Odd OT Rules, Tiger’s Tired Tale

Steve Murray
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Wednesday - March 31, 2010
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If one is just peering in from the periphery, the members of the NFL’s competition committee and owners could easily be mistaken for Honolulu City Council members or state representatives.

All three groups would rather pass meaningless measures than risk the ire of an ever-flappable constituency by making tough but obvious decisions.

For examples of failed political purpose, look almost anywhere. For the NFL, go no further than its new overtime rules.

Even though the league’s traditional sudden-death overtime situation has rarely affected a playoff game, the NFL decided to help eliminate any remaining controversy by finding a difficult solution to an easy problem. The NFL has decided that each team should be provided an equal chance at victory - as long as the loser of the coin flip doesn’t score a touch-down or a safety. Do either of those and, in the mind of the NFL, you deserve victory. Kicking a field goal is now the bastard child of league scoring, and the success of said practitioners is being saddled with enough blame to conjure images of hourly workers being held responsible for a troubled economy and a failed school system.

The sale by the league to its owners was simple enough. The once-appropriate overtime rules had become increasingly one-sided. What used to be an even money bet has shifted to a house advantage, with kickers moving closer to perfection with each advancing season and teams winning the coin toss taking home nearly 60 percent of the victories.

So a change was in order. Just not this change.

Like many of the challenges facing the NFL and the City and County of Honolulu, the answers to most major problems are quite simple. If there is too much traffic, invest in public transportation. Are too many teams being left without a chance at victory? Just divide the possessions and let them score any way they want. Turning a one-paragraph rule into a full-page amendment is just, well, politics. Plus, the NFL’s victory parity problem is not limited to the post season, so why is the rule change?

That being said, it is still way better than the Playstation-inspired rules governing college football.

three star

Those expecting sudden revelations from Tiger Woods at his Masters press conference are fooling themselves. While he will field questions from reporters who will pepper him with inquiries about his treatment, addiction, text messages, marital status, traffic-calming palm plantings and assorted skanks, his answers will be no different than his obvious responses in his speed-interview luncheons with ESPN and the Golf Channel. He’ll talk of regret with very little explanation of what he is regretful for, will apologize a few dozen times, talk about his love of family and how his actions went against parental instruction, discuss faith, make a carefully worded statement of his chances for a fifth green jacket, and repeat what is sure to be the most often-heard sentence of 2010: “That is a private matter between Elin and myself.”

Many have made claims on the status of caddie Steve Williams - he’s staying - and how life has changed for the world’s most famous athlete now that he has been “humbled.”

Make no mistake about it - Woods was embarrassed, not humbled. To be humble means to be neither proud nor arrogant. Woods is plenty of both.

If one thing has been made clear during his 14 years on tour, it is that Woods will always control the message. It is arrogance and not the protection of loved ones that has kept Woods from describing the most mundane facts of his life or has left him totally unable to accept even the mildest criticism.

Embarrassment comes when the built walls of privacy and carefully crafted public image of perfection come crashing down to expose the wizard for what he really is.

It will be good to watch Woods play again, but to expect him to go through a Nick Faldo-type transformation is just unrealistic.

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