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Many were confused as the seconds ticked away in Super Bowl LVIII overtime

Ardent football fans knew, or should have known, the Sunday night's Super Bowl wouldn't have ended at the conclusion of the first overtime period, if the 49ers were leading, 22-19. Many watching the game were confused by the situation.

The Chiefs had the ball. They were approaching the end zone. The clock was ticking toward zero. The Chiefs were not using timeouts.

For those who (like me) like chaos, it would have gotten a little nutty within Allegiant Stadium if the first overtime period had expired with the 49ers leading the game. Plenty of the many 49ers fans would have thought the game was over. And what if the person responsible for firing the confetti cannons had been under the same misimpression?

Frankly, anyone who works in football or covers it should have known that the game wasn't going to end at the end of the first overtime period. Plenty of casual, drive-by fans surely thought otherwise, as the clock tick-tick-ticked with OT on the score bug at the bottom of the screen.

In the regular season, there's one and only one overtime period. It lasts up to 10 minutes. If it ends with one team leading, that team wins. (It's possible for one team to be leading, since regular-season overtime guarantees a second possession if the first one concludes with only a field goal. Time could run out before the team that got the second possession is able to score.) If it ends with the score tied, it's a tie.

In the postseason, the end of the first overtime period doesn't end anything. From the rulebook: "If the score is tied at the end of a 15-minute overtime period, or if the second team’s initial possession has not ended, another overtime period will begin, and play will continue, regardless of how many 15-minute periods are necessary."

Some people who should have known the game didn't end at the end of the first overtime period apparently didn’t know. If the first overtime period had ended with the 49ers leading, it would have gotten confusing, for many.

Given that some 49ers players apparently didn't know about the unique postseason overtime rules, it's hard not to wonder whether they would have begun to celebrate before realizing that the game truly hadn't ended.

Now that we've seen a postseason game go to overtime under the rule that guarantees both teams a possession no matter what, hopefully everyone will know the next time that, at the end of the first overtime period, time is not of the essence.