Flippin’ Over A Coin Flip

Indianapolis, Indiana

At 6 a.m. CST Friday, representatives from the Chiefs, Seahawks, Panthers and Dolphins will meet with an NFL representative in a guarded bunker in the basement of the downtown Westin Hotel.

Actually, it’s a meeting room at the Westin and it’s not in the basement, but I thought the whole bunker thing provided an air of intrigue to important matters that must be decided.

The Panthers and Dolphins, and the Chiefs and Seahawks will engage in coin flips to determine part of the order of the first-round in the 2012 NFL Draft. That unnamed NFL official – his identity must be kept secret because of possible post-flip ramifications – will toss two different coins to determine who holds the eighth and ninth, and then 11th and 12th positions.

The Chiefs franchise has some history with coin flips and it’s not good.

Remember the 1962 AFL Championship Game between the Texans and Oilers in Houston? Captains were gathered to flip a coin with officials to begin the overtime period. The Texans won the toss, and that’s when RB Abner Haynes infamously said “We’ll kick to the clock.” Somehow, the Texans overcame that gaff and ended up winning pro football’s longest game in double-overtime.

Fifty years later, the Chiefs have another flip of the coin. Along with the Seahawks, they finished with a 7-9 record and identical strength of schedules. So the coin flip is the deciding factor. Here are the details:

  • Coins for the event were specially minted with each team’s logo on one side of the coin. Thus, GM Scott Pioli doesn’t have to call heads or tails. If it lands with the arrowhead up, the Chiefs go at No. 11. If the sea hawk is squawking on top, the Chiefs go at No. 12.
  • There will be no live TV coverage. The only entity with video rights is NFL Films. They’ll probably turn it into a feature length film.
  • Teams can assign one person to be a representative. I suggest the Chiefs find a priest, a shaman, a monk, and a minister . . . somebody that may have divine powers.
  • The whole thing should take less than 30 seconds.
  • There are no do-overs.

Honestly, how could they screw it up? May I take you back to Thanksgiving Day 1998, with the Steelers and Lions facing off at the old Pontiac Silverdome. Handling the pre-game coin flip was referee Phil Luckett. Calling the toss was the captain for the visiting Steelers RB Jerome Bettis. Luckett tossed the coin, Bettis said “head … tails” before the coin hit the ground. It came up tails, but Luckett announced that the Lions won the toss because Bettis called heads first.

Bettis denied this, and TV replay seemed to indicate that he said tails. But extensive study of television tapes later showed that he indeed had said both heads and tails. That information did not come out publicly until Luckett had been dragged through the mud by fans, pundits, media, even players. The scrutiny eventually ended his career; he couldn’t handle it, especially when he knew he did not screw up.

So don’t count the coin toss as an automatic. Frankly it shouldn’t matter to the Chiefs whether they draft at No. 11 or No. 12. Here are the players selected in those slots over the last 10 NFL Drafts:

Year Team No. 11 Choice   Team No. 12 Choice
2011 Houston DE J.J. Watt   Minnesota QB Christian Ponder
2010 San Francisco OT Anthony Davis   San Diego RB Ryan Mathews
2009 Buffalo DE Aaron Maybin   Denver RB Knowshon Moreno
2008 Buffalo CB Leodis McKelvin   Denver OT Ryan Clady
2007 San Francisco LB Patrick Willis   Buffalo RB Marshawn Lynch
2006 Denver QB Jay Cutler   Baltimore DT Haloti Ngata
2005 Dallas DE DeMarcus Ware   San Diego LB Shawne Merriman
2004 Pittsburgh QB B. Roethlisberger   N.Y. Jets LB Jonathan Vilma
2003 Seattle CB Marcus Trufant   St. Louis DL Jimmy Kennedy
2002 Indianapolis DE Dwight Freeney   Arizona DT Wendell Bryant

6 Responses to “Flippin’ Over A Coin Flip”

  • February 23, 2012  - Kenny says:

    Interesting.. The tie breaker will have the loser finish with a higher standing than the winner.

    Go chiefs, I think I hope you win.

  • February 23, 2012  - Johnfromwichita says:

    I can’t get too excitied about difference between 11 or 12. Either one should be high enough to get a quality player. More concerned about the player position. Please do not panic and pick OT with first pick.

  • February 24, 2012  - KC_Guy says:

    Obviously #11 and # 12 are good spots to pick – quite a few potential HoFer there, and few busts on that list, with Aaron Maybin probably being on the edge after a rather productive late 2011 season.

  • February 24, 2012  - Mark Blue says:

    Either place is a good spot to trade up to #3 for RG3 if Pioli has the bold vision he should.

  • February 24, 2012  - Mark Blue says:

    Meant #2. RG3 will be long gone by #3.

  • February 24, 2012  - Petey says:

    wow…we actually won the flip…

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