CFL ties that grind

KIRK PENTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:47 AM ET

There's a lot of sister kissing going on in the CFL these days.

Two games this season have ended in ties, and it's only Week 9. Before this season there had been only nine draws in the last 22 years.

In 2000 the league switched its overtime format from a pair of full, five-minute halves to a shootout-style system in which both teams got a maximum of four possessions, all starting at the 35-yard line.

Citing player fatigue as the primary reason, the league reduced the number of possessions for both teams from four to two in 2001. If a team is ahead after either the first or second series, it earns the win and two points. If it's tied after the second series, both teams walk away with a point.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers kicked off their season with a 39-39 tie against the Edmonton Eskimos, while the B.C. Lions and Calgary Stampeders battled to a 45-45 draw on Friday night in Cowtown.

To some, having a pair of highly entertaining contests like those end in ties left an empty feeling.

Trying to get a consensus about the overtime format in the Bombers locker-room yesterday was much like the tie itself -- indecisive. Some of the players, like defensive end Tom Canada, couldn't even make up their own minds.

"That's the only (bad) part, that you can end in a tie," Canada said. "I've never had that in football. Usually it's just go until someone wins. But I don't know. Sometimes with overtime, it's like you've played a whole game and then you gotta go play a whole other game.

"It's got its advantages and disadvantages. I don't necessarily mind the format. Then again, it'd be nice to come out with a definite answer on who won the game."

Receiver Derick Armstrong, who is definitely old school when it comes to OT, didn't waffle when asked his thoughts.

"It should be the first team that scores wins," he said. "It motivates the guys to go however many yards. Just starting on the 35 and going in, where I'm from it's college-type stuff and it's not professional to me."

Middle linebacker Barrin Simpson said the fatigue factor is a big reason why he feels two possessions are more than enough.

"You get four quarters and then you get two other possessions to try and get it done," he said. "If you can't win by then, it'll go on all night.

"You have to reward a team for playing so well. If you go 39-39 or 45-45, you gotta come out of there with something. The fans want a do-or-die. But the teams playing, they want something out of it."

Quarterback Kevin Glenn was also on the fence when asked whether or not games should go until a winner is determined.

"It's a real funny situation," Glenn said. "You never want to end up in a tie. You want to have a winner. This isn't a sport where you tie.

"... But as far as the team goes, this is a strenuous game, too. I can't imagine playing a six-hour football game. That's kind of unreal."

One option to ensure the game doesn't last forever is to make teams go for a two-point conversion after a touchdown on, say, the third possession. Some of the players didn't mind that idea.

If that's not exciting enough, you could always go with Canada's unique plan for OT.

"Maybe they should do a brawl at the end of the game between the two toughest guys," Canada said. "A no-pad brawl between the two toughest guys at the end of the game.

"The first one to get knocked out or pinned on the ground or suffer a broken limb (loses). That's my vote."


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