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Atlanta Falcons 34  Green Bay Packers 23

-This lose looked a lot like the last time the Packers were in Atlanta. Can the Packers beat them?

-The defense struggles again. Do they have the players to compete? Can scheme help them?

-Injuries everywhere! What is going on!?

-Rodgers struggles without his top offensive teammates

-It's only Week 2, but this lose may still hurt the Packers in the Playoffs

-The "Get in and anything can happen" playoff mentality is a myth. To road to a championship often never leaves home.

-We share YOUR Facebook comments

-The Packers will definitely beat the Bengals....right?

 

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Check out this week's regular episode recapping the Packers/Seahawks game

What If…? Wednesday Debuts!

-Thanks to John Bellish for the topic

-What if Arizona's Nate Poole didn't make the catch in Week 17 of the 2003 season that knocked the Vikes out (and put GB in)?

-Does Mike Sherman still make a change at Defensive Coordinator?

-Does a better defense put the 2004 Packers in the NFC Championship Game?

-Can the 2004 Packers go to a Super Bowl?

-Missing the Playoffs changes the Packers position in the 2004 NFL Draft.

-The Packers would not have picked Aaron Rodgers in 2005. Who would be their quarterback in 2017?

  

Your 'What If...?' Topic could be next! Submit it at....

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On yesterday’s episode of Green and Gold Forever, we discussed this comment that longtime listener Cory Bhend had posted on our Facebook page:

"Scoring is noticeably down in week 1: Teams averaged 19.3 points through Sunday night's game, down a full 3.5 points per team from last year. Will this continue? Are offenses rusty? Are defenses improving? Or is it just a fluke?"

On the episode, we speculated that it was a combination of rusty offenses due to lack of preseason reps and defenses being ahead of the offense at this stage of the season do to requiring less precision to be at their midseason form. But mostly, we dismissed it as probably being a fluke. However, I wrongly interpreted Cory’s stats to mean scoring this week was down from last years’ season average for points per team. Cory clarified today on the Facebook page that he was making a comparison to last year’s Week 1 average:

"On the issue of week 1 scoring: the final number this week was 20.2 points per team. That's down a full 10 percent from a year ago, when teams combined to score 718 points in week 1, an average of 22.4 per team. That was less than half a point off the final season average, 22.8. In 2015, teams averaged 22.6 points in week 1 and 22.8 for the season.

The idea that scoring would be down in week 1 because defense is easier to play early in the season doesn't seem to hold up against that data unless teams are holding offensive starters (and not defensive starters) out of preseason significantly more than they were even the last two years. I admittedly have no data on that. I will be interested to see if the scoring reduction we saw this weekend becomes a trend, though."

 

Now that I more clearly understand the comparison Cory was making, I wanted to look at how opening week scoring in 2017 stacked up to recent years. Cory is right, it is WAY down:

Year Avg Week 1 Pts Scored
2011 23.5
2012 24.7
2013 23.2
2014 22.4
2015 22.6
2016 22.4
2017 20.2

 

I only went back to 2011, because that is when the modern collective bargaining agreement between the owners and the NFL Players Association was signed. That is when current training camp rules went into effect. The 2011 CBA eliminated two-a-day practices, greatly reduced the number of padded practices, and restricted the amount of contact you can have in those practices. The fact that under the same rules, 2017 Week 1 scoring is down so much makes this even more intriguing. Let’s more closely examine the explanations Cory proposed.

 

1. Offenses are Rusty

You don’t need any statistics to have noticed that there was some pretty sorry quarterback play in Week 1. From Andy Dalton’s four interception game in a 20-0 home loss to Scott Tolzien throwing two pick sixes, nothing came easy through the air. Even the great Tom Brady looked pretty bad. The stats back up what we saw. By a wide margin, quarterbacks who played in Week 1 combined to have the worst league-wide passer rating since the new CBA went into effect:

Year Avg Week 1 Passer Rating
2011 92.6
2012 89.9
2013 91.8
2014 90.8
2015 91.1
2016 91.6
2017 86.1

*Minimum 12 Pass Attempts

 

Could rust be causing this? One of the things we have been discussing for years now on the podcast is how little quarterbacks, particularly star quarterbacks, play in the preseason nowadays. It seems the risk of injury is too great for most coaches and they opt to get their quarterbacks ready almost exclusively using practice reps. Is this a perceived trend or is this real? Turns out, 2017 Week 1 starting quarterbacks threw nearly 35% fewer preseason pass attempts than their counterparts did in 2011:

Year Starting QB Avg Preseason Pass Attempts
2011 41.5
2012 43.4
2013 36.2
2014 36.8
2015 31.0
2016 31.6
2017 28.4

 

The figures above show the average number of pass attempts over the entire course of the preseason for quarterbacks who saw significant playing time in week one of a given year. I can understand why this is happening. A coach can immediately get himself on the hot seat if his star quarterback is injured in a meaningless game when it could have been prevented. And one could argue that an extra series or two worth of throws shouldn’t have that great of an impact on Week 1 performance. But the NFL is now a passing league. Offenses need more precise timing than ever before in order to be effective. With the modern CBA, the game situations in which that precision will be necessary are nearly impossible to simulate outside of actual games. It’s no surprise that quarterbacks that averaged 32.4 pass attempts in their Week 1 starts would be a little rusty with just 28.4 game snaps in a month of preseason action.

 

2. Are Defenses Improving?

Of the reasons we’ll discuss, this is the one that I most hope to be true. I do not long for the days of unchecked helmet to helmet hits or people being slammed onto the old rock-hard Astroturf. I’m all for player safety. I do however long for the days when offenses and defenses felt more balanced. The NFL has made all of their rules changes in the last decade with the mindset that the deep pass is the only exciting play in football. I would argue that few plays are more exciting than a big return after an interception or fumble. I want more opportunities for the defense to force game-changing mistakes rather than passively waiting for the quarterback to make one.

 

With all that said, how do we measure if defenses are improving after one week? You really can’t, but it would be an encouraging sign if impact defensive plays were up. Unfortunately, that does not appear to be the case. Here is a summary of all "impact" defensive plays that occured league wide in each opening weekend since 2011:

Year Sacks Turnovers Def TDs
2011 88 49 4
2012 72 51 7
2013 66 53 5
2014 64 45 3
2015 65 48 7
2016 66 28 2
2017 77 41 7

 

While Week 1 defenses performed much better this year than last year, there is little statistically to suggest that defenses were more disruptive than normal this year. Offenses might have contributed just as much to their own struggles as defenses did. Seems like more of a case of offenses suffering death by a thousand incomplete passes.

 

3. Is it Just a Fluke?

Whenever dealing with a sample size of one week, this is almost always the correct answer. It is safe to say that scoring was down in Week 1 because quarterback performance was down in Week 1. But will that last? How close did recent Week Ones resemble the rest of those respective seasons?:

Year Week 1 Ave Passer Rating Year Avg Passer Rating Diff +/-(Season - Wk 1) Week 1 Average Pts Per Game Year Avg Pts Per Game Diff +/-(Season - Wk 1)
2011 92.6 84.2 -8.4 23.5 22.2 -1.3
2012 89.9 83.9 -6.0 24.7 24.7 0
2013 91.8 85.8 -6.0 23.2 23.4 +0.2
2014 90.8 88.9 -1.9 22.4 22.6 +0.2
2015 91.1 88.9 -2.2 22.6 22.8 +0.2
2016 91.6 88.7 -2.9 22.4 22.8 +0.4
2017 86.1 ?? ?? 20.2 ?? ??

 

Admittedly, I don’t take a ton of stock in this data, but if 2017 trends the way the prior 6 years have, we might have one sorry football season on our hands. The last five years, scoring in Week 1 was within a half of a point of its eventual season average. More alarming, quarterback performance went significantly down as each season progressed. That isn’t all that surprising, as teams have less time to prepare for their subsequent opponents, defenses adjust, weather gets poor in many cities, and several teams will be forced to start backup quarterbacks due to injury. A decline is to be expected. But if our QB starting point is what we saw Sunday, we are in for some colossal stinkers come November and December.

 

What does this all mean?

Beats me. All this might not mean anything in the long run, but perhaps this shows that quality of play is very dependent on good quarterbacking. The rules are designed for them to succeed. But what if we have a crop of quarterbacks that are less capable of succeeding, even under the best of circumstances? Perhaps the NFL Rules Committee should stop making tweaks with Peyton Manning in mind and watch a few more Andy Dalton games. Perhaps then they’ll realize the key to an exciting product is allowing all players on the field a fair chance at creating an exciting play.  

 

Eric Drews 
Host 
Green and Gold Forever 
@GreenGold4Ever

Green Bay Packers 17  Seattle Seahawks 9

-Defense shines. Mike Daniels and Nick Perry play like All Pros

-Is Dom Capers' ownage of Russell Wilson approaching Jay Cutler levels?

-Is the defense better or is Seattle’s offense just that bad? Perhaps both?

-The offense struggles at first, but executes late

-How impressive is this win? Does it change any expectations?

-Your Facebook Reactions to the Game!

-Tom Brady looked like a 40 year old QB on Thursday. Is this the beginning of the end?

-Scoring is down in Week 1. Will that trend continue?

-TJ Watt looks great in his debut. Did the Packers Make a Mistake?

-NFL Broadcasts and Pregame Shows have become obsessed with scandal, protests, and overly criticizing officials. 

-Chris Czarnik shares his very personal account of 9/11

-Can the Packers stop the Falcons in Atlanta?

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2017 NFL and Packers Preview. It's a super-sized episode!

-Packers go 3-1 in the Preseason. That usually means good things historically.

-What were we most impressed with during the preseason? What has us most concerned?

-Packers sign Ahmad Brooks and Quinton Dial. They bring a new element to the Packers' defense

-2017 NFL Predictions

  • Will the Patriots rule again?
  • Can the Pittsburgh Steelers finally put it all together?
  • How good will the Oakland Raiders be?
  • Will the Dallas Cowboys crash back to Earth?
  • Will the Atlanta Falcons suffer a Super Bowl hangover?
  • Will the Green Bay Packers win the division?
  • Super Bowl LII: It's going to be Green Bay and....

-We share your Facebook comments!

-What if the 2005 Packers had benched Brett Favre for Aaron Rodgers?

-Packers vs. Seahawks Week 1. Will the Packers start 1-0?

 
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Green Bay Packers 24  Philadelphia Eagles 9

  • Trevor Davis might be the answer at punt returner
  • 1st team defense struggles in their only series
  • Kevin King and Josh Jones show flashes
  • Deangelo Yancey looks good
  • Mike McCarthy accuses the Eagles of two dirty hits – one on Randall and one on Dupree.
  • Brett Goode is back. Does that help quell some special teams worries? Did you have any in the first place?
  • Thoughts of the NFL’s relatively new found phobia of playing starters in the Preseason. Does
    losing the time hurt starters early in the season?
  • Rookie QBs shine - Trubisky, Mahomes, Watson, and Kizar all looked good
  • Thoughts on Rams and Lions new uniforms 
  • How long should the Packers hang on to Brett Hundley? Does he have a future in the league as a
    successful starter?
  • Will the Chargers fail in Los Angeles?
  • What If...? Returns! - What if Ray Lewis had been drafted by the Packers in 1996?
  • What are we watching in Washington?
 
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Click Here to Listen to Last Week's Podcast

This is an update to an article originally posted in 2014. Since that time, the Packers three preseasons have fit right in line with the premise of the original article. It also should get us excited for the season since the 1-0 Packers are already on their way to a successful preseason.

 

“Winning doesn’t matter. It’s only preseason.”

We’ve all heard it. Heck we’ve all said it. During the month of August, words like these are a common way for sportswriters, television pundits, and anxious fans to reel in enthusiasm for wins, explain away poor performances, or just be plain lazy. No one takes the preseason seriously, but should they?

I took a look at every Packers preseason record since 1978. I started there because it was the first year when the 4-game preseason/16-game regular season schedule was established. It also gives us a decent-sized sample of 39 seasons to work with. For the purposes or producing a meaningful sample, I also combined the undefeated and winless preseason teams with the next closest groups.Does the preseason matter? Let’s find out.

 

When the Packers win 3 or more preseason games…

The Packers have won 3 or more preseason games 13 times since 1978. The results were as follows: Presason_3_Wins.png

When Green Bay wins 3 or more preseason games, it usually means we’re in store for a fun season.

 

The Packers have gone undefeated in the preseason just twice since 1978. In 1997, as the defending Super Bowl Champions, Green Bay won all 5 of their preseason games. That season ended with a 13-3 record return trip to the Super Bowl. Two years later in 1999, new head coach Ray Rhodes led the team to a 4-0 August campaign. This team was far less successful, as the team finished just 8-8. Two seasons is not enough to draw any conclusions on, but it is worth noting that both of these teams were playoff contenders with non-losing seasons.

 

Green Bay has won 3 preseason games 11 times in the last 39 years. Seven of those went on to the playoffs. Two others just barely missed the playoffs (1981 by one game, 1989 by a tiebreaker). Only the 1979 Packers had a truly bad season and were they only team on this list not to at least be in contention for a playoff spot on the season’s final Sunday. Overall, when the Packers win 3 or more preseason games, they average 10.6 regular season wins and make the playoffs 69% of the time. These teams also average 0.92 playoff wins per season. So not only does 3 wins usually mean playoffs, it usually means advancing in the playoffs.

 

When the Packers win 2 preseason games…
Presason_2_Wins.png
*Season Shortened to 9 games due to players strike

While winning just half your games is not optimal in the regular season, winning 2 of four games in a small preseason window seems to still be a good indication that you have a quality team. 8 of the 12 Packer teams that won 2 preseason games made the playoffs. With the exception of the outlier seasons in 1991 and 2005, a .500 preseason mark typically has meant good things. Historically, a Packers team with a 2-win preseason can expect to win 9.4 regular season games and have a 67% chance of reaching the playoffs. These teams combined to win an average of 0.83 playoff games per season (though nearly half of the wins come from the 2010 Super Bowl Championship team. By removing that group, the average drops to 0.5 wins per season).

 

When the Packers win 1 or fewer preseason games… Presason_1_Win.png

The Packers have won 1 or fewer preseason games 14 times since 1978. Unfortunately, the lack of preseason success has typically been a precursor for things to come when the real games start. The teams of the past that mustered one or fewer preseason victories usually couldn’t produce many regular season victories either. Only 5 of the 14 teams in this bunch produced winning records. Only 3 of those were able to make the playoffs. Those were among the weakest Green Bay teams to ever reach the playoffs, producing just one playoff win combined. While not a death sentence, the average 0 or 1 win preseason leads to a regular season campaign that contains a mere 7.2 wins and just a 23% chance of reaching the playoffs.

 

Preseason_Graph.png

 

Preseason_Chart.png

 

What about the rest of the league… Believe it or not, the rest of the league follows a similar trend. I did a similar study about the entire league since 1978 two years ago. If you just want a quick recent summary, nearly 80% of playoff teams since 2002 had non-losing records in the preseason (39 of 180). Chances are, if you are talented enough to make the playoffs, your reserves are talented enough to at least squeak out a couple of preseason wins. 

 

So what does this all mean?
In the end, this data doesn’t assure anything for the 2017 Packers. Preseason success does not guarantee a successful season, but it historically has correlated to regular season success. My theory is that preseason wins are a reflection of the overall talent level of your team. As we’ve seen in recent years, injuries are a bigger part of the game than ever. When your backups and role players can consistently outperform their counterparts on other teams, you likely have a strong roster across the board that can be called on to effectively fill holes during the season without greatly dropping the relative quality of your team. So in the end, the preseason game results matter…at least a little bit. But make no mistake, this is likely only true if you play the preseason normally. You can't Steve Spurrier your way to success by playing your starters the whole game in order to crush their backups. But if your backups can win consistently, it often means good things.

 

Eric Drews
Host
Green and Gold Forever
@GreenGold4Ever

2017 Green Bay Packers Offseason

  • Chris Czarnik joins Green and Gold Forever! We talk Chris’ coaching background.
  • Ted finally goes to Free Agency for Veteran Help.
  • The Packers 2017 Draft Class is Star-Studded. Who will be the stars over the long term?
  • What concerns us about the 2017 season? What are we optimistic about?
  • 2017 Green Bay Packers predictions. Will they win enough to get Homefield Advantage? Will they win the Super Bowl?
  • Tom Brady is now 40 years old. History suggests he will get bad soon and fast.
  • Chris explains how the mentality is different among Packer fans who grew up in the 1970s.
  • “Break up the Steelers!” said young Chris in the 1970s.
  • What are we looking for in the Packers’ first preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles?

 

 
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On Tuesday, the NFL owners voted to reduce the length of overtime in the regular season from fifteen minutes to ten minutes. According to Pro Football Talk, this will be a permanent change. This is coming just five years after the NFL modified the overtime rules to allow both teams a chance to possess the ball unless a touchdown is scored on the opening drive. Since the 2012 rule change went into effect, we have seen more ties in the last five seasons than in the previous 22 seasons combined. Now, with an even shorter overtime period to work with, there is concern among many that we are headed for ties at a historic rate.

 

Most news and blog sites have criticized this rule change because of the speculation that there will be more ties, but most stopped at speculation. Why speculate when we have real data that we can analyze to see how big of a problem this will be? With this in mind, I went back and looked at every overtime game since the 2012 rule changes went into effect in an effort to quantify how a 10 minute overtime would affect the occurrence of ties. Unfortunately, as I was preparing to write this, FiveThirtyEight published a much more statistically robust version of the article I was planning to write. They estimate that over 19% of overtime games will end in ties with these rules changes, compared to just 6% under the 2012-16 rules and 2% under the 1974-2011 rules.

 

While FiveThirtyEight provides a great statistical argument for how impactful this new rule may be, I thought I could provide a little historical twist and play a game of ‘What If…?’ What if a 10 minute overtime had been used since 2012? What results would have been different? How would the new rules have changed the NFL standings? How would that have altered NFL history?

 

Let’s take a look back at those 83 overtime games over the last five seasons and shorten them to 10 minutes. Even while acknowledging the near certainty that these games would’ve been played differently if the overtime rules were changed, you’ll see how big of a real world impact a 10 minute overtime can have (and likely will have) on an NFL season.

 

First things first, here is the fate of those 83 overtime games if you reduced overtime to 10 minutes:

Number_of_changed_games.png

 

At first glance, it seems reassuring that 78% of the games would be the same under a 10 minute overtime. However, having a different outcome in 22% of games is very unsettling considering how tight most playoff races are in the NFL. What does that difference look like in the real standings? Let’s find out.

 

All standings and information was retrieved at Pro-Football-Reference.com. Bookmark it. It’s the best site on the Internet.

 

 

2012 NFL Season 

There were a whopping 22 overtime games played in 2012. Just three of them would have had a different result with a 10 minute overtime rule. But those three games change a lot.

 

Games Changed

Changed_Games_2012.png

 

Revised 2012 NFL Standings

Revised_2012_Standings.png

 

The first things that stand out to me are the hilarious records of the 49ers and Rams. The division rivals would have tied each other in both of their meetings. This came within seconds of actually happening. The Rams kicked the game-winning field goal with :26 remaining in overtime. No team has had two ties in a season since the 1973 Packers (the last year played with no overtime in the regular season). I would bet that will change in the years to come.

 

The Texans falling to 11-4-1 does nothing to change their playoff positioning, nor does it affect Detroit’s draft positioning. The Texans still get the three seed and the Lions still are in a position to draft Ziggy Ansah with the 5th pick in the 2013 Draft. 

 

The big game changer is the 2012 Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens losing a win. By tying the Chargers instead of defeating them, the Ravens’ record falls to 9-6-1. This turns their Week 17 game at the Bengals into a de facto AFC North Division Championship game. In reality, they lost this game. Let’s assume that holds true. Instead of hosting a weak Indianapolis Colts team in the Wildcard Round (a game they won 24-9), they travel to Houston to play a Texans team that beat them 43-13 earlier in the season. It’s not hard to imagine the Ravens losing the playoff rematch as well. If you apply a 10 minute overtime rule to the 2012 season, you likely cost the Baltimore Ravens a Super Bowl Championship.

 

So what happens to the 2012 Super Bowl Title? Obviously that’s hard to say. The NFC Playoffs are unchanged, so let’s assume the 49ers still win that conference. The AFC Playoffs are much different, but still has Tom Brady’s New England Patriots and Peyton Manning’s Denver Broncos as the teams with first round byes. By taking the playoff-tested Ravens out of the equation, one of these two teams is likely go to the big dance. A 10 minute overtime rule in 2012 likely gives Brady or Manning yet another ring. Or it makes a champion out of Jim Harbaugh and a Super Bowl MVP out of Colin Kaepernick.

 

I’m starting to think this is a bad rule change.

 

 

2013 NFL Season

There were 16 overtime games played during the 2013 NFL Season. Four would have had different results with a 10 minute overtime rule.

 

Games Changed

Changed_Games_2013.png

 

Revised 2013 NFL Standings

Revised_2013_Standings.png

 

There isn’t a ton of significant changes here. Despite beating the Vikings instead of tying them, the Packers still need to beat the Bears in Week 17 to clinch the NFC North. Seattle, New England, and Denver’s playoff positioning is still unchanged. The playoffs (and even draft positioning) are identical. This would have been the first Super Bowl matchup between teams that each had a tie during the regular season. The fact that were robbed of that history is a great reason to establish a 10 minute overtime rule.

 

On a Packers note, giving the Packers an outright win over the Vikings would've made that game one of the greatest in Packers history. Luckily we would get two others later in the year. 

 

 

2014 NFL Season

Just one of the 11 overtime games played in 2014 would have changed with a 10 minute overtime.

 

Games Changed

Changed_Games_2014.png

 

Revised 2014 NFL Standings

Revised_2014_Standings.png

 

Initially, it looks like this result changes a lot, as it pulls both the Bengals and Panthers into a tie for first place in their respective divisions. However, once you apply tiebreakers, the result is the same as the real 2014 season. Pittsburgh had a better record than the Bengals within the division, so Cincinnati still would had to have beaten the Steelers in Week 17 to claim the AFC North crown. Carolina had split its season series with the Saints and scored a superior sum of success in the South, thus securing the South for the……Panthers. (Ran out of S words.) The Falcons also swept the Saints that year, so this change in result still makes the Panthers and Falcons in Week 17 a win-and-in scenario for both teams. The lack of a 10 minute overtime rule did nothing in this case but prevent a 7-9 team from winning its division for the second time in five seasons.

 

 

2015 NFL Season

The 2015 season saw 21 games go to overtime. However, only five would have had a different result if there were a 10 minute overtime rule.

 

Game Changed

Changed_Games_2015.png

 

The Rams and 49ers tie for the 3rd time in eight games. Yikes. This is also a case where I am very literally enforcing the 10 minute overtime rule in a way that is perhaps unnatural. Denver kicked a game-winning field goal to beat the Browns with 4:56 left in overtime. The play began with 5:00 on the clock and the clock only stopped because the Browns called a timeout. In a real world application of the 10 minute overtime rule, the Broncos would’ve kicked the ball before the clock ran out. But who cares? For the purpose of this scenario, let’s say Broncos Coach Gary Kubiak let his decades of experience cloud his mind and he forgot that the NFL had enacted such a ridiculous rule and let the clock run out. You should have heard all the crazy things that Skip Bayless said about him on First Take.

 

Revised 2015 NFL Standings

Revised_2015_Standings.png

 

What an eyesore. It looks like standings you would see around Thanksgiving in the NHL. Despite all that ugliness, there isn’t much in the way of ramifications. Denver and Cincinnati played in Week 16, so the winner of that game still gets the first round bye. However, because of Konfused Kubiac (which undoubtedly would’ve been the topic line on the screen during the Week 6 First Take segment), the Patriots get home field advantage throughout the AFC Playoffs instead. The Broncos would host the Kansas City Chiefs in Divisional Round with Pittsburgh going to New England rather than Denver. In Week 10 of 2015, the Chiefs beat the Broncos in Denver 29-13 and held Peyton Manning to 5-20 for 35 yards and four interceptions. It’s not hard to imagine the Chiefs beating Denver again OR the Broncos staying with Brock Osweiler in the playoffs. Had Denver entered Week 17 with an 10-4-1 record, the Patriots already would’ve clinched Homefield. Perhaps Kubiac doesn’t panic at the thought of losing to the Chargers and lets Brock stay in the game and figure it out. The defense and running game comes to Brock’s rescue like they did for Peyton in real life and the Broncos go to the playoffs with Peyton on the bench. If there were a 10 minute overtime rule, Brock Osweiler might still be the Broncos Quarterback. Well, at least in 2016.

 

Regardless, it’s safe to assume that the Patriots win the AFC. Peyton never had much success in Foxboro and we saw twice this past year how bad Osweiler is in New England. The Pats have always owned the Steelers in January. Had the Chiefs won, Andy Reid probably would’ve assumed that the 10 minute overtime rule was in effect in the playoffs too and took four knees in the middle of overtime to play for the tie, turned it over on downs, and watch with a bewildered look as New England drove down the field and kicks a game winning field goal.

 

Swapping the Patriots for the Broncos in Super Bowl 50 is likely very good news for the Panthers. Denver was really the only team in 2015 to slow down the Panthers. The Patriots had a decent defense, but Carolina likely would’ve been able to move the ball. I slightly favor the Panthers in that matchup, but at the very least, we would have been treated to a much more exciting football game.

 

(As a side note, doesn’t the unstoppable Panthers offense already feel like it happened like a decade ago? How fast things change.)

 

2016 NFL Season

Last season saw 13 contests go into overtime. Five of them would have been different with just 10 minutes of overtime.

 

Games Changed

Changed_Games_2016.png

 

Now those are some eye-opening results. Unlike prior years, the 2016 games that would have been affected by a 10 minute overtime are filled with playoff contenders. Also interesting, two overtime games from last season would’ve had the opposite winner had there been five fewer minutes of overtime. By changing just these five games, it wreaks havoc on the 2016 NFL Standings.

 

Revised 2016 NFL Standings

Revised_2016_Standings.png

 

Each of the three AFC West playoff contenders were involved in a game that would have had a different result with a 10 minute overtime period. Because of these changes, the Oakland Raiders now win the AFC West and get a first round bye. Making things even more interesting, the Raiders would have known that a win over the Colts in Week 16 would have clinched them the AFC West Championship and locked them into the Number Two Seed regardless of what happened in Week 17. Would Derek Carr have been in the game with eight minutes left and a 19 point lead in this scenario? If there had been a 10 minute overtime rule last season, Derek Carr likely doesn’t break his leg and is at full strength for the 2nd seeded Raiders in the playoffs.

 

There are more changes in the AFC Playoffs. Denver’s win over Kansas City and Miami’s tie with Buffalo puts the Broncos into the last Wildcard Spot instead of the Dolphins (thank goodness). With a 10 minute overtime rule, last year’s AFC Playoffs would have looked like this:

New_2016_AFC_Playoffs.png

 

While New England is still clearly the favorite, this playoff bracket is much more interesting. You replace an overachieving Dolphins team (who is playing with their backup quarterback), with the 4th best defense in the NFL. You also put David Carr back at the helm of the powerful Raider offense. I am still confident that the Patriots would have won the AFC, especially having seen how poorly the Raiders played in the cold at Kansas City. I am also confident that the games would’ve been much better and we likely would’ve only had to watch one Texans playoff game. That’s always a good thing.

 

The NFC playoffs aren’t unscathed either. The Buccaneers would have tied the Raiders rather than lost to them, giving them a 9-6-1 record. This would have been good enough to eliminate the loser of the Packers/Lions NFC North Title game. Since the Packers won, Detroit completes their December freefall and tumbles right out of the playoffs. Tampa Bay goes to Seattle to face a team they had defeated 14-5 about six weeks prior. Had the Buccaneers won, they would have gone to Dallas and sent Green Bay to Atlanta a week early. If this happens, Dallas likely hosts Atlanta in the NFC Title game and very well could have gone to the Super Bowl to face the Patriots. I’m not sure they would have won, but I am sure that if they would have had a 28-3 lead with 18 minutes to play, they would be the Champions today.

 

Finally, and perhaps most important long-term, had there been a 10 minute overtime last season, the San Francisco 49ers would have had the first pick in the NFL Draft. Cleveland beating Pittsburgh in Week 17 would have cost them Myles Garrett. We’ll have to wait and see how important that is to NFL history.

 

Summary

I’m against the new overtime rules, because it WILL lead to more ties. From 1974 to 2011, there were 17 ties. By applying the 10 minute overtime rule to the last five years with the two possession rule, it created 15 ties in five years. As a fan, there is nothing like investing hours into a product only to have no winner. I will acknowledge that many of the scenarios I outlined here ended up being BETTER than the actual real world scenarios, but that’s not the point. This is illustrating how much could have changed with such a minor change. I believe the NFL owners made this decision flippantly in a very weak effort to shorten games. There are claims that this is being done to shorten games for player safety reasons. If this is the case, and ties are of no concern, why play overtime at all? This will reduce the length of a tie game by 6%. I suspect the real reason is to shorten games so they don’t go over their time slots and network shows can start on time.

 

I doubt the NFL Brass realizes how each of their minor tweaks butterflies into a major change. Look how different the last five years would have been with this seemingly “minor” change. Minor changes can have major effects on the product and on NFL history. As a fan, I don’t like how little the owners and Rules Committee seem to think these things through. They had a goal and they’ll get to it whether it’s good for the game or not. It’s hard to get emotionally invested in a league that would create a rule that might cost your favorite team a playoff spot because they want 60 Minutes to start on time.

 

And for cripes sake, DO NOT buy a ticket to a Rams/49ers game.

 

Eric Drews
Host
Green and Gold Forever
@GreenGold4Ever

5th Annual Goldie Awards!!!

 

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-Before we start the festivities, we share thoughts on the releases of Sam Shields and James Starks

 

The Goldie's Awards!

 

-Who will host the awards this year!!!?

 

-Who Walks Away with the Packers 2016 Offense and Defensive Players of the Year Honors?

 

-Best and Worst Plays of the Year

 

-Who do we want to give a one way ticket out of town!?

 

-Bill & Ted Award: Which Packer would we steal from history to be on the 2017 team?

 

-We share YOUR awards!! The fans wrote in some great selections. What are they and who will win them!?

 

-We discuss some Green and Gold Forever news

 

THANK YOU for a fantastic 5 years! Stay tuned for more to come!

 

 
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