Giants great Tiki Barber not a fan of NFL’s playoff overtime rules

Super Bowl LVIII between the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs went into overtime, testing the new rule approved by the league last March.

Under the old rules, overtime periods were set at 10 minutes in length. If the team that possesses the ball first in overtime scores a touchdown on that drive, they win the game. The other offense never gets a chance to even take the field to answer.

On the other hand, if that first team kicks a field goal, the other team will get a possession to answer to win it with a touchdown or tie it with a field goal. At that point, the game becomes a ‘sudden death’ scenario with the next team to score points winning that game.

The new playoff overtime rules set the periods at 15 minutes instead of the 10-minute overtime period in the regular season. If the team that possesses the ball first does not score a touchdown, or if the score is tied after each team has had a possession, then sudden death sets in, and the next score wins the game.

Former New York Giants great Tiki Barber believes the overtime rules in the postseason are nonsense, claiming they make the clock irrelevant.

“The new NFL overtime rule in the playoffs is nonsense. It’s absolute nonsense. To make a clock mean nothing is nonsense,” Barber said Monday on WFAN. “The clock has to end the game. I understand why they do it this way because you want to be fair. But it takes all urgency out of football.

“I hate that. Football, in my mind, is competing against an opponent. But it’s also competing against these forces that constrain you. It’s the field, it’s the officials, and it’s the clock. And overtime in the NFL playoffs, they have neutered the clock, and it makes no sense to me.”

I understand his point, but keep in mind, it’s the postseason. The game needs to produce a winner. In the old days (think the 1956 NFL Championship between the Giants and Baltimore Colts) it was a true sudden-death affair — first team to score wins.

The clock ticked but it clearly was irrelevant when it came to urgency as Tiki was intimating. Isn’t that basically still the case? The only difference between 1958 and today is that both teams get a shot as the clock ticks in the background, albeit pointlessly.

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