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NFL: the rule of “sudden death” in overtime under fire from critics

The rule of “sudden death” allowing the first team to score a touchdown in overtime to win the game, is criticized the day after the qualification of the Chiefs at the expense of the Bills (42-36) in the NFL play-offs. On Sunday, it was given to see one of the most indecisive and exciting meetings in the history of the professional league of American football. With the epilogue of a decisive touchdown from Travis Kelce on the receipt of a pass from Patrick Mahomes, which allowed Kansas City to have the last word on Buffalo and advance to the conference final.

The rules state that both teams can be in possession of the ball at least once in overtime, unless the one who starts it in attack (benefiting from a coin toss for first possession), scores a touchdown. And the question of its fairness arises again, because it is not the first time that this scenario has occurred.

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Patrick Mahomes knows this only too well to have also lost this way, in 2019, in the conference final, against the New England Patriots of Tom Brady, then en route to his sixth Super Bowl. “It was to our advantage this time, but when two teams compete at such a level of play, it stinks not to see the other (quarterback) being able to attack in turn”railed the star of the Chiefs, evoking Josh Allen, indeed unable to continue a meeting which he nevertheless splashed with his class, with four winning throws including the last two in the last 73 seconds of regulation time.

“This rule sucks. Both teams should have a chance to attack”wrote Torrey Smith, receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles, winner of the Super Bowl in 2017. “It is time to review this regulation”called Emmanuel Acho, ex-defender of the Cleveland Browns, consultant on television. “Allen gained 329 yards, had 4 touchdowns, scored on 3 of his last 4 possessions and…never touched the ball in overtime. A game this big shouldn’t have been a toss up.”

The person concerned, he seemed to better acknowledge the blow: “The rules are what they are. I can’t complain about that because if it was the other way around we’d be celebrating too”. After their loss to the Patriots in 2019, the Chiefs issued a proposal to change the rules. In vain.


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