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To Kick or Not to Kick?

As we prepare for week one of the NFL's regular season, I just wanted to take the time to talk about one of the rule changes that will take effect in 2008.

And the one I wanted to highlight and discuss is the new "2nd half coin-toss" option. explains the rule simply as:

Clubs will now have the option to defer the opportunity to kick or receive the kickoff to the second half.

What does this mean? Well, previously, the team that won the coin toss to start the game could only choose to kick or receive. Then, to start the 2nd half, the team that lost the coin toss could decide to kick or receive. So, of course, the decision made by the team that won the toss to open the game would be to receive - otherwise the team that lost the toss could actually receive the kick-off to begin both halves.

But now it's different. Now the team that wins the toss to open the game could choose to defer their decision until the 2nd half. That means the team that lost the toss must decide whether to kick or receiver to start the game. Then, in the 2nd half, the team that originally won the toss will have th option of kicking or receiving to open the 2nd half. So, in theory, the team that won the toss and choose to "defer" and then choose to receive to start half #2. Therefore, the opposing team would certainly choose to receive to begin the game.

So in a nutshell, this basically means that the team that wins the opening coin toss can decide if they want to receive to begin the game or to begin the 2nd half. And with that said, I'm here to make an argument that if the Dolphins win the opening coin toss on Sunday against the Jets, they should choose to KICK to open the game and then take the ball to open the 2nd half.

Am I nuts for thinking this? Maybe. But at least hear me out. Below are my reasons why I think the Dolphins should defer to the 2nd half if they win the toss:

  • The crowd will be amped. Think about it. We are beginning a new era, really, of Dolphins football. And with the way the preseason has gone, many fans are as excited as ever about 2008. I firmly believe that Dolphin Stadium will be rocking to start the game. However, as the game goes on, the heat and humidity will take over and take some of the steam out of the fans - as it always seems to do. So let's use that "12th man advantage" while we can.
  • Gain momentum. I have no stats to back this up, but because I've watched so much football during my life, I think what I'm about to say is true. Teams in the NFL score points on less than half of their possessions. Therefore, statistically speaking, the Dolphins have a better chance of stopping the Jets on their first drive than they do of scoring points themselves if the Dolphins had the ball first. So let's get momentum on our side. Let this new, pumped up, emotionally charged defense go out onto the field and get after Brett Favre and company. A defensive stop will instantly put momentum on Miami's side. And, if the Dolphins can manage a 3 and out, they will also potentially have the early field-position advantage.
  • 2nd half adjustments. By choosing to "defer" until the 2nd half, the Dolphins will not have one more possession in the 2nd half than they would have had if they chose to receive the opening kick. This gives the Dolphins one more possession than they would have had following the half-time adjustments. Let this coaching staff see what the Jets are doing defensively in the first half. Then let them make the necessary adjustments and come out in the 2nd half firing. Perhaps these adjustments are even enough to get the Dolphins into the endzone to open up the 2nd half. That would get momentum back in Miami's side in a hurry.

Now I know that my theory may not be a popular one. And I'm aware that there are a million counter-points to the points I make above. So that's why I want you guys to have at it.

If the Dolphins did win the coin toss, what would you want them to do? Vote below and then tell us why you voted like you did!