LAS VEGAS – Following the San Francisco 49ers’ decision to receive the ball in overtime during the Super Bowl, many have debated the wisdom of that choice. The 49ers ultimately lost to the Kansas City Chiefs, with Patrick Mahomes leading a 75-yard drive for the game-winning touchdown. This decision has sparked discussions among football fans, as well as among coaches and players themselves.
For many years, football’s overtime rule simply ended the game as soon as one team scored. However, the rule was altered to allow both teams to possess the ball, unless the first team on offense scored a touchdown. In a recent rule change, both teams can possess the ball even if the first offensive team scores a touchdown, making NFL playoff overtime more closely resemble the college OT format, where teams alternate possessions.
San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan revealed that the team had discussed the possibility of going for a touchdown instead of settling for a field goal on their first possession. This suggests that there may not be a clear consensus among coaches about the best course of action in overtime. Kansas City coach Andy Reid also stated that there is no obvious right answer in these situations.
The 49ers’ decision to take the ball first in overtime can be defended by the potential advantage of having the ball third if the game is still tied after both teams have had a possession. Additionally, Shanahan mentioned that they wanted to be the ones with a chance to go win if both teams matched and scored. However, in this particular Super Bowl, the game did not reach that point as Kansas City’s touchdown ultimately secured their victory.
It’s clear that the decision-making process in overtime is complex and involves strategic considerations. Discussions about the best approach to overtime situations are likely to continue among coaches, players, and football fans.