The NFL’s 32 owners voted to make a big change to overtime on Monday, but not every owner was on board with the move.
Under league protocols, a rule proposal must garner at least 24 votes to pass and although the new OT rule easily cleared that benchmark, it wasn’t approved unanimously. According to NFL.com, the final voting tally for the OT rule was 29-3.
The three teams that voted against the rule were the Bengals, Vikings and Dolphins, according to Sports Illustrated. The Bengals and Vikings have both been involved in an overtime playoff game over the past three years, so it’s notable that they voted against it.
Thanks to the new OT rule, both teams will now be guaranteed at least one possession for any postseason game that goes to overtime (The new rule doesn’t apply to regular-season games). Under the old rule, a touchdown scored by the team that has the ball first in OT would end the game, but with the new rule, the second team will get a chance to possess the ball even if the first team scores a TD.
On Minnesota’s end, the Vikings actually liked the idea of both teams getting a possession, they just didn’t like how the rule was written. According to The Athletic, the Vikings don’t like the fact that the team getting the ball second in OT will get unlimited time to score a touchdown.
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For instance, if the first team scores a TD and takes nine minutes off the clock, the second team would get the ball with six minutes left in the overtime period. Under the new rule, if that time runs out, the game isn’t over. If the team is still driving, the game will continue into a second overtime period. Apparently, the Vikings wanted the game to end after one OT period if one team had the lead.
As for the Bengals, they have a long history of going against the grain. In 2019, they were the only team to vote against extended instant replay that allowed pass interference to be reviewed. The Bengals would later look like geniuses because the rule was eventually rescinded. The Bengals were also just one of four teams to vote against a new overtime rule that ended up being implemented in 2010. The rule change in 2010 got rid of the sudden death format that the NFL had been using since 1974.
On the other hand, it’s surprising the Bengals would have voted against the new rule, if only because of their team history. Since their expansion season in 1968, the Bengals have never scored an offensive touchdown in overtime. Before the new OT rule was passed on Tuesday, an offensive touchdown was the only way a team could win a game on the first possession of overtime.
That being said, the Bengals seemed to do just fine under the old overtime rule. During the AFC title game, the Bengals beat the Chiefs 27-24 in OT despite the fact that Kansas City won the coin toss and got the ball first.
Speaking of the coin toss, that’s the big reason the OT rule was changed, according to competition committee chairman Rich McKay, who pointed out that teams that won the coin toss have gone 10-2 in playoff overtime games since 2010.
“It’s the only postseason overtime games we’ve had,” McKay said, via ESPN.com. “It’s 12 years, 12 games. Those 12 games are as important to those franchises as any they are ever going to play in their history. So to us, yes, it’s not a sample size of 25 or 30 games, but it’s the only sample size we have and each one ends somebody’s season. So for us, this was something we thought we needed to change.”
The only two teams over the past 12 seasons to lose after winning the OT coin toss were the 2021 Chiefs and the 2018 Saints, who lost to the Rams in the NFC Championship thanks in large part to a botched pass interference no-call.