Steven Brams and James Jorash propose a new system to eliminate the advantage of receiving the ball first in NFL overtime games:
Dispensing with a coin toss, the teams would bid on where the ball is kicked from by the kicking team. In the NFL, it's now the 30-yard line. Under Brams and Jorasch's rule, the kicking team would be the team that bids the lower number, because it is willing to put itself at a disadvantage by kicking from farther back. However, it would not kick from the number it bids, but from the average of the two bids.
To illustrate, assume team A bids to kick from the 38-yard line, while team B bids its 32-yard line. Team B would win the bidding and, therefore, be designated as the kick-off team. But B wouldn't kick from 32, but instead from the average of 38 and 32--its 35-yard line
This is better for B by 3 yards than the 32-yard line that it proposed, because it's closer to the end zone it is kicking towards. It's also better for A by 3 yards to have B kick from the 35-yard line, rather than from the 38-yard line, it proposed if it were the kick-off team.
Andrew Gelman comments, "This seems like a good idea." This strikes me as some kind of parody of liberal technocracy failing to take culture into account. Am I the only one here who has any sense of what football coaches and fans are like? Do I have to explain what would happen if they actually tried to implement a system like this? Okay: About half the coaches would be unable to understand the concept, and you'd routinely have teams kicking off from like their own three yard line or the opponent's 25. 90% of the television announcers would pronounce the system incomprehensible and ridicule it ceaselessly. Fans would revolt.
If you want to eliminate -- or almost eliminate -- the coin-flip advantage, why not just implement the college football overtime system?