Mar 29, 2022 - Sports

NFL approves change in overtime rules for playoffs

Travis Kelce

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Buffalo Bills, Jan. 23. Photo: David E. Klutho/Sports Illustrated via Getty Images

NFL owners approved a change in the overtime rules that will allow both teams to have possession of the ball in overtime during the playoffs, the league announced on Tuesday.

Catch up quick: Prior to the rule change, whichever team started with the ball in overtime could end the game if they scored a touchdown, and the other team's offense would not have an opportunity to take the field.

Between the lines: This made the coin toss, which decides which team starts with the ball, the potential deciding factor in who won or lost a game.

  • The NFL found that in the 12 overtime games in the postseason since 2010, 10 of those games were won by the team that won the coin toss, according to NFL Competition Committee chair Rich McKay.
  • 7 of the 10 wins came via touchdowns on the first drive, McKay said.

What they're saying: During the 2022 playoffs, the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills headed to overtime after both teams combined for 25 points in the final two minutes of regulation. But the Bills' offense could only look on as Patrick Mahomes threw a touchdown pass to Travis Kelce to win the game 42-36 for the Chiefs.

  • "We all saw the Buffalo-Kansas City game and it’s just a damn shame," Colts owner Jim Irsay said on Tuesday, The Athletic reports.
  • "It just shouldn’t go down that way. We work so hard and have such a commitment, hundreds of millions of dollars just to get to that flash point of greatness in a big game like that and a coin flip determines that?"

Of note: The overtime rule change will not affect regular-season games.

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