Bills vs. Chiefs proves once again that NFL overtime rules aren't as fair as college

    Tom Brady of the New England Patriots after his team's overtime victory over the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI in 2017. The Falcons offense never took the field in OT.

    (CNN)Millions of Americans tuned into one of the most epic NFL playoff games of all time Sunday. Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes each led amazing last-second drives before a field goal forced the game into overtime.

    Once there, however, only Mahomes got to control the ball. Why?
    His team won the coin toss, received the ball and scored a touchdown. That meant the end of the game, and the end of Buffalo's season.
      Is that fair? A lot of fans believe that both teams should get the ball at least once in overtime like in college football. Indeed, a look at the statistics indicates that college football, especially in the playoffs, likely has a more equitable system for deciding overtime outcomes.
        The college system for overtime starts with a simple premise: Each team, regardless who wins the overtime coin toss, gets a chance to go on offense from the other team's 25 yard-line in the first overtime. (After the first overtime the rules do get somewhat more complicated.) 
        The team that wins the toss usually decides to go on defense first because they can know if the other team scored a touchdown or a field goal or failed to score. Based on that, the team that goes second can choose to be more or less aggressive when they get on offense. 
        It turns out, though, there hasn't been a statistical advantage to going second since 2013. According to data from Oklahoma State's Rick Wilson, a professor at the Spears School of Business, and my digging through box scores from Sports Reference, there have been nearly 300 overtime games involving Division I Football Bowl Subdivision teams from 2013-2021.
          The team that has received the ball second has won 49.7% of the time since 2013, or right about 50% of the time. In other words, there has not been an advantage to going second.   
          This year the statistics continue to show no advantage for the team that goes second. In fact, they have lost four more times than they have won in Sports Reference data. That's notable because the rules were adjusted this past season, if no team leads after the first overtime. (Read here for more on that rule change.)
          It's tough to be fairer than 50/50 in overtime. Yet, there have been some people in the past who argued that the college system isn't as fair as these stats make it out to be. You can see this in a widely shared tweet from former NFL player and now analyst Ross Tucker, this Ringer article from 2017, and a fairly cited Reddit thread on the fairness of the college overtime system. 
          I actually agreed with these folks before I looked at the most recent data. What seems to have happened is that there may have been a sl