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: Dec 9, 2008
Posted on: January 23, 2012 1:37 pm
 

NFL Tiebreaking Rules and Procedures Discussion

Great... The best Super bowl EVER... NOT



Since: Dec 9, 2008
Posted on: January 20, 2012 12:09 pm
 

NFL Tiebreaking Rules and Procedures Discussion

Brett I wholeheartedly agree with breakng the ties the same way as division/conference and the draft.  I think the draft procedures are flawed except with the "playoff losing round" they do now.



Since: Dec 18, 2008
Posted on: January 19, 2012 6:51 pm
 

NFL Tiebreaking Rules and Procedures Discussion

Issues with the draft order:

Look at this year's AFC East, in which Miami and Buffalo both finished 10-6:
Miami is ranked 3rd in the division, over Buffalo, because Miami has the better record in head-to-head games.
So, Miami gets the 3rd place schedule next season, while Buffalo gets the 4th place schedule.
However, Miami had the weaker strength of schedule, so they also get to draft ahead of Buffalo in next year's first round.

Wouldn't it make more sense if teams drafted in reverse order of their divisional rank?

For example, Strength of Schedule would be the first (and only) tiebreaker ahead of "Coin Flip" for two teams, one in each conference. But, for teams in the same division, why not make use of the rankings already given to these teams? And for teams in different divisions, but in the same conference, why not break the tie the same way it would be broken if these teams were tied for a playoff spot or playoff seed?

Then, why not put "head-to-head" ahead of "strength of schedule" for interconference tiebreakers? In fact, why not have division record come after "head-to-head".

Yes, division records are non-comparable in the sense that each team has a completely unique set of division opponents. However, if you make that argument, then you could also argue that, in most cases, overall records (among teams in different conferences) are equally non-comparable. Yet, overall records already play a huge role in determining draft order among teams in different conferences. So, I say, let's use division records to break ties between teams in different conferences. Afterall, I believe the team with the worst division record should be rewarded in the draft with a better 1st round pick for likely playing in a tougher division. For example, Chicago and Oakland both finished 8-8. Oakland will draft ahead of Chicago in the next year's first round due to a weaker strength of schedule. But, which team needs more help from the draft to be able to compete in its own division?

How about:

Interconference tieberakers

- Amongst a group of tied teams, select the highest (or lowest) ranking team from each confernece, then proceed to step (1).

(1)  Head-to-Head record.
(2)  Division record.
(3)  Conference record.
(4)  Strength of Victory record.
(5)  Strength of Schedule record.
(6)  Combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed, in all games.
(7)  Net points in all games.
(8)  Net touchdowns in all games.
(9)  Coin Flip.



Since: Nov 21, 2011
Posted on: January 19, 2012 6:18 pm
 

NFL Tiebreaking Rules and Procedures Discussion

Despite disagreement between Brett and Jerry, I think both of your versions are tremendous improvements from the current format. Hopefully something like one of these versions gets changed to the NFL's version. Glad my "unofficial vs. official" idea caught on!



Since: Dec 18, 2008
Posted on: January 19, 2012 4:09 pm
 

NFL Tiebreaking Rules and Procedures Discussion


So I am going to just continue focusing on my versions of the procedure and take those forward.
Two things I believe are missing from your version:

1) Clarification on how to rank teams within a division. Consider the following case.

A, B, and C are tied in combined head-to-head record and division record. A and B are 5-5 in common games record, while C is 4-6 in common games record. Is there language in your version that would prevent someone from ranking C the lowest among the three teams, then repeating the procedure with A and B? You may have wording for this, but it's not as straightforward as saying, "rankings are determined one team at a time, with the highest ranking team determined first."

2)  Seeding clarification: How to seed tied wild-card winners. Example: "Tied wild-card teams are seeded in the order they were selected (if selected over other tied teams), or seeded by the Division or Conference tiebreakers (if not selected over other tied teams).

Also, I would change the wording in the following:

Strength of schedule is the combined record of every match-up on a club’s schedule.
to
Strength of Schedule is the combined record of all of the clubs it has played.  If a club has played an opponent twice then that opponent's record is counted twice.
I don't like your wording because "match-ups" do not have records. The wording I chose was based upon your wording for Strength of Victory - I think the wording should be the same except for "defeated" being replaced with "played". Using the word "played" has the added benefit of holding up in the case where a week (or more) of the season is cancelled.

With regards to my usage of "interdivisonal". You said:
"Intradivision" is an awkward term.  Not to mention your definition might lead people to believe that all clubs must be from different divisions

Valid points. "Interdivisional" might be awkward. However, many kids grow up playing interscholastic sports in high school and intramural sports in college. MLB adopted interleague play prior to the 1997 season. If you aren't comfortable with the prefixes "inter" and "intra", then you might want to become comfortable with them. For non-sports minded people, see "international", "interdisciplinary", "interdepartmental", "interlibrary loan", "interstate highway", "interracial", "interaction". There are fewer examples of "intra" but keep in mind that I am using "inter" when I use the word, "interdivisional".




Since: Dec 9, 2008
Posted on: January 19, 2012 1:33 pm
 

NFL Tiebreaking Rules and Procedures Discussion

Vito Says: I have no hangup that half the common games are intraconference and the other half is interconference.  Apparently I am in the minority.  I would probably feel different if this was a different sport (NBA, NHL) where the schedule allows matchups against every other team.  But given the fact that it is not feasible for the NFL to allow all conference teams to play each other, common games seem a better measure than conference games, IMO.

They could......16 games... 15 conference opponents..and 1 random i guess...they would never do it though.



Since: Jan 8, 2010
Posted on: January 19, 2012 11:33 am
 

NFL Tiebreaking Rules and Procedures Discussion

"Intradivision" is an awkward term.  Not to mention your definition might lead people to believe that all clubs must be from different divisions.

Brett, I don't like your version of the procedure.  I might make a few modifications to mine to address some of your points, however on the originization and wording of certain elements, I don't think we are going to find any common ground.  So I am going to just continue focusing on my versions of the procedure and take those forward.

Best of luck to you.





Since: Dec 18, 2008
Posted on: January 19, 2012 10:24 am
 

NFL Tiebreaking Rules and Procedures Discussion


I forgot to respond to Jerry earlier about my use of the word "interdivisional"....

I agree with him that it's an unfamiliar term and that many people will not like it initially. My hope is that people will get used to it - because I cannot find a more accurate way of labeling this specific set of tiebreaking steps. "Conference" would be my next choice but I believe this is simply not as accurate since "Divisional" and "Interdivisional" could both be under the header, "Conference".

I suppose I could label the two lists of tiebreaking steps: "Division Champion Tiebreaking Steps" and "Wild Card Tiebreaking Steps", then include this line under the latter: "If all tied teams are from the same division, use the "Division Champion Tiebreaking Steps". As these tiebreaking steps are also used for seeding, scheduling, and draft order purposes, I would probably put a note somewhere indicating such.



Since: Dec 18, 2008
Posted on: January 19, 2012 10:22 am
 

NFL Tiebreaking Rules and Procedures Discussion



(A)  Wild Card, Wild-Card, wild-card, wild card, wildcard, etc...

Looks like lower case "wild-card" is the correct adjectival form. I don't use the noun form, but I reckon I would capitalize and un-hyphenate: "Wild Card".
(B)  tie-breaker vs. tiebreaker in noun form

(C)  tie-breaking vs. tiebreaking in adjective form.
Looks like I have freedom to hyphenate or not hyphenate in either case. I believe the same to be true with "inter-divisionalal" vs "interdivisional". I clearly prefer "unhyphenated" in the "tiebreaker/tiebreaking" case, and I'm leaning towards "unhyphenated" in the "interdivision/interdivisional
" case.





(A)  Wild Card, Wild-Card, wild-card, wild card, wildcard, etc...

(B)  tie-breaker vs. tiebreaker in noun form

(C)  tie-breaking vs. tiebreaking in adjective form.



Since: Dec 18, 2008
Posted on: January 18, 2012 6:49 pm
 

NFL Tiebreaking Rules and Procedures Discussion

Hello all,
Please leave comments here or on the document itself (right click on the text that you want to comment on).

Currently, I'm working on the following two things: But feel free to comment on anything!

(1)  I am deciding if I should add a note that specifically addresses seeding. It's covered in the "Tiebreaker Applications" section, but I feel that it could be overlooked here.

(2)  I am trying to decide on the best way to write "Wild Card" and "Tie-Breaker" so that these terms have a consistent form throughout the document. Currently, they do not have consistent form in the published document, or in the media.
(A)  Wild Card, Wild-Card, wild-card, wild card, wildcard, etc...

(B)  tie-breaker vs. tiebreaker in noun form

(C)  tie-breaking vs. tiebreaking in adjective form.

 

(for fans, media, players, coaches, managers, and owners)


Let me know what you think.
Thanks!

Brett


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