Overtime in football is used to determine the winning team if the score is tied at the end of regulation.
REMEMBER: The rules of overtime and the coin toss options are slightly different for high school football, college football, and the NFL.
NFL Overtime Rules
In NFL overtime each quarter lasts 15 minutes. Both teams get a chance to be on offense. The team that scores the highest amount of points during their possession wins. A kickoff is used to put the ball into play.
If both teams score the same amount of points, it becomes sudden death. The next team to score is the winner. Multiple overtime quarters can be played until the winning team is decided.
IMPORTANT: If the first team on offense scores a touchdown or safety, the game immediately ends without the second team having a chance to possess the ball.
NFL Overtime Coin Toss
We've already learned about the coin toss. The coin toss will determine the setup of overtime. Teams get to choose from the following coin toss options:
- To kick or to receive the opening kickoff
- Which goal to defend (also known as choosing wind)
- Defer choice to the start of the 2nd half of overtime
College Football Overtime Rules
The rules of college football overtime are different from NFL overtime. In college football, only the play clock runs. There is no time on the game clock.
Each overtime period lasts two possessions. Both teams get a chance to be on offense. The team that scores the most points during their possession is the winner. When on offense, a team gets the ball on their opponent's 25-yard line. Kickoffs are not used in college football overtime.
IMPORTANT: The order of which team is on offense alternates each overtime period.
Teams will alternate playing offense when:
- A turnover happens
- A score is made
- A field goal is missed
IMPORTANT: Starting with triple overtime, teams can only score touchdowns and must go for two point conversions.
College Football Overtime Coin Toss
In college football overtime, teams get to choose from the following coin toss options:
- Offense or defense
- Which end of the field for both possessions