What to know about the new NFL playoff overtime rules

Kristen Wong
Megan Briggs/GettyImages
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The NFL changed its playoff overtime rules for 2023. Here's everything you need to know.

After the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Buffalo Bills in the 2021 Divisional Round of the playoffs, scoring a touchdown on the first possession of overtime to win the game, the NFL decided to amend the rules.

Previously, the playoff overtime rules stated that if the game ends in a tie in regulation, a coin flip will determine which team gets first possession in overtime. That team can then win the game by scoring a touchdown on the first drive.

Now, both teams will get to have at least one possession even if the team that has the ball first scores a touchdown.

To use the Chiefs-Bills game as an example, the Chiefs scoring a touchdown on the first drive wouldn't end the game -- the Bills would get the ball back to try and tie it.

Bengals can benefit from new playoff overtime rules in 2023

If the score is tied after each team has had one possession, the next score wins.

There's one more caveat: if the team that possesses the ball first commits a safety, the kickoff team would automatically win.

As for the other nitty gritty details, playoff overtime consists of one 15-minute period followed by another 15-minute period if necessary. Each team gets three timeouts per period. There will be no coaches' challenges as all reviews will be initiated by the replay official.

The new and improved "both teams get the ball" rule change is simple enough yet nonetheless carries huge implications heading into the AFC Championship game. Both Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes and Bengals' Joe Burrow command efficient offenses capable of driving down the field in a matter of seconds.

If this game plays out like the 2021 Chiefs-Bills thriller, at least both teams get a fair shot at winning in overtime, and the coin flip loses much more significance.

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May the best team win.

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