With ties in back-to-back weeks of the NFL season, discussion about the NFL’s regular season overtime rules has become more prominent than ever. With ties serving as an unsatisfactory result, one question has emerged; should ties remain a part of the NFL overtime procedure or should a new format be introduced?
Isaiah Chisolm: While ties may be considered one of the most boring ways to finish a game, it adds an extra dynamic to a division. For one, it completes the narrative of a playoff race. A tie is a lingering stat that can be the difference between a playoff spot and being sent home early. This gives more incentive to teams within the division to keep playing for a playoff spot.
Joe Burns: Although ties do add another dimension to playoff implications as the season moves toward the end, it makes it difficult for fans as well as teams to understand the consequences of their records. Ties cause confusion as the season moves on and could cause severe problems when they happen within a division, such as when the Seahawks tied the Arizona Cardinals in week seven of this season. Both are equally likely to take the NFC West division and when one team comes second in the division they could lose to other teams in the NFC for a playoff spot when it comes to overall records. While this is obviously fair in the grand scheme of things, it hurts teams due to the importance of division records and could cause problems for both in the end of the year.
Chisolm: This is still a business and at the end of the day a sport can only do so much for the viewer. The focus of ties has to be on the players. A tie is something that a team can use to its advantage to eclipse a team seeded higher than them. It is important to give teams that opportunity. Much like in soccer, ties carry a heavy weight on the team who has them and the team looking to fight for a playoff spot.
Burns: The main factor that pushes for getting rid of ties is the fact it punishes the viewer. While ties happen in soccer, most American sports do not include ties and multiple sports have pushed to get rid of them. In hockey, the NHL created a penalty shoot-out at the end of ties in order to create a middle ground between ties and winner-takes-all, with the penalty winner getting two total points in the tie and the loser getting one as opposed to one each for a tie or three to the winner for a win. Baseball obviously does not have ties, with extra innings coming at the end of the game until a winner is decided. The NBA also goes to overtime until a winner is decided, showing that there is an overall trend in the United States sports world to not have ties, with only four North American major sports leagues allowing tied games.
Football is as American as it gets, and the two games that have ended as ties this season have shown how disappointing they can be to fans of the teams. Viewers do not appreciate watching a three hour football game, only to have no decisive ending to the game. The fact the debate has started up again after a few years with the new rules shows that the NFL should get rid of ties once and for all.