You have to hand it to the Ravens. They fired their defensive coordinator at 5:50 p.m. on a Friday night knowing damn well that none of us would be talking about it by Monday.

This is my lede only to let you know that I’m not “ignoring” it, per se. I just don’t think it’s particularly controversial either. I don’t think they “needed” to fire Don Martindale by any stretch of the imagination. But the defense wasn’t good this season and the system has seemed quite reliant on a strong secondary.

And sometimes coaching changes just happen in football. As I’ve said before, Greg Roman definitely does not deserve to be fired based on the performance of the offense. Yet I wouldn’t be offended if he wasn’t back because that’s just the way the sport goes sometimes.

The reason our collective dogs are wagging is because we spent our weekend with a mind-bending foursome of football games that was capped off by the return of one of the most eternal football debates of all time.*

(*Non-Joe Flacco eliteness category.)

Professional football’s overtime structure is not the dumbest rule in the sport, no matter what anyone tells you. They’ve merely forgotten about the part where if you fumble the ball out of bounds inside the 1-yard line, you get to be an inch away from scoring a touchdown but if the fumble travels an inch farther, ummm, maybe we just give the other team the ball altogether? That’s the dumbest rule in the sport.

But the overtime thing is a solid number two. (Pause to collect your giggle fit.) It’s not a new debate, of course. It’s not something we’re only talking about because of how we bet on this particular football game. It is a debate that has raged for at least as long as Zack de le Rocha. There are a handful of hipsters and/or people who want attention online who might suggest, ridiculously, that there is no problem. (“Actually I don’t think the taste of tree bark is that bad, you guys.”)

There are a few Chiefs fans who are being particularly defensive because they believe their team’s win is somehow being discredited by the debate. (It is not. They won. It’s a bummer because the Bills were the more embraceable of the two teams but the Chiefs were most certainly the fair winners of the game that was played.)

It’s that we know there’s a problem and we know that moving forward, we need to fix it.

We just don’t know how to fix it.

Not collectively, anyway.

Yes, it is overwhelmingly obvious that both teams should see the football in overtime. There is room to debate whether such a change needs to occur for both the playoffs and regular season or just the playoffs (I would argue for both but I acknowledge there is room for debate). But we know both teams should see the ball.

And then from there, well, we just make a mess of it. The Ravens once offered a solution that … wasn’t actually a solution in any way. Some toss out the college football overtime structure, acknowledging that while not perfect, at least both teams see the ball. My friend/PR whiz Chris Pika believes we could learn from basketball’s “Elam Ending.” Some people think we should force the second team to go for two. Others think that both teams don’t actually need to see the ball at all … if the first team converts a two-point conversion.

My head. It is spinning.

What if I told you that this really isn’t that hard. All we have to do is follow the NFL’s ACTUAL WRITTEN RULES FOR OVERTIME:

“No more than one 10-minute period will follow a three-minute intermission. Each team must possess, or have the opportunity to possess, the ball.”

Oh and we have to ignore this other part.

“The exception: if the team that gets the ball first scores a touchdown on the opening possession.”

I’m telling you that this can be so simple. Just don’t end the game if the team that gets the ball first scores a touchdown. Keep playing. If the next team scores a touchdown, the game shifts into “sudden-death” mode until someone scores. Eliminate ties. Forever. Amen.

It isn’t perfect, no. I’d actually prefer that teams continue playing “inning” style with guaranteed even possessions until an “inning” ends without the score being tied. I suggest that be considered for the playoffs. But since we haven’t been able to solve this in the first 100 plus years of the NFL’s existence, I’ll settle for what I can get.

Keeping the rules the exact same and just not allowing the game to end after a touchdown is a viable solution for this problem. If the first team scores a touchdown and the second team scores a touchdown, you might suggest that the coin flip still determined the game because it decided who would get the ball third with the first opportunity in sudden death. But the team that scored second would have the benefit of choosing whether they would want to go for two after they scored. So there may well be greater advantage to the coin flip winner to see the ball second, knowing exactly what they must do to win.

It is a change so subtle that it is barely a change at all. Yet it would simultaneously be one of the most meaningful changes in football history.

Look, if this is somehow too deep to comprehend and “just play another full quarter” is easier for everyone to figure out, let’s do that. The important part is that we make sure both teams see the ball. (“But defense matters,” you scream with an undeservedly self-confident grin, while I shout back “but only one team actually has to play defense!”)

This can’t continue. I’ll choose to hope that it won’t.

Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox

Glenn Clark

See all posts by Glenn Clark. Follow Glenn Clark on Twitter at @glennclarkradio