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49ers players unaware of Super Bowl overtime rules

The San Francisco 49ers have faced criticism in the wake of their 25-22 Super Bowl loss to the Kansas City Chiefs for head coach Kyle Shanahan's choice to to receive the ball in overtime after winning the toss, while a number of their players admitted they were not aware of play-off overtime rules that allowed both teams to possess the ball.

Sunday's Super Bowl in Las Vegas was only the second to go to overtime and the first to fall under a March 2022 rule change which eliminated the chance of a team winning the game outright on the first possession of the extra period with a touchdown.

"I didn't even know about the new play-off overtime rule, so it was a surprise to me," 49ers defensive lineman Arik Armstead said after the game. "I didn't even really know what was going on in terms of that."

After winning the overtime coin toss, the 49ers marched down the field before settling for a 27-yard field goal and a 22-19 lead.

But the Chiefs responded with a 75-yard drive that Patrick Mahomes capped with a three-yard touchdown pass to Mecole Hardman that secured the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

The @Chiefs' play call to win #SBLVIII?

"Trips right bunch f shuttle, Tom and Jerry right yellow." (via @NFLFilms)

In the regular season, if the team that gets the ball first in overtime scores a touchdown on the opening possession, they win.

"You know what? I didn't even realise the play-off rules were different in overtime. I assume you just want the ball to score a touchdown and win," 49ers fullback Kyle Juszczyk said afterwards. "I guess that's not the case. I don't totally know the strategy there. We hadn't talked about it, no."

The NFL's overtime rules came under fire in January 2022 after the Buffalo Bills'