NFL Tiebreaking Procedures | NFL.com

NFL Tiebreaking Procedures

The following procedures will be used to break standings ties for postseason playoffs and to determine regular-season schedules.

NOTE: Tie games count as one-half win and one-half loss for both clubs.

To Break A Tie Within A Division

If, at the end of the regular season, two or more clubs in the same division finish with identical won-lost-tied percentages, the following steps will be taken until a champion is determined.

Two Clubs

  1. Head-to-head (best won-lost-tied percentage in games between the clubs).
  2. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the division.
  3. Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games.
  4. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.
  5. Strength of victory in all games.
  6. Strength of schedule in all games
  7. Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed in all games.
  8. Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed in all games.
  9. Best net points in common games.
  10. Best net points in all games.
  11. Best net touchdowns in all games.
  12. Coin toss

Three or More Clubs

(Note: If two clubs remain tied after one-or-more clubs are eliminated during any step, tiebreaker restarts at Step 1 of two-club format. If three clubs remain tied after a fourth club is eliminated during any step, tiebreaker restarts at Step 1 of three-club format.)

  1. Head-to-head (best won-lost-tied percentage in games among the clubs).
  2. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the division.
  3. Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games.
  4. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.
  5. Strength of victory in all games.
  6. Strength of schedule in all games.
  7. Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed in all games.
  8. Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed in all games.
  9. Best net points in common games.
  10. Best net points in all games.
  11. Best net touchdowns in all games.
  12. Coin toss

To Break A Tie For The Wild-Card Team

If it is necessary to break ties to determine the three Wild-Card clubs from each conference, the following steps will be taken.

  1. If the tied clubs are from the same division, apply division tiebreaker.
  2. If the tied clubs are from different divisions, apply the following steps.

Two Clubs

  1. Head-to-head, if applicable.
  2. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.
  3. Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games, minimum of four.
  4. Strength of victory in all games.
  5. Strength of schedule in all games.
  6. Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed in all games.
  7. Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed in all games.
  8. Best net points in conference games.
  9. Best net points in all games.
  10. Best net touchdowns in all games.
  11. Coin toss.

Three or More Clubs

(Note: If two clubs remain tied after one-or-more clubs are eliminated during any step, tiebreaker restarts at Step 1 of two-club format. If three clubs remain tied after a fourth club is eliminated during any step, tiebreaker restarts at Step 2 of three-club format.)

  1. Apply division tiebreaker to eliminate all but the highest ranked club in each division prior to proceeding to step 2. The original seeding within a division upon application of the division tiebreaker remains the same for all subsequent applications of the procedure that are necessary to identify the two Wild-Card participants.
  2. Head-to-head sweep. (Applicable only if one club has defeated each of the others or if one club has lost to each of the others.)
  3. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.
  4. Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games, minimum of four.
  5. Strength of victory in all games.
  6. Strength of schedule in all games.
  7. Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed in all games.
  8. Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed in all games.
  9. Best net points in conference games.
  10. Best net points in all games.
  11. Best net touchdowns in all games.
  12. Coin toss

When the first Wild Card team has been identified, the procedure is repeated to name the second and third Wild Card (i.e., eliminate all but the highest-ranked club in each division prior to proceeding to Step 2). In situations in which three teams from the same division are involved in the procedure, the original seeding of the teams remains the same for subsequent applications of the tiebreaker if the top-ranked team in that division qualifies for a Wild Card berth.

Other Tie-Breaking Procedures

  1. Only one club advances to the playoffs in any tie-breaking step. Remaining tied clubs revert to the first step of the applicable division or Wild Card tie-breakers. As an example, if two clubs remain tied in any tie-breaker step after all other clubs have been eliminated, the procedure reverts to Step 1 of the two-club format to determine the winner. When one club wins the tiebreaker, all other clubs revert to Step 1 of the applicable two-club or three-club format.
  2. In comparing records against common opponents among tied teams, the best won-lost-tied percentage is the deciding factor, since teams may have played an unequal number of games.
  3. To determine home-field priority among division winners, apply Wild Card tiebreakers.
  4. To determine home-field priority for Wild Card qualifiers, apply division tiebreakers (if teams are from the same division) or Wild Card tiebreakers (if teams are from different divisions).
  5. To determine the best combined ranking among conference team's in points scored and points allowed, add a team's position in the two categories, and the lowest score wins. For example, if Team A is first in points scored and second in points allowed, its combined ranking is "3." If Team B is third in points scored and first in points allowed, its combined ranking is "4." Team A then wins the tiebreaker. If two teams are tied for a position, both teams are awarded the ranking as if they held it solely. For example, if Team A and Team B are tied for first in points scored, each team is assigned a ranking of "1" in that category, and if Team C is third, its ranking will still be "3."

Tie-Breaking Procedure For Selection Meeting

1. Clubs not participating in the playoffs shall select in the first through 18th positions in reverse-standings order.

2. Clubs participating in the playoffs shall select according to the following procedures:

(A) The losers of the Wild Card games shall select in the 19th through 24th positions based on won-loss-tied percentagein reverse-standings order.

(B) The losers of the Divisional playoff games shall select in the 25th through 28th positions based on won-loss-tied percentage in reverse-standings order.

(C) The losers of the Conference Championship Games shall select 29th and 30th based on won-loss-tied percentage in reverse-standings order.

(D) The winner of the Super Bowl game shall select last and the Super Bowl loser will select next-to-last.

3. If ties exist in any grouping, such ties shall be broken by figuring the aggregate won-lost-tied percentage of each involved club's regular-season opponents and awarding preferential selection order to the club that faced the schedule of teams with the lowest aggregate won-lost-tied percentage.

4. If ties still exist, apply the Divisional, Conference or Interconference tie-breaking methods, whichever is applicable.

(A) For Divisional or Conference ties, use the procedures on the previous page.

(B) For Interconference ties, use the following procedures:

(i) Ties involving TWO teams from different conferences will be broken by (a) head-to-head meeting; (b) best won-losttied percentage in common games, minimum of four, (c) strength of victory in all games, (d) best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed in all games, (e) best net points in all games, (f) best net touchdowns in all games, and finally (g) coin toss.

(ii) Ties involving THREE-OR-MORE clubs from different conferences will be broken by applying (a) divisional tiebreakers to determine the lowest-ranked team in a division, (b) conference tiebreakers to determine the lowest-ranked team within a conference, and (c) interconference tiesbreakers to determine the lowestranked team in the league. The process will be repeated until the draft order has been established.

After the selection order for the first round of the draft has been determined, clubs originally involved in two-club ties will alternate positions from round to round. In the cases of ties that originally involved three-or-more clubs, the club at the top of a tied segment in a given round will move to the bottom of the segment for the next round, while all other clubs in the segment move up one place. This rotation will continue throughout the draft.