The Overtime Rules Are Fine

With 13 seconds left in the divisional round of the 2021 NFL Playoffs, Josh Allen found Gabriel Davis in the endzone, giving the Buffalo Bills a three point lead, and seemingly, a ticket to the AFC Championship game. It was just another incredible feat from the 25 year old quarterback, as he passed for 329 yards and four touchdowns on the night. As Bills kicker booted the kickoff into the endzone for a touchback, Allen had Cincinnati on the brain.

However, things wouldn’t work out like that for Allen. Patrick Mahomes found Tyreek Hill for 19 yards and quickly called time out. On the following play, Mahomes found Travis Kelce for a blistering 25 yard gain, and Harrison Butker converted from 49 yards to send the game to overtime. Allen picked tails, the call was heads, and the Chiefs scored a touchdown in eight plays.

Despite playing the game of his life against the only team to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl since 2019, Allen wouldn’t touch the ball again, and couldn’t do anything but watch helplessly as his defense threw the season away.

And ya know what, sometimes? That’s life.

The Overtime Rules are Fine

The “New” Rules

For those who don’t know, the newest edition of overtime rules create the following scenario. They flip a coin, just like they do at the beginning of every game, and the away captain calls it in the air. The winner of the coin toss nearly always elects to receive, and then the following rules are set in motion. If the offense scores a touchdown on their first drive, they win. If they score a field goal, or fail to score at all, the other team can win by scoring any number of points. This replaces the old rules, which would’ve allowed either team to win with a field goal on the first drive.

The idea is that kicking a field goal is too easy, and they wanted to give both teams a more legitimate chance, and I can agree with that. If you get the ball at the 25, and most kickers are comfortable kicking 50+ yard field goals, it makes sense that a field goal isn’t enough to win it. But I draw the line at thinking both teams need to be allowed to score a touchdown.

Because where do you go from there? If Team A scores a touchdown on the first drive of overtime, and then team B gets a chance to score a touchdown and succeeds, do we go to sudden death there? Or does it keep going until someone fails to score, like in college? I’m sure a lot of people, especially fans in upstate New York, don’t see an issue with this.

But I do, because you know what? They’re not the Buffalo Josh Allen’s.

Defense Matters

It’s true, Josh Allen did have a wonderful game, and it’s personally unfair that he had to watch from the sideline as the season ended. But it isn’t like the Chiefs were out there by themselves. A NFL roster has keeps 53 players on it, and about half of them are employed with the sole purpose of keeping the other team out of the endzone.

Nobody should be able to go 44 yards in 13 seconds. How in the world are players like Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce allowed to get chunk plays in a do-or-die scenario like this? Even with that miracle accomplished, the Bills defense was on the field in overtime. All they had to do was hold the Chiefs offense to a field goal. They had exactly as many snaps as the Chiefs offense did to win the game, and they failed, and sometimes, that’s how the game goes. Not many teams win when they give up over 500 yards and 40 points.

Beyond that, why is the kickoff after the go-ahead score a touchback? With only 13 seconds left, why aren’t you squibbing and trying to drain some of the time? An abject failure from special teams, which again, is one of the three phases of the game.

Any and all proposed overtime rules exist purely to benefit the offense. To say the “Bills didn’t have a chance” is categorically untrue, because there were 11 men on that defense that had a chance to impact the game. We can’t complain that the rules keep changing to benefit the offense, and then completely rewrite how overtime works… to benefit the offense.

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