New year, new rules: Rule No. 31

This story appears in the Jan. 11 issue of ESPN The Magazine.

It ain't over 'til it's over ... So then what?

In any given sport, athletes can use every last drop of their strength and speed and smarts, but if the rules of a game don't lead to a decisive result in regulation play, what happens? Overtime, of course, with all the extra effort and drama of beyond-the-last-second contests.

Why, then, with so much at stake, are the overtime rules in so many sports so terrible?