NFL owners approve changes to playoff overtime

Both teams now guaranteed a possession for postseason games

QB Aaron Rodgers

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Both teams will now be guaranteed a possession during overtime of postseason games after owners approved the modified rules during the NFL Annual Meetings on Tuesday.

If the score is tied after each of the team's first possession, the game will revert to sudden-death rules. The proposal, submitted by Philadelphia and Tennessee, applies only to the playoffs. Overtime rules in the regular season will remain unchanged.

Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy, who voted in support of the measure, said this past season's AFC Divisional playoff game between Kansas City and Buffalo helped generate support for the change. In that game, the Bills scored back-to-back touchdowns at the end of regulation to force overtime but didn't get another chance to possess the ball. The Chiefs won the coinflip and scored a TD following an eight-play, 75-yard drive to advance to the AFC title game, 42-36.

"It's something that we've obviously looked at over the years," Murphy said. "The focus was really on the postseason because No. 1, it's final. Your season ends. Also, the statistics show in the playoffs, the team that wins the coinflip, I think it was 10 out of 12 times has won the game, so it's a huge advantage."

Over the past eight years, the Packers have had two playoff runs (2014 and 2015) end without their offense stepping on the field in overtime. Prior to the vote, both General Manager Brian Gutekunst and Head Coach Matt LaFleur voiced their support for the proposal when speaking with the Green Bay media.

Owners also made permanent a 2021 rule that adjusted the maximum players in the setup zone on kickoffs that was implemented to increase recoveries.


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