COLUMN: The NFL’s new overtime rule is a step in the right direction


Jonathan Moreau

On Tuesday, March 29, the NFL made changes to the overtime rules, regarding post season play.

Anna Meyer, Sports Editor

One of the biggest complaints of the 2021-2022 National Football League Playoffs was that the overtime rules placed too much power in the coin toss, as it arguably determined who the winner was. 

After the Super Bowl and playoffs ended, many fans were asking if it was time for a change in the league and its overtime rules. 

Sure enough, the NFL listened to the fans, and they announced on Tuesday, March 29, that they are modifying overtime rules. 

The new rules stipulate that both teams will be given the opportunity to have possession of the ball in overtime. If the contest is still tied after both teams have possession, the next score will win the game. 

The catch is that the overtime rules will only apply to playoff games.

Already, some fans of the NFL have taken their complaints to Twitter, as they believe this isn’t fair, while other fans are celebrating an improvement in the rules. 

While I understand the fans who are upset about the change not being applied to the regular season, I wholeheartedly believe this is a step in the right direction.

It is hard for me to think of a time in the regular season when I scrolled throughout my Twitter feed and saw people complaining about the overtime rules. All of the backlashes came in the postseason when the games mattered the most. 

Maybe not everyone watched football until the playoffs, but I think the silence during the season resembles the rarity of an NFL game being tied during the regular season. 

Out of the 1,296 games played from 2017-present, only 69 of those regular-season games went into overtime. Only 5.32 percent of the time, two NFL teams find themselves tied at the end of regulation. 

On the other hand, the problem is more pronounced in the postseason. 

Over the past 12 years, the team that won the overtime coin flip in the postseason was 10-2. Seven of those 10 wins also came on the opening drive, as the team scored a touchdown.  

The adjustments made will help both teams in the NFL receive an equal balanced opportunity. 

With these safety nets in place, both teams will have an opportunity to get their hands on the ball, regardless of the first possessing team’s drive. 

With the new rules in place, we won’t see immediate game-winning touchdowns as we did in this year’s Kansas City Chiefs vs. Buffalo Bills game in the AFC Championship. 

It will be interesting to see how the 2022 NFL regular season plays out. Will there be more overtime games that will give a stronger case for why the league should also apply this rule to the regular season? 

Will the games in the postseason show that this rule is the answer fans have been looking for, or will they find out it didn’t improve how they wanted it to? 

Only time will tell, but the move is a step in the right direction for now.