Should NFL Change Its Overtime Rules?

The NFL saw one of its biggest games of the year decided by a coin toss when the New England Patriots defeated the Kansas City Chiefs in overtime to win the AFC Championship Game. The league’s most exciting offense never saw the field in overtime, as the Patriots won the toss and scored a touchdown to end the game. And if there is one team that should have a say on this matter, it is the Green Bay Packers, given their experience with overtime games in recent years.

Kansas City formally filed to have the league’s overtime rules changed, which is understandable given that they were denied the chance to put Patrick Mahomes on the field with their season on the line. It’s unlikely that appeal to the rest of the league will have any change take place before the start of next season, but planting the seeds for those changes in the future certainly isn’t a bad idea on the part of the Chiefs.

And changing the overtime rules could have a positive impact on the Packers as well. The question “have the Packers been bitten hard in overtime?” is a rhetorical one at this point, given how hard the team has been hit by the current overtime rules in recent postseason games. And when your team has one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time in Aaron Rodgers on the roster, it’s hard not to feel even more snake-bitten by those situations. 

First, there was the 2014 NFC Championship Game against the Seahawks, where the Packers lost the coin toss and then lost the conference title on a deep ball from Russell Wilson to end the game. Then the Packers lost their divisional round game to the Cardinals when they lost a coin toss and gave up two huge plays to Larry Fitzgerald. And while the Packers could have stopped their opponents to prevent these situations, they could argue that having Aaron Rodgers stuck on the sidelines is bad for everyone involved.

The debate surrounding the overtime rules in the NFL is a complex one, given that the arguments for or against it probably depend on how a fan’s favorite team has been impacted by them. Patriots fans probably love the overtime rules given that they haven’t been victim of them in big games, while Packer backers are understandably less enthused by them. But the fact that there is a discussion happening on the subject of these rules is important, whether it leads to change or not.

In important games in the future, maybe the Green Bay Packers will play better defense when they lose the overtime coin toss. Maybe they will win said coin toss and Aaron Rodgers can lead them on a game-winning drive. Or maybe they can win in regulation and save everyone the stress. But regardless of what happens, the team has a legitimate claim to being one of the few in recent NFL history that should have a seat at the table if and when any changes are made to the overtime rules.

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