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Retaining original division seeding for subseq...

Posted on: December 1, 2010 11:37 am
 
In the tie-break rules, for a second application of the wildcard tie-break procedure (after the procedure has been used to identify the first wildcard team), emphasis is placed on the fact that teams within a division are not re-ranked; that they retain their original ranking from the first application of the procedure. My question is: why is this emphasis necessary?

In attempting to answer this question, Joe provided a very nice historical account of how the language in the tie-breaking procedure has evolved over the years. (I've placed Joe's historical account into the first comment for this blog). The issue I have though, is that I don't think it answers my question. I still believe that if teams within a division were always ranked in the manner they currently are, then any attempts to re-rank the teams in a second application of the procedure would have ALWAYS produced (and will continue to produce) the same original rankings. If I am correct, then the emphasis on "retaining original rankings" would be unnecessary.

If I am correct about this, please agree with me. If I am wrong about this, please provide an example (real or fictional).

Thanks.

Brett

Comments

Since: Dec 18, 2008
Posted on: December 1, 2010 11:44 am
 

Retaining original division seeding for subseq...


Joe's clarification for how teams are ranked within a division.



I've been confused reading the arguments from Brett and Matt as i don't think anyone has suggested re-seeding and I think most are forgetting what I think is the most important point in tiebreakers...that ONLY ONE TEAM ADVANCES IN ANY TIEBREAKER STEP (which is why i argued it should be higher in the procedures listing).  In the division example noted earlier where 3 teams A, B and C are tied and C advances on division record, the tiebreaker reverts back to step 1 of two team tiebreaker and I think Team A swept Team B in the example and would be the second division seed and B would be third.  It's NOT RE-SEEDING THAT DOES THIS....IT'S THE INITIAL SEEDING.   Brett said:
 However, when I posted a similar scenario, I was corrected by many people (including Joe) who said that (in reference to your example) teams B and A would be re-seeded in the initial division seeding process. I never said they would be re-seeded....just that it would revert to two team tiebreaker.  Just because teams may have division records of C) 4-2, B) 3-3 and A) 2-4 doesn't ever mean they were "SEEDED" that way...just that C had the best division record and advanced.  Once you revert back to B vs. A...it goes to H2H first and A wins.  I think the basic issue you're struggling with in the example is that you see an original seeding based on how teams ranked when the first team advances...and you MUST NOT do that.  Erase it out of your mind and start over at step one for two clubs.

I hope that helps explain some of this.  SORRY for long-winded reply...but I thought it might help to lay it out step by step.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS ALL...and Here's to a great final 3 weeks!!!!

Joe




Since: Dec 18, 2008
Posted on: December 1, 2010 11:43 am
 

Retaining original division seeding for subseq...

Joe's historical account:


First...NEVER use the NFL website as an official tool.  It's not official.  Always refer to the NFL Record and Fact Book if you can.  Hard Copy is best.  Elias Sports Bureau is also best to check...vs. the NFL as Elias is official on all stats.


In this case, the website does currently reflect the TIE-BREAKING PROCEDURES which are an NFL by-law voted on by clubs after deliberation by the Competition Committee.  There have been changes made to the wording in this by-law since I left the League in 2000 and I cannot specifically speak to each change, but if I pour over the changes year-by-year, I'm sure I can come up with an explanation to the change based on conversations I have had with League Officials on this topic.

I should also point out that changes do indeed occur and sometimes from people here.  "thenflrules" was instrumental in pointing out errors in the tiebreaker explanations in the PAST STANDINGS section of the R&F book.  The errors were due to an overzealous League PR person taking it upon themselves, based on current tiebreaker rules, to clarify standings tiebreaker explanations in years where they didn't fully exist previously.  Typically...current rules don't apply well to years prior to 2002.   Not good.

Let me "try" to explain the clarification that is noted at the bottom of the "TO BREAK A TIE FOR THE WILD-CARD TEAM" section.
 
Prior to me joining the League in 1992, they were working off of 1983 Tiebreaker rules which added only this for how to handle 3+ team ties (both in division and Wild Card):

Three or More Clubs
(Note: If two clubs remain tied after other clubs are eliminated, tie-breaker reverts to step 1 of applicable two-club format.)

This left open to potential confusion among clubs and fans as to how we handled situations where one club advanced in a tiebreaker step and two remained (vs. two remaining after one is eliminated).

To deal with this, we added some clarification language in the early 90's. 

Three or More Clubs
(Note: If two clubs remain tied after a third or other clubs are eliminated during any step, tiebreaker reverts to step 1 of the two-club format).
(Note: If one team wins multiple-team tiebreaker to advance to playoff round, remaining teams revert to step 1 of applicable two-club format, i.e., either in division tiebreaker or Wild Card tiebreaker.  If two teams in a multiple-team tie possess superior marks in a tiebreaking step, this pair of teams revert to top of applicable two-club format to break tie.  One team advances to playoff round, while other returns to original group and step 1 of applicable tiebreaker).

Although it was a bit wordy, it helped deal with some confusion that existed with the press and some clubs (typically clubs ticked that they lost a tiebreaker).

This is the time that this Clarification was added as well:

When the first wild-card team has been identified, the procedure is repeated to name the second wild card, i.e., eliminate all but the highest-ranked club in each division prior to proceeding to step 2, and repeated a third time, if necessary, to identify the third wild card. In situations where three or more 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.
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 three wild-card participants.

The reason this was added (and the League kept adding notes to various sections as some would complain they only looked at relevant sections and not full tiebreaker procedures) was that some fans and media would try to "reset" the Wild Card tiebreakers once a team had advanced to a playoff spot in a scenario.  This was particularly problematic for multiple team ties in a division where H2H often came into play for two teams left after another division foe advanced.

We also had the below added, which I argued at the time should not have been a "OTHER PROCEDURE" but at the very beginning of the Tiebreaker Procedures as its a key step for fans trying to understand how this works:

Other Tie-Breaking Procedures
1. Only one club advances to the playoffs in any tiebreaking step. Remaining tied clubs revert to the first step of the applicable division or Wild-Card tiebreakers.

This was further clarified in the late 90's (i think 1999) as follows:

OTHER TIE-BREAKING PROCEDURES
1. Only one club advances to the playoffs in any tiebreaking step. Remaining tied clubs revert to the first step of the applicable division or Wild-Card tiebreakers. As an example, if two clubs remain tied in any tiebreaker step after all other clubs have been eliminated, the procedure reverts to step one of the two-club format to determine the winner. When one club wins the tie-breaker, all other clubs revert to step 1 of the applicable two-club or three-club format.

Again, probably too wordy, but the press and clubs liked examples.

The paragraph in question that states...
In situations where three or more 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.
...is not "wrong" from my perspective.  It was merely a clarification for those that would try to "re-seed" after a team advanced to a playoff spot and would "exclude" the team that advanced from the tiebreaker analysis.  We were merely pointing out that even though a team advanced, they were still part of the "TIE".


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