Imagine being Aaron Boone, and hitting a home run in the bottom of the 11th inning during the 2003 ALCS. Instinctively you start jumping, but then you remember that baseball has just implemented new rules for extra innings in the playoffs, and in the odd-numbered innings you have to win by two runs.
Or maybe it’s the even-numbered innings. You’re not sure, so you run around gleefully anyway, and you have no idea if you’ve actually just hit the most important and clutch home run of your career.
That’s admittedly an absurd hypothetical example. But the tweet below isn’t. Last night for at least a few fleeting seconds after he ran 80 yards to the end zone on the first play of overtime, Demaryius Thomas didn’t know the game was over.
The league’s new playoff overtime rules were first conceived two years ago, and were in play during last year’s playoffs, but they weren’t used because no game needed extra time. The quickest and most simplistic way of explaining the rules is this: each team gets an opportunity to posses the ball once, unless the first team with possession scores a touchdown.
Essentially, the new OT rules create a race to six points, with a field goal on the opening drive leading to a second possession. But it’s just that one simple line–the one that’s bolded and in nice, big letters–that matters.
Even if it’s been drilled into the players’ heads, the format is still new, so some confusion during live game action is understandable. But for a moment Thomas still had no idea he’d scored the biggest touchdown of his career. That sucks.