Why Are NFL Overtime Rules So Bad? (All You Need To Know)

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Since the National Football League introduced the overtime period in 1974 to help settle games tied at the end of regulation time, more than 600 games have been decided during overtime. As the NFL overtime rules have evolved, many football players and fans have criticized the seemingly unfair rules that govern overtime.

The main problem teams and fans have with the current NFL overtime format is that the rules rely too heavily on a coin toss to determine which team gets the ball. If the team that wins the coin toss scores a touchdown on the first pass, they automatically win, and the overtime period ends.

We’ll explain everything you should know if you’re wondering why the NFL overtime rules are so bad! Once we’ve discussed why many NFL teams and fans criticize the overtime rules, we’ll outline how the rules can be remedied, whether any teams have tried changing the rules, and why some people think the rules should remain unchanged.

Why Do NFL Teams And Fans Criticize The Overtime Rules?

In 2012, the NFL introduced new rules that govern sudden-death overtime to help determine a winner in the event of a tied game. While these rules were only intended for the 2010 postseason, the league soon decided to implement the adjusted overtime rules to govern all NFL games. Ultimately, this was the first time the NFL adopted new overtime rules.

The current overtime rules were devised to give both teams a chance to get the ball at least once during the overtime period. After all, the game ended with a tie, so this seems like a fair decision. However, under the current rules, if the team that gets the ball first scores a touchdown during overtime, they win, and the game ends.

Only when the team that wins the coin toss ball kicks, a field goal does the other team get a chance to have the ball. The main problem with this format is that it heavily relies on a coin toss. Ultimately, this means that overtime is largely dictated by a coin toss, even after players have spent a lot of time proving themselves on the field.

Ultimately, many teams and fans believe that a coin toss should not be used to determine the winner of an NFL game. However, this begs the question of how the NFL overtime rules can be fixed. The following section will discuss a few suggested ways the NFL can fix the heavily criticized overtime rules.

How Can The NFL Overtime Rules Be Fixed?

As we explained earlier, NFL overtime has helped determine more than 600 games since 1974. When these rules are implemented during overtime, it often leaves many fans upset and leads to more scrutiny regarding the rules.

When overtime is used to settle a game, many NFL fans take to Twitter to express their disdain for the rules. In fact, this was the case following a 2022 NFL game between the Buffalo Bills and the Kansas City Chiefs. Due to this, you may be wondering if there are any proposals for how these rules can be fixed.

Many fans have suggested replacing the coin toss with something that incorporates actual football skills to determine which team should get the ball. For example, many have suggested that the home team be allowed to choose a distance for a field goal to decide who gets the ball first, while the away team chooses a team to attempt the field goal.

With this type of adjustment to the NFL overtime rules, both teams who tied would be involved in deciding who gets the ball. However, some have proposed even simpler adjustments to allow both teams to get the ball during overtime. The Kansas City Chiefs proposed such a rule change, allowing each team to have at least one possession during overtime.

Despite some minor changes to the rules in recent years, the coin toss remains the deciding factor during overtime in NFL games. Read on as we discuss which NFL teams have tried changing the overtime rules throughout the years!

Have Any NFL Teams Tried Changing The Overtime Rules?

In recent years, many NFL teams have tried proposing changes to the NFL overtime rules. As we mentioned above, the Kansas City Chiefs recently proposed a rule allowing both teams to get possession of the ball during overtime periods. However, this isn’t the only time NFL teams have tried changing these rules.

Other teams that have proposed changes to the overtime rules include the Ravens and Eagles. The Ravens and Eagles proposed changes to the rule that would give the overtime coin a more competitive edge by giving the coin toss winner a chance to choose where the ball starts during overtime or whether to start with the ball on offense or defense.

Why Do Some People Think The NFL Overtime Rules Should Stay?

While many teams and fans are highly critical of the current NFL overtime rules, some praise them and believe they should remain the same. These fans believe the coin toss is a fair way to decide which team gets the ball, with the rest up to the football players on the field.

Overall, there are just as many counter-arguments to keeping the NFL overtime rules the same. Given that the rules have largely remained the same for over a decade, it’s unlikely that the overtime rules will be significantly changed soon. However, with teams continually proposing changes, the league might be pressured into reviewing the current rules.


While the overtime rules are in place to help determine games that end in a tie, many teams and fans disagree with the current rules. The main complaint most people have is that the overtime rules are too dependent on the coin toss. If the team that wins the coin toss scores a touchdown, that team wins the game, and overtime automatically ends.  


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