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Chiefs’ win reignites debate over fairness of NFL's overtime rules

Kansas City lost in similar fashion 3 years ago
Bills Chiefs Football
Posted at 4:37 PM, Jan 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-24 17:37:36-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Three years ago, quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs offense watched helplessly in overtime as New England won the coin toss, marched right to the end zone and onto the Super Bowl without the Patriots’ defense ever taking the field.

Two months after the loss in the first AFC Championship Game ever at Arrowhead Stadium, the Chiefs proposed changing the overtime rule to give both teams at least one possession in the event of a tie at the end of regulation.

The NFL voted it down despite complaints that 60 minutes of tense, hard-fought football shouldn’t be subject to the whim of a coin flip.

Is it fair? Should the rule be revisited again?

“I don’t know, but I’m glad that we didn’t change them as of last night,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Monday during a virtual press conference with reporters.

One day earlier, after Kansas City forced OT with an improbable comeback in the final 13 seconds against Buffalo in the AFC Divisional, fate smiled on Mahomes and company.

The Bill called tails and the coin came up heads.

Mahomes got the ball and went 6 for 6 for 69 yards, including an 8-yard touchdown to Travis Kelce, in a surgical drive that delivered a 42-36 win sent the Chiefs to a fourth straight AFC Championship Game at 2:05 p.m. on Sunday against Cincinnati at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium.

“I mean, it worked out well for us this time,” Mahomes said. “Whenever you’ve got two teams going back and forth like you’re going, it kind of stinks that you don’t get to see the other guy go, but I’ll take the win this time. Obviously, it hurt me last time. All you can do is play the way the rules are explained and that’s what we did today.”

Buffalo coach Sean McDermott, a former assistant under Reid in Philadelphia, echoed Mahomes’ sentiment.

“The rules are what they are,” McDermott said. "I can’t complain about that because if it was the other way around, we’d be celebrating too. It is what it is at this point. We just didn’t make enough plays tonight.”

It’s the second consecutive season the Bills’ season ended with a playoff loss to the Chiefs at Arrowhead.

If and when the teams meet again, perhaps Mahomes and his Buffalo counterpart, Josh Allen, will both see the field — assuming the teams battle to overtime in another thriller for the ages.

“That’s I’m sure something that they’re going to look at again, too,” Reid said. “I wouldn’t be opposed to it. That’s a hard thing. It was great for us last night, but is it great for the game, which is the most important thing that we should all be looking out for? Probably, to make things equal, it probably needs to hit both offenses and both defenses.”