In two of the last four postseasons, there have been two unimaginable NFL postseason games that would engrave a legacy in NFL history.
Both finishes were ruined in the fifth and final period when only one team possessed the football.
Sunday, the AFC Divisional Round matchup between the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs fit that bill perfectly. Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes played perfect games for their respective teams, but when the game reached overtime, we only got to see one player take the field.
The NFL provides unthinkable results come playoff time. In the 2022 divisional weekend alone we saw three walkoff field goals and a walkoff touchdown. Each game came down to the final possession.
But, some games need more than the scheduled 60 minutes.
Twenty-five points were scored in the final 1:54 of the win-or-go-home matchup in Arrowhead. Two of the best offenses in the league were putting improbable drives together, including a 52 second 75-yard drive from Kansas City, just to be answered by a 49 second 75-yard drive from Buffalo.
The offense put on display was mesmerizing. Finishes like Sunday’s are the reason the NFL is considered one of the best leagues in sports.
Knotted up at 36 headed into a 15-minute overtime should be exciting. Seeing two of the best young talents go back under center for more football is what countless fans in America were excited for.
But, the result of the game was essentially determined from a coin toss.
With the Chiefs winning the toss, they were able to march down the field sealing Buffalo’s fate without giving the ball back to Allen and the Bills.
One of the best playoff games in NFL history was immediately ruined by the rules in place.
Nowadays, the league is fueled by its electrifying offenses. Allen threw for nine touchdowns in his two playoff games in 2022; Bills Mafia couldn’t ask for better play from number 17.
Allen played a near-perfect game, but the only scratch on his record was going 0-2 in coin tosses Sunday after being a perfect 9-0 this season. A flip of a coin determined his and Western New York’s fate.
In a showcase of two of the best young talents on the national stage in the playoffs, the NFL should want to see both quarterbacks have an equal shot on determining the outcome of the football game.
Allen’s loss of the toss not only gave the Chiefs a massive advantage, which already included home field, but gave them the opportunity to end the game without giving Allen a single snap.
Allowing both teams to have a minimum of one possession provides the obvious: fairness and more excitement. With the result that stands, the conversation is about Allen not being able to do anything more to have a chance at advancing. The back-and-forth offensive battle that was witnessed in the fourth quarter is what will be remembered. A sequence like so in an overtime period would only create more of a lasting legacy on an already-unbelievable game.
Over the last decade, we’ve seen countless back-and-forth battles between legendary quarterbacks which would cement their legacy in the NFL history books. In what was already an all-time performance, we could’ve seen it continue with a battle in an overtime period. Quarterbacks make their name in dominant performances in big games. Mahomes and Allen already put on a show, but a continued one to see who could outlast the other would’ve only embarked on a legendary game.
Now, this isn’t anything against the Chiefs. Although Kansas City has benefited from the sudden death overtime rule twice in the 2021-22 season, including when they defeated the Los Angeles Chargers in overtime in week 15, they have been on the opposite side of the ruling before.
In 2019, the Tom Brady led New England Patriots won the overtime toss at Arrowhead, not allowing the then-MVP Mahomes touch the ball in the final period.
Two games that will be looked at as two of the best in recent memory, have a sour taste as the result was determined by – or at least profoundly due to – a flip of the coin after 60 minutes of football.
Playoff games should not be determined by a coin toss. Allowing the opposing offense to have possession of the football is fair and only makes the product on the field incredibly more entertaining.
Don’t allow this rule to continue after this season, NFL.
A flip of a coin should not determine the outcome of one of the best postseason games in the history of the sport.