WAS WINNING THE COIN FLIP THE MOST IMPORTANT PLAY IN THE 2017 SUPERBOWL? A number of sportswriters have argued that the most important play in the 2017 Superbowl was the coin flip.The game was tied at the end of regulation. The rules for the overtime are not symmetrical. The team that wins the coin flip (the Patriots in this case) gets the ball first in overtime, and if the team scores a touchdown, the other team (Atlanta in this case) never gets the ball with a chance to score.This article by Rodger Sherman gives an estimate for the Patriots chance of winning after the coin flip: “Since the NFL instituted its new overtime rules, there have been 87 overtime games. Five have been ties, and the team to get the ball first has won 45 of the remaining 82. That’s 54.8 percent, meaning simply winning the coin toss makes a team 9.6 percent more likely to win.”
For a player or a spectator, it is frustrating at the end of a close game for a coin flip to be so important. In chess, an analogous ending would be to flip a coin to see who would have the significant advantage of playing white in a winner takes all game. Instead there is Armageddon Chess.