America loves Nick Foles. But if you think the Eagles should keep him over Carson Wentz then you are a stupid idiot. Almost as stupid and idiotic as the people that wanted to keep Monta Ellis over Steph Curry in 2012.

As with most things in this world we find that history does repeat itself. This time we are re-visiting the age-old debate of whether you should keep a productive veteran over the young phenom with superstar potential.

I just want to revisit that debate real quick. If you don’t believe that this debate actually happened (because it looks so ridiculous 7 years later) here’s an article published about it on Bleacher Report. If you don’t want to click on the link, I’ll sum up what some of these people were saying about each player. Steph Curry can’t stay healthy with his nagging ankle but is young and can shoot the lights out. Monta Ellis was the elite scorer but his play wouldn’t translate to wins and the fans adored Monta Ellis. Even this dude known as the “hoops critic” on Twitter loved Ellis. I am not even going to begin to explain the difference in the paths Curry and Ellis went on after this because it is just so brutally lopsided.

The parallels between Steph and Wentz are uncanny. Steph Curry had shown flashes of greatness early on, especially when he made the most threes ever by a rookie in 2009 by hitting 166. Carson Wentz was going to be MVP last season and held the league lead in TD passes from week 13 to week 16 when Tom Brady finally passed him in the last game. Carson Wentz is a legitimate top 10 quarterback in the league that has an incredible pre-snap IQ and a tremendous feel for the game. He has got everything you want in a quarterback. He’s got the size, athleticism, arm, work ethic, and football acumen. Wentz will enter next season at 26 and still on his rookie contract. This isn’t a hard decision.

Now for Nick Foles.

I am incredibly thankful for Foles and think he should have his number retired as an Eagle. No one should ever wear the number 9 in midnight green ever again. But guys, did you actually watch him play this year? Foles put up a whopping 18 points in the opener against Atlanta (28th ranked defense in the NFL) and looked absolutely lost at Tampa Bay (27th ranked defense in the NFL) in a game that ended a lot closer than it was. He broke the Eagles passing record and tied the NFL completion record late, and then was so average come playoff time that it physically hurt. Outside of the last drive against the Bears and the first quarter against the Saints he just wasn’t good. He was missing throws and making subpar decisions for 6/8 quarters the Eagles played in the postseason. In these playoffs, Foles was 43-71 with 3 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. Yes, the one pick wasn’t his fault but his quarterback rating of 61 and not being able to score after the first quarter is on him. Also, his one pick on an underthrown ball to Zach Ertz in the second quarter completely changed the game. Nick Foles defied all logic last postseason and on game-winning drives. He all of the sudden turns into the greatest quarterback ever after looking lost at times the rest of the game. It’s unbelievable and no one will ever be able to explain it. But trading a young MVP level quarterback on a rookie contract to sign a 29-year-old to a lucrative contract may be the single dumbest idea floated around the city of Philadelphia in years.

Nick Foles has peaked. He will only decline from this point.

I am looking forward to being 31 years old and looking back on all of these decade-old tweets of people bashing Wentz and saying they should trade him. They will look just as dumb as Brian Geltzeiler and I can’t wait for old takes exposed to let them hear about it.