In 2010, the NFL modified its sudden-death overtime rules so that a team couldn’t win the game by merely receiving the kickoff and kicking a field goal on the first possession. Thursday night’s Chargers-Raiders game was only the fourth time in 11 seasons that rule came into play.
The Raiders received the overtime kickoff and kicked a field goal to take a three-point lead, but then the Chargers marched down the field and scored a touchdown to win the game. That had only happened three times previously: The Steelers beating the Browns in the final game of the 2016 season, the Cardinals beating the 49ers in 2017 and the Titans beating the Eagles in 2018.
It turned out that the much-discussed overtime rule change didn’t change much, as a touchdown after a field goal is still a rare ending in overtime. But it did change perceptions of overtime, as it just feels more fair to give the other team an opportunity to score if the first team with the ball kicks a field goal.
The rule hasn’t made a major impact on the NFL. For the Chargers and Raiders on Thursday night, the rule mattered a lot.