The Kansas City Chiefs won Super Bowl LVIII over the San Francisco 49ers in overtime Sunday, and it sounds like some 49ers players didn’t understand the playoff overtime rules heading into the big game.
In the postseason, both teams have a chance to possess the ball even if the first team scores a touchdown. In the regular season, if the first team to possess the ball scores a touchdown, the game would be over.Buy now! Relive Super Bowl LVIII with Sports Illustrated’s commemorative issue
The 49ers scored just a field goal on their first possession in overtime, then the Chiefs scored a touchdown to end the game. After the game, though, various 49ers players admitted to not knowing the overtime rule difference for the postseason.
“I didn’t even know about the new playoff overtime rule, so it was a surprise to me,” defensive lineman Arik Armstead said. “I didn’t even really know what was going on in terms of that.”
Armstead added that Allegiant Stadium posted the rules on the scoreboard, and that’s when some 49ers players first learned of the rules. Fullback Kyle Juszczyk was one of those players.
“You know what? I didn't even realize the playoff rules were different in overtime,” Juszczyk said. “I assume you just want the ball to score a touchdown and win. I guess that’s not the case. I don’t totally know the strategy there. We hadn’t talked about it, no.”
On the flip side, the Chiefs began talking about strategy for postseason overtime back in the offseason, coach Andy Reid said, so the team knew exactly what to plan for on Sunday.
“We knew what our game plan was—had we won the coin toss, whether we want to defer or not, and what our plan was from there,” Reid said.
Sunday marked the first Super Bowl to play with these overtime rules, and only the second Super Bowl to ever have overtime. The playoff overtime change occurred in March 2022 following the controversial Chiefs vs. Buffalo Bills game in the divisional round that year. The Chiefs won because they scored a touchdown in the first possession, meaning the Bills never even got a chance with the ball.