As the clock hit 0:00 on regulation in Super Bowl LVIII, the questions flew across a hundred thousand bars, dens, hangouts and — apparently — at least one sideline: How does overtime work in the Super Bowl? It’s sudden death, right? Both teams get the ball at the 25, right? If the first team scores a touchdown, it’s over, right?
The NFL’s postseason rules are simple enough, in theory: Each team gets a chance to possess the ball, one way or another. It’s an elegant solution, (usually) bringing in all three phases of the game for each team: offense, defense and special teams. It’s just that the execution of those rules gets a little wonky, particularly when you add the tension of the Super Bowl and a ticking clock that honestly doesn’t mean anything in the grand scheme of the game.
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The NFL’s format — which combines two entirely different rosters, motivations and gameplay endeavors into a single team — doesn’t allow for the clean, efficient overtime solutions of most other sports. Most other sports involve the same players on both offense and defense, but a sudden-death option in football effectively sidelines half of each team.
From the start of the NFL’s Super Bowl era right up through the 2011 season, the overtime rules were simple, if unbalanced: The team that scored first won the game. Touchdown, field goal, safety, whatever. That certainly ended overtimes quickly, but the effect was that the team that won the coin toss had to travel only a few dozen yards to get into game-winning field goal range.
Starting in 2012, the team that won the toss could end the game with a touchdown, but a field goal — or no score at all — gave the ball to the opponent, who had one possession to tie or win the game. Ten years later, beginning with the 2022 season, the NFL instituted a rule that gave both teams the ball at least once, regardless of what points were scored to start. The only…
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Author : Yahoo Sports
Publish date : 2024-02-12 17:12:40
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