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).