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Niners players: We didn’t know overtime rules

niners-players:-we-didn’t-know-overtime-rules
Niners players: We didn’t know overtime rules

Orlovsky: Shanahan gave away control of the game in OT (1:26)

Dan Orlovsky discusses Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers’ decision to take the ball first in overtime. (1:26)

  • ESPN News Services

Feb 12, 2024, 08:51 AM ET

Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs capitalized on the NFL’s postseason overtime rules to once again beat the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl.

While several Chiefs players and coaches said they had a prepared strategy in the event that the Super Bowl went to overtime, multiple 49ers players admitted they were not even aware of the rules.

“I didn’t even know about the new playoff overtime rule, so it was a surprise to me,” Niners defensive lineman Arik Armstead said. “I didn’t even really know what was going on in terms of that.”

Sunday night’s game was the second of 58 Super Bowls to be tied after regulation. It was the first played under new overtime rules that ensure both teams get a chance to possess the ball before the game ends — unless the first drive in OT ends with a safety. This differs from the rules governing overtime in the regular season, where the game ends if the first team to possess the ball scores a touchdown.

After winning the overtime coin toss Sunday, the 49ers elected to receive the ball to start the extra period. But their 13-play drive ended with Jake Moody‘s 27-yard field goal and set the stage for Mahomes, who orchestrated his own 13-play drive punctuated by a game-winning 3-yard touchdown pass to Mecole Hardman that sealed the Chiefs’ 25-22 victory.

Niners coach Kyle Shanahan said he and his analytics staff discussed overtime possibilities before the game, but Armstead and fullback Kyle Juszczyk both said that overtime strategy was not discussed with 49ers players leading up to the Super Bowl.

“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.”

Armstead added that he first realized that the postseason overtime rules were different when he saw them displayed on the scoreboard at Allegiant Stadium.

“They put it on the scoreboard, and everyone was like ‘Oh, even if you score, they get a chance still,'” Armstead said.

The Chiefs, conversely, said they were well prepared for an overtime contingency in the postseason. Defensive lineman Chris Jones told reporters that Kansas City “talked for two weeks about new overtime rules,” while safety Justin Reid said their preparation began in training camp.

“We’ve talked about it all year,” Reid said. “We talked about it in training camp about how the rules were different in regular season versus the playoffs. Every week of the playoffs we talked about the overtime rule.”

Jones said that if the Niners had scored a touchdown on their opening overtime possession to take a seven-point lead, the Chiefs were prepared to “go for two” if they scored on their ensuing possession.

“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.

ESPN’s Nick Wagoner and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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