When the Kansas City Chiefs won over the Buffalo Bills in the famed 13 Seconds Game by scoring on the opening possession of overtime in the 2022 Divisional Round, fans called for changes to the playoff overtime rules, one that brought more "fairness" to any extra football that was played.
So the NFL overtime rules for the playoffs (and not unrecently in the regular season as well) have been changed. What are those rules for the postseason, though? We have you covered with what fans need to know for playoff football.
NFL Playoffs, Super Bowl overtime rules for 2024
In the 2024 NFL Playoffs, the overtime rules start with the fact that both teams must get the opportunity to have a possession in the extra period. The one exception to that would be if the team that begins overtime kicking off were to score on a safety against the receiving team -- that would end the game. But the big key is that a team scoring a field goal or even a touchdown on the opening drive of overtime will not end the game. However, if the first team to possess the ball does not score and the second team with possession does, the second team will be the winner.
Beyond that, each overtime period will be 15 minutes long. However, it is sudden-death scoring, meaning the first team to take the lead after both teams have had possession will be declared the winner. If both teams are tied after the first overtime, though, a playoff game can not end in a tie and an extra 15-minute period will begin. That second overtime (or any subsequent period) would be sudden-death with first score winning.
Let's also take a look at some other particulars:
- Teams will get three timeouts in an overtime half (two overtime periods)
- Three-minute intermission between end of regulation and overtime
- Two-minute intermission between overtime periods
- Two-minute warnings will be in effect for second and fourth overtime periods
- Loser of the initial coin toss will choose possession or end to defend in the second half
- Should a game play four overtimes and is still tied, there will be another coin toss
NFL overtime replay rules
One other unique NFL Playoffs overtime rule pertains to instant replay. There will be no coach's challenges in overtime games in the postseason. All instant replays of close plays, spots of the ball and so on will be initiated by the replay officials and reviewed by the officiating crew.
How are overtime rules different from regular season in the NFL Playoffs?
The biggest difference in overtime rules between the regular season and NFL Playoffs is that a playoff game cannot end in a tie. In the regular season, if two teams are tied after the first overtime period, which is 10 minutes instead of 15 minutes as it is in the postseason, then the game simply ends in a tie. That obviously can't happen in the playoffs.
Another major difference is that the team receiving the opening possession can not win the game by scoring a touchdown on that drive in the playoffs. In the regular season, if the first team to get the ball scores, then they win the game. We won't see that, as mentioned, in the postseason.
Other minor differences are that teams get just two timeouts in overtime, which tracks given that they will only have one period. Outside of that, the overtime rules remain the same.