Even the winning coach, in this case Andy Reid, questions the NFL’s overtime setup.
A day after Reid’s Chiefs won the OT toss, then marched down to 8-yard touchdown reception from Travis Kelce to end an epic divisional round game with Buffalo, Reid recognized Kansas City’s luck.
“I had a chance to speak with Sean afterward,” Reid said of Bills coach Sean McDermott, “and I’m sure that’s something they’re going to revisit as well. And I wouldn’t object to it — it’s a difficult thing. It was great for us last night, but is it great for the game which is the most important thing we should all be looking out for? To make things even, he probably needs to be able to hit both attacks, both defenses.
That never happened on Sunday, and not much has happened in the playoffs since the current rules were adopted in 2010 for the playoffs, 2012 for the regular schedule. According to these playoff guidelines:
— Teams play 15-minute periods until there is a winner.
— A touchdown or safety on the first possession wins the game.
– If the score is tied after each team’s first possession, either because neither has scored or each has kicked a basket, the next score will win the game.
— There are no challenges from the coach, all reviews being initiated by the review official.
In 11 playoff games that ended in overtime, including the first in a Super Bowl when the Patriots beat the Falcons with a touchdown on first possession in 2017, the team that gets the ball first has won 10-7 with opening hits.
Indeed, the only loss during that span came in the NFC Championship Game for 2018, when officials inflicted blatant pass interference and an illegal hit penalty on Rams defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman late in the regulations. The Big Easy folks insist the overtime should never have happened.
In regular season games, the team that gets the ball first is 86-65-10, with 34 opening touchdowns, according to Sportradar. The imbalance is therefore not as deep as in the playoffs.
Reid knows both sides of overtime results. In the AFC title game for the 2018 season, Kansas City rallied to force extra time. But New England won the toss and Tom Brady marched his team down the field against a depleted defense for a winning TD.
This time, Reid was in a better position after Bills quarterback Josh Allen called heads and tails.
“…we should never let a football game be determined by a coin,” Bills left tackle Dion Dawkins said. “Like I think that’s the craziest rule in the sport. Like, you can fight all your fight all the way through the game, and then the game comes down to 50-50 chances to flip a coin. Like, this n It’s not Vegas. Like, we’re not at the casino table. Like, it’s not a 50-50 bet and there’s not even a 50-50 bet. And it’s just crazy that this is the result.
Proponents of the current system point out that the defense has to stop, and if it can’t, it gets what it deserves. The opposing view asks why shouldn’t the defenses of both teams be placed in this position?
Could changes happen? The powerful NFL Competition Committee, which makes proposals for rule changes, has worked overtime on the subject over the years. If a team, say Buffalo, or multiple teams come forward with specific suggestions for changes, the committee will consider them. If these ideas seemed valid, a proposal would be made to the 32 owners during the league meetings at the end of March.
For now, though, players, coaches and fans have to live with what’s on the books. Not that it helps Dawkins and the Bills.
“It shouldn’t be a race, like the first guy to hit that wall wins,” Dawkins said. “Like, come on now…but that’s what we’re dealing with now. So I don’t want to justify myself. But I hope that will change. I hope that will change.”
AP Pro football writer Josh Dubow and sportswriters Dave Skretta and John Wawrow contributed.
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