clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

63% of NFL fans think the overtime rules need to change

Yes, it’s time to debate the NFL’s overtime rules again.

AFC Divisional Playoffs - Buffalo Bills v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images

The dust has long settled from one of the most iconic games in NFL Divisional Round history. The Kansas City Chiefs are off preparing for Sunday’s bout with the Cincinnati Bengals. While the Buffalo Bills have already moved into full offseason modes, as they prepare for life without offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, who has reportedly taken the New York Giants head coaching job.

But if we’re being honest, the ending of the game between the Chiefs and Bills will linger into the spring, when owners will confer and discuss potential rule changes.

NFL overtime rules have long been hated, and although they’ve made minor changes along the way, Sunday’s game highlighted the frustration many fans continue to have with the extra session. The Chiefs won the coin toss, and Patrick Mahomes proceeded to march down the field in just eight plays for the game-winning touchdown. All Bills quarterback Josh Allen could do is watch from the sidelines as the game slipped away.

The NFL’s current format in overtime is that if the team with possession first scores a touchdown, the game is over. Any other outcome, the other team gets a possession.

When it comes to all games under this overtime format, the advantage of getting the ball first is relatively small. Just 52.8 percent of teams who win the coin toss end up winning the game. However, when it comes to the postseason, the advantage is shocking. In the last 11 overtime playoff games, the coin-toss winner has won the game 10 times, seven of those times after scoring a touchdown on the opening possession.

Unsurprisingly, NFL fans are fed up. In our nationwide NFL Reacts audience poll this week, 63 percent of fans voted that the overtime rules need to be changed.

It’s pretty clear that—at least when dealing with elite teams in the NFL—the current overtime structure is not fair. The problem is there is no clear-cut resolution to the rule. Should both teams just get a possession regardless of outcome? Should the NFL adopt something resembling college overtime, where each team starts a possession already in enemy territory? Does the NFL go with a more out-of-the-box approach, like the one suggested by the Baltimore Ravens last year:

The joint overtime proposal, often referred to as the “spot and choose” proposal, would have eliminated the overtime kickoff. Instead, the winner of the overtime coin toss would have chosen where to spot the ball to start overtime. The loser of the coin toss would have chosen whether to take possession at the designated spot or defer to play defense. Overtime would last 10 minutes, and the first team to score would win.

What do you think? Are you fine with the current rules? Is there a proposal you like the best to replace it?


Should the NFL change it’s OT rules?

This poll is closed

  • 63%
    (466 votes)
  • 28%
    Yes, but only for the playoffs
    (208 votes)
  • 7%
    (58 votes)
732 votes total Vote Now

NEW: Join Pride of Detroit Direct

Jeremy Reisman will drop into your inbox twice a week to provide exclusive, in-depth reporting and insights from Ford Field. Subscribe to go deeper into Lions fandom, and join us on our path to win the Super Bowl.