Monday, November 17, 2008


A CRAZY Sunday in football left fans and bettors alike feeling disgruntled and dissatisfied.

It also raised the question: should the tie still exist in the National Football League?

After a futile three hours and 46 minutes, including overtime, Philadelphia and Cincinnati were still locked at 13-13 – the first tie in the NFL since 2002.

In soccer, the tie or draw is a common event, the two teams each receiving one point (compared to three for a win). But in US sports, it’s almost unheard of.

That can’t happen in the NFL, where the number of wins achieved in 16 games decides a team’s position. The tie leaves both the Eagles (five wins) and Bengals (one) in last place in their respective divisions.

For the Bengals, you could argue that the result – or lack of one – doesn’t really matter. But, for the Eagles, it could ultimately cost them a playoff place.

It was Cincinnati who had the only scoring chance in OT, Shayne Graham missing a 47-yard field goal attempt.

Blown call leaves bettors fuming

In snowy Pittsburgh, there were even more bizarre goings-on as the Steelers became the first team in NFL history to win by an 11-10 scoreline, against the San Diego Chargers.

History should have remained unchanged. The Steelers and Troy Polamalu should have been awarded a touchdown in the final seconds as the Chargers tried to keep the game alive with laterals.

Umpire Scott Green, who initially upheld the ruling of touchdown on the field before changing his mind, admitted afterwards that he got it wrong.

There was even some suggestion that Green may have been put under pressure to come up with a quick decision as the game had gone beyond its scheduled running time, delaying 60 Minutes.

His admission of guilt will come as no consolation to those who decided to place their hard-earned cash on the Steelers to cover a 4.5-point spread. Around $10 million is wagered on every NFL game and although the spread is set to promote a balanced book, apparently the ratio of bets taken on Pittsburgh v San Diego was 4-1 in favor of the Steelers.

In England, when the officials make a score-changing mistake like this, some magnanimous bookmakers agree to pay out on both results.

Somehow, I can’t see them being so benevolent in Vegas.

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