POV: NFL Overtime

Jonah Kim, Copy Co-Editor

As Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes battled it out all game and eventually reached overtime, it became clear that whichever team won the coin toss was going to win the game. And sure enough, when the Chiefs received the ball first, they marched down the field punching a ticket to the AFC Championship. However, they were on the receiving end of NFL overtime heartbreak the next week when they failed to score vs the Cincinnati Bengals. These playoff finishes, along with others throughout the years, have sparked conversations throughout the NFL community on changing the overtime rules. In the current rules, the first team to score a touchdown wins the game, so a full game with massive implications can ultimately be decided by a coin toss.

“I just think the rules are messed up in a sense,” says junior Enzo Karam. “Sometimes when [the overtime rules] work in the Chiefs favor, the rules are great, but sometimes they should just play another quarter and another fifteen minutes and let the best team win.” Karam, a Chiefs fan, is adamant on rules that favor the Chiefs even if they are unfair. “You see, the first game between the Chiefs and the Bills I thought the overtime rules worked out perfectly; in the Chiefs vs. Bengals, I thought there was a failure in the rulebook,” he says. While extremely unfair, Karam’s humorous rule change suggestion would certainly make a lot of Chiefs fans happy. However, one of Karam’s fellow Chiefs fans disagrees.

“Even though the Chiefs have sometimes benefitted from the overtime and sometimes haven’t benefited like the 2019 playoffs, I think that the rules should be changed,” says senior Will Hedges. “Both teams should be given a chance on offense.” Hedges’s opinion is popular among football fans, but the solution on how to provide a fair overtime system is up for debate.

“You should probably give either time, like ten minutes, kind of like basketball does, like five to fifteen minutes or whatever,” says faculty member Bill Gollier. “Or you do something like college where you go until one [team] doesn’t score.” Many agree with Gollier, suggesting the college model. Teams would start on the 25-yard line and both teams would be given a chance to score until one fails to do so. This overtime system has given football fans countless exciting games over the years including a Kansas football win over Texas in thrilling fashion. While exciting and fair, some may say it could kill the spirit of NFL football.

“I like the college system, and I think something like that would be fun to see, but it feels too collegiate,” says faculty member and resident football expert Eric Neuteboom. “I don’t feel like the NFL has ever had good overtime rules; I feel like any scenario I’ve heard where they try to make adjustments for overtime doesn’t feel like real football.” Neuteboom and many others feel that change is needed in the rulebook but are hesitant to support adapting the college system. However, he agrees with adding more time and letting the teams battle it out: “ I would like to see another full period; anything short of that would feel a little gimmicky.”

The Seabury community seems to mostly agree on one thing: there needs to be a change in the NFL overtime rules. However, some feel that overtime rules should be different for the regular season and postseason.

“In the regular season, obviously there’s a lot of health and safety concerns for players, so I would say the regular season games should end in ties,” says Neuteboom.

So, whether the Kansas City Chiefs are favored in every overtime game they play or another full quarter is added onto the end of a tie game, surely an overtime rule change is looming. In 2019, the Chiefs made a proposal of their own to change the rule so that both teams had a chance with the ball. The proposal was denied, but maybe with more controversial finishes under their belt, the NFL will consider a change in the system.