Should all sports give up tie breakers?

Seems like they are unnecessary. Sports that allow tie games seem to do all right without them.

[Not sure if this is a great debate. Please move if you think sports are less emotional than politics and religion and armor plate ;)]

I think a tie is a perfectly valid result, and I find that some of the overtime/tie-breaking schemes are a perversion of the game - the NFL and NHL in particular. There should be no sudden death. Play a full quarter or period, and if it’s still tied, well, it’s a tie.

Should both sides at least have the ball in OT. With field goals of over 50 yards , it is pretty easy to end in one possession.

I think it depends a lot on the sport. Soccer is such a low scoring game that requiring a tie breaker on all games means you either play forever or have that lousy penalty shot tiebreaker. It’s bad enough when a huge event like the World Cup finals ends with penalty shots, which are such a minor aspect of the game it’s a shame the whole outcome rides on it.

Baseball plays enough games that a few ties aren’t going to throw the standings out of balance, and the games are way too long to begin with, who needs more 13 inning games that end near midnight? It would greatly change end-game strategy to allow ties, and we can’t do anything that alters baseball strategy, since it’s such a “perfect” game as it is.

What I don’t like about sports that allow ties, is the propensity of teams to play for the tie, instead of playing for the win. That’s part of what I like about the NHL rules, going 4 on 4 means more opportunities to score, more incentive to go for the win instead of sitting back for the tie. I’d skip the shootout part, and just make each successive overtime with one less player. 2 on 2 and 1 on 1 would be a hoot!

I don’t like the penalty shot / shootout format for deciding the game, it’s just a minor part of the game that you can quickly do over and over again until someone screws up and forces the win/loss. I don’t mind sudden death, though I can see the argument for playing out at least one full overtime period. Multiple full overtime periods can really start to stretch out the game to unreasonable lengths, especially in games with limited scoring opportunities.

In fact, that’s quite obviously NOT true, since baseball frequently has teams either tied at the end of the season or separated by just a few games. I can’t remember the last time we had a season when at least one playoff spot wasn’t determined by three games or less.

The average major league team plays about twelve extra inning games a year, and in many cases teams will have dramatically skewed records in such games. Last year Philadelphia, who missed the playoffs by only three games, went 5-11 in extra inning games. Houston, missing by only one game, went 5-10. If you eliminated extra inning games and awarded ties you would in fact change one or more playoff teams almost every single season.

Well, they’d just have to replay them all, as they do the (very rare) tie games now. Which, I hasten to add, would be completely unworkable. I’m fine with baseball’s method.

I like this idea! Then in the last period, you have just the goalies. And after that, it’s a tie.

I don’t know why this thread is still open.

I thought we weren’t supposed to advocate illegal activity on the SDMB? And this thread is clearly nothing but a despicable screed in favor of incest.
Because everyone knows that a tie is like kissing your sister.

It’s not just about standings- it’s about the satisfaction of the fans, and, to some degree, about the players themselves (as far as motivation goes).

If I pay good money to see my hometown team play our Despicable Crosstown Rivals, I am certainly going to feel cheated if my team doesn’t have a chance to get a win. Furthermore, in some sports, playing timidly is a good way to get hurt, and playing for a tie could cause injury.

Also, in any sport I’ve ever played or coached, a tie was the worst possible result for me or my players. You went out there, you gave it everything you had, and you essentially came up with nothing. The purpose of playing the games is to find out where you are relative to your opponents, and knowing just as much AFTER you played your heart out as you did before is… well, disheartening.

In my view, you didn’t come out with nothing. You came out with the knowledge that you were exactly equal to your opponent, at least on that day.

I like the NCAA overtime deal in football. Each team gets the ball on the 20 (or maybe the 30), and has four downs to score or get a first down. Both teams have a chance to win–there may be some advantage in getting the ball first or last, but it’s better than sudden death, where losing a coinflip may cost you the game to a 50 yard FG.

Compare this to a sport like football, where playoff spots are often determined by who you beat, rather than who has more wins. Lots of ties would really throw those playoff standings into chaos. Allowing ties is never going to be a zero effect change, I just think Baseball can absorb it with less difficulty than sports with fewer numbers of games played.

I more or less agree with this. My thinking is as follows:

A ‘perfect’, though not ideal, way of determining the right result in a tied game would be to play forever until one team or contestant broke the tie (and then, in baseball, account for an equal number of plate innings; in folkstyle wrestling, for number of choices of position, etc). The rules of the game in regulation time most closely model what the game is supposed to be, to the extent that ‘supposed to be’ means anything; ergo, the best overtime procedure is one which is closest to the rules of the game. Sometimes this ends up with a flukey 2-1 win for a hockey or soccer team where either team could have scored the final goal, but assuming that all wins are the same in the standings, there’s not much we can do to separate a technically brilliant victory from one that was so close it was almost random. The best we can do is use hockey’s system of giving a point to each team and an additional point to the winning team to reward teams who tie.

Playing forever is almost always unfeasible. At the highest levels, some hockey teams might play forever, until their forwards can’t skate anymore, and they still might not score. Wrestling matches could conceivably end in the death of one competitor after wrestling hundreds of consecutive periods. That places an undue burden on bad draws.

For example, at a recent US National tournament, Brian Keck was wrestling both freestyle and Greco-Roman, meaning he was competing in two tournaments simultaneously. At the time, the rules provided for two three-minute periods of regulation time, then a three-minute overtime, with a deadlocked tie to be decided by cautions (rules infractions that come with point penalties), then passivities (warnings for noncombativity that don’t give points), then a decision by the referees… EXCEPT at Nationals, where a ‘truer’ result was needed, and they implemented the wrestle-till-someone-scores rule. As a result, Keck won a match, but only after 20 minutes of time. Keck is a heavyweight grinder, not a finesse wrestler, but even so, that match may have cost him a higher placement. The rule effectively penalized wrestlers whose opponents were sufficiently stylistically clashed or sufficiently similar to their own skill level that neither wrestler could score regularly.

At that point, it’s almost better to force an artificial scoring opportunity in the philosophy of a shootout, to avoid such undue emphasis. Playing four or five overtime periods can haunt a hockey team through fatigue for the next few games. That comes into play in baseball, hockey, and wrestling, where contests are closely scheduled compared to their length, and not so much in football, where games are relatively spread out for their length.

So, at some point, it’s appropriate to adjust the parameters of the game to encourage scoring while still maintaining the essential rules of the game. Real-life examples are, for example, hockey’s four-on-four overtime and Olympic wrestling’s clinch procedure (where the wrestlers are forced to wrestle in an assumed position, formerly chest-to-chest although the FILA’s gone and mucked that up for both styles instead of just messing with freestyle).

What do we do when encouraged scoring opportunities don’t pan out? Ideally, we encourage further - we tighten the rules to further open scoring opportunities and allow finer distinctions in skill to score. In soccer, we might implement the hockey philosophy and remove one player from each team every five minutes. In hockey, it would be unfeasible to go any lower than three on three (to allow a three-on-two for egregious penalties). Assume we need a winner for single-bracket advancement. What do we do when we reach that point and neither team is skilled enough to score?

Then, it becomes impossible to do anything except go from encouraging to forcing. Hockey and soccer have the shootout. Wrestling has the referees’ decision internationally and the ride-out rule in folkstyle. These are marginally better than flipping a coin, and so in regular-season play, or in the case of wrestling in dual meets, at this point I think it’s appropriate to allow a tie.

Baseball and college football have it right. Both sides have a fair shot. The rest suck.

I completely agree with this post.

Not only is it fair, it’s pretty exciting also.

All that means is that we need a little longer to figure it out.

Nothing tastes worse than a tie. I’d rather get blown out than tie.

Losing is worse.

Actually, in NHL playoffs, continuous, sudden-death 5-on-5 overtime is the only tie-breaking method.

I’ve always thought there should be more ties in tennis.

Ah, the wisdom of Zapp Branningan. “I hate these filthy Neutrals, Kif. With enemies you know where they stand but with Neutrals, who knows? It sickens me.”

[First off, I feel the need to say that I absolutely reject the empty “chaotic standings” argument. This is sports, dammit. Quirks and incredible plays and unbelievable twists are what make it fun. You want smoothly-flowing seasons and predictable results, go watch pro wrestling. (Might want to avoid the last 3 years or so of WCW :slight_smile: ) When the freak has the NFL playoff picture not been a mess, anyway?]

Baseball: I’ve never understood why this sport never permitted draws. The season’s very long as it is; what good is it to needlessly risk injury? Furthermore, because only one run can be scored at a time and scoring chances are relatively limited, there’s a much bigger chance of being tied after regulation than in football or basketball. Then there’s the issue of what could’ve been. How many perfect games and no-hitters were lost because the game simply could not end, much less complete games? (What happened to Harvey Haddix was a damn travesty.)

NFL: Surprisingly, I think the current system is pretty good. Sometimes the team honestly wants to win but just has really bad field position, and a second chance to see if one side can break through isn’t unreasonable. However, starting it with a kickoff decided by a coin toss is probably the most grossly unfair thing about this game. My suggestion is instead of a kickoff, give the winner the option of taking the ball on their own 10 (15, 20, 5, I’m open to suggestions) or giving it away on the opponent’s 10. Much fairer, and even brings in a bit of strategy…do ya loves ya offense, or do ya loves ya defense? Furthermore, 15 minutes strikes me as excessive. 5 (6,7, 8, this is negotiable as well) should be sufficient.

College football: I’ll admit that one huge positive result of instituting overtime is that it eliminated the ridiculous burden on coaches to “prove their manhood” (sheesh, as if the job doesn’t have enough goddam pressure as it is). The possesion duel, however, strikes me as…well, a bit corny. (And who knows what effect all those cheap touchdowns have on the BCS stnadings.) I repeat my NFL suggestion here.

Basketball: Fine as it is, except that I’d limit it to one overtime period, like the NFL.

Tennis: Since the vast majority of events are single-elimination tournaments, I don’t see how draws would be even possible. However, I’m all for allowing individual sets to be tied. Monstrosities like 25-23 should NEVER be a possibility. If they’re all knotted up after 3/5, have a standard tiebreaker to decide it.

Hockey: Yeah, in the past teams often played for the draw. Someone care to explain to me why this was such a horrible thing? (Don’t chess grandmasters do this all the time?) An you will never convince me that standings with four freaking columns is anything other than a horrible idea. Again, one sudden death overtime (can have 4 on 4 or whatever other stipulation). If it results in a goal, fine. If not, at least they tried, all right?

Soccer is another issue entirely (since draws do happen frequently, and nobody seems to have a problem with it). I’ve seen two World Cups decided by penalty shots in my lifetime, and I agree completely that this is just wrong. I’d honestly prefer that it go to an officials’ decision than soccer’s version of a home run derby. IMO, the problem is that there simply are way, way too few scoring chances. Change the rules, just a little, to make breakaways and clean shots easier, and the chances that overtime will settle it will be much better. Could also create a special hockey-like stipulation for overtime to make the chance of a spectacular golden goal all the greater. (Oh yeah, bring back the golden goal. Dunno what the hell FIFA was thinking when they got rid of it.)

Well, actually, baseball has had lots of tie games, in situations were games could not be continued. They just don’t appear in the standings.

If the game doesn’t have to be suspended for rain or darkness, though, playing extra innings is the practical way to decide it and is enormously appealing to the fans. Fans LOVE extra innings; it’s one of baseball’s great pleasures. I mean, it’s supposed to be a spectator sport; why would you want to take away things spectators enjoy?