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Old 09-17-2003, 02:22 AM   #1
Anthony
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Lightbulb Replace Tie-Breakers With Playoff Games?

If you don't like the idea of an 18-game regular season, what about cutting two weeks from the preseason and using the weeks saved to hold games to break ties for playoff spots at the end of the regular season?

Two weeks would be added to the postseason - one in the week between the final week of the regular season and the wild card round, the other between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl. If only one round of special playoff games is needed, the idle week before the wild-card games would be eliminated, and if two such rounds are needed, the open week before the Super Bowl is eliminated as well. (Additional games would be staged only to actually eliminate a team or teams from the 12-team playoff field; ties for seeding between teams qualifying for the playoffs would continue to be decided by the tie-breaking procedures currently in effect).

Examples of particular scenarios are listed below.

Scenario 1: Two teams tie for last wild card, or for division title and no wild-card spots open (at least 2 non-division winners in same conference have better records). The two teams simply play each other, with coin toss deciding home field (unless otherwise specified, a coin toss decides home field in all subsequent scenarios as well); winner advances to playoffs.

Scenario 2: Two teams tie for division title, and are also tied for last wild card with one other team. The two teams that tied for division title play each other, as in Scenario 1 above; winner advances as division champion. Loser then hosts the team in the other division (and has home site priority based on its finishing tied for first in its division versus other team's not finishing first), with winner there getting wild card.

Scenario 3: Three teams tie for last wild card, and two are from same division, finishing tied for second in that division. The two teams in the same division play each other first, then the winner plays on the road against the other team to decide the wild card (the latter gets home field because it finished in sole possession of second place while the other two teams tied for second). This scenario also applies in the unlikely but possible event that the two teams from the same division finished in a tie for third (the second-place team from that same division having earned the first wild card).

Scenario 4: Three teams tie for division title with no wild-card spots open, or for last wild card, all three are from different divisions, in which all three finished second. A draw is held to designate the three teams as A, B and C. In first game C plays at B; winner hosts A in second game (A plays on the road because it only needs to win one game to qualify while B and C each need to win two). Winner of second game is wild card.

Scenario 5: Three teams tie for last wild card, all three are from different divisions, with two teams having finished second in their division and the other finishing third; or two teams are tied for second place in the same division and the other finished third in another division. A coin toss is held between the two second-place teams; loser of the toss hosts the third-place team in the first game. If coin-toss loser wins, it hosts coin-toss winner in second game; if third-place team wins, it plays at coin-toss winner in second game. Winner of second game is wild card.

Scenario 6: Three teams tie for division title, one wild-card spot open. If one of the three teams is superior to both of the others individually under the tie-breaking procedures, that team is designated Team A and the tie-breaking procedures are applied again to determine Teams B and C; otherwise, a draw is held to determine the three designations. In the first game C plays at B. Winner gets one playoff spot, loser plays at A in second game (A gets home-site priority to compensate for the fact that it has only one opportunity to win its way into the playoffs while B and C each have two). Winner of second game gets other playoff spot. If loser of first game wins second game, winner of first game is division champion and winner of second game is wild card; if loser of first game also loses second game, the tie-breaking prcedures are applied to determine division champion and wild card as between first-game winner and second-game winner.

Scenario 7: Three-way tie for two wild cards, two teams from the same division. The team not in the same division as the others is designated A and the two teams in the same division draw for B and C. In Game 1, B plays at A, with winner getting one wild card. Loser of Game 1 then hosts C in Game 2 to determine other wild card (if B loses Game 1, it is entitled to home-site priority in Game 2 because it was on the road in Game 1; if A loses Game 1, it is entitled to home-site priority in Game 2 due to its having finished second by itself while B and C tied for second).

Scenario 8: Three-way tie for two wild cards, all three teams from different divisions. A draw is held to designate the three teams as A, B and C. In first game, C plays at B. Winner gets one wild card, loser plays at A in second game (A gets home-site priority to compensate for the fact that A has only one opportunity to win its way into the playoffs while B and C each have two). Winner of second game is other wild card.

Scenario 9: Two teams tie for division title, and also have same record as two teams tied for second place in another division or have same record as two second-place teams in different divisions, and one wild-card spot is open. The two teams that are tied for division title play each other in Game 1 and the other two teams meet in Game 2. Game 1 winner is division champion, then Game 1 loser hosts Game 2 winner in Game 3 the following week. Winner of Game 3 is wild card.

Scenario 10: Two teams tie for division title, and also have same record as two teams tied for second place in another division or have same record as two second-place teams in different divisions, and two wild-card spots are open. The two teams that are tied for division title play each other in Game 1 and the other two teams meet in Game 2. Game 1 winner is division champion, Game 2 winner is first wild card, and then Game 1 loser hosts Game 2 loser in Game 3 the following week. Winner of Game 3 is second wild card.

Scenario 11: Two teams tie for division title, and also have same record as a second-place team in one other division and a third-place team in still another division, and one wild-card spot is open. The two teams that are tied for the division title play each other in Game 1 and the second-place team hosts the third-place team in Game 2. Game 1 winner is division champion, then Game 1 loser hosts Game 2 winner in Game 3 the following week. Winner of Game 3 is wild card.

Scenario 12: Four-way tie for two wild-card spots, involving all four second-place teams. The four teams draw for designations A, B, C and D. Then D plays at A and C plays at B. Winners of these two games are the two wild cards.

Scenario 13: Four-way tie for two wild-card spots, two teams from the same division. The two teams that finished second by themselves in their respective divisions draw for designations A and B, the two teams that tied for second place in the same division draw for C and D. Then D plays at A and C plays at B. Winners of these two games are the two wild cards.

Scenario 14: Four-way tie for two wild-card spots, two teams from one division and the other two teams from another division. A draw is held to designate the four teams as A, B, C and D. Then D plays at A and C plays at B unless A and D (and B and C) are from the same division, in which case C plays at A and D plays at B. Winners of these two games are the two wild cards.

Scenario 15: Four-way tie for two wild-card spots, three teams from the same division. The team not involved in the three-way tie is designated A and the three teams in the same division draw for B, C and D. Then D plays at A and C plays at B. Winners of these two games are the wild cards.

Scenario 16: Four-way tie for last wild card among three second-place teams and one third-place team, or three teams tied for second place in the same division and a third-place team in another. The third-place team is designated D and the other three teams draw for A, B and C. Then D plays at A and C plays at B, with winners meeting the following week for the wild card. If D wins its first game, it is automatically on the road in the second game. If A and B meet in the second game, A is at home; if A and C meet, C is at home.

Scenario 17: Four-way tie for the last wild card, involving a second-place team from one division, two teams tied for second in another division, and the third-place team in the division from which the first wild card came. The team that finished second by itself is designated Team A, the third-place team D, and a coin toss is held to determine B and C as between the two teams in the same division that tied for second. Then C plays at A and D plays at B, with the winners meeting the following week for the wild card. If A wins its first game, it is automatically at home in the second; if D wins its first game, it is automatically on the road in the second; and if B and C meet in the second game, C is at home because it was on the road in the first game while B was at home in the first game.

Scenario 18: Four-way tie for the last wild card, involving two second-place teams in different divisions or two teams tied for second place in the same division, and two teams tied for third in the division from which the first wild card came. The two second-place teams draw for designations A and B, and the other two teams draw for designations C and D. Then D plays at A and C plays at B, with the winners meeting the following week for the wild card, the team with the higher letter designation having home site priority in the second week's game.

Scenario 19: Three-way tie for a division title, and the three teams are also tied with one other team, and one wild card spot open. The team not involved in the three-way tie is designated D and the provisions outlined in Scenario 6 are used to determine A, B and C among the three tied teams in the same division. D then plays at B and C plays at A. The winners of these two games advance to the playoffs. If D wins its game, it gets the wild card and the winner of the A-C game is division champion; if D loses, the tie-breaking procedures are applied to determine the division champion and wild card as between B and the A-C winner.

Scenario 20: Three-way tie for a division title, and the three teams are also tied with one other team, and two wild card spots open. The team not involved in the three-way tie is designated D and the provisions outlined in Scenario 6 are used to determine A, B and C among the three tied teams in the same division. D then plays at B and C plays at A. If D wins its game, D gets one wild card, the A-C winner is division champion, and the A-C loser plays B for the other wild card (if the latter game is between A and B, A is at home; if it is between B and C, C is at home). If D loses its game, B gets one playoff spot, the A-C winner gets the second, and one week later the A-C loser hosts D to decide the third and final playoff spot. The tie-breaking procedures are then applied to determine division champion and first wild card as between B and the A-C winner; the winner of the game between D and the A-C loser is the second wild card.

Scenario 21: Two teams tie for division titles in two different divisions, all four teams have the same record, and one wild card spot open. In each division, the two tied teams play each other. The winners are the division champions, the losers meet one week later for the wild card. A coin toss decides home field in both of the first week's games; if one loser in the first week played at home and the other away, the loser that played away in the first week hosts the second week's game; if both first-week losers played at home or both played away, a coin toss decides home field in the second week's game.

Scenario 22: Four-way tie for a division title, no wild card spots open. A draw is held to designate the four teams as A, B, C and D. Then D plays at A and C plays at B; winners meet the following week for division title. If one first-week winner played at home and the other away, the winner that played away in the first week hosts the second week's game; if both first-week winners played at home or both played away, the first-week winner with the higher letter designation hosts the second week's game.

Scenario 23: Four-way tie for a division title, one wild card spot open. A draw is held to designate the four teams as A, B, C and D. Then D plays at A and C play at B. The winners of these two games advance to the playoffs, with the tie-breaking procedures deciding which team is the division champion and which team is the wild card.

Scenario 24: Four-way tie for a division title, two wild card spots open. A draw is held to designate the four teams as A, B, C and D. Then D plays at A and C plays at B. The two winners advance to the playoffs, with the tie-breaking procedures deciding which one of them is the division champion; the other winner is the first wild card. The two losers then meet the following week to determine the second wild card. If one first-week loser played at home and the other away, the loser that played away in the first week hosts the second week's game; if both first-week losers played at home or both played away, the first-week loser with the higher letter designation hosts the second game.

Scenario 25: Three-way tie for division title, with the three teams also having the same record as two other teams, and one wild-card spot open. (Note: This scenario actually arose last year in the AFC): The provisions outlined in Scenario 6 are used to determine A, B and C among the three tied teams in the same division, and the other two teams draw for D and E (if one of the two other teams finished third in its division - the second-place team from that same division having earned the first wild card - the third-place team is automatically designated E). In the first game, E plays at D. One week later, the D-E winner plays at B and C plays at A, with the two second-week winners making the playoffs. If the D-E winner wins its second-week game, it is the wild card and the A-C winner is division champion; if the D-E winner loses in the second week, the tie-breaking procedures are applied to determine the division champion and the wild card as between B and the A-C winner.

Scenario 26: Two teams tie for division title, and are also tied with all three second-place teams in the other divisions, or with three teams that are tied for second place in the same division. The two teams tied for the division title play each other, a coin toss deciding home field. The winner is division champion, the loser becomes Team A in a four-team draw, with the other three teams drawing for B, C and D. Then D plays at A and C plays at B, with the two winners getting the wild cards.

Scenario 27: Two teams tie for division title, and are also tied with one second-place team in another division and two other teams tied for second place in a third division. The two teams tied for the division title play each other, a coin toss deciding home field. The winner is division champion, the loser becomes Team A in a four-team draw, with the team that finished second by itself being B and the two teams that tied for second in the same division drawing for C and D. Then D plays at A at C plays at B, with the two winners getting the wild cards.

Scenario 28: Five-way tie for two wild cards, two teams from the same division. The two teams from the same division draw for designations D and E, while the other three teams draw for A, B and C. Then E plays at D. One week later, the D-E winner plays at A and C plays at B, the winners of these two games getting the wild cards.

Scenario 29: Five-way tie for two wild cards, involving two pairs of teams tied for second place in their respective divisions plus one team that finished second by itself in a third division. The team finishing second by itself is Team A; simultaneous coin tosses are held between each pair of teams in the same division, with the winners of these coin tosses then facing off in a second coin toss to determine the identity of Teams B and C, and the losers of the first two coin tosses then facing off in a second coin toss to determine the identity of Teams D and E. Then E plays at D. One week later, the winner of the D-E game plays at A and C plays at B. The two winners of the second week's games are the wild cards.

Scenario 30: Five-way tie for two wild cards, involving three teams tied for second place in one division and two other teams finishing second by themselves in their respective divisions, or three teams tied for second place in one division and two teams tied for second place in another division. The three teams in the same division draw for C, D and E, and the other two teams draw for A and B. Then E plays at D. One week later, the winner of the D-E game plays at A and C plays at B. The two winners of the second week's games are the wild cards.

As far as I can determine, the scenarios listed above cover all cases where the ties could be broken with two rounds of special playoff games; any others (involving five or more teams) would require three rounds. In these cases, the first round would be held on the Friday following the end of the regular season, the second on the following Wednesday (five days later) and the third on the following Monday (five days after the second round). Exact details as to what these scenarios are will be posted on this thread as I figure them out.

Alternation rule: Whenever a coin toss is used to determine home-site priority in a tie-breaking playoff game, if and when those same two teams ever meet again in a tie-breaking playoff game and a coin toss would be needed to determine home-site priority in the subsequent instance also, the loser of the original coin toss shall automatically be awarded home-site priority in the subsequent instance. (Example: Dallas and Washington finish tied for first in NFC East in 2006, a one-game playoff is necessary, and Dallas wins the coin toss; then in 2009 the Cowboys and Redskins finish tied again and another coin toss would be necessary - in that case Washington shall automatically host the 2009 game). However, if home site priority was earned by one team due to a higher division finish (tied for first over second, second alone over tied for second, etc.) the alternation rule does not apply.

Last edited by Anthony; 09-09-2004 at 04:23 AM.
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