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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Overtime is an additional period of play specified under the rules of a sport to bring the game to a decision and avoid declaring the contest a tie or draw. Some sports refer to additional tie-breaking periods as extra time.


Association football

In association football matches that require a clear winner (such as in elimination matches in the knockout stages of a tournament), if the score is tied at the end of the two standard playing periods (usually 45 minutes), two periods of extra time (usually 15 minutes) may be played. If the game is still tied after the second period, it is normally followed by a penalty shootout.

Alternatively, there may be penalty shootouts without extra time, or the extra time can be combined with the Golden Goal rule, a form of "sudden death" where the first team to score wins.

Very rarely, the Silver Goal rule may be employed. In this case, the second period of overtime is only played if the first still ended in a tie.

In some competitions, a replay may be used to determine the winner.

American and Canadian football

In professional American football, if the score is tied after regulation time has concluded, an additional 15-minute period is played. The captains meet with the officials for a coin toss, and then one side kicks off to the other, as at the start of a game. The first side to score by any means wins. In the regular season, if the overtime period is completed without either side scoring, the game ends in a draw. Because there cannot be a tie in the playoffs, the teams switch ends of the field and start additional 15-minute overtime periods until one side scores.

The NFL introduced overtime for the playoffs in 1941, and started in pre-season games in 1955. In 1974, the NFL adopted sudden death overtime for regular season games.

The now-defunct Arena Football League used a variant in which each team is guaranteed one possession. Whoever is leading after one possession wins the game; if the teams remain tied after one possession, the game goes to sudden death. This procedure will be used by the United Football League in its inaugural 2009 season.

The short-lived World Football League, for its inaugural 1974 season (the same year the NFL established sudden death in the regular season), used extra time (one full fifteen-minute quarter, divided into two halves).


College, high-school, and Canadian football

In college and high school football, as well as the Canadian Football League, an overtime procedure is used to determine the winner. This method is sometimes referred to as a "Kansas Playoff," or "Kansas Plan" because of its origins for high school football in that state. A brief summary of the rules:

  • A coin toss determines which side shall attempt to score first, and at which end zone the scores shall be attempted.
  • Each team in turn will receive one possession, starting with first-and-10 from a fixed point on the opponent's side of the field:
    • In college football, the possession begins at the opponent's 25-yard line.
    • In high school football, the ball begins at the 10-yard line, with the option for state high school associations to use different yardage (such as the 15, 20, or 25-yard line)
    • In the CFL, where a single point can be scored on a punt, the 35-yard line is used.
  • The game clock does not run during overtime; the play clock, however, is enforced.
  • A team's possession ends when it scores (touchdown or field goal), misses a field goal, fails to gain a first down on the final down, or loses the ball by turnover. As usual, a touchdown by the offense is followed by a try for one or two points. (In NCAA Football, teams must attempt a two-point conversion after a touchdown starting in the third overtime.)
  • In college football the defense may score on a play on which it gains possession by turnover. In high school football, the defense is generally not allowed to score if it gains possession, although the Oregon School Activities Association adopted the college rule experimentally in 2005, and the University Interscholastic League of Texas, the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools, and the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association use NCAA football rules.
  • Each team receives one charged time-out per overtime procedure (except in the CFL).
  • If the score remains tied at the end of the overtime procedure, an additional overtime procedure is played. The team with the second possession in one overtime procedure will have the first possession in the next overtime procedure.
  • In the CFL there is a limit of two overtime procedures in regular-season games (after which the game is a tie), but no limit in playoff games. In American college and high school football, the overtime procedures are continued until a winner is determined.

On two occasions, just two plays were required to determine an overtime winner in an NCAA football game. These occurred on September 26, 2002, when Louisville defeated Florida State 26-20, and September 27, 2003 when Georgia Tech defeated Vanderbilt 24-17.

It is possible for a college game to end after a single play in overtime if the team on defense secures a turnover and returns it for a touchdown. This occurred on September 9, 2005 when Ohio defeated Pittsburgh 16-10 on an 85 yard interception return by Dion Byrum. Furthermore, it is possible (but not likely) that the defense may get a safety on the first possession in overtime, thus ending the game after only one overtime play. This has never yet happened in FBS.

The short-lived XFL used a modified Kansas Playoff, where the series would start on the 20-yard line and have four downs to score. However, if the first team to play overtime scored a touchdown in less than four downs, the second team would have to score in just as many plays (for instance, if the first team scored a touchdown on three downs, the second team would only have three downs to score a touchdown). Neither team could kick a field goal until the fourth down. Rather than a coin toss, the winner of the opening scramble at the beginning of the game also got to choose to go first or second in overtime.


In basketball, if the score is tied at the end of regulation play, the teams play a five-minute overtime period. (In levels below collegiate/Olympic play, an overtime period is half the length of a standard quarter, i.e., four minutes for high school varsity.) The alternating possession rule is used to start all overtime periods.[1] The entire overtime period is played (there is no sudden-death provision). All counts of personal fouls against players are carried over for the purpose of disqualifying players. If the score remains tied after an overtime period, an additional overtime period is played.

As many as six overtime periods have been necessary to determine a winner in a National Basketball Association game. [1]

In exhibition games (non-competitive play), it is upon the discretion of the coaches and/or organizers if an overtime is to be played, especially if it is a non-tournament game (a one-off event).

Ice hockey

In ice hockey, if the score is tied at the end of regulation play, certain leagues play overtime.

  • NHL (regular season): If a game is tied after regulation time (three 20-minute periods), the teams play in a sudden death 5-minute overtime period, with a goaltender and four skaters per side (as opposed to the standard five). If nobody scores in the overtime period, the teams engage in a "penalty shootout" where 3 skaters, selected by the head coaches on the teams, go one-on-one against the opposing goaltender, taking the puck at center ice for a "penalty shot." If the shootout remains tied after the initial 3 rounds, the shootout continues in a sudden-death fashion. The greatest number of shooters in a single shootout was 30 during a game between the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals. Rangers defensemen Marek Malik gave New York a 3-2 shootout and game victory on a trick move.

The 5-minute overtime period was introduced for regular season games beginning with the 1983-84 NHL season, but with teams at full strength on the ice. Overtime in the regular season was reduced to four skaters a side starting in the 1999-2000 season. The "shootout" was introduced for the 2005-06 NHL regular season.

  • NHL (post-season): Following an intermission, an additional full 20-minute period is played. Teams remain at full strength unless this is affected by penalties during the third period. A goal ends the game in sudden death; if neither team scores, another intermission is taken, followed by an additional overtime period. The teams change ends of the ice for each period. This has made for lengthy games in the history of the NHL playoffs, with some games going as far as five or six overtimes before the deciding goal is scored.
  • NCAA (regular season): If a game is tied at the end of regulation, the teams play a sudden-death 5-minute overtime. Both teams play at full strength, unless affected by penalties. If neither team scores during overtime, the game ends in a tie.
  • NCAA (in-season tournaments): For tournaments held during the season (such as the Beanpot and Great Lakes Invitational), in which advancement or determination of a champion is necessary, organizers have the option of either using the post-season overtime procedure or using the regular-season procedure followed by a penalty shootout. Statistics from a shootout are not counted by the NCAA, and a game decided by a shootout is considered a tie for NCAA tournament selection purposes.
  • NCAA (post-season): Same as the NHL overtime procedure above, except that all overtimes are played with the teams defending the same ends as for the third period. Games decided in overtime are considered wins or losses rather than ties, regardless of how many overtimes are played.
  • International (round robin): As of the 2007 IIHF World Championships, the IIHF instituted the "three point rule", which not only awarded the winning team three points for a regulation win, but awarded them two points for a win in a 5 minute overtime period or a Game Winning Shot (shootout). Games in IIHF round robins can therefore no longer end in a tie. In the World Cup of Hockey in 2004, the NHL's tiebreaking procedure at the time was followed: there was a five-minute sudden death period at four skaters per side, and if the score remained tied after the overtime period, it stood as a tie. The game between Sweden and Finland ended in a 4-4 tie after 65 minutes.
  • International (medal rounds): Various tiebreaking procedures have been used for international tournaments, with all of them save one (World Cup of Hockey 2004) following a common theme: one period varying in length of sudden-death overtime followed by a shootout of five skaters per side (as opposed to the NHL's three skaters per side). The length of the overtime period has varied between 5, 10, and 20 minutes, and 5-on-5 and 4-on-4 formats have been used. The most recent format used was at the 2010 Olympics (particularly in the gold medal game); there were 20 minutes of 4-on-4 followed by a shootout. In 2006, it was 20 minutes of 5-on-5. All men's games ended in regulation during the medal rounds, while the women's semifinal between the United States and Sweden required a shootout to determine the winner. At the World Cup of Hockey in 2004, the NHL's postseason tiebreaking procedure was used (indefinite 20-minute periods of 5-on-5 until a goal is scored). The only overtime game in the playoff round was the semifinal between the Czech Republic and Canada. Canada won 4-3 with a goal 2 minutes and 16 seconds into the first overtime period.

As many as six overtime periods have been necessary to determine a winner in the NHL.

Team handball

  • When a tie needs to be broken in team handball, an overtime period of 2x5 minutes is played. If the teams are still tied after that, another overtime period of 2x5 minutes is played.
  • If the teams are still tied after the latter period, there takes place a penalty shootout.


Baseball is unique among the popular North American team sports in that it does not use a game clock. However, if nine innings are complete and the score is even, the game continues for as many extra innings as are needed to determine a winner. The only exception to this is in Nippon Professional Baseball, where the game ends in a draw after 12 innings if the score is tied.

Rugby league

Rugby league football games in some competitions are decided using overtime systems if they are tied at full time (80 minutes). One overtime system is golden point, a system in which any score (try, penalty goal, or field goal) by a team immediately wins the game. The format most commonly used entails a five minute period of golden point, after which the teams switch ends and play begins again, not stopping until points are scored.

Longest games



American football

  • Five National Football League playoff games have gone into a second overtime, the longest being an AFC divisional playoff game on December 25, 1971. The Miami Dolphins defeated the Kansas City Chiefs, 27-24 at 7:40 into the second overtime (at 82:40 of total play, the longest game in NFL history). The most recent 2OT NFL game came in an NFC divisional playoff game on January 10, 2004, with the Carolina Panthers defeating the St. Louis Rams 29-23 in the first play of the second overtime, on a long touchdown pass.
  • Collegiate (NCAA Division I FBS, formerly Division I-A) - The Arkansas Razorbacks hold the record for the most longest overtimes college football games. On November 3, 2001, Arkansas beat the Mississippi (Ole Miss) Rebels 58-56 in seven overtimes; the game had been tied 17-17 after four quarters. On November 1, 2003, Arkansas beat the Kentucky Wildcats 71-63, also in seven overtimes; the score was tied 24-24 at the end of regulation play.Further in 2006 FIU and North Texas tied the seven overtime record.

Ice Hockey

See also


  1. ^ Official Basketball Rules, Article 12.3


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