# Football playoffs question

What if, during the regular season, every game resulted in a tie?
How would the league decide who would be division champions, and who would get into the playoffs? Seeing that it’s technically possible for this to happen, one would assume the NFL has some kind of rule for this.
And what are the odds of this actually happening?

The last tiebreaker is a coin toss

http://espn.go.com/nfl/s/tiebreakers2002.html

Check the very bottom of the page.

As to the odds, well, since 1974, when the current OT was implemented, 332 games have actually gone to OT, and only 16 ended in a tie. Those stats were through the Steelers-Falcons tie earlier this year. That was the first tie since 1997. Frankly I’m not in the mood to do the math, my guess is that its on the order of winning the lottery or worse - probably a lot worse, but I could be wrong. The chance of a game ending in OT is around 5.6%, and the chance of an OT game ending in a tie is around 4.8%. Pretty slim no matter how you look at it.

Even if every game ended in a tie and two teams were tied at
0-0-16, there might be a difference in strength of schedule as the two teams wouldn’t have played an identical schedule.

There is also the tiebreaker of “net touchdowns” and that is pretty hard to make even over the course of a season.

But let’s assume every game ended in a 0-0 tie, with all teams ending up with a season totals of 0 passing yards and 0 rushing yards.

So, every team would end up at a coin tossing party?

How would they decide who get’s to call it in the air?

The yardage doesn’t matter. It’s just points.

But since there hasn’t been a 0-0 tie in the NFL since the 1930s, I wouldn’t lose too much sleep over this scenario.

If every game finished in a 0-0 tie, the first thing that would be done would be to clean up the bodies of all the network sports executives who killed themselves after they took a bath in the ratings.

## BobT – how could strength of schedule be determined if every team tied? They would all be equal. No team would be stronger than the next. I believe points scored is an official tie breaker, after, Division winner, Games won, head to head meetings, division games won, conference games won, points forwarded. If all teams tied then the first five would not matter and the PF would kick in. Ever notice in the standings how they keep track of PA and PF(points awarded and points forwarded)? A tie in that regard may come down to a coin toss.

But let’s assume every game ended in a 0-0 tie, with all teams ending up with a season totals of 0 passing yards and 0 rushing yards.

So, every team would end up at a coin tossing party?

## How would they decide who get’s to call it in the air?

There is no contingency for this as this would be impossible. There would at least be defensive scores/yards and return yards.
Or at the least the team with the least negative yards would win.
You would have 0 people in attendance during such a season so no-one would see any of this any way. If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is there to hear it does it make a sound?

If I recall correctly, about three years ago maybe four, the packers and carolina were dead nuts even going into the last game of the season. The only way for the pack to get into the playoffs was to outscore the panthers by 26 points(and one other team had to loose, I think detroit). The tricky part was they didn`t play each other. The packers ended up outscoring the panthers to clinch the PF tie breaker, but detroit won it`s game so it was a moot point.

[minor nitpick]Someone please correct me if I’m wrong, but I allways thought that PF = Points For, and PA (in this context at least) = Points Against. [/minor nitpick]

The last tie-breaker before the coin toss should be home attendence.

I haven’t researched it but assume there has never been a tie in that regard.

Folks - the link I posted has the complete procedure. Here it is again:

http://espn.go.com/nfl/s/tiebreakers2002.html

If ESPN isn’t good enough, here is the link from the NFL.com site:

http://www.nfl.com/standings/tiebreakers

It’s the same procedure. There is nothing in there about yardage. It’s all about victories, division & conference records, strength of schedule, points and touchdowns. So if we take Hayduke Lives clarified question, everyone is tied on all these, and it goes to the final tiebreaker, which I qoute here:

Two teams:
11. Coin toss.

Three Teams:
12. Coin toss

Other tie breaking procedures:
If any ties cannot be broken by strength of schedule, the divisional or conference tie breakers, whichever are applicable, are applied. Any ties that still exist are broken by a coin flip.

The final tiebreaker is always a coin toss. So yeah, there would be a big coin flipping contest at the league office.

I have this mental picture of a board room filled with middle-aged men talking very seriously. Someone says “go” and they all jump up and start frantically flipping coins and yelling at each other.

And you were always right.