Daniel Kehn is a freshman journalism and telecommunications news major and writes for The Daily News. His views do not necessarily reflect those of the newspaper.
Up until 9:50 p.m. Sunday night, I would have argued tooth and nail that the NFL Divisional Round of the playoffs this season was the greatest in NFL history.
The first three games of the weekend were all decided with zeros on the clock and the right foot of a kicker. All power to special teams, but that’s a topic for a different day.
The amount of pure heart-racing competition this weekend was outstanding.
However, the final game of the Divisional Round, Buffalo Bills against the Kansas City Chiefs, left a weird taste in my mouth, a very “I just ate bad sushi” kind of taste.
Don’t get me wrong, it was probably the best game of the weekend. Bill’s quarterback Josh Allen put on a career performance while trying to define his early legacy in the NFL, throwing for 329 yards and four touchdowns and Chief’s quarterback Patrick Mahomes was also on fire, putting up 378 yards and three touchdowns.
But the final two minutes defined the game and altered the entire postseason.
In the final minute and 54 seconds of regulation, 25 points were scored – the second-most scored in the final two minutes of a regular or postseason game.
Down by three with 13 seconds left in regulation, Mahomes marched Kansas City down the field and gave kicker Harrison Butker the chance to send the game to overtime – Butker split the uprights to extend the game and kickers remain king.
For those unfamiliar with the NFL’s playoff overtime rules, the referee flips a coin, the team who wins the coin toss chooses whether or not they want the ball to start the overtime period – and without fail the team that wins the coin toss chooses to receive the ball. The first team to score wins the game.
In the words of my mother at 10:02 p.m. last night: “Why does one team get a chance first? And the other doesn’t get a shot? It’s dumb.”
The team that wins the coin toss almost always wins the game. 10 of the last 11 playoff games that went to overtime were won by the team that started with the possession.
It’s not a guarantee that the team that wins the coin toss will automatically win the game, yes, but it puts the team that losses at a great disadvantage. Especially in the playoffs, if two teams are so good that they can’t be separated after an hour of game time, there has to be a better way to decide a winner.
Okay, okay, yes, a defense should have the ability to get a stop and help their team win. But let’s be real here, even the best defenses in NFL history would be liable to let a touchdown through. That idea is amplified in a game like Bills vs. Chiefs. After a 25 points two-minute drill from both teams, it's obvious that defense was not going to be very effective in overtime, whichever team got the ball would have the momentum to score.
The NFL needs to reevaluate their overtime rules. Not only for the betterment of competition but for the betterment of fans everywhere. If the NFL needs any tips, college football has a pretty good idea.
Just because you lick all the cookies when mom takes them out of the oven does not mean you get the whole pan… wait, that’s gross don’t lick cookies. In the same vein though, the last person who has possession of the football should not be the winner.
At the very least, each team should have automatic possession of the football. Not only is it more suitable for depleted teams in overtime, but it gives the game more views, suspense and entertainment. Specifically in the postseason, two powerhouse teams duking it out in double or triple overtime would only grow the spectacle.
We all know the NFL would give an arm and a leg for more viewership and eyes on their games. If the league can make it happen, there will be many more great weekends of playoff football to come.
Contact Daniel Kehn with comments at email@example.com or on Twitter @daniel_kehn.