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Why do the NFL's overtime rules allow for a team to potentially lose without their offense ever taking the field? What caused the league to decide on this format for OT and why did they decide to have different rules during the season and in the playoffs.

It seems very different from OT rules in all other American sports leagues...

More details on the rules here

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Why do the NFL's overtime rules allow for a team to potentially lose without their offense ever taking the field?

NFL's overtime is a variant of sudden death in that if the first team scores a touchdown, that team wins.

What caused the league to decide on this format for OT?

The 2009 NFC Championship Game. In short, the Saints won with a field goal without the Vikings taking the field. This was the sudden death format before they altered it in response to this game.

On the first possession, if the team in possession of the ball scores a field goal, the other team has an opportunity to score. In other words, NFL overtime is sudden death unless the first possession results in a field goal.

Why did they decide to have different rules during the season and in the playoffs.

There are different rules during the season vs. the playoffs because in the playoffs, a winner needs to be determined. In the regular season, a tie can be achieved.

  • Did the NFL explain why they still allow for a team to lose in OT without touching the ball (in the case of their opponent scoring a TD)? – pacoverflow Aug 13 at 16:03
  • @pacoverflow Didn't find anything from the NFL regarding this. Fun fact: Since the rules have changed (ie, OT games since 2012 to the conclusion of the 2018 season), the team who wins the coin toss has won 50% of overtime games. Source – exchange knowledge Aug 14 at 15:41

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