NFL Overtime Rules Explained

In the wake of an AFC playoff battles for the ages with Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs marching down the field in overtime without Josh Allen and the Bills getting a shot, the NFL once again tinkered with its overtime rules.

For the 2022 season, the competition committee has modified the overtime rules for the playoffs.

Postseason Overtime Rules:

  • Each team will have the opportunity to possess the ball.
  • There will still be a coin toss but the winner will not always choose to be the receiving team.
  • The overtime period will remain 10 minutes. There is the possibility of multiple overtime periods.
  • If the score is either tied or the second team to gain possession is still in the midst of its first drive when the first period ends, a new 10 minutes period will begin.
  • This rules will apply through four overtime periods, all 10 minutes in length.
  • Each overtime period will have a two-minute intermission.
  • If a winner if not determined at the end of four overtime periods, play will continue until. winner is determined.

Regular Season Overtime Rules:

  • Rules remain unchanged.
  • There will be a 10 minute overtime and a coin toss to determine first possession.
  • Both teams will have the opportunity to possess the ball unless the first team with possession scores a touchdown.
  • Each team will have two overtimes.
  • If no winner emerges after 10 minutes, the game will end in a tie.

Preseason Overtimes Rules:

  • There is no overtime. Games will end in a tie is knotted up at the end of regulation.

The preseason elimination came into effect in 2021 after increased concerns about player safety. The NFL’s regular season overtime rules took effect in 2010 after its previous sudden death rule was deemed unfair. And not seeing Josh Allen have the opportunity to possess the ball in the 2021 division game against the Chiefs sparked further change.