Before the Kansas City Chiefs scored the game-winning touchdown in Super Bowl 58, they knew exactly what they needed to do.
That's because, once the game went into overtime, the San Francisco 49ers had elected to receive the ball after winning the coin toss. But with new playoff overtime rules in place, extra time is no longer sudden death.
Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones thought the 49ers were “crazy” for taking the ball first in overtime, per 610 Sports:
— 610SportsKC (@610SportsKC) February 12, 2024
“They're crazy. They're crazy. Because the overtime rules have changed, where both teams get the ball no matter who scores. You want to let the other team get the ball, stop them with [a field goal], you know what you got. Or if you stop them and they punt it, then all [the Chiefs] have to do is get three,” Jones said.
In the past, the same rules applied during the regular season and postseason: first touchdown ends the game. But the NFL, in an effort to spice up the playoff proceedings and make it a bit fairer for both teams vying for their Super Bowl dreams, made sure that both teams get a chance to hold possession in the extra period, regardless of whether the first team that gets the ball scores a touchdown or not.
Jones and the rest of the Chiefs presumably knew the rule but apparently, some 49ers players were not acquainted with the change. Fullback Kyle Juszczyk and defensive linesman Arik Armstead admitted that to be the case.
Armstead said he learned the details of the postseason rule when it was shown on the Allegiant Stadium jumbotron during a TV timeout after regulation” while Jusczczyk said he assumed the 49ers asked to receive when they won the toss because that's what you do in the regular season, when a touchdown wins the game.
The Chiefs won 25-22 in overtime.