Play Fantasy The Most Award Winning Fantasy game with real time scoring, top expert analysis, custom settings, and more. Play Now
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 6, 2012 4:44 pm
 

NFL Tiebreaking Rules and Procedures Discussion

Alright back to being serious.

Regarding common games and conference games, the "Best net points.. " steps are so far down the tiebreaking list, it is probably not worth having separate philosophies on how to apply best net points.  

Could we survive with just:

Best net points in all games 

Even if we were to remove Best net points in common games and Best net points in conference games, you'd probably still never get to the coin flip since the probability of still being tied down to the coin flip is probably more remote than 1 in a googol.

Any thoughts? 


-Cheers
-Jerry 



Since: Jan 8, 2010
Posted on: January 6, 2012 4:28 pm
 

NFL Tiebreaking Rules and Procedures Discussion

Here is an Alternate Procedure Smile

 
The following procedure will be used to break all ties:
  1. Club with the greatest number of hotdogs sold
  2. Club threatened the least number of times to be rescued out of retirement by Brett Favre at quarterback
  3. Club with the hottest cheerleaders as determined by sports nation
  4. Club whose mascot is higher up the food chain (applicable only if mascot is an animal you might find in a zoo)
  5. Arm Wrestling Tournament (One representative from each club.  Only Players of those clubs are eligible representatives)
  6. Coin Flip

 



Since: Jan 8, 2010
Posted on: January 6, 2012 4:12 pm
 

NFL Tiebreaking Rules and Procedures Discussion

Please, please, please... Can someone please give a summary of where we stand on the Common games / Conference games debacle.  The issue seems be talked about ad nauseam, but I've honestly lost score of who wants those steps altered / re-ordered.  

While it would be elegant if there was one order to those steps, I'm personally fine the way it is unless some one can state their position and provide a strong mathematical arguement for the need to change the order of those steps.

-Cheers
-Jerry 



Since: Jan 8, 2010
Posted on: January 6, 2012 4:05 pm
 

NFL Tiebreaking Rules and Procedures Discussion

AGN,

I have no qualms with the critiques you've mentioned and I appreciate the feedback. Functionally the steps work the same, regardless if the condition clause comes first or last. By default I placed all the conditional clauses of the steps last for aesthetic consistency with the other steps.

If for no other reason, I think it just looks prettier this way.

-Cheers
-Jerry 



Since: Jan 8, 2010
Posted on: January 6, 2012 3:53 pm
 

NFL Tiebreaking Rules and Procedures Discussion

Brett,

The tiebreaking procedure is as much for the fans as it is a legal document.  Providing some instructional guidance on how to apply the tiebraking steps is necessary.   We're talking about a mere 187 words.  That's less than 1000 characters or a couple twitter messages of instructional guidance.  This should not be a hinderence to the fans. 

I've finally convereged on a new wording for C.  It now reads:

C. If breaking ties to determine wild-card participants, eliminate all but the highest ranked division loser in each division by referring to the previously determined division rankings.

Lastly, I'm still not convinced that headers are needed, in the procedural clarifications section.  Though, I've dropped the word "Other" from the title, so the title now just reads "Procedural Clarifications"


I've made some other small tweaks here and there.  The working procedure can be seen here:




-Cheers
-Jerry 



Since: Dec 18, 2008
Posted on: January 6, 2012 3:11 pm
 

NFL Tiebreaking Rules and Procedures Discussion

I need to proofread better before I post. The underlined "San Diego" is the correction as it previously (and mistakenly) said Oakland.
In the 3-way tie, if San Diego was 2-0 vs. Oakland, Oakland was 2-0 vs. Denver, and Denver was 2-0 vs. San Diego, and if Denver dropped out of the 3-way tie, then San Diego would win the head-to-head tiebreaker over Oakland before it reached common games between the two teams. So, even though head-to-head records technically would not be counted at the common games step, the head-to-head records would have determined the winner of this tiebreaker (before it reached common games).

Also, Pillbox, I now believe I am understand what you mean by the following:
But even given Joe's later explanation, you can't argue that division games aren't [always] counted in determining the common games record, but are *always* counted in determining conference record.
Can you?
You mean division games, but you are referring specifically to the "head-to-head division games" which are not counted at the common games step but are counted at the conference record step. In any case, I think I still gave a sufficient explanation in the previous post.





Since: Dec 18, 2008
Posted on: January 6, 2012 3:03 pm
 

NFL Tiebreaking Rules and Procedures Discussion

Pillbox,

Very good points. I think we are on the same page now (or at least we understand each other now).
But even given Joe's later explanation, you can't argue that division games aren't [always] counted in determining the common games record, but are *always* counted in determining conference record.
Can you?

I don't think you mean "division games". I think you mean to say "head-to-head games".

Division Games:

Regarding Division records: It's up to you whether or not you want to count "division games" or not count them. As I and others pointed out, in order to get to the common games step or conference record step, division records must be tied. So including them or not including them will not affect which team is on top in the the later steps.

Head-to-Head Games:

The same is true for "head-to-head records". These records must be tied to get to the later steps. Including them or not including them has no affect on the records at the later steps.

Whether or not "head-to-head records" are actually included at a given step has to do with how we define that step. Consider "common games" and "conference games":

Common Games:

A head-to-head game is not common. I think you are still not undestanding why. Think about the Oakland-San Diego games. Oakland has San Diego on their schedule but not Oakland (themselves). San Diego has Oakland on their schedule but not San Diego (themselves).  Thus these games are not "common" by definition. Go ahead and include them if you like as each team must be 1-1 in these games at the 2-way common games step. Including the 1-1 head-to-head records at the common games step will not affect which team is on top.

In the 3-way tie, if San Diego was 2-0 vs. Oakland, Oakland was 2-0 vs. Denver, and Denver was 2-0 vs. Oakland, and if Denver dropped out of the 3-way tie, then San Diego would win the head-to-head tiebreaker over Oakland before it reached common games between the two teams. So, even though head-to-head records technically would not be counted at the common games step, the head-to-head records would have determined the winner of this tiebreaker (before it reached common games).

Conference Games:

By definition, head-to-head games between teams in the same division are also "conference games". Thus, technically, head-to-head games are counted at the "conference record" step. However, go ahead and discard them in your own analysis. It won't change anything since head-to-head records must be tied in order to get the later steps. Removing the same 1-1 from two different conference records does not change which team is on top.

Lastly, by including head-to-head results at the conference record step, but not including them at the common games step, you are correct in that a different subset of division games is used at each step (the division games used at the common games step does not include the head-to-head games). Looking at it from that standpoint, it looks like an inconsistency in how the steps are applied. However, as I and others have said, this is not an issue because it can never affect the outcome.






Since: Jan 8, 2010
Posted on: January 6, 2012 2:41 pm
 

NFL Tiebreaking Rules and Procedures Discussion

Brett, who cares.

It was a simple example I provided to underscore the need for explicit instruction on what teams to include or exclude.  There is no value in clarifying the inner nauances of that example.  Let's move on.

-Cheers
-Jerry 



Since: Jan 8, 2010
Posted on: January 6, 2012 2:37 pm
 

NFL Tiebreaking Rules and Procedures Discussion


Wildcard Team A  10-6-0
Wildcard Team B  10-6-0
Division Leader C 10-6-0
[Brett said]
It bears mentioning that this can only be true if Team A and Team B are from different divisions. (Division Leader C could be from any of the 4 divisions). Then team B could use Division leader C to leapfrog team A.
I should clarify further: 

Assuming that Teams A and B are from different divisions, then:

- If Division Leader C is in the same division as A, then B can use C to leapfrog A.
Team A could hold tiebreaker over C, but not over Team B.

- If Division Leader C is in the same division as B, then A can use C to leapfrog B.
Team B could hold tiebreaker over C, but not over Team A.

- If Division Leader C is not in either A's or B's division, then A or B can use C to leapfrog the other.
Head-to-head between A and B might not apply with C in the mix.

Brett those are all valid clarifications.  But, my point remains valid that the procedure should explicitly instruct which teams should be included and excluded in the application of the procedure.  My new version of the procedure accomplishes this very nicely prior to reaching the tiebreaking steps!

-Cheers
-Jerry 



Since: Dec 18, 2008
Posted on: January 6, 2012 2:31 pm
 

NFL Tiebreaking Rules and Procedures Discussion


Messed this up again. Where "Team A" is in boldface, replace with "Team B". And, where team "Team B" is in boldface, replace with "Team A".


[1]
- If Division Leader C is in the same division as A, then B can use C to leapfrog A.
Team A could hold tiebreaker over C, but not over Team B.

[2]
- If Division Leader C is in the same division as B, then A can use C to leapfrog B.
Team B could hold tiebreaker over C, but not over Team A.


It should be:
[1]
- If Division Leader C is in the same division as A, then B can use C to leapfrog A.
Team B could hold tiebreaker over C, but not over Team A.

[2]
- If Division Leader C is in the same division as B, then A can use C to leapfrog B.
Team A could hold tiebreaker over C, but not over Team B.





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