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NFL amends rules to offer both teams a possession in OT, for playoffs only

Andrew Buller-Russ
NFL
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The 2021-22 NFL playoffs were an amazing watch, but the ending of a few games left much to be desired for football fans around the world. Basically, we’re in an era that features several high-performing quarterbacks playing at an extremely high level, which onlookers obviously enjoy watching.

In a back-and-forth high scoring affair, you often hear the phrase “Whoever has the ball last will win the game”. Only with how the NFL rules were set up, once games went to overtime, whoever scores first wins. Only it wasn’t that simple. Whoever won the coin flip would take the ball and hope to score points, whether a field goal or a touchdown. Obviously a touchdown ended the game, immediately. Some people didn’t like this rule, feeling it is unfair.

Instead both teams in overtime will get at least get one chance at winning the game. Previously this would only happen when a team failed to score on their opening possession, or if they successfully kicked a field goal. But not anymore.

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This situation most recently played out in the 2021 playoffs in the AFC Divisional matchup pitting Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs against Josh Allen‘s Buffalo Bills, where the Chiefs won 42-36 in OT after driving down and scoring a touchdown on the very first possession after the fourth quarter ended. Fans felt robbed of a chance to see how the Bills would respond after seeing the game heat up in the final frame, with a total of 28 points being scored by both teams. But fans can rest easy, for this situation won’t occur again during the 2022-23 NFL playoffs.

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It’s important to note, as Rapoport reported, this rule change only impacts postseason games, which means we could still have a lot of disappointed fans at the end of football games, hoping to see more free football.

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