Super Bowl Overtime Rules: What Happens If Patriots, Seahawks Are Tied?

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Super Bowl XLIX finally is here, and a new NFL champion will be crowned after 60 minutes of play.

Unless, of course, the game goes into overtime.

While many regular-season NFL games have gone into extra time, no Super Bowl has been tied at the end of regulation. As a refresher, below are the NFL Rulebook’s official postseason overtime rules that will be in effect for Sunday’s game between the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots if needed.

Overtime Procedures

Article 1 If the score is tied at the end of the regulation playing time of all preseason, regular season, and postseason NFL games, a system of modified sudden-death overtime shall be in effect, pursuant to the following.

Article 2 At the end of regulation playing time, the Referee shall immediately toss a coin at the center of the field, in accordance with rules pertaining to a usual pregame toss (4-2-2). The visiting team captain is to again call the toss.

Article 3 Following an intermission of no more than three minutes after the end of the regular game, the extra period shall commence.

(a) Both teams must have the opportunity to possess the ball once during the extra period, unless the team that receives the opening kickoff scores a touchdown on its initial possession, in which case it is the winner, or if the team kicking off to start the overtime period scores a safety on the receiving team?s initial possession, in which case the team that kicked off is the winner.

(b) If the team that possesses the ball first does not score on its initial possession, the team next scoring by any method shall be the winner.

(c) If the team that possesses the ball first scores a field goal on its initial possession, the other team (the second team) shall have the opportunity to possess the ball.

            (1) If the second team scores a touchdown on its possession, it is the winner.

            (2) If the second team scores a field goal on its possession, the team next scoring by any method shall be the winner.

Article 4 (These rules only apply to overtime games in the regular season.)

Article 5 The following shall apply to overtime games in the postseason.

(a) If the score is tied at the end of a 15-minute overtime period, or if the second team?s initial possession has not ended, another overtime period will begin, and play will continue, regardless of how many 15-minute periods are necessary.

(b) Between each overtime period, there shall be a two-minute intermission, but there shall be no halftime intermission after the second period. At the beginning of the third overtime period, the captain who lost the coin toss prior to the first overtime period shall have the first choice of the two privileges in Rule 4, Section 2, Article 2, unless the team that won the coin toss deferred.

(c) At the end of the first and third extra periods, etc., teams must change goals in accordance with Rule 4, Section 2, Article 3.

(d) Each team is entitled to three time outs during a half. If there is an excess timeout, the usual rules shall apply (4-5).

(e) At the end of a second overtime period, timing rules shall apply as at the end of the first half. At the end of a fourth overtime period, timing rules shall apply as at the end of the fourth quarter.

(f) At the end of a fourth overtime period, there will be another coin toss pursuant to Section 1, Article 2, and play will continue until a winner is declared.

Article 6 Disqualified player(s) shall not re-enter during any extra period or periods in the preseason, regular season, and postseason.

Article 7 Except as provided for above, all other general and specific rules shall apply during any extra period or periods in the preseason, regular season, and postseason.

Thumbnail photo via Richard Mackson/USA TODAY Sports Images

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