Football Overtime

Chapter 2.4

What happens if the score is tied at the end of regulation? Who wins? Get ready to learn about the rules of overtime.

Introduction

We already learned about the structure of a football game. Every football game, is made up of four (4) quarters or two (2) halves of game time.

Rookie Road Football Regulation Image

Overtime

If the score is tied at the end of regulation, extra time is played called overtime. The rules of overtime differ at the three levels of play (high school, college, pro), but the purpose remains the same. Overtime determines the winner if the score is tied.

Rookie Road Football Overtime Image

Pro (NFL) Football Overtime Rules

In pro (NFL) overtime, each quarter lasts fifteen (15) minutes. Both teams get a chance to possess the ball. The team that scores the highest amount of points during their possession is the winner.

If both teams score the same amount of points, it becomes sudden death. The next team to score is the winner. Multiple overtime quarters are played until a winner is decided.

There is once exception to these rules. On the very first possession, if a team scores a touchdown or a safety, the game immediately ends without the second team having a chance to go.

We'll learn all about touchdowns and safeties in future chapters.

Pro (NFL) Football Coin Toss Options

We've already learned about the coin toss. A coin toss will determine the setup of overtime with the following coin toss options:

  1. To kick of to receive the opening kickoff
  2. Which goal to defend (also known as choosing wind)
  3. Defer choice to the start of the 2nd half of overtime

College (NCAA) Football Overtime Rules

The rules of college football overtime are different from pro football overtime. In college football, only the play clock runs. Each overtime period lasts two possessions, meaning each team gets a chance to possess the ball. The team that scores the most points during their possession is the winner. The order of which team possesses the ball switches for each overtime period.

Instead of getting the ball from a kickoff, teams immediately start on their opponent's 25-yd line.

A possession ends from:

Starting with triple overtime, teams can only score touchdowns and must go for two-point conversions.

College (NCCA) Football Overtime Coin Toss Options

We've already learned about the coin toss. A coin toss will determine the setup of overtime with the following coin toss options:

  1. Offense or defense
  2. Which end of the field for both possessions

REMEMBER: in college overtime, teams start on the 25-yd line for their possessions.

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