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Originally published September 21, 2014 at 7:16 PM | Page modified September 21, 2014 at 9:12 PM

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NFL’s overtime rules are stupid: Both teams should get to touch the ball

All Peyton Manning and the Broncos offense could do was sit and watch as the Seahawks won the coin flip, then the game.


The Denver Post

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The winner of a classic football game should never be determined by pure, dumb luck.

Unlike the Super Bowl, the only difference Sunday between the Broncos and Seattle was a flip of the coin.

“We felt like we were the better team,” Broncos defensive tackle Terrance Knighton said.

Not to take anything away from the Seahawks’ 26-20 overtime victory against Denver, but if there’s anything we’ve learned from the NFL of late, it’s this: What’s fair got to do with anything in this league? And the more the rules change, the less we trust that justice is truly being served.

After Denver rallied from a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter on the road in the NFL’s rowdiest stadium, the silence of stunned Seahawks fans was deafening as quarterback Peyton Manning represented the Broncos on the coin flip to determine which team would get the football to begin overtime.

Manning called tails.

The Seahawks won.

NFL overtime rules are stupid.

“It puts a premium on the coin toss,” Manning said. “I called tails at the beginning of the game, and went with it again in overtime. It was heads, and it proved to be a significant call. But that’s the way it is. And you’d like to not leave it to that, leave it to get to that situation.”

Manning was forced to stand and watch as Seattle marched 80 yards for a touchdown on the opening possession of overtime. No doubt, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson was fantastic on the winning drive. When a fierce 6-yard run by Marshawn Lynch gave sudden death to Denver’s remarkable comeback, Broncos linebacker Nate Irving and his defensive teammates were so emotionally stunned their feet no longer seemed to work.

Manning has become known in Denver, thanks to imaginative T-shirt makers and excitable fans, as PFM. Maybe I’ve finally figured out what those three letters mean: Pray for miracles.

In the hands of Manning, miracles happen.

While the NFL’s most beautiful mind was stumped by the Seahawks for the vast majority of four quarters and Denver’s offensive game plan appeared so simplistic you might have wondered if it had been written in crayon, Manning willed the Broncos 80 yards in the final 59 seconds to tie the game.

Manning hit a wide-open Jacob Tamme with a 26-yard pass for the TD, then found Demaryius Thomas to convert the essential two points.

Prayer answered.

“That’s what makes him Peyton Manning,” said Wilson, with obvious respect for one of the NFL’s elder statesmen. “That’s what makes him one of the best quarterbacks ever to play the game.”

Then, however, Manning was forced to sit and watch overtime. Maybe NFL commissioner Roger Goodell should have bought Manning a pretzel and beer.



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