It’s time for a primer on how to think like a criminal defense lawyer or more importantly, how to think outside the box. If you’re a Patriots fan, you may not like what I’m about to write. If you’re an Atlanta Falcons fan, you’re going to think I’m on to something.
The manner in which the NFL continues to govern their overtime game rules is arbitrary and capricious. Basically, if your team wins the coin toss, you are going to end up winning the game the majority of the time. This is because overtime is sudden-death and if your team scores a touchdown on its first possession, the game is over, regardless of whether or not the opposing team has had a chance to get the ball on offense.
As a defense attorney, we take what may be an injustice and delve into it to determine what we can do to change it. Sometimes, the deck seems stacked and it appears impossible. But, I always say, no matter the odds, every case is winnable.
Here is what I came up with to challenge the NFL on this Super Bowl. It is a known pattern that New England likes to call heads in coin tosses. New England was the visiting team for the Super Bowl. The visiting team gets to call whether they want heads or tails in the coin toss. New England called heads and sure enough, the coin came up heads. New England elected to get the ball and they marched down the field and scored a touchdown and won the Super Bowl. Matt Ryan, the NFL’s MVP for this past season, did not even get a chance to touch the ball.
Maybe we should demand that the NFL test the weight and balance of the coin used in the overtime. Because, if the coin used was weighted more on one side so that it came up heads more often than tails, then the Patriots had an unfair advantage. In deflate-gate, the NFL had no policy and rules for keeping game balls away from the home team. Now they do. Maybe the same should be demanded here. Coins used in overtime games for tosses should be tested for equal weight and balance on both sides. If we’re going to keep this idiotic rule in place, at least make certain that it is applied on an even and level playing field. Maybe we should demand that an independent expert be hired to test the coin’s weight and balance and report on its findings.
At the beginning of the game, New England called heads and the coin came up tails. However, we don’t know if the same coin was used in the overtime. Also, it really doesn’t matter if you get the ball at the beginning of the game because you will get 4 quarters to play the game. In overtime, you give up a touchdown on the first possession and you lose.
Perhaps I don’t have much love for Roger Goodell and the waning interest in the NFL this past season. Maybe it’s the rebel in me who doesn’t mind seeing the NFL and Roger Goodell struggle. He put Tom Brady and company through enough turmoil with the 4 game suspension.
Perhaps it’s all of the scandals involving the Patriots over the years. Either way, challenging the system or bringing up issues that no one else has thought of is what criminal defense lawyers do. We aren’t the most popular kids on the block. However, when you’re being accused of a crime and it appears like the evidence is overwhelming, you want someone on your side who is going to stand up to those in charge and not back down.