Don’t use Sunday as your scapegoat to change NFL overtime rules

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FILE – This Feb. 4, 2018, file photo shows U.S. Bank Stadium during the pregame of the NFL Super Bowl 52 football game, in Minneapolis. Build it and the Super Bowl will come. While that’s not exactly how the sites of the NFL’s championship extravaganza are determined, it sure doesn’t hurt to have a brand new, billion-dollar facility in your city. (AP Photo/Adam Bettcher, File)

To put it plainly, last Sunday was probably the best Championship Sunday in the history of the National Football League.

Just check the television ratings. The primetime AFC Championship Game, which saw the New England Patriots defeat the Kansas City Chiefs 37-31 in overtime, scored 53.9 million views on CBS. It scored 27 percent higher than last year’s primetime conference championship game (the NFC Championship Game on FOX). The game was the fifth most-watched conference championship game in the last decade.

The earlier game, the NFC Championship Game that saw the Los Angeles Rams defeat the New Orleans Saints in overtime, averaged 44.08 million viewers. The two games’ average of 49 million is the highest since 2016 Championship Sunday’s average of 49.5 million viewers.

The numbers don’t tell the whole story. Before Sunday just six conference championships had gone to overtime. Five happened in the NFC Championship Game, most recently in 2014 when the Seattle Seahawks defeated the Green Bay Packers; it has also happened in 2011, 2009, 2007 and 1998. The AFC Championship, on the other hand, had only gone to overtime once before Sunday back in 1986.

So yes, it was a good day. And no, it wasn’t ruined by the NFL’s overtime rules.

Were the Patriots lucky that they won the coin toss at the beginning of overtime? Sure. But a simple coin toss victory doesn’t seal the game. Someone needs to inform Max Kellerman of that.

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Let’s break down what happened after the coin toss. Kansas City allowed:

A 10-yard completion

A 20-yard completion

A 15-yard completion

Another 15-yard completion

A 10-yard run

A three-yard run

A two-yard touchdown run

In that span, Kansas City allowed THREE 3rd – and – 10 conversions. But yes, it was the coin toss that decided the Chief’s fate.

Would Patrick Mahomes have scored if the Chiefs got the ball? He certainly might’ve. But Kansas City lost the coin toss and had to play defense. They didn’t. Like it or not, those are the rules

Hopefully one day the NFL will come around on the NCAA football overtime rules that starts each drive at the opposing forty-yard line and gives each offense a chance to match each other. That day hasn’t come yet.

So what’s the use in complaining?


Connor Donahue is the digital editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at connor.f.donahue@uconn.edu. He tweets at @conn_donahue.

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