In a dramatic overtime finish on Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs emerged victorious in Super Bowl LVIII over the San Francisco 49ers. However, it appears that some 49ers players were caught off guard by the playoff overtime rules leading up to the highly anticipated matchup.
Unlike the regular season, where the game ends if the first team to possess the ball scores a touchdown, postseason overtime grants both teams an opportunity to possess the ball, even if the initial possession results in a touchdown.
In the overtime period, the 49ers managed to secure a field goal on their first possession, only for the Chiefs to swiftly counter with a touchdown to seal the victory. Following the game, several 49ers players confessed to being unaware of the postseason overtime rule variation.
Defensive lineman Arik Armstead admitted, “I didn’t even know about the new playoff overtime rule, so it was a surprise to me. I didn’t even really know what was going on in terms of that.” He noted that the rules were displayed on the scoreboard at Allegiant Stadium, prompting some players to learn about them for the first time.
Fullback Kyle Juszczyk echoed similar sentiments, stating, “You know what? I didn’t even realize the playoff rules were different in overtime. I assume you just want the ball to score a touchdown and win. I guess that’s not the case. I don’t totally know the strategy there. We hadn’t talked about it, no.”
In contrast, Chiefs coach Andy Reid revealed that his team had prepared for postseason overtime scenarios since the offseason. “We knew what our game plan was—had we won the coin toss, whether we want to defer or not, and what our plan was from there,” Reid affirmed.
The overtime rules witnessed in Sunday’s Super Bowl marked a significant change implemented in March 2022, following a controversial divisional round game between the Chiefs and the Buffalo Bills.
This marked the first Super Bowl to feature these overtime regulations and only the second Super Bowl ever to extend into overtime.