NFL revises its criticized playoff overtime formula

The NFL has changed its controversial overtime possession rule for its playoff games.

Worried that the coin toss would have too much influence on the outcome of fixtures, team owners voted on Tuesday for a rule guaranteeing that both teams will have at least one possession.

The proposal had been submitted by the Indianapolis Colts and the Philadelphia Eagles.

Starting next season, if the first team to have the ball in overtime scores a touchdown, the opposition can reply. The high degree of chance in the outcome of important games was the subject of serious criticism after the high-flying playoff game last January that led to the Buffalo Bills’ overtime elimination by the Kansas City Chiefs . The latter had won the coin toss and scored a final touchdown to end the game quickly.

Proposal discarded

The Tennessee Titans had recommended that both teams be allowed to get the ball in overtime unless the receiving team scores a touchdown followed by a two-point conversion, which would end the game. The owners, however, considered this proposal too far-fetched.

In season, the 10-minute overtime will remain unchanged, meaning that the team receiving the ball can still win by scoring a touchdown on the first possession.

In 152 season games decided in overtime since the rule came into effect in 2012, the team that got the ball has won 50% (76 of 152) of the time. However, both teams had possession of the ball at least once in 82% (124 of 152) of those encounters.

These numbers differ for playoff games, however. Since 2010, 7 of the 12 playoff games decided in overtime have been won on first possession, while 10 out of 12 times the team receiving the ball first advanced to the next round.

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