Cory's Corner: Make The Defense Matter

Changing the overtime rules further ignores defenses. 

Whenever a team loses a tight game in overtime, there will most surely be a referendum on the overtime rules. 

Which I don’t understand. 

The NFL game is geared enough toward offense and this is when the league needs to take a stand and make the defense matter. 

“To be quite honest with you, I'm a sudden-death advocate," said Steelers coach Mike Tomlin. “I’m a traditionalist. I don't fear sudden death and I never have, but obviously I lost that battle a decade ago. But my position remains unchanged. I am one of the few sudden-death advocates I would imagine.”

I agree 1,000 percent. I understand some arguments that say teams are paying $40 million a year to quarterbacks to score touchdowns. 

But I’ve been saying for a while that the NFL needs to start valuing defense and it starts with the continual tinkering of overtime. Last year’s AFC Divisional Playoff Game was one of the best football games I’ve ever seen. The Bills and Chiefs combined to pass for 683 yards and committed zero turnovers. Yet, the overwhelming theme from that game was how tragic the game was because Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen never got a chance to get back on the field. 

I still don’t understand that. I have two words: stop them. Kansas City won the coin toss and Patrick Mahomes took them 75 yards in eight plays for the 42-36 win.

I realize I’m in the minority because just about every football fan is in love with this scoring spree. In 2000, there were 20,508 points scored in the NFL and in 2020, that number swelled to 25,384. That’s due in large part to the record 2,946 touchdowns. And don’t give me the 17-game argument because they just started playing 17 games in 2021. 

“There is a defense on the other side of the ball, right?” said Texans coach Lovie Smith to the Houston Chronicle. “When you kick the ball off, you have the ball deep down there, and you can take the ball away, get it and score right there and win.”

Does it hurt to lose a tight ball game in overtime? Sure it does. Emphasizing defense will force teams to make it a priority. Just because you can score 35-plus points a game doesn’t automatically mean that you’re going to be playing for a Super Bowl. 

At some point, you have to stop the other team. And I couldn’t think of a better time to come up with a big time stop than in overtime. Because, let’s face it, if you cannot stop them, do you really deserve a Super Bowl shot? 

I don’t want a team that won a conference title just because a lot of people thought that was the fairest thing to do. 

If you want fair, you trust in your defense. The fact that we are even having this conversation is a red flag that too much power has been stripped from the defensive side of the ball. 

It’s about time to give it back. 

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Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Comments (44)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Savage57's picture

March 29, 2022 at 07:27 am

The entirety of the game prior to overtime is a culmination of the efforts of offense, defense and special teams by both teams which resulted in a draw after 60 minutes of play.

So it stands that by extension, overtime embrace and reflect all of those same elements in determining the eventual winner.

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LambeauPlain's picture

March 29, 2022 at 07:43 am

Yep.

I actually like the college OT policy. I did not at first, but have grown to enjoy it. It extends the game with O vs D for both teams...and making the decision to kick a FG or go for a TD consequential, just like the 60 minutes of regular game time.

Savage, you have also commented at Packers.com. Did they end their commenting after articles? I don't see comments there now. Used to enjoy what you, and others weighed in on...like on this site.

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MainePackFan's picture

March 29, 2022 at 09:06 am

Packers.com got rid of their comment section about a month ago.

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Rarescope's picture

March 29, 2022 at 10:53 am

Yep, there was too much complaining about poems and Lori from Brookfield in the Insider Inbox so they shut it down. Real shame, it seemed like there was a really tight knit group down there in the comments. Now we are stuck with Coldworld, Croatpackfan, Dobber, sexy new Leatherhead, and Since ‘61 here on CHTV :)

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LambeauPlain's picture

March 29, 2022 at 10:56 am

That's when I noticed it was gone. Thanks for letting me know. Did they give an explanation?

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croatpackfan's picture

March 29, 2022 at 11:09 am

Do you know or suppose why they did that?

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MainePackFan's picture

March 29, 2022 at 07:57 pm

As I remember, it had to do with moderating the content. They were a close knit community, and even set up new meeting site. I didn't comment there a lot, so I didn't copy the site, but there were some excellent commenters that knew their stuff. Unfortunately, they also had some real wingnuts. I suspect that was the ultimate issue.

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WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

March 29, 2022 at 04:38 pm

Wow that's gotta be tough on that community. First they lose Vic and his independent website and then lose the group at Packers.com. I stopped going there some time ago, but still, that is a big loss.

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Johnblood27's picture

March 29, 2022 at 07:36 am

I repeat...

welcome to the new NFL, where "offensive" is the latest tag-line.

Fantasy teams, not NFL franchises are most important.

Gambling is more important than game integrity.

TV viewership numbers mean much more than the integrity of the game.

Officials literally keeping games close and determining which franchises advance is the norm today.

I see through it all. It all makes me sick.

I have been such a hard core GB Packer fan for so long that I still root for the Packers and watch their games, however I used to be a massive football fan and watched all I could, not any more. I despise what I see across the league. It is bad enough when i see it in Packer games, it just drives home the point that my interpretation is 100% correct when I see it in other games which I have no rooting interest in.

Die Goodell, Die!!!

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PearlyBakerBest's picture

March 29, 2022 at 08:10 am

Don’t be a douche.

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mrtundra's picture

March 29, 2022 at 08:15 am

Nothing douchy about his post. Follow the money.

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PearlyBakerBest's picture

March 29, 2022 at 10:05 am

I just said that for the joke of it. John understands. I actually agree to a point.

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PearlyBakerBest's picture

March 29, 2022 at 10:05 am

.

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Johnblood27's picture

March 29, 2022 at 02:20 pm

(D)Touche' mon friere! good one!

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Crankbait's picture

March 29, 2022 at 04:16 pm

Everyone deserves their own opinion. You are being a douche.

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SinceLombardi's picture

March 30, 2022 at 03:31 pm

The commissioner only does what the wealthiest, most powerful owners tell him to do.

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dobber's picture

March 29, 2022 at 07:39 am

Play to win in regulation.

Overtime will always be some kind of dice-roll, and shouldn't be a sort of safe haven (as it's become in hockey). The fear of having your weaknesses exploited in what could amount to a one-possession, deciding extra frame in a season that only plays 17 games should compel teams to do what they can to not play OT games.

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LambeauPlain's picture

March 29, 2022 at 09:07 am

You are making too much sense, Dobber.

They way OT goes now, the team that wins the coin toss wins the game most of the time. Maybe just use the coin to decide the game?

My thought...to build on your observation...is to award the first possession in OT to the visiting team. That will add additional incentive for the home team to win in regulation.

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WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

March 29, 2022 at 04:42 pm

That's the crux of it. NFL rules are so skewed in favor of the offense that the coin toss usually seems to determine the outcome of the game.

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Coldworld's picture

March 29, 2022 at 09:05 am

If a team doesn’t win in regulation it does not deserve the points that go to one that does. I would be perfectly happy with a tie. Had your chance, didn’t take it, but didn’t lose. Just abolish overtime in the regular season.

The one-and-done knockout Playoffs of course demand a resolution mechanism. Personally, I don’t like one that is heavily weighted by the luck of tossing a coin. That just seems to devalue what went before.

Any overtime should be fair to both teams, not just on cumulative average over time, but within the context of each individual game. Particularly in the playoffs, which define not only success for teams, but player careers.

I’d rather see them focus on the consistency of officiating. As far as making defense matter, I don’t see OT as either a central battle ground or that it is particularly relevant to the key issues in the OT debate. I am strongly in favor of giving DBs more leeway. I think the game was more interesting when they could be more physical.

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mrtundra's picture

March 29, 2022 at 08:14 am

The League has been pro offense for a while, now. Look at how the flags fly when a guy, like Clay Matthews, makes a perfectly legal, textbook tackle, on a QB, and gets called for "leading with the helmet" or for a late hit on a QB. It's all rigged for the offenses, it seems. Then, I remember those "was it a catch?" calls made on receivers to allow the refs to insert themselves into the game to alter the outcome. That is rigged, too. The NFL has to get it's priorities straight.

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jannes bjornson's picture

March 29, 2022 at 04:29 pm

The replay scams have hurt sports at all levels. The NFL is now a legitimate extension of Vegas.

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blondy45's picture

March 29, 2022 at 03:15 pm

I am with Cory on this topic. The defense in the NFL has been stripped down for years. Just look at the Refs over protecting the QB's. You can't touch them too high or too low or too "hard". Flagrant hits are obviously needed to be flagged. DB's also can't hit too high, too hard, or look at the offensive player too sternly. Football is a contact sport, and it is not touch football in the NFL. I understand the need to limit the dangers of high contact (kick-off collisions) and player safety (blatant overly aggressive hits). When teams get to overtime, the defense, or special teams should be able to "win" the game too, not just the offense scoring points. Afterall, the defense will be flagged if: illegal 5-yard contact occurs, pass interference occurs, questionable refs calls (pass interference, out of bounds hits), and the big 3, can't hit too high, too hard, or look too sternly.

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x24's picture

March 29, 2022 at 08:31 am

10 minute mini game. This is long enough for both teams to have opportunities to win the game.

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blondy45's picture

March 29, 2022 at 03:18 pm

I like this idea. That is the way to think outside of the box 24!

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egbertsouse's picture

March 29, 2022 at 08:33 am

Regular season: No overtime. Just have ties, who cares. Like when I was a kid. Ties will be part of the overall strategy. Games are too long already.

Playoffs: Traditional sudden death , first team that scores wins. Visiting team gets the ball. Both teams will know this and strategize accordingly.

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dobber's picture

March 29, 2022 at 09:44 am

In many ways, I don't disagree, but I dislike a game that becomes fundamentally different in the playoff format from the game you've played all season long to get there. Yes, currently the playoffs are unlimited OT until a winner is declared (as opposed to a tie in regular season), but the possibility of going more than 1 OT is remote enough to make this meaningless.

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PatrickGB's picture

March 29, 2022 at 09:36 am

I have a crazy thought. How about a shootout from the kickers from the 45 yard line. Whom ever kicks the most field goals in a row wins the game? Kickers are people too! After all, it’s called “Football”!

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Coldworld's picture

March 29, 2022 at 09:46 am

Make the teams take a down from their opponents, 15 yard line and only allow drop kicks to score. Best of 5. Flutieball

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dobber's picture

March 29, 2022 at 09:47 am

I like the shootout in hockey. Purists say it's no way to decide a game, but if you can't just end in a tie, teams can craft their rosters to take advantage of that eventuality. Might be different in hockey where OTs and ties happen far more often (teams angle for them), but teams are encouraged to keep players who are good in breakaway situations, then and tend to keep more dynamic scorers. I don't think this would change what kind of kickers NFL teams would keep.

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wildbill's picture

March 29, 2022 at 10:49 am

I’ve read comments about the overtime just being a 10 min extension of the game. Whoever had the ball just continues with the same down/distance. I really like that approach. If it ends in a tie after 10 mins that’s fine. They can run their normal fifteen commercials in a break between the end of the game and start of the new 10 min period. Oh and make sure they stay on this Jacksonville/ Lion overtime so I don’t get to see the first quarter of the Packer game, but that’s a whole other issue

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Return_To_Sanity's picture

March 29, 2022 at 10:52 am

Yes. Shut up and play defense.

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Pantz_Burp's picture

March 29, 2022 at 11:16 am

Rock, scissors, paper......?

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croatpackfan's picture

March 29, 2022 at 11:35 am

Yeah, Cory. It is interesting you put KC Bills game on line. But what with AFCCG? It was overtime, isn't it? And KC get the ball at the beggining of the OT. How game ended? 27-24 victory for Bengals. Bengals D made their job, KC D did not. End of the story.

So, yes, you need D which will be capable of stopping opponent to score when it is important. Hell, you need good D to be able to come to the post season.

Regarding possibility of implementing rule that both teams get the ball in OT, I'll say OK, let them get the ball. And what if both teams scored TD. You are at the beggining. How much time you'll have to add to game to be ended. What if both teams score TD on every possesion. Will you play 72 hours long. If not, at one moment you have to make sudden death possibility. You can apply rule that each team had 2 minutes to get the score and that both team starting from own 25 yards (2 minute drill). Even in that case you may argue that some team has faster offense because they are mainly passing type of offense. What if you have marvelous running game where you force with every snap 4 yards, not more, but still getting 1st downs and score. Would you prefer one type of complex game, or you consider all players need a chance, even RBs?

There can be so complex situations that losing side will always find something to complaint on as unfair rules...

Soccer, for example have different situation. They tried to find solutions in deciding games by different approaches. finally they come back with traditional ways, over time and penalties. Rules of football does not have something like penalties in soccer. But as the problem with possessions, some looks at the penalties also as unfair. Because you have kicker who is trying to score and goalkeeper who is defending. It is much harder to defend the kick, than to score. But, that is tradition, and after years of experimenting they came back to old, traditional way.

I'm for keeping the rule as it is. I will say I agree with coach Tomlin.

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ricky's picture

March 29, 2022 at 11:46 am

So, the game will ultimately depend on the flip of a coin. Make the wrong call, and chances are good you're going to lose. Not because your defense is not good enough, but because the game has been tilted toward offense for years. Yes, it would be nice if a team had a great defense and a great offense. This rarely happens, though. The reason being that if you have star players, they are so expensive, it squeezes the rest of the salary cap, making the team that can afford excellent players on both sides of the ball rare. So, what is fair? Give both offenses a chance to score, including going for a two point conversion to put pressure on the opposing team. If the game is still tied after that, another coin flip, and first score wins. This would be for playoffs only. Regular season could be the same, but if they are still even after the first OT, then the game is a tie. Just an idea.

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LSL's picture

March 29, 2022 at 01:12 pm

My OT rules are simple. A coin toss. Winner chooses Offense or Defense.

Offense gets ball on their 20 yard line. If they score, they win. If they don't score, the defense wins.

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Since'61's picture

March 29, 2022 at 01:17 pm

I would take a different approach.

I would have sudden death OTs during the regular season in an effort to shorten games which are already too long. It would also place some emphasis on the defense.

In the playoffs I would give each team one possession since I don’t believe that a single elimination playoff game should come down to a coin flip. Each team would start their first possession at their own 25 yard line. Unless the team with first the OT possession fails to score. In that case the game is sudden death from that point.

It changes the playoffs from the regular season but it emphasizes the importance of the playoff games and gives each team a chance to extend their season and to extend the drama of the playoff games. Thanks, Since ‘61

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PackEyedOptimist's picture

March 30, 2022 at 05:31 am

I like this 61. But I'm wondering what happens if both teams score a touchdown and two point conversion on their one OT possession? Repeat the process ad infinitum? Eventually you'll need a way around that.

Personally, I think there should be no overtimes in the regular season--a tie is a tie.

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Johnblood27's picture

March 29, 2022 at 02:18 pm

How about this?

Regular season - ties are allowed.

Playoffs :

Start OT with a coin toss and winner choice, offense, defense, side of field to defend. Play a 15 minute extra period with regular season rules.

If tied at the end of this extra 15 minute period, teams take a short break and pick up play right where they left off but now have sudden death scoring rules in effect.

Conditioning matters, depth matters, it is a team sport with a large roster, strategy matters let it play out.

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jont's picture

March 29, 2022 at 03:23 pm

"Per NFL Research, there is an advantage to winning the coin toss, but just at 52.8%. But, and this is an interesting but, if you just look at playoff games, the team that wins the coin flip has won 10 out of 11 games."

https://dknation.draftkings.com/2022/1/24/22899288/nfl-overtime-rules-co...

So it is a particularly meaningful issue in the most meaningful games. I think we can all see why the league is concerned about this.

For my vote, I'd like to see each offense have a possession.

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croatpackfan's picture

March 30, 2022 at 03:15 am

10 out of 12!

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PackEyedOptimist's picture

March 30, 2022 at 05:36 am

Hey Cory, how about turning it on its head? You want to emphasize defense? Make it the first team to fail to score a touchdown and extra point, loses.

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SinceLombardi's picture

March 30, 2022 at 03:29 pm

Why not just play the entire 10 minute overtime? More money from commercial time, more strategic matchups for the commentators too.
Even if the opening kick off is a touchdown, play the entire OT period.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

March 31, 2022 at 01:21 pm

We seem to have the interior DL depth in 2022 to stop the run. However, the Packers do not have young talent (Slaton has potential but unrealized) at this position other than Clark. Do not see Heflin being anything more than a Lancaster. 2023 will be contract for several of the existing interior linemen such as Jarran Reed and Dean Lowry. I could easily see both gone after 2022. Another player from the draft would be beneficial if they have upside talent for the 3-techique. However, I'd really like to see a stud 5 technique drafted high in round 1 to fortify the pass rush.

The way I see round 1 going without trades is the team will have to draft a WR, and select either an OT or a 5 technique. I am assuming which direction they go likely will be determined by BPA unless major uncertainty with Bak and Jenkins recovery timeframe.

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