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So let’s talk about the NFL’s Super Bowl overtime rules

What would you do?

NFL: Super Bowl LVIII-San Francisco 49ers at Kansas City Chiefs Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Last night, the National Football League got to actually use the new rules that they have for Super Bowl overtime (and, I believe, for the playoffs as a larger entity). Apparently the Chiefs knew what the rules were and the Niners were learning about them from the scoreboard at Allegiant Stadium, which seems a little weird to me, but I digress.

Basically, the new rules guarantee each team a possession in overtime, as opposed to the old way where if a team won the coin toss and scored a touchdown on their first possession the game would end. Now, even if the team that receives the overtime kickoff scores a touchdown, the other team gets an opportunity to match them. If they do tie things back up, then things go to sudden death overtime.

It turned out that it wasn’t needed, as the Niners got a field goal on their overtime possession, only to see the Chiefs go down and score a touchdown to win the game by a final score of 25-22. The Chiefs also confirmed after the game that had the Niners scored a touchdown and the Chiefs had done the same, they would have gone for a winning two-point conversion rather than tie things up and give the ball back to San Francisco.

There was a question of the strategy that the Niners employed, whether it was because they didn’t know the rules or whatever the case might have been. The Niners won the coin toss and elected to take the football first rather than play defense. Was that the right move?

On one hand, if you take the football first and go score a touchdown on your first possession of overtime, you’ve put all the pressure on the other team to go down and match you. On the other hand, if you play defense first and can manage to get a stop, you can then go down and win with a field goal or, at the very least, know exactly what your team has to do in order to either win or prolong the game.

So, I wanted to do a bit of a thought exercise with you folks to see what you think the optimal strategy is. Let’s pretend for a moment that the Minnesota Vikings are getting ready for overtime of the Super Bowl. (I know, I know. . .just work with me here, folks.) The captain goes out, makes the correct call on the coin toss, and gives the Vikings the option to decide what they want to do.

What do you think is the best strategy to employ there?

I’m interested to hear your answers on this, so vote in the poll below and feel free to make your opinion known in the comments section.


The Super Bowl has finished regulation tied and your team has won the overtime coin toss. Knowing that each team is guaranteed one possession, do you elect to. . .

This poll is closed

  • 16%
    Take the football first
    (226 votes)
  • 83%
    Play defense first
    (1134 votes)
1360 votes total Vote Now