Blog Entry

NFL Tiebreaking Rules and Procedures Discussion

Posted on: January 3, 2012 1:51 am
 

Due to incredible demand (okay...maybe it's just a few vocal individuals)...I'd like to float this blog entry to discuss NFL Tiebreaking Rules and Procedures.

Discussion topics should include:

- Any questions on the Rules and how they are applied in figuring out NFL scenarios prior to the end of the regular season (my job for last 18 seasons)

- Historical Anecdotes on NFL Tiebreaking Rules and past examples of the application of the Rules on Prior seasons

- Potential ways for the NFL to improve the Tiebreaker Rules

- Why can't we all just get along?  (kidding...sort of)

- Anything else that comes up NFL Tiebreaker, Draft order, Scheduling Formula related


Hopefully we'll get our regulars here along with some new voices to chime in...and I will check here as often as possible to answer any questions directed at me.


Let the party begin!!! 

 

Comments

Since: Jan 8, 2010
Posted on: January 8, 2012 12:50 am
 

NFL Tiebreaking Rules and Procedures Discussion

LOL.  I had this exact same satirical idea regarding the flags.  But you took it to the next level and broke it down by type of penalty.  Nice going!
 



Since: Nov 21, 2011
Posted on: January 8, 2012 12:07 am
 

NFL Tiebreaking Rules and Procedures Discussion

Hahaha, the odds here are getting, may I say, slightly unfavorable. My latest idea is to forgo the system entirely and use this:
1. Team with the least number of flags for hits to defenseless receivers
2. Team with the least number of flags for roughing the passer
3. Team with the least number of flags for unsportsmanlike conduct
4. Team with the least number of complaints to the officials about throwing said flags
5. Team with, as voted on by officials, the "dirtiest reputation"
6. Coin flip, with a picture of Ndamukong Suh on heads and a picture of James Harrison on tails
The NTFL (National Touch Football League, formerly known as the NFL) would probably like this system. 



Since: Jan 8, 2010
Posted on: January 7, 2012 11:48 pm
 

NFL Tiebreaking Rules and Procedures Discussion

One a side note, for the probablity of the coin flip method not yielding a winner to be less than 1/googol those 3 clubs would have to flip their coins 165 consecutive times without a winner. (a very unlikely occurence)  If there are 4 clubs, it takes 329 consecutive flips without a winner to be more remote than 1/googol.  If the representatives flipped their coins once every 10 seconds it would take less than 1 hour for them to reach probabilities less than 1/googol of the coin flip method failing to yield a winner.  

-Cheers
-Jerry 



Since: Jan 8, 2010
Posted on: January 7, 2012 11:25 pm
 

NFL Tiebreaking Rules and Procedures Discussion

Here's my just kidding response:

How about a 12-sided die.  Otherwise known as a dodecahedron.  What's nice about that is it's evenly divisable by 4 or 3.  Clubs would take turns choosing numbers on the die until all 12 numbers are claimed.  Then one roll of the dice determines the winner.  If a 5th team is ever added to a division or a 5th division is added to a conference such that a 5-way coin flip is ever needed we could then use a 20-sided die otherwise known as an icosahedron.  If the league evolves to the point where a 6-way tie is possible then we are back to using a dodecahedron.
 
Cool
-Cheers
-Jerry 



Since: Nov 21, 2011
Posted on: January 7, 2012 10:56 pm
 

NFL Tiebreaking Rules and Procedures Discussion

Jerry, I like your second idea a lot, but I think that if you take the step from theoretical easiest path to practical easiest path, teams ought to choose. Record often doesn't determine how good the team is, obviously. On the issue of coin flips, if we are dealing with those minuscule odds, then the possibility of an infinite number of HHH or TTT flips is there. Any thoughts on how to settle that? (just kidding...sort of)



Since: Jan 8, 2010
Posted on: January 7, 2012 9:47 pm
 

NFL Tiebreaking Rules and Procedures Discussion

nygsb42,

I do see merit to your concept.  The principal, "In Theory" behind seeding teams for the postseason is so that the top seeded team is rewarded with the easiest path to the superbowl with the lowest seeded having the most difficult path to the superbowl.  You make a great argument for this not being the case with New England Patriots potentially facing the Pittsburgh Steelers

Allow me to float a similar concept with less subjectivity.  Simply re-seed all post-season survivors after each playoff round has been played.
Although this could create for some crazy scenarios where no team has locked up home-field advantage throughout or for the possibility of a bye winner having it's first game on the road.

Another possibility would be to simply re-seed the surviving teams that played in each playoff round.  This would necessarily preserve at least one home game for each of the division winners, most importantly the bye winners.  If the league ever adopted a system of re-seeding then there would be the question of whether or not to include the results of the playoff games in the records for reseeding, since including those games could potentially complete a round robin, alter common games records, or effect SOV and SOS.

Also, great insight on the coin flip landing on its side.  I've appended the to address coins landing on their side.


-Cheers
-Jerry 



Since: Nov 21, 2011
Posted on: January 7, 2012 8:02 pm
 

NFL Tiebreaking Rules and Procedures Discussion

Off topic to the tiebreaker work, I wanted to float two ideas of mine that I haven't remembered to mention over the last few weeks, involving the playoff system. I've thought that it might make sense to let the best seed in a given round SELECT their opponent. I remember situations in the past where a team winning in the final week would match them up against a tougher team, and that spawned my idea originally. For an example of the repercussions of this, lets use this year's playoff teams. In the AFC, Houston would've had a choice between Pittsburgh and Cincy (a divison winning benefit would be you cannot be "selected" by the 3 seed). They would obviously choose Cincy, and dispose of them as they just did. Now, lets say the Steelers beat Denver (which they should unless Tebow summons God). New England would certainly choose Houston over Pittsburgh. This means that, although the lower high seed (3) has less power over their opponent the highest seeded team gets highest priority (as they should). Thus, a team winning can never hurt them. It's a bit out there, but thoughts?

Also, on the topic of winning never hurting, I also had a bit of a nutty idea for draft order. How about using W/L/T % for all games UNTIL a team is eliminated from playoff contention. Sure, I know there would be cases where teams have unfairly good or bad position based on bad divisions or holding no tiebreakers, but it actually seems better to me than when I first envisioned it. Avoided would be the Indy vs. Jacksonville phenomenon where JAX shot themselves in the foot for the next 10 years by WINNING of all things. Under this nutty system of mine, winning meaningless games could never hurt you. Thoughts?



Since: Jan 8, 2010
Posted on: January 7, 2012 4:17 pm
 

NFL Tiebreaking Rules and Procedures Discussion

agn,

So I guees the debating on Jerry's unemployment project is over.
This procedure update is secondary charity work compared to my real entrepreneurial work
.

See you guys next year, same time, same procedure.
Such Pessimism.  Complacency is not an option.  Adios agn..  


-Cheers
-Jerry 



Since: Jan 8, 2010
Posted on: January 7, 2012 4:06 pm
 

NFL Tiebreaking Rules and Procedures Discussion

agn,

Really, than how that sit with the esthetics of what you wrote here:
I choose clause-initial there since the clause of A. is dependent on the predicate, and A, B and C serve as a reminder to the reader what the three valid uses are of the numbered steps, so I kept A, B and C as clause-initial.

If you really have a hard-on for having clause-initital everywhere, then the numbered steps would like messy like this:
  1. If a group of one or more clubs has each defeated or each lost to each of the remaining group of clubs, apply head-to-head sweep.
  2. If each tied club has played each other tied club, apply best combined head-to-head record among tied clubs.
  3. If all tied clubs from same division, apply best record in games played within the division.
  4. If all tied clubs from same division, apply best record in common games.
  5. Best record in games played within the conference.
  6. If tied clubs from multiple divisions, and if each club has played a minimum of 4 games among common opponents, apply best record in common games.
  7. Strength of victory.
  8. Strength of schedule.
  9. Best combined conference ranking among all games in points scored and points allowed.
  10. Best combined league ranking among all games in points scored and points allowed.
  11. If all tied clubs are from same division, apply best net points in common games.
  12. If tied clubs from multiple divisions, apply best net points in conference games.
  13. Best net points in all games.
  14. Best net touchdowns in all games.
  15. Coin toss.
I think most would agree, that it looks most attractive to have the numbered steps as all clause-final.

-Cheers
-Jerry

 



Since: Dec 27, 2006
Posted on: January 7, 2012 2:25 pm
 

NFL Tiebreaking Rules and Procedures Discussion

I'm keeping the if-clause as clause-final to maintain the aesthetic consistency with the other steps
Really, than how that sit with the esthetics of what you wrote here:



A. If breaking ties to determine division ranking, include only clubs within that division.
B. If breaking ties to determine the seeding of the division leaders, exclude all non-division-champions.
C. If breaking ties to determine wild-card participants, eliminate all but the highest ranked non-division-champion in each division by referring to the previously determined division rankings.


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com