NFL Passes New Playoff Overtime Rule, Guarantees Each Team A Possession

The NFL overtime rules are changing. For the playoffs, anyway. A proposal from the Philadelphia Eagles and Indianapolis Colts has passed, now mandating both teams get at least one possession in overtime during postseason action.

Previous overtime rules for the regular season will remain in place. In Weeks 1-18, if the team who first gains possession scores a touchdown, the game will end. If they kick a field goal or fail to score, the opposing team will get a possession.

The push for this playoff change stems from 2021’s wild Divisional Game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills, an electric fourth quarter shootout that saw each side respond in the final minutes. The game went to overtime and the Chiefs won the coin toss, took the ball, and promptly marched down the field for a game-winning score. Josh Allen and the Bills never saw the field. Under these new rules, they now will.

While there was support for this rule change, it was unclear if it had the 24 votes to pass it. Evidently, the league did and the change will be implemented starting in 2022. According to NFLN’s Albert Breer, the final vote was 29-3, with the motion passing once it was agreed the change, for now, would only come in the postseason.

We don’t yet know how the Steelers voted, but Mike Tomlin recently said he’s a traditionalist who prefers sudden death. Whether or not owner Art Rooney II felt the same way isn’t known. (Update: the Steelers voted in favor of it).

The NFL also adopted two other rules, making the 2021 free kick formations permanent and a resolution to block personnel members from taking assistant GM jobs before the draft.

Owners also agreed on a mandate to require all linemen, running backs, and linebackers to wear guardian helmets between the start of padded practices and the second preseason game. These special helmets help reduce the blunt force of helmet-to-helmet contact.

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