Sunday, December 27, 2015

Reader Mail: Overtime and the Longest Drives in NFL History

What happens if an NFL team receives the kickoff to start overtime, then uses the entire 15-minute overtime period before kicking a field goal as time expires?  Does the game go into a second overtime so that the other team has a chance to score, or is the game over?

It depends when the game takes place.  In the preseason or regular season, the game would end with the team kicking the field goal winning; in the playoffs, the game would go into a second overtime with the other team getting an opportunity to possess the ball.

Rules that apply:

16-1-3-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.

16-1-4-a: The following shall apply to overtime games in the preseason and regular season ... There shall be a maximum of one 15-minute period, even if the second team has not has an opportunity to possess the ball or its initial possession not ended.  If the score is tied at the end of the period, the game shall result in a tie.

16-1-5-a: The following shall apply to overtime games in postseason ... 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.


To the best of my knowledge, there has never been a 15-minute drive in NFL history.  (The longest drive in NCAA history lasted 14 minutes and 26 seconds - Navy (of course) vs. New Mexico in the 2004 Emerald Bowl.)

Longest NFL drives by time, 1983-2016:
Plays-YardsStart TimeStart LOSResultScore 
before drive
Tennessee Oilers11/27/97Dallas13:2721-908:11 3QOwn 9Field Goal24-14W 27-14
N.Y. Giants1/14/01Minnesota12:5319-5312:53 4QOwn 20End of Game41-0W 41-0
New England12/12/82Miami12:4219-792:19 1QOwn 20Missed FG0-0W 3-0
Atlanta12/30/90Dallas12:3919-747:33 3QOwn 20Field Goal16-0W 26-7
Houston Oilers10/22/89Pittsburgh12:3317-7312:57 1QOwn 27Touchdown0-0W 27-0
L.A. Raiders11/18/84Kansas City12:3121-752:38 3QOwn 20Field Goal14-0W 17-7
Miami1/1/12N.Y. Jets12:2921-947:56 3QOwn 6Touchdown6-10W 19-17
Jacksonville9/21/08Indianapolis12:1818-8214:51 4QOwn 14Field Goal17-14W 23-21
San Francisco9/25/88Seattle12:1718-851:24 3QOwn 15Touchdown31-7W 38-7
Kansas City11/13/88Cincinnati12:1522-8714:12 2QOwn 8Field Goal6-7W 31-28
L.A. Raiders12/24/94Kansas City12:1422-864:16 1QOwn 2Field Goal0-7L 19-9
New England12/27/09Jacksonville12:1220-7312:41 4QOwn 20Downs35-7W 35-7
Atlanta10/13/85Seattle12:0719-894:11 1QOwn 3Field Goal0-7L 30-26
Minnesota11/3/85Detroit12:0719-799:18 1QOwn 12Field Goal0-3W 16-13
San Francisco12/30/02St. Louis12:0720-8115:00 1QOwn 18Field Goal0-0L 31-20
Cleveland12/27/15Kansas City12:0120-615:27 3QOwn 20Field Goal10-17L 17-13
Cincinnati12/16/01N.Y. Jets12:0020-8113:56 1QOwn 19Touchdown0-0L 15-14
Tampa Bay11/4/07Arizona11:5919-868:46 3QOwn 6Missed FG17-3W 17-10
Chicago11/20/94Detroit11:5420-7112:46 3QOwn 23Field Goal10-10W 20-10
Seattle10/11/09Jacksonville11:5316-5211:53 4QOwn 26End of Game41-0W 41-0
San Diego12/8/91Kansas City11:5218-8011:15 1QOwn 20Touchdown0-0L 20-17 (OT)
Oakland12/16/07Indianapolis11:4920-9914:55 2QOwn 1Touchdown0-10L 21-14
Jacksonville9/23/07Denver11:4418-809:53 1QOwn 20Touchdown0-0W 23-14
New Orleans11/20/88Denver11:4318-9714:50 4QOwn 3Touchdown35-0W 42-0
Houston Oilers9/12/93Kansas City11:4018-8010:33 1QOwn 20Touchdown0-0W 30-0
Minnesota9/21/08Carolina11:3419-755:41 3QOwn 11Field Goal17-10W 20-10
Atlanta11/3/91San Francisco11:3018-754:53 3QOwn 25Touchdown0-7W 17-14

Labels: , , , ,

Comments on "Reader Mail: Overtime and the Longest Drives in NFL History"


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (5:34 PM, November 09, 2014) : 

So would the team that kicked the field goal win? The rule does not answer that question


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9:05 PM, November 17, 2014) : 

The rule does answer the question. The FG team would win, there would be no second OT


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11:06 PM, November 29, 2015) : 

Did you not read anything? If the game is regular season then the game ends, if it is postseason then the second team gets a possession.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (7:04 AM, April 07, 2016) : 

I could swear I remember the Chargers playing the Dolphins in the 80's having a drive that was easily 13 plus minutes long, I do not see that here. Is my memory incorrect?


Blogger Travis said ... (5:59 PM, April 07, 2016) : 

The longest drive in any of the six Chargers-Dolphins games (including playoffs) in the 80's lasted 10 minutes, 6 seconds.

It was memorable in that:
1) the 1984 Dolphins were 11-0 at the time;
2) the drive began with the Chargers down 7 with 10:57 left in the 4th quarter and ended the Chargers scoring the tying touchdown with just 51 seconds left;
3) the Dolphins didn't have enough time to drive the field, missing a 44-yard field goal as regulation expired;
4) the Chargers won the toss in overtime and drove for the winning touchdown.


post a comment