NFL Overtime Rules: How Do They Work and Why Do Fans Hate Them

NFL Overtime Rules: How Do They Work and Why Do Fans Hate Them

The overtime rule was brought to life in 1974 to tackle the situation of tied games. NFL has tried its best to create fair overtime over the past decade. But again, some NFL aficionados have a fair share of reasons to question them. In the 2022 NFL season, 20 games went down the overtime. The previous season’s game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Buffalo Bills went to overtime and as per the fans, the Chiefs got an unfair advantage, which led to them clinching the victory.

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Despite the efficiency of the overtime rule in delivering a winner, there is criticism of the rule for being unfair. If the score gets tied at the final play then the game moves to overtime, but there are a few complications to it.

The regular season Overtime Rule works differently than the post-season one

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In the regular season, if a game is tied at the final play then the game is extended to a 10-minute overtime period. However, the toss determines which team will possess the ball first. In the overtime period, the team to first score a TD will be declared a winner. However, the play continues until a winner is determined, and at the end of the overtime, if the score remains tied, the game is considered a tie. The changed OT rule allows the teams and coaches to change their strategy when it comes to postseason overtime. 

For postseason games, the rules experience slight modifications. Overtime periods are played until a winner is declared, with a two-minute intermission between each period. The overtime rules here consist of as many 15-minute periods as necessary until a winner is declared. Postseason games cannot end in a tie, and each team has an opportunity to possess the ball in overtime. Teams receive three timeouts during a half, and the same timing rules as in regulation apply at the end of overtime periods.

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If a winner is still not determined after four overtime periods, another coin toss occurs, and play continues until a decisive outcome is achieved, emphasizing the significance of determining a postseason winner. However, some fans criticize the OT rules

The one reason why fans dislike the Overtime Rule

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The NFL overtime rule is disliked because it can lead to an unfair advantage for the team winning the coin toss, especially in critical postseason games. The frustration is evident when a team, wins the coin toss, scores a touchdown on the opening possession, and clinches the victory without giving the opposing team a chance to respond. Subsequently, this outcome sparked disagreement among fans who believe the current format lacks fairness and leaves too much importance on a single coin toss. 

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Last year, in a game against the Bills and the Chiefs, Patrick Mahomes went to score the first TD in the first eight plays, without delivering a chance to the Bills’ offense to showcase their gameplay. The data reveals that in the last 11 overtime playoff games, the team winning the coin toss emerged victorious 10 times, with seven of those victories coming after scoring a touchdown on the opening possession. There is still a debate along blurry lines about whether both teams should get equal chances to showcase their game and whether rules should be changed to favor both teams.

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On the brighter side, the rule does bring down the number of ties. What’s your take on this? 

Watch this story: Coach Jim Harbaugh Sets The Record Straight On Michigan’s Sign-Stealing Incident

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