What to do with the NFL’s overtime regulations


Jeff Roberson | Associated Press

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes celebrates after throwing a 5-yard touchdown pass to tight end Travis Kelce during the second half of the AFC championship NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Jan. 24, 2021, in Kansas City, Missouri.

By Northern Star Staff

The ending of Sunday night’s NFL divisional round shootout between Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen bring question as to whether overtime rules should be modified.

Kansas City advanced to the American Football Conference Championship Game after besting Buffalo 42-36 in overtime. The Chiefs scored on the opening drive with a passing touchdown to tight end Travis Kelce to win the game as the Bills didn’t have the chance to respond. The current regualtions presently stipulate that if the team with the first possession scores a touchdown, the victory is given to that team, preventing the opponent from having a change to respond.

The bitter ending for Buffalo brings questions from fans across the NFL as to whether change is needed to prevent endings like Sunday’s from repeating.

Noah Silver: Change the rules

After an amazing 60 minutes of football between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Buffalo Bills, the dreaded NFL overtime rules reared their ugly head once again, soiling what could have been a fantastic OT shootout between Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Bills quarterback Josh Allen. Since their adoption in 2010, the NFL’s modified overtime rules have been a topic of hot debate.

Should both QBs get a chance to touch the ball, regardless of a first possession touchdown? The answer is obviously yes! Start both teams at their own 25 yard line and make them drive down the field and score. If one team scores a touchdown, then the opposing team has to do the same thing. If the first team scores a field goal, then the other team can either tie or win. Each team needs to have the same amount of possessions. While the Bills played horrible defense and let Mahomes drive down the field in 13 seconds, the Chiefs should have to do the same thing and stop Allen and the Bills. If the league doesn’t change the rules, they are basically allowing a coin toss to determine the outcome of games such as this.

Waleed Alamleh: Keep the current rules

The NFL’s overtime rules are not perfect, but it allows players, coaches and fans to embrace the true essence of what football is really about, which is having the utmost confidence in the 11 players your team sends out on the field to make a play. Sunday’s playoff game between the Buffalo Bills and the Kansas City Chiefs is a perfect example of that.

The Chiefs earned their victory by making the necessary plays, especially with their epic 13 second drive to force OT. However, you can’t say the same for the Bills and their defensive efforts to close out the game. These aren’t the O.T rules; prior to 2010, all the Bills had to do was hold the Chiefs offense to a field goal. Even though the Chiefs offense was clicking on all cylinders, the Bills defense had already forced the Chiefs to punt and kick two field goals in the fourth quarter by that point. The Bills defense was not ready for the pressure that was built on the final two drives of the game and that’s why they lost, not because of the current overtime rules. 

Carlos Finney: Split down the middle

 It was a great game in the NFL with an AFC divisional round matchup between the Chiefs and the Bills. Some may be disappointed that Josh Allen and the Bills offense weren’t able to respond to the Chiefs touchdown that, with the current overtime rules, won them the game. I would be okay if the rules were to be altered, but I also have no problem with the current rules.

Football is a game of offense and defense. Both sides of the ball matter. The Bills defense failed to show up when it mattered most. If the Bills wanted to give their offense a chance in overtime, they should’ve gotten a stop on defense to force a punt or madee the Chiefs settle for a field goal. Would it have been great to see Allen have a chance in overtime? Of course. In a great game like that, you know it would’ve been great to see the Bills offense get another possession. On that point, I do not feel as though it was unfair to them not to get a chance based on the current rules. The point to be made is that the game would not have gone to overtime in the first place if the Bills defense held up for the final 13 seconds.

DeOndre Saunders: Change the rules

Sunday’s playoff game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills was the best football game I ever witnessed, getting to see Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen go head-to-head. The way it ended, however, was not satisfying. The NFL should change the overtime rules to give the opposing team a chance to score even if the receiving team scores on their first possession. The game should not have ended on that Chiefs’ game-winning touchdown. The Buffalo Bills deserved a chance to respond. If the Bills were to have not gotten the touchdown if given a possession in overtime, the game would’ve ended with a more acceptable ending.