NFL avoids chaotic end to the regular season

Allegiant+Stadium%2C+the+new+home+of+the+Las+Vegas+Raiders%2C+was+the+site+of+the+week+18+match+up+between+the+Chargers+and+Raiders.

Photo via Flickr

Allegiant Stadium, the new home of the Las Vegas Raiders, was the site of the week 18 match up between the Chargers and Raiders.

Nathan Reish, Editor-In-Chief

The Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers faced each other in week 18 of the National Football League regular season, both needing a win to advance to the playoffs. The catch is, both teams would have also advanced to the playoffs if their game ended in a tie.

This unique circumstance presented an unprecedented opportunity. The two teams, who are also divisional rivals, could have formed an alliance before or during the game to intentionally tie. If this occurred, both teams would have made the playoffs.

It seems like a no-brainer, right? If the opportunity is there to make it to the postseason, it would be logical to some people to intentionally tie. After all, trying to make the playoffs is why teams play 17 regular season games before the postseason even begins.

At first, such an option may seem to make sense, but a closer examination reveals that making a decision like this would be more complicated than first meets the eye.

There is a moral dilemma at hand. First of all, it would have been a nightmare situation for the NFL. This game was the primetime matchup on Sunday night with kickoff at 8:20 pm EST. It would have been an uneventful, yet memorable, game if the two teams kneeled the ball each play to produce a 0-0 result.

Certainly, there were fans, young and old, who paid hard-earned cash for tickets to this rivalry matchup, who were looking forward to watching an exciting game. Instead, they could have been treated to a boring 70 minutes of no competition.

Still, some people would have loved for this to occur. It would be a game to look back on for years to come. Who knows, maybe one of the teams in this game could go on to win the Super Bowl. Then, the intentional tie would look like the completely right decision.

This situation was labeled the “chaos parlay” by USA Today FTW’s writer Blake Schuster, and it certainly would have been chaotic. There is no telling what NFL commissioner Roger Goodell would have done, but some speculate that the game would have been called off within the first few minutes of kneeling to run down the clock. The issue is, there is no rule in the NFL rulebook to ban a circumstance like this from occurring. 

You’re out to win, and you want to win.”

— Mr. Jim Miller

What actually occurred on Sunday night is quite interesting, as well. The Raiders won the game in overtime 35 – 32 on a last-second field goal. Amazingly, it appeared that the game was actually going to end in a tie, just by chance. The Chargers, however, called a questionable last-second timeout as the Raiders appeared to prepare to run out the clock. 

This timeout stopped the clock and eventually allowed the Raiders to get into field goal range. Raiders kicker Daniel Carlson hit a 47 yard field goal for the win as time expired. If he had missed, the Raiders still would have made the playoffs, but so would their rival and opponent in that game, the Chargers. 

SHS head football coach Mr. Jim Miller explained the idea of an intentional tie.

“I think that it would have been bad promotion for the NFL,” if the teams had gone out and tied the game, said Miller. “It is a rivalry game, so you still want to go out and win.”

When asked if he would ever consider intentionally tying a game that he would be coaching in order to reach the postseason, he responded with a definitive “No. You’re out to win, and you want to win.” 

The NFL dodged a bullet this time, but there is no telling what might happen if this circumstance actually unfolds again in the future season. If both teams would benefit from a tie, should they do it? The moral dilemma is quite interesting to many sports fans.

Perhaps a rule change is necessary to ensure this would never happen. For the casual fan, though, it is fun to think about for the future.

 

To read more about this past weekend’s Raiders vs. Chargers matchup, visit:

https://ftw.usatoday.com/2022/01/the-jaguars-chargers-raiders-chaos-parlay-is-week-18s-best-storyline

https://ftw.usatoday.com/lists/nfl-playoff-scenarios-chargers-raiders-tie