Could a 10-minute break fix football's overtime rules problems?

  • Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes celebrates with fans last Sunday after the Chiefs beat Buffalo in overtime.

    Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes celebrates with fans last Sunday after the Chiefs beat Buffalo in overtime. Associated Press

Updated 1/28/2022 12:53 PM

It seems most everyone believes the NFL's overtime rules need to change.

They're unfair because the team that gets the ball first wins if they score a touchdown. Fans in Buffalo were screaming bloody murder Sunday after watching their beloved Bills drop a 42-36 heartbreaker in Kansas City.


The Chiefs won the toss then marched 75 yards for the winning score.

(Much more should be made of the fact Buffalo somehow allowed the Chiefs to get into field goal range at the end of regulation with just 13 ticks on the clock. Squib kick, anybody?)

But I digress.

In the big picture, should the NFL change its overtime rules? If so, how? There are no easy answers.

I don't have a problem with the current rules. However, if they stay the same teams should be given 10 minutes to catch their collective breath.

With games often ending under intense circumstances it's only right to give everyone a chance to reset. It also allows the defenders on the team that loses the coin toss an opportunity to regain their energy.

But if we absolutely must give both teams the ball, then what's the best solution?

• If both teams score a touchdown does the next score win? If so, that still favors the coin-flip winner. Or does Team B still get a chance after a second touchdown or field goal? Then a third chance? And a fourth? You see the problem -- the game could go on forever.

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• Maybe -- in the playoffs only -- the NFL plays a full 15-minute period and whichever team is ahead wins. This isn't without flaws, as the coin-flip winner still has an advantage. And what if the game is still tied? Put 15 minutes on the clock and keep playing as if going from the first quarter to the second.

This second option has been proposed by some and isn't a terrible idea.

I know I'm an outlier here, but I would leave the system alone, other than giving everyone a 10-minute break.

Play defense. Get the ball back for your team. And go win the game.

College rules:

While we're on this subject let's address the ridiculous change the NCAA made this season. If a game is tied after two overtimes both teams attempt 2-point conversions until one is successful and the other is not.

We saw how absurd this can be Oct. 23 when Illinois beat Penn State in nine overtimes.

Imagine if the national semifinals or title game was decided this way.


Here's a better way: Give both teams the ball on the 10-yard line (instead of the 25) once the third overtime begins. If a touchdown is scored, teams must attempt a 2-point conversion.

This way, at least teams are still playing football.

Also: I know we somehow got to the point where a winner must be declared no matter what, but there's nothing wrong with a hard-fought game ending in a draw.

In college, I would do this after the fourth overtime.

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