The Kansas City Chiefs executed a perfect, Super Bowl winning drive to beat the San Francisco 49ers with only seconds left on the clock – but due to the NFL’s overtime rules, the clock actually didn’t matter at all.
Jim Nantz and Tony Romo remarked on the clock as it sped toward 0:00, but the Chiefs were never in any actual danger of running out of time.
Although overtime started with 10 minutes on the clock, the game wasn’t going to end when time expired. As referee Bill Vinovich noted during the OT coin toss, overtime is the start of a “new game,” not just a single period.
Unlike the regular season, the Chiefs’ first OT possession would have continued until it ended in either a score or a turnover. If the clock had expired, a new overtime “quarter” would begin.
The Chiefs had plenty of time and could have opted to let the clock expire and get a bit of a breather – but instead, Patrick Mahomes hit Mecole Hardman for a 3-yard game-winner.