NFL overtime history: Revisiting the 11 playoff games that have gone to OT since 2010 rule change

We’re heading into triple overtime in the NFL overtime debate.

Sunday’s divisional matchup between the Chiefs and Bills once again put the NFL’s overtime rules front and center: with the Chiefs winning in overtime over the Bills (with some “help” from a currency), some feel the NFL system is unfair.

With no guarantee that both teams will get offensive possession in extra period, some want to see the rules change once again, while others are okay with the status quo.

Regardless of which side you’re on, one thing is certain: Ever since the NFL adopted new overtime rules in 2010, teams that get the ball first in extra period have fared much better than those that start in extra period. defending. In 11 playoff games, the teams that win the toss are 10-1.

That winning percentage is eye-catching, but it comes with a bit of a caveat: Teams that have won the coin toss have won the game on the first OT possession seven times. That means winning the coin toss is not an automatic W of overtime.

Here’s how NFL playoff games have played out under the new OT format:

NFL overtime playoff games

2012: Broncos vs. Steelers


The Broncos win the AFC wild card game, 29-23

It didn’t take long for the Broncos to win against the Steelers, with Tim Tebow connecting with the late Demariyus Thomas on his first play from scrimmage for an 80-yard touchdown.

It was the first NFL playoff game under the new OT rules, but the result would have been the same under the old sudden-death rules. Still, that’s 1-0 for the teams that win the toss.

2012: Giants vs. 49ers


Giants win NFC championship game, 20-17

The 49ers did what they had to do to start the extra period: They kept the Giants from scoring even though New York got the ball first in overtime.

What San Francisco didn’t do, though, was capitalize on the change of possession: Instead, Alex Smith and the Niners went three and out on the next possession. The Giants would win the ball back and eventually score the game-winning field goal off of Lawrence Tynes’ foot, sending them on a date with the Patriots.

So even though the Giants got the ball first, it was their second extra possession that earned them the win.

2013: Broncos vs. Ravens


Ravens win AFC division game, 38-35

This one needed more than overtime: The Broncos and Ravens went into double overtime after neither team scored in the opening overtime period, with the first three possessions ending in punts. The fourth drive of extra period ended with Peyton Manning throwing a devastating interception.

Justin Tucker would end the double-overtime affair with a 47-yard field goal. So while the Ravens got the win, they didn’t get it on their first OT possession. It took until his third attempt with the ball.

2015: Seahawks vs. Packers


Seahawks win NFC championship game, 28-22

This was the second time under the new OT rules that the game ended on the first possession: The Packers’ defense couldn’t stop the Seahawks’ offense, with Russell Wilson hitting Jermaine Kearse on a 35-yard bomb to send the Seahawks to the Super Bowl. .

The game-winning touchdown was preceded by another 35-yard pass to Doug Baldwin.

2016: Cardinals vs. Packers


Cardinals win NFC divisional game, 26-20

Poor packers.

For the second straight season, their playoff hopes were dashed on the first possession of overtime. Most of the damage was caused by a 75-yard completion from Larry Fitzgerald, before Carson Palmer found Fitz again in the end zone for the touchdown on a short TD pass.

2017: Patriots vs. Falcons


Patriots win Super Bowl 51, 34-28

Yes, yes, we remember: 28-3.

The thing is, the Falcons couldn’t stop the Patriots, and New England and Tom Brady needed overtime to take down the Birds, but not too much overtime: The Pats needed nine plays and about four minutes to score the goal. Game winning TD.

Apparently not many were upset with the way the game played out at the time, with the Patriots having almost no time to score on their first possession in the overtime period.

2019: Rams vs. Saints


Rams win NFC championship game, 26-23

This game gained notoriety for a missed call that led the NFL to allow pass interference reviews, which was a bad football lab experiment gone terribly wrong. He also has a small level of fame for bucking the trend of flipping coins on this list.

While the Saints won the coin toss and received the ball, it was the Rams who intercepted Drew Brees and ultimately won the game on Greg Zuerlein’s 57-yard field goal. This was the only time under the new format that the team that lost the toss won the game.


Patriots win AFC championship game, 37-31

The first postseason meeting between Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady was an absolute classic that went into overtime.

As in Sunday’s Chiefs-Bills matchup, one of the star quarterbacks didn’t get a chance to touch the ball in overtime — the Patriots won the coin toss and then scored a touchdown on their first possession in the game. period, without giving the Chiefs a chance to fight back.

The similarities to this year’s divisional matchup are evident: Both offenses scored almost at will in the fourth quarter, with six series ending with points on the board. Whoever had the ball to start overtime was probably going to score, and it turned out to be New England. However, no rule changes then.

2020: Bills vs. Texans


Result: Texans win AFC wild card game, 22-19

The Bills tied the game in the final minutes of regulation and would lose the toss, but would still have a chance.

The Texans would win the game on their second possession of the overtime period: the Bills’ defense forced a punt to start the overtime period, but a subsequent four-minute drive proved fruitless, ending with a punt of their own.

The Texans would win on a 28-yard Ka’imi Fairbairn field goal.

2020: Vikings vs. Saints


Vikings win NFC wild card game, 26-20

The Vikings made quick work of the Saints in the overtime period, winning the toss and moving down the field efficiently, ending with a touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins ​​to Kyle Rudolph.

However, Rudolph’s TD was not without controversy: some viewers felt that Rudolph pushed the game-winning play. However, the result stood, with the Vikings winning the game after getting the help of the coin.

2022: Chiefs vs. Bills


Chiefs win AFC division game, 42-36

The game that will once again spark debate over whether or not the NFL should change its overtime rules to allow for more “fairness” in its overtime period.

After a flurry of scoring plays in the final minutes of the game, the Chiefs received the kickoff to start overtime and rolled the ball down the field with relative ease, finishing on a game-winning touchdown by Mahomes-to-Kelce. A lot of people point to the fact that Josh Allen didn’t get a chance to respond in OT.

Now, the NFL will have to answer whether or not the rules will change in the coming months.