Photo Credit: wnyt.com
For a long period a team’s score concluded overtime. Following that, the rule was changed to allow both teams to have the ball, pending a touchdown by the first offensive team to score. In that scenario, the game would end on that touchdown, just like most recently in Super Bowl 51 when New England defeated Atlanta 34-28.
However, the most recent rule change required that even in the event that the first offensive team scores a touchdown, both teams are entitled to the ball for at least one possession during postseason games. These days, college overtime formats are even more similar to NFL playoff overtime, with teams trading possessions. Additionally, teams in college frequently prefer to have the ball second because they can better assess their needs for the drive.
Photo Credit: dailynorseman.com
The Chiefs were down three and faced a fourth-and-one situation from their own 34 when they decided to go for it because Kansas City had the advantage this time. After converting, they finally made it to the end zone when Mahomes found Mecole Hardman on a three-yard touchdown pass.”We had a conversation about that,” San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan stated. “All of us don’t have a lot of experience with it.”
Some 49ers players, though, said they were unaware of the rule. Arik Armstead, a defensive lineman for San Francisco, stated, “It was surprising to me because I was unaware of the new playoff overtime rule.” “I wasn’t even really aware of what was happening with that.”
Shanahan says he discussed potential overtime scenarios with his analytics team prior to Sunday’s game. At least some of his players don’t seem to have heard about that conversation.
Photo Credit: anchorsbarandgrille.com
On the other hand, Chiefs players said that they had known about the new overtime playoff rules. Defensive tackle Chris Jones stated, “We talked about new overtime rules for two weeks.” “Kick off the ball to the opponent. We attempt [a two-point conversion] if we score”.
Safety Justin Reid said the Chiefs discussed the rule change during training camp. Reid said, “We’ve talked about it all year.” “We discussed in training camp how the regular season and postseason had distinct rules. During each playoff week, we discussed the overtime rule.
Andy Reid, the head coach of the Chiefs, acknowledged that it’s difficult to figure out the best course of action on what to do in that situation even with prior planning and knowledge of the rules. Regardless of if it’s a hard situation or not to deal with, the fact that the 49ers were not aware of the rule at all, after having so long to prep for the game is inexcusable. Someone needs to be held accountable for this mistake, because it cost them the biggest game of the year in sports.