JONATHAN CHAIT FEBRUARY 10, 2011
In response to my item yesterday about a totally unworkable proposal to reform NFL overtime, which overwhelmingly favors the team that wins the coin toss, reader David Leonhardt sent his 2005 article about a much more feasible (and interesting plan):
A bolder, and fairer, idea comes from two fans, Andrew and Chris Quanbeck, engineers who have sent their proposal to N.F.L. teams. William S. Krasker, who runs footballcommentary.com, calls one version of it the cut-and-choose method, after the ritual in which one person cuts a piece of cake in two and another chooses which part to eat....
In the cut-and-choose system, the loser of the toss would decide where the opening possession of overtime would start -- say, the offense's 15-yard line. The winner of the coin flip would chose whether it wanted the ball or whether it would start on defense. Overtime would then proceed as it does now.
The best bit from the article is the fact that the a majority of the league's franchises approved a (less interesting) reform plan, but it fell victim to a supermajority requirement:
Two years ago, the committee let the entire league vote on the Chiefs' idea, and a slight majority of teams favored it. But three-quarters of the league must approve a rule change.
''We elect a president on a majority,'' said Texans General Manager Charley Casserly, a member of the competition committee who wants change. ''We vote for overtime on three-quarters.''
They should do it the American way -- knock the percentage down from 75 to 60, but require simultaneous approval from two overlapping bodies plus an executive.