INDIANAPOLIS – More than a month has passed since Josh Allen called tails, the coin came up heads, and the Buffalo Bills quarterback never saw the ball again in the AFC Divisional Round playoff loss to Kansas City.
The Chiefs won the toss to start overtimePatrick Mahomes marched them easily down field to his game-winning TD pass to Travis Kelce, and just like that the Bills’ season was over and screaming about the overtime rules commenced.
Only this time, it wasn’t just bitter Bills fans spewing injustice, it was NFL fans chiming in because the best game of the NFL season – one of the best games in the history of the league, quite frankly – felt a little tainted due to the fact that the Bills didn’t get a chance to possess the ball in the extra period.
The NFL’s Competition Committee is set to meet in Indianapolis this week to discuss several issues, but one that figures to be front and center will be altering the overtime rules to ensure that both teams get a possession.
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the Bills plan to submit a proposal that would impact only postseason games, while the Colts will present a solution which they want applied to the regular season, too.
“I do think there will be some changes,” Bills general manager Brandon Beane said Tuesday during his media session at the NFL Scouting Combine. “I think there’s, I don’t know how many proposals, but a GM and I laughed at the Senior Bowl that there was going to be 32 different proposals.”
Ace it stands today, if the team that possesses the ball first scores a touchdown on the opening drive, the game is over. If it scores a field goal, or doesn’t score, the opposing team gets the ball and can either win the game with a touchdown, or tie it with a field goal.
In the regular season, if the game is tied after 10 minutes, it’s over, but obviously in the postseason the game would continue until the next score.
“Yeah, I’ll just speak in general terms, I think, experiencing what we experienced overall, I think there’s a better way out there,” Bills coach Sean McDermott said. “And when you go through experiences like that and you experience those things first-hand in particular, you want to evolve the game. I’m not going to get into the details of it, that’s for another meeting here. But we’ve got some ideas and I think they’ll help move the game forward. And we’ll see where it goes.”
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Beane was willing to offer a little more on what the Bills will be proposing.
“We definitely put our stamp on one,” Beane said, indicating that it’s based on having a set time played in overtime.
“Similar to in basketball, you play five minutes,” Beane said. “Baseball, both teams get the top half and the bottom half (to hit). So a time limit, and I’m talking about postseason only, to have to play it out. And that way, both teams will definitely have a chance and maybe even more than one possession.”
Beane said the Bills won’t push for a change to the regular season, mainly because of player safety.
“It’s a 17-game season,” he said. “I personally don’t think ties in the regular season are as big of a deal. But in postseason, you’ve worked that long, you’ve played a 17-game season, you’ve been working since April or May. You know, everything’s on the line.
“A coin toss here or there, I just think, let’s play it out in a certain amount of time. That’s our opinion. I don’t know if that’ll be the final result in March at the owners meetings, but I think there’s going to be some good proposals and hopefully it at least comes to a point where both teams get an opportunity.”
Since the current overtime rules went into place in 2010, there have been 12 playoff games that went into extra time, and 10 of those were won by the team that won the toss, seven of them winning on the first drive such as the Chiefs.
The Cincinnati Bengals threw a wrench into those numbers the very next week when they lost the coin toss in Kansas City, but quickly picked off a Mahomes pass and went on to win the game with a field goal.
The Competition Committee will bring any possible changes to overtime to league meetings later this month and the owners could vote on the issue, though that isn’t guaranteed because it’s uncertain just how hot-button a topic it is for the group.
If a vote is taken, it would need the support of 24 of the 32 owners to pass.
Follow Sal Maiorana on Twitter @salmaiorana.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism