The 2018 Kansas City Chiefs may not have joined the ranks of championship teams, but they have added themselves to another exclusive club: those lobbying for changes to the NFL’s rule book after seeing their season end at the hands of the New England Patriots. The Chiefs, of course, lost the 2018 AFC Championship Game against the eventual world champions in overtime with a final score of 37-31.
Now, the club wants to see the rules governing extra time altered — one of the nine rule change proposals brought forward by clubs this year. Kansas City’s proposal reads as follows:
By Kansas City; to amend Rule 16 to (1) allow both teams the opportunity to possess the ball at least one time in overtime, even if the first team to possess the ball in overtime scores a touchdown; (2) eliminate overtime for preseason; and (3) eliminate overtime coin toss so that winner of initial coin toss to begin game may choose whether to kick or receive, or which goal to defend.
That is a lot to unpack, but let’s start at the beginning. The first part of the Chiefs’ proposal asks for both teams getting an opportunity to possess the football at least once — something that is not a given under the current rules: if a team wins the overtime coin toss and drives the length of the field for a touchdown, it wins the game without the other club getting a chance to reply. This is what happened in the AFC title game.
Kansas City lost the coin toss and had to watch the Patriots drive 75 yards in 13 plays — three of which conversions on 3rd and 10 — to score a walk-off touchdown and punch a ticket to the Super Bowl. This happened on the same day as the NFC Championship also getting decided in overtime, albeit with a different outcome: the Los Angeles Rams defense forced a turnover four plays into extra time to set up a game-winning field goal.
Going back to the coin toss, this is also something Kansas City wants to be changed in what is probably the strangest part of its proposal. Instead of doing a second coin toss before extra time, the team simply wants to start overtime without one and instead refer back to the initial toss. You can probably guess which team won the first coin toss of the night prior to the AFC Championship Game.
Ultimately, two parts of Kansas City’s proposal will likely be adapted at one point in the future — maybe not in 2019, but sooner rather than later: giving both teams the chance to get the football in overtime, and eliminating the fifth quarter in preseason. But until then, the Chiefs join the ranks of the 2003 Indianapolis Colts and 2014 Baltimore Ravens as the latest club to cry “Rule change!” after getting knocked out by the Patriots in the playoffs.
The other rule change proposals include the Denver Broncos wanting to provide an alternative to the onside kick (without any details being announced just yet), the Washington Redskins looking for an expansion of the challenges — all plays should become reviewable under the proposal, one initially brought forward by the Patriots in the mid-2000s — and review system when it comes to personal fouls.
The Chiefs, Broncos, Carolina Panthers, Los Angeles Rams, Philadelphia Eagles and Seattle Seahawks also want to alter the instant replay system one way or the other. Interestingly enough, the New Orleans Saints did not propose any rule changes despite losing the NFC title game against the Rams in part because of a controversial no-call on what should have been defensive pass interference.
To read the full list and exact wordings of rule change proposals, please click here.