Despite the NFL’s overtime rule changes that did away with the usual first-team-that-scores approach, teams still haven’t changed their strategy.
Every team that has won the coin toss has chosen to receive – a perfect 20-for-20.
It’s because the team that gets the ball first can win the game with a touchdown. A field goal gives the other team an opportunity to tie or win, but it’s still advantageous to have a chance to win outright.
The Ravens nearly made history Sunday in Chicago, however.
Because the winds were whipping at over 45 miles per hour, the Ravens debated having the wind at their backs instead of the ball.
“We thought real hard about taking the wind there,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said Monday.
“Then we just couldn’t decide which was the wind was blowing, in all honesty. It was swirling back and forth both ways. Once we had disagreement on which way the wind was blowing, it was pretty straight forward for me to say that we’re taking the ball if we win the toss.”
Baltimore moved the ball nearly to midfield but stalled on its overtime possession. The Ravens punted and the Bears put together a seven-play drive capped by Robbie Gould’s game-winning 38-yard field goal that barely snuck inside the right upright.
The wind also affected another Ravens decision earlier in the game. On the Ravens’ first drive of the third quarter, they moved to the Chicago 32-yard line. They faced a fourth-and-8 and would have been looking at about a 49-yard field goal.
“There was no chance of going for a field goal there,” Harbaugh said. “It was the footing and the wind. The wind was howling. There was just no chance; I’m not sure we could have got the snap back there at that point in time.”