The rule change will only apply to playoff games, the NFL said. The vote was held over concern that the coin toss had too much influence on the outcome of overtime playoff games.
The change will start this upcoming season. Here’s how it will work:
- If the team possessing the ball first in overtime scores a touchdown on that series, the opponent still gets a possession.
Prior to the rule change, a touchdown on the first possession would have ended the game.
That second possession of overtime would extend beyond the initial 15-minute period if needed. Should that team tie the game, it then would become sudden death.
The overtime rule-change proposal was requested by the Colts and Eagles.
Two months ago, a coin flip put an end to a thrilling quarterback matchup between Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills, and Patrick Mahomes’ Kansas City Chiefs.
Allen and Mahomes traded touchdowns in a flurry of scoring that left both teams tied at the end of regulation. Thanks to the overtime rules, however — and Mahomes’ clutch performance — the Chiefs won the toss and marched 75 yards down the field to score a touchdown. Allen never got a chance to touch the ball and the Bills’ playoff hopes died.
Rich McKay, the Falcons president and chairman of the competition committee, admitted that Kansas City’s victory in January over Buffalo that came on the first series of OT was a factor in the balloting by owners. He said the idea earned well beyond the required 24 votes, but would not reveal the exact numbers.
The rule change is designed to rectify the lopsided stats recorded after the previous postseason OT rule went into effect in 2010: seven of twelve overtime games were won on the first possession and 10 of 12 by the team that won the coin toss.
“That data was compelling to us and to the league,” McKay said. “An amendment was added (to the original proposal by the Colts and Eagles) to not make a change in the regular season, but in the postseason, where our problem principally lies.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.