The NFL playoffs are getting a new overtime structure.
Starting this season, playoff games that go into overtime will ensure each team gets a possession.
The Indianapolis Colts and Philadelphia Eagles proposed the rule change for all games, and the owners amended it for postseason action only. Regular season overtime games will remain the same.
Since overtime rules were last changed 10 years ago, teams that won the coin toss in an overtime playoff game were 10-2 in those games. The 12-game sample size was enough for 29 teams to vote yes on the new proposal. The Cincinnati Bengals were one of three teams to vote against it, per Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer.
The three teams that voted against the amended overtime proposal—to allow for each team to have a possession in the extra period for playoffs only—were the Bengals, Dolphins and Vikings, per sources.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 29, 2022
The Bengals played in the last playoff game that went to overtime, and they won despite losing the coin toss. Their defense intercepted Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and beat him just a week after he defeated the Buffalo Bills in overtime on the first possession.
Bills’ quarterback Josh Allen not being allowed a chance to score after Mahomes in the Bills’ loss was the primary catalyst towards this rule change manifesting. This will eliminate any more playoff games where an elite quarterback can’t respond to another elite quarterback being elite in a win-or-go-home scenario.
Unfortunately, if both teams end up scoring a touchdown on their first possessions, and the team that gets the ball next scores as well, then we’re right back where we started. Eventually, defense is going to have to matter. The Bengals know this better than most.
The change should be popular amongst fans because it automatically ensures more football to be played. Whether it actually has an impact on deciding playoff games remains to be seen.