The outcry against overtime was similar to what we saw during the 2018 playoffs when Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs never got the ball in overtime against Tom Brady’s New England Patriots. Since true sudden death was eliminated in 2010, the team that won the overtime coin toss is 10-2 in playoff games.
“Where we saw that most having an influence, I think, was 12 games in the postseason that have been in overtime, seven of which were won on the first possession,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday, per NFL.com’s Nick Shook. “When you see that, that’s the type of thing that I think our coaches and everyone looked at—this is an issue in the postseason we should deal with.”
This wasn’t the only overtime proposal presented at the owners meetings in Florida, and the new rule isn’t perfect. Folks will still complain when both teams score touchdowns and a walk-off field goal wins it. However, it’s hard to argue that it isn’t a fairer system than what was previously in place.
The passing of the new overtime rule was nearly universal—it succeeded with a 29-3 vote—and it was largely sparked by last year’s playoff classic between the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs. Buffalo and Kansas City repeatedly traded scores late in the fourth quarter only for the Chiefs to win with a walk-off touchdown in overtime.
On Tuesday, NFL owners approved a modified overtime rule that will guarantee both teams a possession during the postseason. Previously, a defensive score or touchdown on the opening possession would end overtime before it reached true sudden death. Now, if a team wins the coin toss, gets the ball and finds the end zone, the opposition will have a chance to match.metasports
In theory, the new rule will make postseason overtime fairer, and that’s a good thing. It’s also a significant change and perhaps the first of many to be considered this offseason.
The league generally implements multiple rules changes and tweaks during the offseason—seven changes occurred in 2021—and with overtime out of the way, it’s fair to wonder what rules could be examined next.