Blog Entry

WEEK 15 PLAYOFF SCENARIOS

Posted on: December 13, 2011 1:20 am
 

Week 14 brought us some separation as the top teams in the AFC (NE, BAL, HOU, PIT) all won and the Jets grabbed a Wild Card spot for now with a badly needed win since all 5 of NYJ's losses are conference losses.  And then there's DEN-BOW.  Seriously?  This story just keeps on getting more and more incredible each week!

On the NFC side, NYG pulled out a huge late win at DAL and secured the lead in the NFC East (DAL could have clinched division title in wk 15 if they had won).  GB and NO continued their positive push forward with NO gaining a playoff berth and GB getting a first round bye, but the field goal happy 49ers stumbled against ARI.  DET and ATL kept up their Wild Card positions, but the Tebow-ed CHI squad is now on the outside looking in.

Playoff clinching scenarios for Week 15 are below.  Looked at DET and ATL potential clinching scenarios, but since both teams are playing AFC opponents they could still end up with 6-6 conference records (not typical for playoff teams) and DET can still be caught by CHI and lost to ATL H2H and ATL lost to CHI H2H...both teams have to wait at least another week for playoff qualification.

Also...since the only scenario keeping PIT from having already clinched a playoff berth is a PIT-TEN-DEN Wild Card tie at 10-6 that goes to Strength of Victory, we looked at whether any combination of game results during Wk 15 could clinch that SOV for PIT and there is none.  So PIT must rely on the scenarios below.

Joe

AFC PLAYOFF PICTURE

Clinched: HOUSTON (AFC South Champ)
Eliminated: IND (Wk 12), JAC (Wk 13), BUF (Wk 14), CLE (Wk 14), MIA (Wk 14)  

NEW ENGLAND clinches division title with:
1) WIN
2) TIE + NYJ loss/tie
3) NYJ loss

NEW ENGLAND clinches playoff berth with:
1) TIE
2) CIN loss/tie + TEN loss/tie + OAK loss/tie

BALTIMORE clinches playoff berth with:
1) WIN or TIE
2) NYJ loss + TEN loss/tie
3) NYJ loss + OAK loss/tie
4) TEN loss/tie + OAK loss/tie

PITTSBURGH clinches playoff berth with:
1) WIN or TIE
2) NYJ loss
3) TEN loss/tie
4) OAK loss/tie
5) DEN loss

NFC PLAYOFF PICTURE

Clinched: GREEN BAY (NFC North Champ + 1st Round Playoff Bye), SAN FRANCISCO (NFC West Champ), NEW ORLEANS (Playoff)
Eliminated: MIN (Wk 12), STL (Wk 12), CAR (Wk 14), TB (Wk 14), WAS (Wk 14) 

GREEN BAY clinches home-field advantage with:
1) WIN or TIE
2) SF loss/tie

NEW ORLEANS clinches division title with:
1) WIN + ATL loss/tie
2) TIE + ATL loss

Comments

Since: Dec 26, 2009
Posted on: December 16, 2011 2:44 pm
 

WEEK 15 PLAYOFF SCENARIOS

Noob: we are both right. It would definitely be theoretical, but the theoretical discussion applies to the general tiebreaker discussion.
Of course, 90% of the posts here are highly theoretical. And that's the beauty of these threads here. But the practical consequence for such potential rule change, would be to implement an additional step that in 99pointsomething percent of all seasons would never come to effect. But that has to be checked in 99pointsomething percent of all seasons. Bad value imho.

And btw, for the heck of it, I would say its more than once in a lifetime. Ties happen every few years; so every few ties should affect a playoff race. Every few affected playoff races should come down to h2h, so I'd say every 40 years or so. But I think I might lose the POV tiebreak cause it's a weak SoA!
Here is the thing. The one tie happening every few years alone isn't enough. For a 3-way tie including 3 or 4 teams, you need at least 2 ties in the very same season. Otherwise no 3 or even 4 teams can share the same overall record. ;)

So let's say if there is one tie in every 5 years in average, then the chances are 1 in 25 years to have two ties the very same season.

Additionally, you need the two ties to happen exactly in the three game subset of all 256 games, in which the 3 tied teams are involved. That's 1 in every 95.880 seasons with two ties.

So a grand total of 1 in every 2.4 million seasons. Good luck with that! :)



Since: Dec 27, 2006
Posted on: December 16, 2011 2:16 pm
 

WEEK 15 PLAYOFF SCENARIOS

The only somewhat likely scenario would be two teams at 2-1 and two teams at 1-2. In that case the two teams at 1-2 should be eliminated imho, barring the chance, that they advance on a maybe better conference record later.
@ noob

I'm presuming you mean that two teams with 1-2 H2H record should be restricted ultimately to 3rd and 4th seed in this scenario? perhaps that is how it should be, but would you agree that it isn't guaranteed in the current procedure?


@ brett

Joe, perhaps the question for Elias was not phrased the way we are thinking it would be phrased - thus the answer to the question may not be the answer we were expecting?  We are all in agreement that 1-0-1, 1-1-0, and 0-1-1 does not constitute a sweep. But, we also thought that common practice was to apply head-to-head tiebreaker if there is a complete set of head-to-head games (in the same way that head-to-head is applied in multi-team division tiebreakers when there is no sweep). Further clarification on this would be appreciated.
Yeah. I thought that Joe had said that this would constitue a "sweep" under principal applied in the division, because everybody played each other, and that Elias has agreed with Joe.

can you find the quotes from last year on this, brett, I can't .



Since: Nov 21, 2011
Posted on: December 16, 2011 1:59 pm
 

WEEK 15 PLAYOFF SCENARIOS

Noob: we are both right. It would definitely be theoretical, but the theoretical discussion applies to the general tiebreaker discussion. And btw, for the heck of it, I would say its more than once in a lifetime. Ties happen every few years; so every few ties should affect a playoff race. Every few affected playoff races should come down to h2h, so I'd say every 40 years or so. But I think I might lose the POV tiebreak cause it's a weak SoA!



Since: Dec 27, 2006
Posted on: December 16, 2011 1:57 pm
 

WEEK 15 PLAYOFF SCENARIOS

Then do we bring KC back into the 3-team tiebreak after DEN is seeded 1st?  Because, following your argument, I believe we must, as they are still tied at 8-8 in *overall* WLT. 
Yes.

That has always been the way, by the wording that has been there for many years (Pt 1 of the "OT-BP")
1. Only one club advances to the playoffs in any tie-breaking step. Remaining tied clubs revert to the first step of the applicable division or Wild Card tie-breakers.
What was also clear was what happened when TWO clubs were eliminated from a 4-way TB. We Revert to 2-team TB, by the "Note" under the 3 or more team process for Division up until 2010:
(Note: If two clubs remain tied after a third club is eliminated during any step, tiebreaker reverts to Step 1 of the two-club format.)
or, in the 2nd sentence of Pt 1 of the "OT-BP"):
As an example, if two clubs remain tied in any tie-breaker step after all other clubs have been eliminated, the procedure reverts to Step 1 of the two-club format to determine the winner.

What was never formally clear, although by Joe's and nflrules assertion (generally agreed upon here over the years) was what happend in a 4-way tie when one and only one team was eliminated. neither of the notes I cited above clearly adressed this.

Only this year, with the revison of the "note" at the start of the 3 or more division tie-break procedure, and the addition of a brand new note under the Wild card 3 or more TB, do we have clear dirwection that a 4-way tie "reverts" to 3-way when one and only one club is eliminated at a particular step:

(Note: If two clubs remain tied after one or more clubs are eliminated during any step, tie-breaker re-starts at Step One of two-club format. If three clubs remain tied after a fourth club is eliminated during any step, tie-breaker re-starts at Step One [Step Two in the Wild Card note] of three-club format.)


 




Since: Dec 26, 2009
Posted on: December 16, 2011 1:20 pm
 

WEEK 15 PLAYOFF SCENARIOS

Noob: what we were kind of saying was that step 2 could become h2h record if each team played all others, and step 3 could be h2h sweep (wins only) so your situation would not result in anyone winning the tiebreaker on h2h.

Ok, right, but then the subject is highly theoretical.

In a 3-way tie, if you have one team at 2-0, it does not matter if the other two teams played each other. So the only time such rule would come into effect, would be a tied game among the three. But what's the probability for that, more or less than once in a lifetime?

In a 4-way tie, if you have one team at 3-0, it also does not matter if you have a full set of games. Again, you need a tie among the teams. Ok, it's 6 instead of 3 games then. But still, what's the probability for that then, more or less than twice in a lifetime?

The only somewhat likely scenario would be two teams at 2-1 and two teams at 1-2. In that case the two teams at 1-2 should be eliminated imho, barring the chance, that they advance on a maybe better conference record later.

But then, how likely is a full set of games in 4-way tie anyway. Imho that can only happen, if all four teams finished on the same spot in the season before. Again, once in a lifetime imho.





Since: Dec 12, 2006
Posted on: December 16, 2011 12:26 pm
 

WEEK 15 PLAYOFF SCENARIOS

THREE OR MORE CLUBS
(Note: If two clubs remain tied after one or more clubs are eliminated during any step, tie-breaker re-starts at Step One of two-club format. If three clubs remain tied after a fourth club is eliminated during any step, tie-breaker re-starts at Step Two of three-club format.)


The language in bold was added for clarity after discussing this with the League (and following up to our discussion here...congrats...you helped changed NFL official rules!). 


Joe, when we were discussing this subject last year, we brought up that this has ALWAYS been the practice.  We can take this principle all the way back to a clarification the League made in 1971 (I think I brought this up last year) when the by-laws stated the following:

"In the case of ties involving more than two teams, whenever a team is eliminated from consideration by any of the prescribed procedures, all tie-breaking procedures are again applied, in order, to the teams remaining in contention."

Also, during the 1978-1990 era when we didn't break ties in the division first before applying WC tiebreakers, I remember looking at many potential 4-way, 5-way, 6-way, and 7-way ties for the Wildcard and whenever the composition of the group changed (usually one or more clubs would drop out on conference record), the remaining clubs would start over at Step 1 of the two- or three-club format. 

We had potential four-way ties going into the final week in 2004 (BUF/BAL/JAC/DEN) and 2009 (NYJ/BAL/HOU/DEN) and in particular in 2009 there was some confusion as to whether one should move NYJ/BAL/DEN to the next step or start over from the top after HOU dropped out on conference record, (although the end result would have been the same since there was no H2H sweep among NYJ/BAL/DEN).  It's good that the clarification was made in the new official language to avoid in the future any chaos and confusion that may result from media and fans of the involved teams.  Thanks to all for making this clarification possible! 

I'm sure my buddy NFLrules can pull out exactly when we made changes since he tracks this stuff nicely...but I think this is pretty clear.  Bottom line...WHEN IN DOUBT...ALWAYS REVERT!!


The "Other Tie-Breaking Procedures" first appeared in 1992.  The sentence that reads, "As an example, if two clubs remain tied in any tie-breaking step after all other clubs have been eliminated..." was added in 1994. 

2. Head-to-head sweep. (Applicable only if one club has defeated each of the others or if one club has lost to each of the others.)
I do think the League would need to officially weigh in...but when I asked them and Elias Sports Bureau about this last year, they clearly thought it had to be a SWEEP including all WINS ("defeated") or LOSSES ("lost to") based on the quoted language.  This would preclude a team from winning a Wild Card tiebreaking step with a 1-0-1 record H2H vs. 1-1 and 0-1-1 for two other tied clubs.


Joe, I've been reading this discussion that began last year or maybe even the year before regarding H2H sweeps.  As far as I have researched this subject, historically in order for H2H sweep to apply, one club must win all of its games with all others in the set or a club that loses all of its games with all others in the set is eliminated.  I had looked at a 1972 League press release which clarified the 1st tiebreaker for conference/wildcard tiebreakers, "Best percentage in head-to-head competition, when applicable" which also added:  "This is applicable in a three-way tie only if one club beat both others or one club lost to both others."  No ties were to be included.  If there was no sweep, we just moved on to conference record.



Since: Dec 18, 2008
Posted on: December 16, 2011 12:23 pm
 

WEEK 15 PLAYOFF SCENARIOS

Vito, thanks for updating my common games table!

Eejones, I agree with you. That was my understanding based on communication with Joe over the years. If Elias is saying something different now, then I guess with we have to go with Elias.

Joe, perhaps the question for Elias was not phrased the way we are thinking it would be phrased - thus the answer to the question may not be the answer we were expecting?  We are all in agreement that 1-0-1, 1-1-0, and 0-1-1 does not constitute a sweep. But, we also thought that common practice was to apply head-to-head tiebreaker if there is a complete set of head-to-head games (in the same way that head-to-head is applied in multi-team division tiebreakers when there is no sweep). Further clarification on this would be appreciated.

Brett




Since: Dec 18, 2008
Posted on: December 16, 2011 12:13 pm
 

WEEK 15 PLAYOFF SCENARIOS

Dave, this is what I have in my proceure itself.

At a given tiebreaking step,

a)  If a winner cannot be determined, all teams not tied for the best record are eliminated.

b)  If one or more teams are eliminated, the procedure reverts to Head-to-Head record.

c)  If no teams are eliminated, the procedure advances to the next step.

ALTERNATE WORDING (more conscise, but perhaps less clear)

Note for multi-team ties:  If, at any step, one or more teams are eliminated but others remain tied, the procedure reverts to Head-to-Head record.

Maybe I am still taking for granted that "eliminated" means "eliminated from this application of the procedure". But I hope that my "special cases" section clearly communicates that all "eliminated" teams are re-eligible in subsequent applications of the procedure.

Let me know what you think! Anyone can weigh in on this.





Since: Dec 18, 2008
Posted on: December 16, 2011 12:02 pm
 

WEEK 15 PLAYOFF SCENARIOS

dave,

I think before weighing the "Combined Raucousness of Supporters/Detractors?", there should be a step for "# of Supporters - # of detractors". If there are 3 tied point of views, each person could be a detractor of 0 to 3 PoV but a supporter of only 0 or 1.

I love considering hypothetical scenarios - that used to be almost all that I would do. In your scenario, it's pretty cut and dry what the practice is. According to your lingo..."we only promote" is the correct answer. Side note: before SoV between Oak-Den, conference records would need to be compared.

I actually have my own written version of the tiebreaking procedure. In it, I have a paragraph specifically detailing the procedure for 3 more teams tied in the same division. I have it coupled with the procedure for three or more teams tied for two wildcard spots so as to keep the two notions separate from each other.

I WOULD GREATLY APPRECIATE YOUR FEEDBACK on the clarity of my explanations. Also, let me know if it would in fact eliminate the "promotion vs. elimination" ambiguity. (If it doesn't eliminate that ambiguity, then I do have additional language in the procedure itself that I hope would.)


Special Tiebreaking Cases

 

1)  Multi-Team Divisional Ties:

Only one team is ranked within its division per application of the procedure; after the highest ranking team is determined from a group of tied teams, the procedure is applied a second time with the remaining unranked teams to determine the next highest ranking (and so forth until all tied teams are ranked within their division).

 

2)  Three or More Teams Tied for Two Wildcard Spots:

Only one wildcard team is determined per application of the procedure; after the first wildcard team is determined, the procedure is applied a second time with the highest ranking (non-division winning) team from each division, but excluding the first wildcard winner.













Since: Dec 16, 2008
Posted on: December 16, 2011 11:51 am
 

WEEK 15 PLAYOFF SCENARIOS

agn:

I believe I understand your point, and I accept that it has been done that way historically, but I am unconvinced the wording is as tight as you believe.

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but you are basing your statement on OTB #1, sentence 2: "Remaining tied clubs revert to the first step..."

What I'm interested in exploring is that the 4th-place club at that step is no longer "tied," as there is a definitive gap between the club in 4th and the rest.

Further support for your side of the argument is in OTB #1, final sentence: "When one club wins...all other clubs revert..."

which presents another interesting dilemma.  Revising my previous scenario, let's say that SD went 4-4 in CG instead of 5-3.  Then we eliminate KC on CGs (3-5), and DEN wins on H2H (3-1) upon reversion without KC.  Then do we bring KC back into the 3-team tiebreak after DEN is seeded 1st?  Because, following your argument, I believe we must, as they are still tied at 8-8 in *overall* WLT.  Subsequently, SD holds H2H (which they would not if KC were left out - it would fall to SD/OAK SoV), and OAK holds CG over KC - DEN-SD-OAK-KC.

By this mechanism, SD uses KC to leap over OAK, even if OAK holds SoV over SD and KC was eliminated in a previous implementation of the tiebreak.  (Visualizes Raider fans pillaging NFL headquarters over this...)



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