So, there's talk about rules to force teams to play their starters. Goodell is saying that they can't do that, but they can reward teams for playing starters. But, how long must they play? What about an injury? What about the million ways to screw with such a rule? We already see teams faking injuries to slow the Colts down, along with other types of "cheating" where rules can't really be enforced (as opposed to the blatant Belichik-type of cheating.)
The key, in my humble opinion is to reward teams for winning, not necessarily for line-up decisions, even when they have everything clinched for the playoffs. While we're at it, why not fix the broken overtime rules? Two birds, one stone.
Here's how we could do both, in one fell swoop:
Instead of tossing a coin, the choice on whether to receive or kickoff in overtime goes to the home team. In the regular season, it's arbitrary, but a bit less so than the randomness of a coin toss.
In the playoffs, a team would have already earned the right to the "overtime advantage", just as they earned the right to play at home.
Even in the Superbowl the overtime advantage would be given to the team that would have had homefield advantage were it a playoff game. Yes, it seems odd to give an advantage in the Super Bowl based on regular season play, but it makes slightly more sense than tossing a coin and would be no more aggravating to fans. Additionally, less games will see starters rest, since no team has everything clinched up until they know they can finish the season with a better record than every other team.
So, this season, the Saints went into game 15 with one loss, the Colts with none. With two games left, the Colts would have had to beat NYJ to keep possible Super Bowl overtime advantage, depending on the tie-breaker. It could have extended the serious play for one more week. In fact, they could create a special tie-breaker that supercedes all others for the Superbowl overtime advantage: longest end-of-season streak gets to choose who receives. That is, whomever lost latest in the season doesn't. Remember, this would just be the tiebreaker, if the number of wins are even. It would have meant that in this season the Colts would have had to beat the Jets to be sure of clinching the advantage. Any takers?