Photo Credit: FOX Sports
In one of the weirdest NFL games of the modern era, two of league’s best teams and bitter NFC West rivals ended up finishing the first tie game since 2014 in a 6-6 field goal slugfest. Seattle Seahawks’ kicker Steven Hauschka and Arizona Cardinals’ kicker Chandler Catanzaro each made one field goal in regulation and one in overtime. They also both missed potential game-winning field goals in overtime, both within 28 yards. Many people have written off this game as one of the worst and most boring of all time, but I beg to differ. Here are five reasons why this game may be one of the best that this generation will ever watch, not only because of the ironic “excitement” it produced, but how it can have a huge long-term effect on the sport of football.
1. It showed us that true rivalries still exist in the NFL.
Nowadays in the NFL, there is not a clear top rivalry that fans and players of all teams look forward to watching as there has been in the past. This game proved that true rivalries still exist, and it may have given us a clear look at the NFL’s best. The Seahawks and Cardinals have been atop the NFC West for a few seasons now, and the physicality and intensity of this game showed us that that should continue, and the rivalry will be even greater the next time the two teams meet, possibly to determine the division champion in week 16. Rivalry games typically come down to the wire, and this one far exceeded that normality, and the next one should as well.
2. It cemented the importance of the kicking game.
If Blair Walsh’s 27-yard field goal miss in the NFC Wild Card game this past January didn’t, I can guarantee that the 24-yard field goal miss by Catanzaro followed by the 28-yard field goal miss by Hauschka will make everybody think twice before they look away from a field goal attempt or turn away from the television during a field goal attempt ever again, even a chip shot. Three points may seem small, but they can loom large in the end, especially in a low-scoring game like this one, and that they did.
3. It showed us that defensive play reigns among the NFL’s top teams.
Defense wins championships. That is not just a catch phrase; just look at the list of Super Bowl champions, especially recently. The Seahawks and the Cardinals are both Super Bowl contenders with top defenses this season. A game totaling 12 points through five quarters of play isn’t boring when the reason the score is so low is because of the top-tier defenses representing both teams, especially when both are shutting down the opposing Pro Bowl quarterback. That game was loaded with top quality football whether you like it or not.
4. It showed us that the new overtime rules really do work.
This reason may seem stupid since the rules were implemented over four years ago now, but it also may be the most important one on this list. Can you imagine going into overtime having combined for a total of only six points with a team and them kicking a field goal right away and winning the game? That would make no sense, and the result would not accurately reflect who the better team was in that game. Under the new overtime rules, both teams were able to continue their kicking battle by making one field goal each before entering sudden death mode, when neither team could connect for the three potential game-winning points despite having their chance.
5. It showed us that the new extra point rule may be having external effects.
Wait, what? This game did not even have a touchdown, so why am I bringing up the extra point rule? Here’s why. Kicking multiple 33-yard extra points each week on a regular basis like Catanzaro and Hauschka have had to do because they are playing for two good offenses has got to get into a kicker’s head, especially on shorter-than-extra-points field goals. The old 19-yard extra points were pretty much the easiest kicks to make, and very few were missed by even the lowest quality of kickers. Now, we have cases where a good number of 3-point field goals each week are shorter than 1-point extra point attempts. This may seem like a minute detail, but when you have one job to do, and that job is to kick the ball through the uprights, that change to the extra point yardage has got to mess with even the best kicker’s heads, especially on short field goal attempts. We saw evidence of that in this game, and in a big way.