Now that I'm done basking in the glow of Tom Crean's press conference (did you ever think you'd see the day when a coach of IU tried to sell his fit in the program based on his relationship to an ex-COLT?), I noticed the NFL passed some rule changes. One of the most important ones got no press at all:
Coaches can now defer a decision on the opening coin toss. This is similar to the college rule. Previously, the winner of the coin toss could only choose to receive or kick off.
This is wonderful. I always thought that winning the toss was a serious disadvantage, especially at home. In the Dome, the crowd would be amped up from the pregame stuff, but if the Colts got the ball first, they had to calm back down. It seemed to make more sense to have that energy channeled into a solid scream during a defensive possession, but the coach never had that option before. I also think that few exchanges are as devastating in a football game than the two consecutive possessions to end the first half and start the second. It will be interesting to see what Dungy elects to do when the Colts win the toss. I hope he elects to defer.
UPDATE: There's been some confusion on this rule, so here's a link to the OLD rule. Here's how it played out:
Colts win the toss to start a game. No matter what they chose (Kick, Receive, or endzone), the Patriots would get the choice to start the second half. Even if the Colts chose to kick off, the Patriots would STILL get the choice to start the second half. If a coach chose to kick first, the other team would get the ball to start the game, and then have the opportunity to chose the ball AGAIN to start the second half. There was NO ability to defer under the old rule. No NFL team ever chose to kick under the old rule (except in a couple of OT games with wind, but that wasn't a pregame choice). There was no advantage to kicking off first, because you still didn't get the ball to start the 2nd half, unless the other coach also inexplicably wanted to kick off.
New Rule: Colts win the toss. They can choose to Kick, Receive, end zone, or defer to the second half to choose. If the Colts deferred, the Patriots would then chose Kick, Receive, or end zone. NO MATTER WHAT THEY CHOOSE, the Colts now get the option to choose for the second half.
Read the original rule carefully, then read the bold italicized statement in the original post above.