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Mathletics by Wayne L. Winston

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WHY IS THE NFL'S OVERTIME SYSTEMFATALLY FLAWED?

When an NFL game goes into overtime a coin toss takes place and the team that wins the coin toss has the choice of kicking off or receiving. Since the overtime is sudden death, the team winning the coin toss invariably chooses to receive so they have the first chance to score and win the game. During the 1994–2006 seasons the team that received the kickoff in overtime won 60% of the games. It seems unfair that in NFL overtime the team winning the coin flip should have such a huge edge. In attempt to lessen the impact of the coin flip result on the game's outcome, the NFL recently proposed moving the kickoff from the 30- to the 35-yard line. This would give the team receiving the kickoff slightly ...

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