NFL Fans Over Overtime


©The Talon News | Logan Dial (Staff Archives)

Referees flip the coin on Dec. 19, 2014 prior to kickoff for the state championship game Argyle vs. Fairfield. High school and college possession rules differ from the NFL, which are currently under fire.

Sam Mykel, Editor

In a divisional playoff round full of last minute finishes and shocking upsets, nothing caused more controversy than the ending of the 2022 NFL Divisional Round playoffs game between the Buffalo Bills and the Kansas City Chiefs. With the game all but over, the Chiefs were able to score with 13 seconds left on the clock, tie the game at 36, and force an overtime period. The Chiefs won the coin toss and scored a touchdown in overtime, ending the game and Buffalo’s season. Players and fans reacted poorly to these results, wanting to see a change in the rules that would allow both teams a possession much like in college football. This has since caused massive debate among fans, leaving the NFL with a lot to think about heading into the future.

The NFL should change their overtime rules for the playoffs and make them similar to the current college rules.

As it stands, in college football overtime, both teams get at least one possession on offense and one on defense. This level of balance eliminates the advantage of winning the coin toss. While the coin toss doesn’t necessarily win games, it does help, especially in such a big moment like the playoffs. A team’s future should not be left up to chance. The solution to this is simply give each team an offensive and defensive possession and let the game continue until a winner is decided.

University of North Texas coach talks to the sideline referee during a bowl game against Miami University. (©The Talon News | Alex Daggett)

This is not the first time overtime rules have been brought into question throughout the NFL’s history. In the 2009 NFC championship game, the New Orleans Saints knocked out the Brett Favre led Minnesota Vikings with a game winning field goal in overtime. Favre and the Vikings never got a chance in overtime to continue their season and win the game; with just one kick, their season was over. The outrage from fans, and Favre himself, led to the rules being changed. These changes stated that a field goal could no longer end an overtime game on the opening drive and a touchdown or safety was needed. However, these changes did not solve everything. More recently, in the 2018 AFC championship game, the New England Patriots won the coin toss and scored a touchdown on their opening drive, sending the Kansas City Chiefs home. The Chiefs even proposed to change the overtime rules the following offseason however, nothing came of it. Now, with even more outcry against the current rules, what actions should the NFL take?

Overtime rules in the playoffs need to be changed by the NFL. A great example for the NFL to model their rules after is the NCAA.  As seen in an overtime regular season game between two Big Ten foes, Illinois and Penn State, following the NCAA format, both teams got a possession to score in overtime, and in this case, both teams scored an equal amount of points.  Some would argue that this extended the game far too long, lasting nine overtime periods. But, the game was incredibly exhilarating and had every fan on the edge of their seats, even through all of the overtime periods.  It eventually did come to an end, and in a fair manner, with Illinois coming out on top. Such a system implemented in the NFL would make their playoff games more fair as well and will also decrease the amount of criticism the league receives. The NFL needs to listen to the critics and finally fix their overtime rules in playoff games.