The greatest game in NFL history turned on a coin flip.
Fine, you can question whether Sunday night’s divisional showdown between victorious Kansas City and heartbroken Buffalo was one of the greatest ever. Good luck finding another one with 25 points scored on four different successful all-or-nothing, score-or-go-home drives in the final two minutes.
But this is indisputable: the NFL’s overtime gives an enormous advantage to whichever team wins the coin flip. Three years ago, Chiefs fans watched in horror as Tom Brady marched the Patriots down the field to an overtime victory in the AFC championship without even giving Patrick Mahomes a chance to touch the ball. Sunday night, the coin came up Kansas City’s way, and this time it was the Chiefs who snuffed out the opposition.
The karmic scales balanced for Kansas City … but don’t expect Buffalo to accept its fate without a fight.
The NFL often tweaks or changes its rules on overtime, so much so that even players themselves are occasionally surprised to learn that a game can end in a tie. But here’s the immutable truth: the team that wins the coin flip has the chance to shut down the entire game. Overtime rules in virtually every other sport, from baseball to golf, give both challengers an equal shot, leaving the outcome of the game in the hands of the players, not the fates. But in the NFL, all you need to do is call heads or tails correctly for a huge advantage.
Even the players recognize the need for balance. Here’s recently-retired Greg Olsen, eloquently breaking down the issue:
“I’m definitely in favor of (both sides getting the ball in overtime),” another player said. “Being in that situation, really having no control, no rebuttal or no retaliation on playing against an amazing offense like that — it kind of sucked.” Josh Allen in 2022? No, Travis Kelce in 2019, after the Chiefs lost to the Patriots. He’s surely singing a different tune right about now after catching the game-winning…