By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) -- It's already clear that the Patriots' rivals, mostly led by people who never worked in New England, sometimes push for rule changes designed to make it harder for Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. But now, the dissent is coming from a former Belichick disciple ... the losing GM in Super Bowl LI.
Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff spoke candidly about the NFL's polarizing overtime rules in an interview with Mike Florio on Pro Football Talk Live on Tuesday. In doing so, he came off like a sore loser who's upset that his team did not get a chance to possess the ball in Super Bowl LI, the first championship game decided in overtime.
Dimitroff sounds like he wants both teams to have a chance to score in overtime, one way or another.
"Personally I'd like us to continue to discuss that," said Dimitroff. "I understand coin flips. I understand when Tom Brady flipped the coin — when it flipped in his favor in the middle of the field, there's a guy who's incredibly special when the game's on the line, so that's a difficult situation. ... We would like to have an opportunity."
Dimitroff couched his remarks by saying he's a "league guy" and supports whatever position the league is in now. But he sure sounded like the same kind of people who can't stand that their team couldn't put the Patriots away.
The NFL's overtime rules have grown more controversial in recent years as demand has grown for more equal opportunities for teams to try and score, as opposed to a coin flip essentially deciding most games. The league mitigated the coin flip factor when it modified the rules, making only touchdowns able to decide games and giving the other team a chance to score after first-possession field goals.
Simply put, there's no easy or appropriate way for the NFL to make overtime perfectly fair for both teams. Football's structure is inherently different from the other three major sports, where almost every player plays both offensive and defensive roles during the course of games. The league can meddle with coin flip-related rules all they want, but there's no way that they could ever make games perfectly fair for both sides without flipping a coin at some point.
Ultimately, teams should just deal with the reality of the coin toss and its consequences. There's nothing inherently unfair about a coin flip; it's literally a 50-50 proposition. There's nothing more equal than that. And if you lose the flip, you still have at least three plays and most of the length of the field to stop the other team. If the teams end up tied ... oh well. Both of you should be better on offense.
All due respect to Mr. Dimitroff, who was the Patriots' director of national scouting from 2003-07, don't be talking about fairness when you had nine plays to stop Tom Brady and the Patriots in OT of the Super Bowl.
The OT debate is sure to get people to propose their own crackpot theories. Florio proposed the idea of a two-point conversion contest, boldly claiming that he hasn't heard a good argument against it. Here's one: it belongs in a kids football camp, not a professional contest featuring grown men who are paid millions of dollars to participate.
The league may eventually radically overhaul overtime rules to make it more fair. It would probably be a bastardization of the game. But hey, at least owners and GMs would stop whining about coin flips.
Matt Dolloff is a writer for CBSBostonSports.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect that of CBS or 98.5 The Sports Hub. Have a news tip or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at email@example.com.
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