A thrilling NFL Divisional Playoff game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills was decided in overtime as the match ended with sudden death? Why are NFL overtimes rules sudden death?
Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen together put on one of the greatest displays from quarterback in a thrilling clash between the Chiefs and Bills at Arrowhead Stadium.
Together they combined for 707 yards and seven touchdowns, six in regular time – as the teams could not be split at the end of the fourth quarter.
The Chiefs then won the coin toss, giving them possession of the ball.
They then scored a TD on this offense, immediately ending the game, something like sudden death in overtime.
Does NFL overtime play to sudden death rules? How comes the game ended before the Bills had a chance to respond?
NFL overtime sudden death
The NFL overtime rules are laid out in official rulebook in Rule 16 section one.
The rough provisions of overtime in the post-season are that the game is played on until one team is leading at the end of a quarter.
It will take as many quarters as necessary.
The rulebook states that both teams must have the chance to have possession of the ball – except in one circumstance.
This is where sudden death in the NFL overtime rules has crept in.
The rule in question is Rule 16 Section 1 Article 3a. It reads:
- Both teams must have the opportunity to possess the ball once during the extra period, unless the team that receives the opening kickoff scores a touchdown on its initial possession, in which case it is the winner, or if the team kicking off to start the overtime period scores a safety on the receiving team’s initial possession, in which case the team that kicked off is the winner. If a touchdown is scored, the game is over, and the Try is not attempted.
It means that if the team who start with the ball score a TD on this initial possession, the game is immediately over.
The NFL requirement for both teams to have possession falls away – meaning it is sudden death in overtime.
Why is this unfair?
As the rule above creates an effective period of sudden death in NFL overtime, some have seen it as unfair.
It places great importance on the coin toss – effectively a 50-50 chance. No skill or brilliance is involved – it is just pure luck as to what way the coin lands.
Allen had called tails, although the coin landed on heads.
Chiefs players immediately celebrated the result, knowing the importance of what could be about to happen as a reuslt.
Many on social media, including some big names from other sports, voiced their displeasure at the effective sudden death situation in NFL overtime.
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