New NFL overtime rule: Both teams get ball in playoff games

New NFL overtime rule Both teams get ball in playoff

Everybody gets a chance.

The NFL on Tuesday amended overtime rules for the postseason to ensure that both teams will have an opportunity to possess the ball in the extra period.

Under the previous system — which still will be in effect for the regular season — the team that gets the ball first can secure a victory by scoring a touchdown, as opposed to kicking a field goal. The Indianapolis Colts and Philadelphia Eagles jointly submitted the playoffs proposal.

In the 12 years since the last change in overtime rules, there have been 12 playoff games decided in an extra period. The team that won the overtime coin flip wound up winning 10 of those games — with seven securing the win on the opening possession.

Now, in postseason games, after each team has a possession and providing the game remains tied, sudden death will decide the outcome.

“Those 12 games are as important to those franchises as any they’re going to play in their history,” said Atlanta Falcons president Rich McKay, chairman of the competition committee. “So to us, we thought, yes, it’s not the sample size of 25 or 30 games, [but] it’s the only sample size we have and each one ends somebody’s season.”

The overtime rules have been under heightened scrutiny since January, when the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Buffalo Bills in the AFC divisional round. The Chiefs denied the Bills a possession in the thriller by scoring a touchdown when they opened with the ball.

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