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Should the NFL Change the Rules for OT?

Sunday’s matchup between the Bills and the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium could be noted as the craziest, most impressive display of football ever witnessed in a playoff game scenario. There was an NFL postseason record 25 points scored in the final two minutes, shattering the old record of 17 points, according to ESPN. Josh Allen and the Bills’ final drive ended with a 19-yard pass to Gabriel Davis on a 4th & 14 leaving the chiefs with twelve seconds to force an overtime with the score at 36-33 Chiefs. Patrick Mahomes and the chiefs took two plays to put kicker Harrison Butker in for the FG kick of his career from 49 yards out. He sent the ball through the uprights at the end of regulation with the score being 36-36. But what followed all the madness? You guessed it, overtime. Josh Allen was prompted by Head Referee John Hussey to call the toss, where Allen called “tails”. We all know how it ended from here. The real question remains; Are the NFL’s overtime rules outdated?

The rule to allow a single touchdown to result in a win regardless of possession sequence differs from the NCAA’s ruling on overtime play, where both teams are awarded a possession that then forms a back-and-forth style of play. “The rules are what they are, and I can’t complain about that ‘cause if it was the other way around, we’d be celebrating too,” Allen said addressing the media following the game. It’s easy to say the Bills lost due to a coin flip, and they very well may have. The rules of overtime play have never been tested like they were on Sunday. In an ironic twist, in 2019 the Chiefs organization proposed a rule change to allow both teams to receive possession in OT at the 2019 NFL owners meeting, where it was denied. Bills Head Coach Sean McDermott also had some words for the media regarding Sunday’s events. “(The) Chiefs are a good football team, and we knew it was going to take a heckuva effort coming out here. And I thought the guys gave us that effort. Starting with Josh and all the way down the line. Obviously, there’s some things we gotta do better. Those guys, they’re hurt, they’re disappointed. We’re all disappointed, we’re all hurt, sick to our stomach. So, you move on and try to get yourself to learn from it, but it stings. It stings. I’m not gonna sugarcoat it. It stings.”

This game really hurt me as an avid Bills fan, but the Bills aren’t finished. We all learned a valuable lesson on Sunday. To humble ourselves, and show pride in the eyes of defeat. To persevere to fight another day. This game may cause NFL rule makers to take another look at the overtime format, especially for playoff matchups. But for now, the rules are the way they’re written, and to maintain integrity of the game, these said rules must be respected. For the Chiefs, they survived the day, earning themselves a spot in the AFC Championship. KC will face the Bengals at Arrowhead yet again, on January 30th at 3:00 PM EST.


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