A Great Weekend of Football Ends as Another Just Begins


The Guardian

With the Rams and 49ers rematching following an overtime game in week 18, and the dynamic offenses of the Chiefs and Bengals facing off, we should be in for another great weekend of sports.

Carter LaCorte, Contributor

The two worlds of professional football and college football have strongly opposing overtime systems, which is strange for the two branches of America’s most popular sport. To simplify things, in the college setting, both offenses get a chance to win the game. For whatever reason, since 2010, only one team gets a definite chance to win the game.

If the winner of the coin toss scores a touchdown, the game ends. No opportunity for the opponent to strike back. After this Sunday, eleven postseason games have gone to extra time since the rule change. The only team to win the coin toss, but still lose the game, were the Saints in 2019, when Drew Brees threw an interception to allow the Rams to kick a field goal. 

The ten games that saw the coin toss winner take home the game stirred up controversy. In 2019, first-year starter Patrick Mahomes saw his magical MVP season end when Tom Brady and the Patriots took the 50/50 chance to the Super Bowl, where Brady won his sixth championship. 

And now again, we have arguments. In one of the crazier games in years, Mahomes and the Chiefs battled against Josh Allen and the Bills. They combined for 25 points in the final two minutes, with the Chiefs tying the game right back after the Bills scored with 13 seconds remaining. The Chiefs moved on thanks to some luck, as Travis Kelce quickly scored the winning touchdown. 

This anti-climatic and unfair ending has the fans riled up again. The incredible thing is that nobody even argues the opposite side. Besides the interest of saving time, which is completely unreasonable in the NFL, especially in the playoffs, the playoff rules are nonsensical. It takes fans out of the game when statistically, the final rotation of a spinning coin, not a spinning football, decides a major outcome. 

The Kansas City-Buffalo game was the highlight of the Divisional Round weekend, but at least we got other great games to discuss, all of which having ties broken as late as possible without the need for overtime. 

The Cincinnati Bengals, who broke a 31-year playoff win drought last week, now have a two playoff game winning streak, defeating the top-seeded Titans. The other top seed, the Packers, fell to the 49ers as legendary quarterback Aaron Rodgers sees his future in doubt. Speaking of future Hall of Famers with questionable futures, Brady is undecided in retirement for what feels like the fifth year in a row. 

Don’t get too excited about Brady’s departure from the league, however. It would be a shock to see the seven-time Super Bowl winner go out on a heartbreaking loss versus the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday afternoon.

He came back from a 27-3 lead, reminiscent of his 28-3 Super Bowl comeback in 2016, a game that also ended with Brady’s Patriots converting on the first drive of overtime. Now with the Buccaneers, he watched as his elite defense allowed Los Angeles to march down the field led by wide receiver Cooper Kupp to set up a game-winning field goal by former Buccaneer Matt Gay. 

Of course, Brady could be done; he is turning 45 later this year, after all. But he still might win the Most Valuable Player award. He may still have more left in the tank. 

These four amazing games made for some of the best football in a very long time, and excitement for the Conference Championship Rounds are mounting. 

With the Rams and 49ers rematching following an overtime game in week 18, and the dynamic offenses of the Chiefs and Bengals facing off, we should be in for another great weekend of sports.