You win as a team or you lose as a team, right? Those are the two options in sports. They say a tie is like kissing your sister because… well, I don’t really know why; a tie is still better than a loss.
Over the weekend, football fans from around the country launched what seems to be an annual attack on ties still existing in the NFL. A four-hour game between the Detroit Lions and the Arizona Cardinals ended in a 27-27 tie and plenty of fans without a rooting interest in the game were mad they didn’t get to see a conclusion to a great contest which in their eyes made the game not so great.
But there was a conclusion: it was a tie. And that’s OK.
The tie used to be a very common sport in the league before new overtimes rules were announced in the 1970s. They became rarer as coaches adapted to the rule and there were only four ties in the NFL from 1990 to 2011.
However, there seems to be a bit of a comeback in the result. It may be because of the new rules allowing both teams an opportunity to score or the shorter period for the safety of the players but since 2012, there have been eight ties across the league including at least one in six of the last eight years.
I am not going to sit here and defend the NFL rules for an overtime period because it really does not make any sense to me but I will defend a tie being OK. I would even be fine with getting rid of overtime entirely and saying it’s a tie after 60 minutes of football.
There’s nothing wrong with adding an extra number on the end of someone’s record. You can still easily distinguish a team with more wins in the standings so it is not like we are having a whole new obstacle to hurdle when deciphering the playoff picture.
And yes, I understand it may not be the most popular opinion out there but anything to make football safer is a smart move. If you can’t find a way to prove you’re better than the opposing team in 60 minutes, why would you want to risk more injuries in an extra 10-minute period that may not matter anyway?
When a game ends in a tie, it usually becomes a joke across social media about how both teams were so bad neither of them could win. “The Lions had an 18-point lead and still didn’t win… but at least it wasn’t a loss” was on Twitter more than once Sunday afternoon.
But the tie should not take anything away from how the game was played. I understand why it’s the major takeaway for most fans because it is so rare but there were plenty of exciting moments from the game.
In his NFL debut, Kyler Murray managed to bring his team back from an 18-point deficit after a horrendous start which included one of his own offensive lineman sacking him. Somehow, the Arizona offense managed to figure things out before it was too late (through Larry Fitzgerald to my fantasy team’s dismay) and tied the game with under a minute to go in regulation.
Both teams had good opportunities to win the game in overtime but the defenses stepped up and forced field goal attempts inside the red zone. The Cardinals probably had the best chance but dropped a would-be interception on the penultimate play of the game. And we were looking at a real possibility of a walk-off safety in overtime.
The point is ending the game in a tie did not ruin the game. Both teams were evenly matched for 70 minutes. It seems pretty fair to me neither team gets a win nor a loss. Maybe it’s the soccer fan in me but if my football team is forced to tie, I’m not mad about it being a possibility. I’m just mad it didn’t win.
Caleb Turrentine is a sports writer for The Tribune.