What's A Tie?
Posted Nov. 13 at 02:47 PM
Sunday's game between the Rams and 49ers ended in a tie. I was surprised because I didn't think the Rams would be so competitive, although they hurt themselves in the extra period by negating a long pass play and a made field goal with penalties. I was a little surprised that David Akers would miss a field goal when he's made so many clutch kicks before. And I was surprised that nobody was able to put any points on the board in an entire quarter when the defenses must have been tired.
But I wasn't as surprised as 49ers safety Dashon Goldson. He was really, really surprised. He didn't know you could tie in the NFL.
Let that sink in for a moment. A professional football player, playing in overtime, didn't know how overtime worked. And he wasn't alone: Danny Amendola, PPR hero, is an NFL rules zero. He thought they'd simply gear up for a second overtime period. There were probably others, too, but they knew enough to keep their heads down and not say anything. I'm not sure whether to blame the coaches or players, but that's pretty embarrassing.
I know ties don't happen that often. The last one was in 2008, when Donovan McNabb admitted that he, too, didn't know the game just ended with no winner. But overtime ties have existed in the NFL for almost 40 years, and ties have been part of the regular season since the league has been around. I don't expect every player to be a "student of the game" like Peyton Manning, but it would be nice if they knew how the rules worked. And yes, the NFL has new overtime rules for the regular season, but they didn't change what happens if nobody scores in 15 minutes. Somehow, players are immersed in the game without knowing exactly how it works. And if you do that in your league, it could really cost you.
Before you make fun of guys like McNabb, Goldson and Amendola, ask yourself if you're playing in a system you don't really understand. What are your league's tie-breakers for the playoffs? Can eliminated teams still use the waiver wire? Is there a cash prize for total points? Exactly how much do you win for taking the title, anyway? Don't assume you know, and definitely don't expect common sense to dictate the answers. Assuming that total points breaks ties for the playoffs is just as silly as expecting a second overtime period during the regular season. It might be worse, actually. Those guys make the same money whether they know or not, but guessing wrong can cost your fantasy team a nice payout.
Every league is different, and if you're in several of them you'd better know how each one works. Some leagues give a home-field advantage in the playoffs. In others, half the teams make the post-season. I'm not saying one is better than another, but I am saying that you need to understand the rules -- whatever they are.
By the way, this would be a good time to figure out how to address ties in your league's playoffs, especially if you don't use decimal scoring. Believe it or not, some leagues simply hope it never happens. But as we all know, it happens.
Ties in the NFL are rare, but I suspect that players not knowing how overtime works is pretty common. Maybe it never comes up for them, but it might come up for you. Know your league's rules so there are no surprises down the road. Good luck this week.
Youtube Clip of the Week: I linked it the last time there was a tie, so this is a good time to show it to you again.
Were you surprised that some players don't know the overtime rules? Have you ever been surprised by a weird fantasy league rule you thought was handled differently? Share your thoughts below.
Posted by PETER DEBIASE | Nov. 14 at 04:57 AM
A few years ago I played in a 12 team public league where I assumed the top 3 teams in each division made the playoffs. My team finished third in one of the divisions. I found out that the team that finished below me in fourth place made the playoffs over my team due to more total points. Why bother playing a head to head format for 13 weeks?
Posted by IAN ALLAN | Nov. 14 at 02:19 PM
That many NFL players don't know the rules of overtime doesn't surprise me at all. When I was at the University of Washington, I covered the football team for the student newspaper. I was talking to players on the team every other day. Many times it occurred to me how little some of these players knew about the NFL. Many of them, for example, weren't even familiar with the names of all of the franchises, let alone who were the quarterbacks or the running backs. These guys weren't football FANS, like you or me, they were football PLAYERS. Many of them had no interest at all in watching other guys play football. So doesn't surprise me at all that many would not be familiar with overtime rules.
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