How does football overtime work? June 28, 2023 – Posted in: Featured Articles – Tags:

What are the new overtime playoff rules in the NFL? Everything you should know

In the 2023 playoffs, the NFL will implement a new overtime rule that guarantees each team at least one possession in any playoff game tied after four quarters. 

The rule change took effect at the end of the 2021-22 season, following the instant classic AFC Championship game between Kansas City and Buffalo, in which the Chiefs won the overtime coin toss and scored on the ensuing possession to punch their ticket to the Super Bowl, while the Bills were eliminated despite never having a chance to touch the ball in overtime. The game’s conclusion was closely scrutinized, which resulted in the rule modification. 

NFL owners approved the proposal put forth by Philadelphia and Indianapolis after they lost to Baltimore in Week 5 of the 2021 regular season under similar circumstances after the Ravens won the coin toss and the Colts’ offense never took the field out of concern that the coin toss to start the extra period ultimately had too much of an impact on postseason game results.

How does it operate, and is a tie possible in a playoff game?

Postseason games cannot tie, in contrast to regular-season games that can. 

The number of 15-minute overtime periods that can be used to determine a victor during the postseason is different from the regular season’s single 10-minute overtime period. Now, even if the side with the first possession scores a touchdown, both teams will still earn at least one possession. The next touchdown would decide the outcome of the game if neither the team that gained possession of the ball first nor the other team scores one, or if the score is tied. 

The kickoff team would win and the game would stop there if the team that has the ball first commits a safety on the opening possession, just like it does during the regular season.

Other information to bear in mind:

  • In overtime, there are no coach challenges. The replay official will start each replay review.
  • Instead of two timeouts during overtime during the regular season, each side is allowed three timeouts during a half (two overtime periods).
  • There is a maximum three-minute break between the conclusion of normal time and the start of the first overtime period.
  • Each overtime period has a two-minute interval, however, the second and subsequent halves do not have a halftime break.
  • Unless the team that won the coin toss deferred, the captain who lost the first overtime coin toss will decide which goal his team will defend at the start of the third overtime period.
  • There will be another coin toss if there is still no winner at the conclusion of the fourth extra period.

How will teams decide to proceed with the new rule?

Now that postseason overtime is a possibility, teams, and coaches will be able to adjust their approach. 

Now that the team winning the overtime coin toss is guaranteed an offensive possession, we might see teams defer. The team that won the coin toss would have the opportunity to know exactly what is required to win or extend the game by kicking off to the opposition. Additionally, it would provide that team the chance to win the game on defense. 

Since 2010, there have been 12 overtime playoff games, and teams that won the coin toss are 10-2 in those games prior to the rule change. Without the other side having even a single possession of the ball, seven of the 12 teams who won the coin toss scored first.

No team that won the overtime coin toss has chosen to kick to its opponent in any of the aforementioned 12 overtime games.

What NFL playoff game has had the longest extra period in history?

The longest game was a divisional playoff between Miami and Kansas City on Christmas Day 1971, which took 82 minutes and 40 seconds to finish in double overtime, according to The Athletic. Additionally, just six playoff games in NFL history have required multiple overtimes; the most recent of these was Baltimore’s victory against Denver in the AFC Divisional matchup in 2012.

Football Overtime FAQs

1) Does a goal terminate football overtime?

According to NFL overtime regulations, each team must play until one of them scores a touchdown. The opposing side has a chance to score points if the team that receives the football to open overtime kicks a pitch. When any team scores a touchdown, the game is over. In overtime in a college football game, both teams can score.

2) What does football overtime mean?

An overtime period lasts 15 minutes rather than 10 during the postseason. A postseason game must be won by one team, therefore if necessary, numerous 15-minute overtime periods are played until that team scores.

3) Does a field goal prevail in overtime?

Sudden death play, in which any score (a safety, field goal, or touchdown) ends the game, continues until a victor is found.

4) Can an OT team win by seven points?

By scoring a field goal and an interception, a touchdown, or a field goal and a safety, you can win by nine points, six points, or five points, respectively. -You have ten minutes to tie the game in overtime during the regular season.