NFL approves OT rules tweak for playoffs

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12:36 PM ET

NFL owners on Tuesday approved a rule proposal to modify overtime in the playoffs by allowing both teams to have a possession, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Overtime in the regular season will remain with the current rules where a game can end with one team never touching the ball if the team that wins the coin toss scores a touchdown on their opening possession.

The overtime rule came under scrutiny because of the advantage it gives teams that win the overtime coin toss, especially in the playoffs. The issue returned to the public sphere when the Kansas City Chiefs eliminated the Buffalo Bills from the divisional playoff round last season by scoring a touchdown on the opening possession of overtime.

Since the current requirement for an opening-possession touchdown was instituted for the 2012 regular season, teams winning the coin toss have won 50% of the time, according to league data. That number has ticked up a bit to 54% since the league shorted overtime from a maximum of 15 minutes to 10 minutes in 2017, but there has been a big jump in the postseason.

Since the current format was implemented in 2010, seven of 12 playoff overtime games have been won on the opening possession, and 10 of those 12 were won by the team that won the coin toss.

ESPN’s Kevin Seifert contributed to this report.

Source: ESPN NFL


Author: Ellen Garcia