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Recapturing the ’75 World Series, via iPhone

Recapturing the ’75 World Series, via iPhone

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Nothing sums up the prevailing zeitgeist better than the online recap, whereby otherwise respectable writers, toiling for otherwise respectable media outlets, review individual episodes from the various series comprising our so-called Golden Age of Premium Television. It’s not that acolytes of Game of Thrones, The Good Wife, Homeland, Better Call Saul or House of Cards ever “miss” an episode. On-demand viewing makes that well nigh impossible. No, these morning-after recaps treat TV shows more like marquee sporting events; they exist so that we might wallow again in their drama, better drink in their plot twists, indulge anew in idle plot speculation, and ultimately rehash it all with likeminded folks in the comments section.

Quite by accident and irrespective of the retrospective TV trend, it occurred to me last week that YouTube might well harbor clips, if not entire game films, of the 1975 World Series — contested 42 years ago this month. As the 2017 Red Sox have quickly faded into irrelevance (and the once-proud pitching staffs of both the Astros and Dodgers continue to implode), my mind drifts back to Luis Tiant and the magnificent Game 4 he pitched in Cincinnati to level this epic Series.

The 21st century is a remarkable thing: Game 4 was indeed right there on YouTube, in its entirety (commercials completely excised). I watched it on my iPhone and, over the course of three days, allowed a veritable cloudburst of memories to wash over me like a warm, amniotic shower. This led to YouTube-aided consumption of Games 2 and 3, in that order, as these, I reasoned, were the chapters in this remarkable 7-game saga that I remembered least of all.

What follows is my recap of this 3-game series within a World Series, one of the greats, which I first watched 42 years ago as an 11-year-old, staying up later than I ever had before, in a suburban living room some 13 miles southwest of Fenway Park.

 

Game 4, Riverfront Stadium, Oct. 15, 1975: Red Sox 5, Reds 4

Reds

El Tiante was already a Boston legend before he took the mound in Game 4. After doing his best to thwart Sox hopes in 1967, for Cleveland (one of four teams with legitimate pennant hopes that final weekend of the season), he had come over in 1971 and immediately won our hearts. No one knew how old this amiable Cuban really was; I suppose we still don’t know. He was a bit dumpy and could be clownish, though a lot of that was surely ESL-based. But he won and he did it with singular style — 18 games in 1975, despite some back issues. He shut the Reds out in Game 1 at Fenway and, after his virtuoso performance in Game 4 at Riverfront, his place in the Boston Sports Pantheon was utterly secure.

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Three Rules to Promote Baseballing Alacrity

Three Rules to Promote Baseballing Alacrity

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See here three simple rules for the betterment of baseball and the country whose pastime it remains, to the extent that anyone can sit through an entire 9-inning game these days without the aid of a DVR.

First, give the ball to the pitcher and oblige the batter to be ready when the ball is delivered… This sounds simple, and it is. Honestly, it’s more or less the way baseball was prosecuted up until around 1980. We are simply codifying a throwback policy, whereby, once a batter strides to the plate from the on-deck circle and establishes himself in the batter’s box — two things he can do with levels of speed and alacrity entirely of his own choosing — there are no more batter-initiated timeouts.

The batter is not a prisoner there. He can step out. He can wave to his mother in the stands or scratch his balls. He can pull on each batting glove as often as he likes, or, to be more accurate, dares. But he clearly won’t overindulge in any of this behavior because he knows the pitcher, once in possession of the ball, can deliver it to the plate whenever he chooses.

Foul ball or stolen base? The process resets.

Some have called for the umpire to be more diligent in calling batters back into the box. That won’t work. It’s arbitrary and frankly not the umpire’s charge. If the batter is inclined to see some pitches, superfluous batter routinization between pitches will disappear almost instantly — and completely organically.

There is no penalty for stepping out of the box – only that you might not be in the hitting position when the ball arrives at/near the plate. There is no need to make special accommodation for the delivery of signs from the third-base coach. They can be delivered to/received by the batter at any time, though it seems prudent to get this done prior to said batter entering the box.

The umpire is free to call time at his discretion — for example, when a player is knocked down or back by an inside pitch. Resetting is a simple matter, as the umpire already holds the game balls on his person. By not handing a new ball to the catcher, or not winging it out to the mound himself, he has called time and allowed the batter to regroup without ever calling time.

I’m note sure whether the baseball rulebook even acknowledges a batter’s right to call timeout. If so, this would be the only rule-change required. Otherwise, it’s a seamless move back to the way batting was prosecuted over the game’s first 150 years.

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Network Snafu Stymies Smartphone Scrabble

Network Snafu Stymies Smartphone Scrabble

Scrabble

A week into the Great Scrabble Freeze-Out of 2014, I’m left to contemplate my beginnings. It all started in the Dominican Republic back in January 2013. Then again, the game took root far earlier than that. There has always been Scrabble.

The Scrabble I play now, or did until a week ago, is the Facebook incarnation pimped via some Hasbro app. Jeff Wallach turned me on to this smartphone-enabled version of the game during a media junket to Casa de Campo, in the DR. I noticed what he was playing on his phone. When I inquired, there was a guarded, secret-society, “Can you handle the truth?” aspect to his responses. I guess I was deemed worthy enough. I’ve played some 350 games vs. Jeff and a dozen different opponents since.

Scrabble has always been with us, of course. We’ve all played it through the years, perhaps introduced to the game by parents, as I was. This wasn’t any rudimentary Candyland-type diversion, or some lame exercise sexed up by three-dimensional playing surfaces (The Game of Life), or anything requiring physical skill (Jenga), or something reliant on wellsprings of trivial knowledge.

Scrabble was and remains utterly singular and vital: strategic word-smithing in the language soup we all slurp.

This essay was long time in coming. I write it now because the mobile app that enables smartphone Scrabble has been unable to connect with Facebook for almost a week. Web alerts tell us developers are on the case. Until they solve the problem, short of going on the laptop and playing there (a place I do NOT wish to go), I’m stymied — and so are my half-dozen current opponents. I texted one yesterday: “Life has so little meaning without Scrabble.”

“I feel rudderless,” he responded. Immediately.

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The Podbay Door: NHL Down to Four

The Podbay Door: NHL Down to Four

Hello and welcome to The Podbay Door, the audio magazine here at HalPhillips.net. It’s June, and that means the Stanley Cup Playoffs are barreling toward another riveting conclusion. We’re down to four teams and they are arguably the best four, if the regular season is any guide: Pittsburgh vs. Boston in the Eastern Conference Final, and Los Angeles vs. Chicago out West. Of course, the regular season is rarely a trusted guide in NHL matters. Favorites normally have a tough time in the NHL playoffs, which routinely produce a Cinderella, or two. We discuss that trend and this year’s anomaly with hockey sage David DeSmith, whose A Position contributions can be found here. Note that while we recorded this conversation just prior to the start of each Conference Final, technical difficulties kept us from posting until today, with the Bruins and Blackhawks each holding 2-0 series leads. The Bruins’ performance has surely surprised most everyone, Mr. DeSmith especially.

Bruins-Rangers: A Curious Rivalry Renewed

Bruins-Rangers: A Curious Rivalry Renewed

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The Boston-New York sporting rivalry, one-sided though it often is (Hub fans invariably care more about beating anything NYC than the other way around), has traditionally taken a backseat on ice. Still, it beggars belief that Bruins v. Rangers — a battle of Original Sixers separated by just 200 miles — has become such a non-entity, largely because the two combatants have not played a single playoff series since 1973, despite having always competed together in the Eastern Conference (or some ridiculously named facsimile thereof).

That streak ends Thursday night with Game 1 of the NHL’s Eastern Semifinals at the TD Banknorth Garden, and perhaps it will light a fire going forward. If nothing else, it will serve as a stirring flashback for hockey fans of my vintage who remember a time when this was a proper rivalry and home teams wore dark uniforms in their own barn — a practice that had long prevailed back in the day, was abandoned by the NHL in the mid-1970s, but has recently been restored.

The Bruins’ blood rivals are, of course, the Canadiens, whose decades-long torture of Boston peaked just as the Rangers rivalry fell away, in the late 1970s. Those Montreal teams were all-timers, star-studded winners of four straight Stanley Cups (1976-79). The B’s, though very good throughout the ‘70s, simply could not slay them. Even in their heyday, when they netted a pair of Cups, in 1970 and ‘72, the Bruins were never obliged to beat the Canadiens in a playoff series.

Montreal had many rivals during that period, and it only stoked Boston passions further that peut-être Les Canadiens didn’t care that much about beating the Bruins. Today, recent form and some incendiary incidents of thuggery have perhaps stirred in Montreal fans a hatred that matches that of Bruins Nation.

[Indeed, much of Canada has every right to loathe the current B’s following their organ-removing defeats of heavily favored Vancouver in the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals, and Monday’s unlikely Game 7 dispatch of Toronto’s Maple Leafs, in overtime — the Bruins had trailed 4-1, with just 10 minutes remaining. No Canada-based club has won the Cup since 1993, a fact that continues to gall hockey purists (read: 90 percent of the population) north of the border. Maybe derision of the current Bruins can be that one elusive thing all of Canada can agree upon…]

The Bruins of the early 1970s were not so villainous. They were Big and Bad, in an admirable way, and the Rangers — more of a finesse team, built on the refined skills of Rod Gilbert, Jean Ratelle, Brad Park and Vic Hadfield — proved compelling foils. Boston beat them to win the Cup in 1972. Their last playoff meeting was a Ranger victory, the 1973 conference semifinals. As a young Bostonian, I vividly remember resenting the Rangers for unseating the defending Cup champions, a loss that kicked off one of the most frustrating runs of near misses in hockey history. (Boston would lose the 1974 Cup final to Philly before dropping a dizzying succession of playoff series to Montreal, each one more gut-wrenching than the last.)

But any resentment of the Rangers didn’t last.

Terry O’Reilly and his crew famously went into the stands at Madison Square Garden to punch up some Rangers fans in December 1979, but the lack of playoff confrontation — who could imagine it would last fully four decades? — effectively defused the rivalry. The 1975 and 1976 trades that shipped Phil Esposito, Ken Hodge and Carol Vadnais to New York, in exchange for Ratelle, Park and “Nifty” Rick Middleton, further blurred the line between bitter enemy and mere foe.

Montreal became the fixation.

It’s funny how that works: The best rivalries become a sort of long-term competitive obsession, to the exclusion of teams that might well be torturing or otherwise beating you in the moment. Boston endured 39 years between titles (1972-2011), and in that seemingly interminable span they were beaten back by several great teams of longstanding: the Islanders of the early 1980s, Gretzky’s Edmonton Oilers… Yet we Bruins Fans never stopped hating on the Canadiens exclusively.

[Another great piece of nostalgia prompted by this year’s playoffs: the return of the Islanders after a long post-season absence. Just seeing their uniforms, admirably unchanged from the glory days, stirred strong memories of Bossy, Gillies, Trottier, Nystrom, Smith and Resch. The Nassau County Coliseum — scene of so many vintage Bruins telecasts delivered via rabbit ears and Channel 38 — remains impossibly small, dark and retro. Their current star, John Taveras, wears no. 91 and, for a brief moment during their first-round loss to the mighty Penguins, I mistook him for Butch Goring…]

The Rangers famously went 54 years without a Stanley Cup before winning one in 1994 (deploying a goodly number of former Oilers, it must be said), and I’ve no idea whether Ranger fans brought with them on that long and painful journey a particular rival, or developed one. Maybe, for a time, it was the Islanders. Maybe it has become the Washington Capitals, whom the Rangers seem to have faced, in the playoffs, every year for the last two decades (though it’s hard to develop a rivalry with a team that has never won anything, ever).

If it’s been the Bruins all along, I feel sorry for them, because we never really noticed.

FootGolf? Yes, FootGolf. Where Do I Sign…

FootGolf? Yes, FootGolf. Where Do I Sign…

 

Here’s all I have to say about the advent of FootGolf: “It’s about freakin’ time.” Anything that essentially combines my two favorite participatory sports — and knee-high argyle socks — has my full attention and support.

I knew there was something out there like this, but until I read this piece, I had no idea it was so well developed, and so intrinsically awesome. As a devotee of disc golf, I embrace the game in all its alternative forms. But this one takes it to a new level. There’s even a rule book, to be consulted in the event one’s approach hits the pin and ricochets backward into a lake. (Of course, if that should happen, the ball would be floating on the surface and could presumably be retrieved, prior to a legal drop).

Soccer and golf have a long and distinguished history together. There’s the dreaded foot wedge, of course. And there was that time Alan Shearer played through our group at Gleneagles. I’d love to see him hole out with a proper foot wedge and run the length of the hole with his signature hand held high.

Check out more information here. There’s apparently a FootGolf facility in Las Vegas, but that’s awfully far away. If anyone out there knows where this activity can be pursued here in New England, I’m all ears. After all, there was a FootGolf World Cup held in Hungary in 2012. I now have my sights set on 2016.

With Paterno book due in August, A Question Nags

With Paterno book due in August, A Question Nags

One thing’s for sure with the Joe Paterno/Jerry Sandusky/Penn State scandal-saga, which re-emerged to dominate headlines this week upon release of Louis Freeh’s damning report: I’m glad Jerome Carboni didn’t live to it. If the father of my college housemate, Dennis Carboni, had not passed away a few years ago, this Paterno debacle would surely have killed him.

The Carbonis were a hardcore football family and though it hailed from Meriden, Conn., hundreds of miles from Happy Valley, Mr. Carboni worshipped Joe Paterno and Penn State football. Dennis hinted to me that it might have had something to do with a shared Italian-American heritage, but let’s be honest: There was a lot for a 70something football fan to admire in the way Paterno conducted his affairs at Penn State. The perceived emphasis on academics. The pointedly unflashy blue-and-white uniforms. The long tenure. The absence of scandal.

Joe Posnanski is 50something, but he was clearly similarly drawn to this Paterno story-myth. Starting in early 2011, Posnanski, then a Sports Illustrated baseball writer, went so far as to secure access to Paterno and his family, relocate to State College, Pa., and set about researching a biography. The idea, as detailed in his own book proposal, was to “tell the remarkable story about a man who could have been anything but decided that the best way he could help change America was one college football player at a time.”

Like Jerome Carboni, Joe Posnanski was a true believer.

The contents of this eagerly awaited book — scheduled for release in August — will be all the more anticipated for the author’s pre-publication seclusion. Posnanski has said or written next to nothing about the project since going underground shortly after the scandal broke in November 2011, other than to acknowledge the obvious: The tenor of said book has changed dramatically. He’s also been under the gun; Simon and Schuster moved up publication of the book some 10 months to cash in on the salacious topicality of the subject. (Since leaving SI to write it, Posnanski has found time to partner with Major League Baseball on a web venture that involves USA Today, apparently).

I have nothing against Joe Posnanski, but I’ve read pretty much everything I can find online about his peculiar role in this ongoing drama (which, at the risk of sounding melodramatic, certainly qualifies as tragedy), and nowhere does Posnanski offer, nor does any journalist care to ask, the nagging question here: What did Joe know and when did he know it?

I wrote about this in November 2011. With every passing day, it gets harder to believe that a professional biographer was ensconced in State College doing research for months ahead of November 2011, and never got any wind of the allegations against Sandusky. People in the Penn State community knew what was going down. Janitors. Administrators. Journalists. Grand juries, the likes of which leveled the charges against Jerry Sandusky back in November, don’t get called or conducted in a vacuum. Word gets around. Consider all of Sandusky’s alleged victims across the community…

You telling me they were all so cowed by Paterno, so deludedly intent on avoiding damage to the school’s football “brand”, that no one would have taken Posnanski aside and said, “You should read what this guy Mark Madden’s been writing in the Beaver County Times”? One conversation like this one and a Google search would have revealed the kernel.

Maybe these sources were indeed too intimidated to have that conversation with an SI reporter on book leave. Freeh’s report indicates that janitors in the locker rooms witnessed many damning things but never reported them, so fearful they were for their jobs. That’s logical, that Paterno would wield enough power to deter a janitor from reporting a child rape in a Penn State locker-room shower. And, as we’ve read in Freeh’s report, Paterno did know about what had happened and moved concertedly with administrators to keep it hidden.

It’s complicated, but Posnanski is damned if he did and damned if he didn’t. If he knew something and sat on it, yikes… If he didn’t know anything, what sort of research was he doing all through 2011? A lot of sitting around the kitchen table with Joe Paterno, apparently.

The latter is certainly less damning on the ethical scale. There’s no moral lapse in setting out to write a sports hagiography; they are written all too frequently. But if he was truly caught unawares, the surface nature of Posnanski’s research becomes embarrassingly clear when we consider the massive powder keg he failed to notice.

Celts v. Heat: Plenty of Glamour and a Few Grudges

Celts v. Heat: Plenty of Glamour and a Few Grudges

Welcome back to Glamour Profession, the NBA podcast here at halphillips.net. Last year at about this time, the Celtics faced off with the Heat in Game 5 of their second-round playoff series, trailing 3 games to 1. Your pod host, Hal Phillips, was in New Zealand. Heading out to play the back nine at Kauri Cliffs Golf Club, some 17 hours ahead of Eastern Standard time, he checked the Game 5 score in the clubhouse — Boston led Miami by 8 with 2 plus minutes remaining. Standing over his approach on no. 10, his playing partner consulted the Blackberry and reported the game and series were over — the Celts having failed to score in those last 2 minutes. Well, here we are again, this time in the Eastern Conference finals. Both teams are beat up, short-handed by major injuries and seemingly inferior to either team contesting the Western Conference Finals, San Antonio and Oklahoma City. We caught up with the GP’s resident sage, Jammin’ Jim Jackson, at halftime of Sunday night’s Spurs-Thunder game to discuss that match-up and the pending Heat-Celtics series, which kicks off Monday night.

One Week: To Restore the NFL’s Competitive Morality
12 41 2 Get Sports Alerts Sign Up Submit this story Ines Sainz, the Azteca reporter who was allegedly harassed last summer while interviewing Mark Sanchez at a New York Jets practice, returned to cover Super Bowl XLV at Tuesday's media day in Dallas.

One Week: To Restore the NFL’s Competitive Morality

Patriots practice squad player Malcolm Williams high-fives a Mexican TV reporter after taping a vital interview on Tuesday.

Settle down, people. Thank you. Let’s get started, shall we?

Good morning, and welcome to this year’s Pre-Super Bowl meeting of the Bert Bell Memorial Support Group. Yes, it’s been a long season in many respects but we’re almost there! [Half-hearted applause] With each other’s help, we can survive another NFL season with our families and psyches in tact. My name is Rudy, and I’ll be your enabler this morning.

I can see we have some unfamiliar faces this year. Great to see you; you’re welcome here. Are there any questions? … Yes, you can leave that Colts paraphernalia in the coat check room… Okay, sure: The trash can is down the hall, around the corner… No, but that’s an excellent question: This is not an NFL-sanctioned meeting. This is important people, so listen up: Our group is not affiliated with the league office in any way.

This isn’t about the league, people; it’s about you. As we are each week during the NFL season, we’re here for your benefit. The fans’ benefit…

We have a busy morning planned. Today we’re going to discuss chip-to-dip ratios and the merits of large-screen television rentals. Those will be round-table discussions. We’ve also set aside some time for role-playing; our topic this week is, “Can I bring my wife? No really, I’m serious.”

But before we get started, we have a special guest speaker. I’d like to introduce Hal Phillips; he’s vice president pro tem of SWACO, Sports Writers Against Corporate Omnipotence, and he’s here to talk about scheduling.

Mr. Phillips?

[Light applause]

“Thanks, Rudy. Nice to see you back in football, putting that Jesuit education to good use… Good morning, football fans.”

GOOD MORNING, MR. PHILLIPS.

“Before I get started, I want you to know that we at SWACO are just like you. We love football and that’s why we want you to look back — back to January 2000, when the NFL in its momentary wisdom chose to conduct the Super Bowl exactly one week following its conference title games.

“As you know, the league routinely extends the period between its  conference championships and Super Sunday to a full fortnight. But that year, 2000, was different, and look at the results: The game itself was superb, a last-second tackle at the goal-line to preserve a 23-16 Ram victory over the Titants — not the anti-climactic blowouts we’ve come to expect.

“Further, the ‘short’ week automatically reduced the drone of media hype by half, leaving in its place actual anticipation for the game itself. Imagine that! Less insipid pre-Super Bowl prattle AND a competitive championship game that fits into the time-honored scheduling parameters to which pro football teams have adhered for 80 years.

“Simply put, football enthusiasts — even those who, like you, don’t have meaningful lives outside of football — don’t need two weeks of pre-Super Bowl ‘coverage’. The litany of reports (‘on location’, where desperate pundits literally scrounge for meaningful ‘news’) is nauseating enough after three or four days. Two weeks of this piffle is completely over the top. We at SWACO further believe that if football fans, fresh off 21 days of fawning playoff coverage, aren’t by then familiar with the respective Super Bowl combatants, surely they never will be.

“Make no mistake: This extra week isn’t there for teams to ‘get healthy’. It isn’t there because the two teams couldn’t fully adjust to the gravity of their Super Bowl moment in a single week.

“No. The extra week is there so the NFL’s corporate partners will have 7 additional days to foist their products upon us, via television, radio, web and the print press. [Circumspect murmurs float through the crowd]

“To support the thousands of Super Bowl-oriented advertisements, to synergize with the ubiquitous and tedious Super Bowl contests (which are essentially corporate fronts for still more advertisements), media outlets are obliged by their corporate sugar daddies to ‘preview’ and analyze this single football game for two solid weeks.

“This sort of rehash, while unnecessary and invariably annoying, is obligatory during the week directly leading up to the Super Bowl. We at SWACO understand and accept this. However, we feel it’s craven and superfluous to jam this piffle down anyone’s throat a full 12 days before kickoff.

“Even more important, however, we at SWACO believe the two-week break is competitively amoral. Yes, you heard me right. Pro football games aren’t meant to be played every other week; they’re meant to be played on consecutive Sundays, one after another, until a champion is crowned.

“Let’s be very clear about this: Professional football is predicated entirely on a team’s ability to prepare for an opponent — physically, mentally and strategically — in one week’s time. Bye weeks notwithstanding, regular-season records, playoff position and playoff qualification itself are determined on the sole basis of this 7-day framework.

“To throw it out the window for the Super Bowl — the most important game of the season — perverts the entire process.

“Think about it: The two-week layoff is one reason Super Bowls are traditionally lopsided, mind-numbing affairs. It’s a pretty simple equation: Give a superior team two weeks to prepare and the possibility of a walkover is only enhanced.

“Keep it to a week and anything can happen.

“Exhibit A: The absorbing Rams-Titans game in 2000.

“Exhibit B: The previous Super Bowl to be contested just one week after the respective conference championships — the 1990 affair, when the Giants claimed a similarly thrilling 20-19 victory over the Bills.

“Indeed, the Super Bowl’s average margin of victory when employing a two-week layoff is 17 points; with a week’s break, the average margin is a mere 7 points. Isn’t that what we want? A game where the conclusion isn’t forgone? A game contested in the same way as those preceding it, under the same competitive strictures? Was the Giants’ win over the Cowboys on the last game of the regular season this year any less important, in the great scheme of things, than this Super Bowl? The Giants wouldn’t be in Indianapolis right now if it weren’t. That game was contested with a week’s preparation. Why should the Super Bowl be any different?

“Corporate America has already perverted football in too many ways to count. Witness the plethora of mandatory television time-outs, the most offensive being those book-end commercial breaks following points after touchdown. You know the ones I mean: the PAT, three minutes of ads, the kick-off, then three more minutes of ads. The new kickoff-from-the-40 rule results in so many touchbacks, rarely does the return even represent actual game content. It’s outrageous!

“Citizens: You may think this policy is set in stone, but it’s not — not if we act immediately, with purpose, together. The sanctity of the Super Bowl depends on it.

“Thank you.”

The NFL’s New Rules re. Playoff OT: Safety First?

The NFL’s New Rules re. Playoff OT: Safety First?

So, I’ve got a question: Following a week when one team lost 24-2, and another ended abruptly under new playoff OT rules, what happens when an NFL playoff game goes into overtime and, under these new rules, an opening possession results in a safety?

We were informed, as OT loomed in Denver on Sunday, that the only thing that could end the playoff game without both teams getting the chance to possess the ball was a touchdown on the opening possession. However, it seems to me that a safety on that first possession should also end the contest. Indeed, it must end it, by my reckoning.

We all got a glimpse of the new rules governing OT during the Broncos’ Wild Card victory over Pittsburgh on Sunday.

In short, the old system had been pure sudden death: If you won the toss, got the ball, moved into field goal range and made said kick, the game was over. The first score of any kind won the game, in other words.

The new rules were devised to address what was believed to be an unfairness: the idea that your season could be ended, by an opposing field-goal kicker, in overtime, without your team ever having touched the ball. The new system says:

•  if you win the toss and score a field goal, the other team gets the ball and has a chance to tie with a field goal — in which case the game proceeds in pure sudden-death fashion from the moment the second field goal is kicked — or win the game with a touchdown.

• if you win the toss and fail to score, the game essentially proceeds in pure sudden-death fashion from the moment you punt or otherwise turn the ball over.

• if you win the toss and score a touchdown the game is over; the other team does not get a chance to respond — as indeed The Steelers did not following the Denver’s 80-yard TD pass on the first play of overtime Sunday.

My question is — and I think the answer is both byzantine and self-evident — what happens if you win the toss and your QB is sacked in the endzone for safety?

It says here that this eventuality must also end the game immediately, under the new rules, as the result of a safety means  the scoring team gets the ball back… right?