THE National Football League’s (NFL) overtime rules have again come under fire after the Buffalo Bills’ high-powered offense never got a chance to touch the ball in the extra period of their crushing playoff loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
The game on Sunday was an instant classic between two of the most gifted NFL quarterbacks and included three lead changes in the final two minutes of regulation before Patrick Mahomes’ Chiefs prevailed 42-36 over Josh Allen’s Bills.
Unlike most other sports that give challengers from both sides an equal shot at winning in overtime (OT), the NFL uses a coin toss to determine which team gets the ball first.
Under the current overtime format, a team can win on the opening possession only if they score a touchdown. Otherwise, each team gets at least one possession.
After Allen made the wrong call on the coin toss, the Chiefs received the ball and Mahomes needed just eight plays to drive his team 75 yards down the field for the winning touchdown.
“If you are still arguing, in a game like that, it’s not in best interest of EVERYONE that both Mahomes and Allen get the ball in OT I don’t know what to tell you,” former NFL tight end Greg Olsen wrote on Twitter.
“In a game where neither team could stop the other at the end, a literal coin flip determined the ending.”
If a team gets a field goal on the opening possession of overtime, their opponent gets a possession and can win the game with a touchdown or tie it with a field goal. If both teams get field goals, the next team to score wins.
The NFL’s overtime format, which critics argue gives too much value to something as random as a coin toss, has come under scrutiny before, including on the game’s biggest stage.
Five years ago, the New England Patriots beat the Atlanta Falcons when they scored on the opening drive of the only Super Bowl to go to overtime.
In 2019, the Chiefs could only sit and watch as the Patriots advanced to the Super Bowl with a game-winning 75-yard touchdown drive to begin overtime.
That offseason the Chiefs proposed a change to the overtime rules with hopes of giving each team’s offense an opportunity to touch the football. — Reuters