A few ways to fix the NFL's OT rules


The Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills played one of the most thrilling games in NFL playoff history on Sunday night, but despite the excitement, not everyone was happy with how the game ended and it wasn't just Bills fans who were upset.

After a wild 42-36 win for Kansas City that ended with a Patrick Mahomes touchdown pass to Travis Kelce in overtime, a lot of NFL fans were disappointed that Josh Allen and the Bills offense never got to touch the ball in the extra period. Let's check in with Twitter to see how people feel about the league's overtime rules. 

Under NFL rules, if the team that receives the kickoff in overtime scores a touchdown, then the game is over. If the team kicks a field goal, then the other team will get a chance to have the ball. However, the Bills never got that chance since the Chiefs scored a TD. 

The problem with this format is that puts too much emphasis on the coin toss. The first and most important possession of overtime is decided by a coin, which seems like a weird way to do things when you have two teams who just spent 60 minutes trying to decide things on the field. 


Although it seems like most people want to see the NFL tweak its overtime rules, the one issue is that there aren't a ton of great proposals, which is why I'm going to give you three that I think are better than what the NFL's currently doing. 

Here's a look at the three proposals: 

The spot-and-choose rule

This was actually proposed by the Ravens last year and if the NFL wants to spice up overtime, it should implement the change. Under this rule, one team would choose the yard line where the overtime drive starts and the other team would choose whether they want to play offense or defense. 

For instance, if Team A and Team B were playing in overtime and Team A won the coin toss, it would pick any spot on the field where the first drive of OT would start. If it picked the 10-yard line (90 yards away from the end zone), then Team B would get to choose whether it wanted to play offense or defense. The overtime in this proposal would be a 10-minute sudden-death period and the other rules would be the same as they are now (If a team scores a TD on its first drive, then they win, but if they kick a field goal, the game continues). This rule would take the coin flip out of overtime.

If this rule had been in place on Sunday night, Chiefs coach Andy Reid would have picked a spot on the field. Let's say he chose the 5-yard line. At that point, Sean McDermott would have to decide whether his team wants the ball, knowing that he's 95 yards away from a possible touchdown. The risk of taking the ball at the 5-yard line is that if you go three-and-out, then the other team will likely be near field goal range after you punt out of your own end zone. 

The field goal gamble

If the NFL wants to get rid of the coin toss and replace it with an actual football skill to determine who gets the ball first in overtime, then they could go with the field goal gamble. Under this rule, the home team would pick a distance for a field goal that would decide who gets the ball first. The away team would then decide which team has to attempt the field goal. 

If this rule had been in place on Sunday night, Andy Reid would have picked a distance for a field goal. Let's say he decided to go with 59 yards. At that point, Sean McDermott would get to decide whether the Chiefs or Bills have to attempt the kick. If he decides that the Chiefs should attempt the kick and they make it, then Kansas City gets the ball first (the Bills would have to kick off to them). On the other hand, if the Chiefs miss the field goal, then the Bills would get the ball first. This would take the coin toss out and put all the pressure on the kicker. 

After the field goal gamble is over, then the actual overtime period would be sudden death -- the first team that scores wins -- putting even more pressure on the kicker who's attempting the field goal to start overtime. 

The simple proposal: Both teams get the ball

Although the Chiefs won on Sunday night, they've definitely been on the losing side in an overtime game before. As a matter of fact, they had a high-profile loss to the Patriots in the 2018 AFC Championship Game where Patrick Mahomes never got to touch the ball in overtime. In the offseason following the loss, the Chiefs proposed a simple rule change that would require each team to get at least one possession in overtime. 

Basically, if this rule had been in place on Sunday, the touchdown scored by Kelce in overtime wouldn't have ended the game. Instead, the Chiefs would have had to kick off to the Bills and Buffalo's offense would have also had a chance to score. Once both teams have had one possession, then the game would turn into sudden death.

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