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There Have Been 11 NFL Overtime Playoff Games Since the Rule Change: Coin Toss Stats Are One-Sided

The NFL overtime rules have long been criticized, but after Sunday’s absurd ending between the Chiefs and Bills in the divisional round, those criticisms once again started the conversation to change them. One staggering statistic illuminates what appears to be a major advantage in the outcome of a coin flip.

According to the current overtime rules, a coin flip decides who gets the ball to start the extra period, and sudden death will not be enforced unless the team that gets the ball first scores a touchdown on the opening drive. Per NFL research, teams who won the coin toss have won 10 of the 11 playoff games since these rules have been enforced. 

The only playoff team to lose after winning the overtime coin toss is the Saints, falling to the Rams in 2018. Of those 10 games won by the team that won the coin toss, seven of those squads won via a walk-off touchdown on the opening drive. 

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Strangely enough, the numbers are significantly different when regular-season games are included. Of the 163 total overtime games since the rule change, teams that won the coin toss have won 86 times and tied 10 times. 

Nevertheless, the NFL may be forced to reexamine its overtime rules if playoff teams have a less than 10% chance of winning if they don't win the flip of a coin.

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