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Overtime in the Preseason: What’s the Point?

Overtime in the Preseason: What’s the Point?

We learned a few things from the Jets-Giants game Saturday night: Geno Smith isn’t ready to be the starter come week one.  The Giant offense looked out of sync. Rex Ryan is a defensive coordinator masquerading as a head coach with one leg out the door. Tom Coughlin isn’t aware that icing the kicker statistically has no bearing on whether a kick is missed or made. And overtime in the preseason makes about as much sense as Mark Sanchez’s presence in the fourth quarter of a meaningless game.

Football fans (myself included) look forward to overtime games. It adds an extra element of excitement, and nervousness, especially if your team is the one involved. But in the preseason, overtime games feel like an exercise in futility, pointless carrying on for what amounts to nothing more than an opportunity for players to get hurt. And it’s something the NFL should trash sooner than later.

First off, what does a team gain by extending the contest into overtime? Records are kept in the preseason, but they mean absolutely nothing. And as we’ve seen in the past, there is no direct correlation between how a team performs in the preseason, and the carryover they see into the regular season. If you don’t believe me, the Atlanta Falcons are currently 0-3 thru the first three weeks of the preseason; a team that most consider to be one of the best in the NFC. Despite Rex Ryan’s claims that clubs should try to win every game (no matter how irrelevant it is), it simply doesn’t make sense to prolong the agony, especially for the fans that bought tickets. It would be like going to a concert, but the encore is a cover band. Who honestly wants to see an overtime game with third stringers?

Tom Coughlin, by kicking a field goal to send the game into overtime, did fans, and his team a disservice. You could make the argument that by extending the game, it gives fringe players an opportunity to make the team — but if they haven’t already earned a roster spot by that point, chances are they didn’t deserve it in the first place. Additionally, if one of your starters sustaines and injury during the first four quarters (like, for instance, Stevie Brown) those fringe players might be of some importance, and you may need them to fill a void left on your squad. Brown, the ball-hawking safety who led the Giants in interceptions last year, tore his ACL in Saturday night’s game and will miss the remainder of the season. Backup safety Will Hill will serve a four-game suspension to start off the year, and starting safety Antrele Rolle has been dealing with nagging injuries throughout training camp and the preseason. That leaves the Giants with former Steeler Ryan Mundy, Tyler Sash, and Cooper Taylor for depth at the safety position. Now, lets say Cooper Taylor or Tyler Sash was injured in overtime of Saturday night’s game. By kicking the field goal and sending the game into overtime, Coughlin essentially is risking one of his players sustaining an injury, when the outcome of the game means nothing more than a back-page headline.

Fans love bonus football. There’s nothing better than getting an extra quarter of game action. But when it comes to the preseason, it’s completely useless. So lets get rid of it all together.