B/R NFL Community Sounds Off: How Would You Change Overtime?

Maurice Moton@@MoeMotonFeatured ColumnistJanuary 26, 2022

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen walks off the field after an NFL divisional round playoff football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022, in Kansas City, Mo. The Chiefs won 42-36 in overtime. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)
Ed Zurga/Associated Press

The Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs battled through an overtime thriller in the divisional round of the playoffs. While most fans enjoyed the action with 78 points scored between the two clubs, some viewers wanted more.

In overtime, the Chiefs won the coin toss and advanced the ball 75 yards down the field for a touchdown, which ended the game. Bills quarterback Josh Allen, who engineered two late fourth-quarter scoring drives, didn't touch the ball in the extra period.

Many fans suggest both offenses should have an overtime possession because the team that wins the coin toss has an unfair advantage with the chance to win on one drive.

Even though Buffalo's No. 1-ranked defense in points and yards should have been good enough to at least limit the Chiefs to a field goal, allowing the Bills an offensive possession, we opened the floor for amendments to the NFL's overtime guidelines.

We highlighted the best suggestions and responded to each commenter from the Bleacher Report app.

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A lot of football fans in the comment section want to see the NFL shift to some variation of the college football overtime format with a different starting point for drives.

In 2021, the NCAA changed its rules for overtime, so let's go through a refresher.

The visiting team makes the call on the coin toss. The winner chooses to receive the ball or play defense or picks a side of the field, and the loser will have the same choices in the second and even overtime periods (fourth, sixth, etc.).

With one timeout for each team, both clubs start possessions at the opponent's 25-yard line in the first two overtime frames. In the second extra period, an offense must attempt a two-point conversion after a touchdown. Starting with the third overtime, teams take turns on two-point conversions until one squad converts and the other fails on an attempt.

Using the foundational college rules, Brayden's suggestion gives both offenses a chance to take the field, but the defense could have a more significant impact with each squad opening drives on its own 25-yard line as opposed to the opponent's 25-yard line.

Brayden's proposal makes sense for fans who don't want to see watered-down periods of football with the defense starting off at a disadvantage deep in its own territory. Most importantly, each team would have an offensive possession, which seems like the consensus fix right now.

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Tiger wants full overtime periods, which sounds good, but the players would likely have a major problem with the idea.

In an extremely physical sport with contact on every down, the players may have concerns about injuries. The league would likely listen to those gripes because it doesn't want to see star players go down in the postseason.

Ideally, players and coaches want to see an overtime game end with a clear winner in the quickest way possible. After banging bodies for 60 minutes, the participants could be at high risk for significant injuries with full 15-minute frames.

Furthermore, a team that plays 15 or more extra minutes could be at a huge disadvantage going into a short week.

Football fans may love this option, but we must account for the game's toll on the human body with player safety in mind.

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Neal deserves points for creativity, putting the spotlight on special teams.

In this scenario, playoff-caliber teams would spend more time on workouts for kickers, especially squads that struggled with missed field goals.  

Clubs with kickers who routinely split the uprights from 50-plus yards have a clear advantage. Evan McPherson (Cincinnati Bengals) and Chris Boswell (Pittsburgh Steelers) went 9-of-11 and 8-of-9, respectively, from that range for the 2021 campaign. Justin Tucker (Baltimore Ravens) made all six of his attempts from 50 or more yards.

The AFC North would be delighted with this overtime format, but not so much the fans.

After watching Patrick Mahomes and Allen make spectacular throws in the final two minutes of regulation, we're not going to find many people clamoring to see Harrison Butker and Tyler Bass finish off the game with two hot-hand passers on the sidelines.

While special teams matter, fans want to see the best players decide football games, and that's not the kicker.

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Druy's proposal stood out because it eliminates the coin toss, which is another significant reason that fans want to change the overtime rules.

In a sport that features the biggest, strongest and fastest athletes, why do we let a non-competitive procedure decide possession for the closest games?

A player's ability to win a coin toss doesn't require him to utilize an ounce of athleticism. If the NFL replaces a coin flip with a foot race that may showcase a potential battle for the football at midfield, fans wouldn't go to the bathroom or run to the kitchen for food and drinks in that time span between regulation and overtime.

Imagine a race between Chiefs wideout Tyreek Hill and Bills receiver Isaiah McKenzie or running back Taiwan Jones, who ran a 4.33-second 40-yard time at his pro day.

While the Chiefs would have an advantage with Hill, who can outrun a majority of the league, a fresh body off the sideline could beat him to the football if he's fatigued after playing 60 minutes. Coaches would have to strategize in that situation. Because of the possibility of collisions, there are safety concerns, but it's limited to just two players.

Most importantly, we would maintain the spirit of competition for a critical possession. 

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Keshav digs deep with a reference to the XFL. We haven't seen an XFL game since March 2020, so here's a quicker run-through of its overtime rules.

In the extra periods, the visiting team has the first shot to score on offense, but the order doesn't have a dramatic effect on the outcome because each club will have five one-play possessions to score from the 5-yard line.

Each touchdown counts for two points, which means an offense that scores on three out of five drives gets six points. The squad that finishes with the most points through five possessions (also called rounds) wins the game. With a tie after five rounds, each club alternates possessions until one club scores and the other fails to do so.

If the defense commits a penalty, the offense can re-do the play from the 1-yard line. After the second infraction in any subsequent round, the offense gets a 2-point score. Teams that commit offensive penalties will either lose a possession (post-snap infractions) or move back from the 5-yard line (pre-snap penalties).

In this scenario, no one can complain about a coin toss. On top of that, the offense for each team would have multiple opportunities with some responsibility on the opposing squad's red-zone defense to make stops.


Maurice Moton covers the NFL for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @MoeMoton.


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