Football NFL Overtime Rules

Football NFL Overtime Rules

NFL overtime rules are a set of regulations that governs how an overtime period must be played if a football game remains tired after 60 minutes of regulation.

Overtime games are very common in the NFL, and teams practice the plays they would use in an extra time situation on a regular basis.

Overtime Possession Rules

Whereas the NFL overtime rules used to dictate that overtime periods be played in accordance with a "sudden death" format (a score of any kind automatically wins the game), the rules were adapted in 2017 to make overtime more fair and exciting.

A coin toss decides which team will receive the ball to begin an overtime period. The offense then takes the field and tries to score. If the offense scores a field goal (worth 3 points) or fails to score entirely, the other team is given a chance to either tie the game with a field goal of their own or win the game with a touchdown (worth 6 points). Should the game be tied after each team has had a possession, the next score will win the game regardless of what type of score it is.

If the first receiving team scores a touchdown, the game is over and the opposite team does not get a chance to score.

Teams have to be a lot more precautious with their play calling in overtime since a turnover in your own half of the field can lead to an easy game-winning field goal. Field positioning is often more important than taking risks.

In terms of clock management, each coach will have two timeouts at their disposal in an overtime period, but will not be able to challenge a call. All challenges must be instigated by the referees.

Overtime Period Length

An additional 10-minute period is added to the game for overtime. If there is no score or the game is still tied after the 10 minutes have expired, the game ends in a tie.

In playoff games that cannot end in a tie, another 10-minute period will be played after a small intermission until a team has won the game. No playoff game has ever gone past double overtime.


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