The NFL’s Most Exciting Weekend Ever Was Spoiled By a Coin Flip

There’s no doubt the NFL’s entertainment scale reached a 10 this weekend with all four games coming down to the wire. Three were decided with field goals of the walk-off variety. The other ended with a touchdown in overtime. That last one — the Buffalo Bills at the Kansas City Chiefs — saw the lead change hands three times in the final 1:54 before Kansas City’s Harrison Butker sent the game into overtime with a 49-yard field goal as time expired. Then came the NFL’s biggest problem — the coin flip.

The Buffalo Bills vs. Kansas City Chiefs capped a wild weekend of playoff football

Harrison Butker #7 of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrates after kicking the game-tying field goal against the Buffalo Bills at the end of the fourth quarter to send it into overtime in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium on January 23, 2022, in Kansas City, Missouri. | David Eulitt/Getty Images.

How could the fourth game of the weekend match up with the three previous ones? Saturday’s two meetings saw the top seeds upended by field goals on the final possession. The Cincinnati Bengals went into Tennessee and knocked off the top-seeded Titans 19-16 as Evan McPherson booted a 52-yard field goal with no time left.

In Saturday’s nightcap, the No. 1 Green Bay Packers saw their season come to an abrupt end as Robbie Gould kicked a 45-yarder in frigid temperatures to give the sixth-seeded 49ers a 13-10 win.

Sunday’s action began with Tom Brady rallying his Tampa Bay Buccaneers from a 27-13 deficit with less than four minutes to play, only to see Matt Gay snap the 27-27 tie with a 30-yard field goal on the final play.

It had to be the most entertaining week of football, even before the Bills/Chiefs game. Patrick Mahomes vs. Josh Allen lived up to its billing, especially in the fourth quarter. Allen hit wide receiver Gabriel Davis for the third of his four touchdown catches with 1:54 remaining to help give the Bulls a 29-26 lead.

Mahomes responded quickly, connecting with Tyreek Hill on a 64-yard touchdown pass 52 seconds later. The Chiefs briefly regained the lead at 33-29. Allen then marched the Bills 75 yards on six plays in 49 seconds and found Davis in the end zone with 13 seconds left, putting Buffalo in front 36-33.

Mahomes completed two passes in 13 seconds to get Butker in field-goal range. After what may have been the wildest and most exciting four quarters of playoff football came the NFL’s biggest flaw.

A coin flip should not have decided the winner of the Buffalo Bills vs. Kansas City Chiefs game

Two things were clear heading into overtime of the Bills/Chiefs game Sunday night. One, the team that had the ball last was going to win. Two, the overtime rules need to change.

A coin flip played a major role in Kansas City’s victory. Without taking anything from Mahomes and the Chiefs, Allen and the Bills deserved a chance in the extra session. The flip of a coin ruined one of the greatest NFL games in history.

The overtime rules were clear heading into the game, but that doesn’t mean they are perfect. They need a serious change, and Sunday night’s game proved it.

The team getting the ball first, especially in a back-and-forth offensive shootout, has a clear advantage. The current rules state if the team with the ball first scores a touchdown on its opening possession of OT, the game ends. The other team’s offense has no opportunity to respond. In a game with two offensive powerhouses like Sunday night, where 25 points were scored in the final 1:54 of regulation, it’s simply not fair.

The league doesn’t want the game to drag on with matching touchdowns in a fifth quarter. It doesn’t have to be that way with one simple adjustment to the rules. If the team with the ball scores a touchdown on its first score, it must kick the extra point. The other team’s offense would then get one offensive possession. Should a touchdown be scored, that team would be forced to go for the two-point conversion.

It seems like an easy fix without having the game drag on while allowing both teams a fair shake.

The NFL is taking some heat for its overtime rules after Sunday night’s game

The NFL’s overtime rules were a hot topic after Sunday’s late game. It’s clear many, even non-Bills fans, weren’t too happy with the way the game ended.

Former football player-turned analyst, Emmanuel Acho, voiced his displeasure on Twitter with the NFL’s OT rules.

“The NFL is the greatest league in sports because of the parity,” he wrote. “The last team drafts first, the first team drafts last. Not allowing Josh Allen, the best player in today’s game, to touch the ball in overtime is one thing the (NFL) must fix.”

Danny Kanell, another former player and current analyst, was upset Allen and the Bills never got a chance, saying the NFL overtime is “the worst overtime of any sport in the world.”

With the amount of negative feedback the league is taking, maybe the NFL will take a look at its rules this offseason and make them a little more reasonable for 2022.

That certainly won’t be enough to satisfy Buffalo Bills fans.

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