The 2022 NFL Playoffs are well underway and the Divisional Round proved to be one of the best weekends of football in the history of the sport, capped off with some major overtime action.
After three games ended in walk-off field goals, including the Rams against the Buccaneers earlier on Sunday, Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes finished off the weekend with a saga for the ages. The Chiefs and Bills combined for 25 points in the final two minutes, and after Mahomes led an incredible drive down the field in the final seconds of the game, Harrison Butker tied the game on a 49-yard field goal to send it to OT. The Chiefs won the coin toss, and on the opening drive of bonus football, Mahomes connected with Travis Kelce for an 8-yard TD to cap off an eight-play, 75-yard game-winning drive. Why exactly it played out that way has to do with the NFL’s overtime rules.
Unlike the regular season, playoff games cannot end in a tie so the rules are a bit different. But some very important things are exactly the same. See below to find out how overtime works in the NFL playoffs according to the league’s official rulebook.
How does Overtime work in the NFL Playoffs and Super Bowl?
- Just like in the regular season, at the end of regulation, a coin toss determines which team will have possession first in overtime. Each team must possess, or have the opportunity to possess, the ball, with one notable exception: If the team that gets the ball first scores a touchdown on the opening possession.
- If the score is still tied at the end of an overtime period — or if the second team’s initial possession has not ended — the teams will play another overtime period. Play will continue regardless of how many overtime periods are needed for a winner to be determined.
- There will be a two-minute intermission between each overtime period. There will not be a halftime intermission after the second period.
- The captain who lost the first overtime coin toss will either choose to possess the ball or select which goal his team will defend, unless the team that won the coin toss deferred that choice.
- Each team gets three timeouts during a half.
- The same timing rules that apply at the end of the second and fourth regulation periods also apply at the end of a second or fourth overtime period.
- If there is still no winner at the end of a fourth overtime period, there will be another coin toss, and play will continue until a winner is declared.
NFL overtime rules back in spotlight after Bills vs. Chiefs
After the dramatic ending to the Bills-Chiefs game in the Divisional Round, the controversy surrounding the NFL’s overtime rules is back in full force. Because Mahomes and the Chiefs scored a touchdown on the opening possession, Allen and the Bills didn’t have a chance to respond. The game ended in a 42-36 win for the Chiefs, who will face the Bengals in the AFC Championship game. Mike Florio at ProFootballTalk was among those to weigh in on the OT conversation. Click here for more.