Rand: What if all sports had shootouts?

  • Updated: February 1, 2012 - 7:02 AM

Sure, the NHL doesn't use the one-on-one gimmick in the playoffs, but just think what would happen if other sports did.

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The Wild's Mikko Koivu beat San Jose's Antti Niemi in a shootout on Jan. 10, but some fans believe the shootout's time should be over.

Photo: Genevieve Ross, ASSOCIATED PRESS

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A few days ago, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman uttered the quote heard 'round the world as far as hockey purists go.

"All the research that we do on a regular basis tells us overwhelmingly our fans like the shootout," Bettman said. "We're looking at numbers in the 70 and 80 percent approval range, which on any question is an extraordinarily high number. Anecdotally, I try to go to a game at least once in every building, and when you see an overtime game that goes to the shootout, the reaction in the building is sensational. Everybody's on their feet."

Funny, but the numbers seem pretty much reversed whenever we talk to someone who cares deeply about hockey (as opposed to whomever the NHL has surveyed). But we digress. The NHL shootout doesn't appear to be going away anytime soon. So for now, let's not fight it. Instead -- and with full realization that the NHL does not settle playoff games in this silly manner -- let's imagine how some of the most memorable postseason games in Minnesota sports history might have finished if the sports in question used a similar format to determine a winner:

• Game 7, 1991 World Series: The Twins and Braves had battled through one of the most memorable Fall Classics of all-time. But after three wins apiece and nine innings of scoreless baseball, it all came down to ... a home run derby. Yes, the time-honored skills competition -- not unlike a shootout in hockey -- would end this game. Tom Kelly sent out Kent Hrbek and Kirby Puckett; Bobby Cox countered with David Justice and Ron Gant. And those sluggers mashed away off batting practice pitches until the World Series was decided, while Jack Morris sat in the corner gnawing a giant hole in a fungo bat.

• Game 3, 2004 Western Conference semifinals: Perhaps the series remembered most by Timberwolves fans is the seven-game, Western Conference semifinal series triumph over Sacramento. What you might have forgotten is that Game 3 -- with the series tied 1-1 -- was played in Sacramento and ended with a 114-113 Wolves victory in overtime. However, they could have settled things after regulation with a simple slam dunk contest. Kevin Garnett vs. Chris Webber -- no set plays, no shot clocks, just two guys jumping really high in the air.

• 1998 and/or 2009 NFC Championship Game: Both of these games have their place in Minnesota sports history. Both were gut-wrenching overtime losses with the Vikings oh-so-close to the Super Bowl. But what if instead of overtime, the game had been settled with a simple longest-throw competition between the QBs -- like the kind you see in punt, pass and kick contests? Randall Cunningham vs. Chris Chandler. Brett Favre vs. Drew Brees.

Hey, maybe Bettman's onto something.

MICHAEL RAND

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San Francisco - WP: M. Bumgarner 8 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: E. Volquez 0
Minnesota 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
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Indianapolis
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Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
Washington 1 FINAL
Buffalo 6
Carolina 3 FINAL
Columbus 6
Pittsburgh 2 FINAL
Detroit 0
Montreal 3 FINAL
Chicago 1
Arizona 2 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Fla Atlantic 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Hamilton 10/10/14 6:00 PM
Toronto
Ottawa 10/11/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia

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