They say settling for a tie is like kissing your sister, so it only made sense that the NFL would want to implement an overtime system as the game’s popularity continued to grow in the 1970s. The problem, of course, was coming up with a system that was fair and made sense. The league is still trying to figure out that puzzle nearly a half-century later.
By 2010, it had become crystal clear that the sudden-death system gave a huge advantage to the team that was lucky enough to win the coin toss and get the ball first, so the NFL launched a series of modifications and tweaks that have never resolved the fundamental problem of how best to settle a game that is tied after 60 minutes of regulation.
With ties largely eliminated from regular-season standings as the playoff system grew to incorporate more teams, another problem arose: teams on the playoff bubble increasingly finishing the regular season with identical records. Fans soon grew accustomed to seeing their team’s playoff fate decided by byzantine tiebreaking formulas.
And, perhaps most critically, extending games into overtime made the sport less safe and increased injuries. Sometimes, a game is simply fit to be tied.