MIKE BURKE

Allegany Radio Corporation Sports

Look, I’ve never tried to convince anybody I’m not cynical about #NFLTheTVShow and, particularly, its sweeps period, also known as the playoffs. Since I was in the fourth grade – I’m in the 57th grade now – I have believed it is a television show and, particularly after this past weekend’s playoff games, I’ve never been more steadfast in that belief.

Now, again, as I said here a short while back, I didn’t say it wasn’t a good TV show. I watch it. I watch it every week.

Take the Buffalo-Kansas City game Sunday night. Nobody has stopped raising hell about the Bills not getting a chance to score, or even “touch the ball,” themselves after the Chiefs scored on the first possession of the overtime to win the game, 42-36. What makes this a particularly sour point of contention is that both teams had just combined to score 25 points in the final two minutes of regulation.

It was one of the most thrilling games in the history of the NFL, to be sure. It was television at its very finest, and that’s the point — it’s a TV show.

Not saying the network had grown bored by the time the overtime had arrived, but the network had grown antsy. The network, which has given us the unspoken “60 Minutes Rule” wanted the game off the air so it could move on with the rest of its Sunday prime-time programming (“60 Minutes,” by the way, was preempted Sunday night because of the 6:30 start to the football game).

This is why #NFLTheTVShow overtime is what it is.

That said, what would the perfect NFL overtime process be, short of copying the college-football model, which, while far from being perfect, seems to be more fair than the NFL’s OT?

#NFLTheTVShow will not copy anybody’s model on anything, because that would be admitting they didn’t get something right, and that’s just not going to happen. More to the point, the TV show is not going to change anything it doesn’t want to, because it doesn’t have to. They want the games to stay on point and, most importantly, as close to on-schedule as possible, because even networks have bills to pay – or, rather, greedy stockholders’ pockets to stuff — and prime-time advertising has already been purchased.

At the same time, whether we like them or not, the rules in place are the rules in place, and the job of the teams involved is to base the guidelines and the parameters of the rules in place to map their strategy and approach to win the game.

As we approach the conference-championship games this weekend, we’ll talk about what may or may not have been better approaches for some teams to have taken during the most exciting divisional-playoffs weekend a lot of us can remember (again, never said it wasn’t a good TV show).

Who knows what would have worked or still wouldn’t have worked through the course of this thrilling weekend of professional football? What we do know is #NFLTheTVShow will change how it does things only when it is the most advantageous thing to do for #NFLTheTVShow.

But consider this: According to Elias Sports, of the 163 overtime games (regular season and playoffs) under the current overtime rules, only 35 have been decided by touchdowns on the first possession of overtime.

That’s just 21.5 percent, so, in fact, coin flips are not deciding games in overtime. Strategy and execution do, and beginning with their decision to kick off into the end zone and not milk any of the 13 seconds they had remaining to come away with the victory in regulation, the Buffalo Bills failed on both counts.

One more thing: The sure-fire sign of a successful television show comes in how long its viewers continue to talk about it – “Who Shot J.R.?” for instance … Well, guess what? We’ll be talking about Buffalo-Kansas City for years to come.

Seems #NFLTheTVShow has a hit on its hands.

Mike Burke writes about sports and other stuff for Allegany Radio and Pikewood Digital. He began covering sports for the Prince George’s Sentinel in 1981 and joined the Cumberland Times-News sports staff in 1984, serving as sports editor for over 30 years. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @MikeBurkeMDT