Despite What the Internet Says, the NFL’s Overtime Rule Is Just Fine

The NFL's rule might not be fair, but neither is life. Just ask the Kansas City Chiefs.

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce snags the game-winning reception over the Buffalo Bills
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce snags the game-winning reception over the Buffalo Bills.
William Purnell/Icon Sportswire via Getty

Three seasons ago, Travis Kelce and the Chiefs lost the coin toss and lost the AFC Championship Game to the Patriots 34-28 after Kansas City was unable to prevent Tom Brady from guiding the New England offense to a touchdown.

Since then, the Chiefs have gone to two straight Super Bowls, and Kansas City is one win away from going to their third in a row after an epic overtime win of their own over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday night in the divisional round.

The Chiefs, who actively campaigned for the NFL to change its overtime rule (which allows a team a rebuttal if they give up a field goal on the first drive of the added period but does not afford the same privilege if a touchdown is scored) after losing the Patriots, had no complaints about the rule following Sunday’s victory the Buffalo — and neither should anyone else.

Despite what Bills fans and the internet at large has to say about the matter, Buffalo didn’t lose because of the NFL’s rules for overtime. No, the Bills lost because they managed to allow Pattrick Mahomes to lead the Chiefs on a game-tying field goal drive with just 13 seconds remaining moments after Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen hit Gabriel Davis for a 19-yard TD to put Buffalo up 36-33 and then compounded that massive mistake by letting Mahomes guide the Chiefs for the game-winning touchdown to Kelce in overtime. If the Bills had been able to make a stop in regulation, they would have won the game. If they’d made one in overtime, they would have had a chance to win the game with a score of their own. They did neither and they lost, fair and square. There’s no crying in football and not everyone gets a trophy — just ask the Chiefs (who are playing in their fourth straight AFC Championship Game).

For everyone who is complaining about the rules and how unfair they are, consider what Allen, who was the principal “victim” of the way overtime played out, had to say about the situation.

“The rules are what they are. I can’t complain about that because if it was the other way around, we’d be celebrating too,” Allen said. “It is what it is at this point. We just didn’t make enough plays tonight. It’s Pat Mahomes on the other side. They made some good plays there at the end. Unfortunately, the coin toss went the way that it did. I’m super proud of our guys throughout this season and the ups and downs. I know it’s disappointing right now, it hurts right now. You can say it’s going to be better, we’re going to learn from this, it’s very cliché and nobody wants to hear it. I truly believe that this unit will learn from this. We’ve got a great young squad and a lot of guys coming back next year. We’ve just got to use this as fuel for the fire.”

The Chiefs certainly did and are one win away from playing in the Super Bowl for the third straight season. If the Bills can follow the same path starting next season, you won’t hear many Buffalo fans complaining about the end of this one.

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