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NFL overtime stats are eye-opening following Chiefs dramatic win over Bills

Vincent Frank

NFL overtime rules came under fire following the Kansas City Chiefs’ dramatic win over the Buffalo Bills in Sunday’s AFC Divisional Playoff Game.

Both Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen dominated throughout the matchup, marking one of the best NFL Playoff Games in modern history.

Despite completing 27-of-37 passes for 329 yards and four touchdowns while adding another 68 yards on the ground, Allen was not able to see the field in overtime. Mahomes led his Chiefs down the field to start the extra period, culminating in a game-winning touchdown pass to Travis Kelce.

As the NFL world has had several hours to brew following the dramatic scene at Arrowhead Stadium, some interesting stats have come out regarding overtime results since rules were changed back in 2010.

Prior to that, it was sudden death. A team opening overtime could kick a field goal and end the game. Now, it requires a touchdown or safety on the opening drive for a game to end. In general, the team receiving the opening kick off doesn’t have a huge advantage (via NFL Research, h/t Ian Rapoport).

  • Including the postseason, there have been 163 overtime games under the current NFL overtime rules. Teams that won the coin coss have a record of 86-67-10 (52.8%).
  • There have been 11 overtime playoff game under the new rules. Teams that won the coin toss have a record of 10-1 with the only loss being the New Orleans Saints against the Los Angeles Rams in the 2018 NFC Championship Game.

Talk about a dramatic difference between the regular season and playoffs. The way the Kansas City and Buffalo game was going, there’s every reason to believe that Allen would have led the Bills to a touchdown if he had touched the ball in overtime (25 total points scored in final two minutes of regulation.

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Should the NFL changes its overtime rules?

NFL: AFC Divisional Round-Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs
Jan 23, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) reacts against the Kansas City Chiefs during the third quarter of the AFC Divisional playoff football game at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

We don’t want a situation like college football when teams can play five or six overtimes. It would skew NFL stats in a big way, including quarterbacks racking up touchdown after touchdown while starting at the opposing team’s 25-yard line.

The question becomes how can the NFL change its overtime rules and not skew these stats? One change would be pretty simple in the grand scheme of things. A game doesn’t end if a team scores a touchdown to open overtime. Instead, the other team is given the ability to drive down the field for a touchdown to tie the game. After that, it becomes sudden death.

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Either way, this is something that might be at the forefront of the offseason conversation around the gridiron world depending on what happens Championship Sunday and during the Super Bowl.

If this past weekend is any indication, drama will unfold as the Kansas City Chiefs host the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship Game with the Los Angeles Rams hosting the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL title tilt.

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