List of NFL tied games

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In the National Football League (NFL), a tied game occurs when a regular season game ends with both teams having an equal score.[1] Ties have counted as a half-win and half-loss in league standings since 1972; before that, ties were not counted in the standings at all.[2] Since the National Hockey League eliminated ties by adopting the shootout following the 2004–05 NHL lockout, the NFL is the only one of the four major professional sports leagues in North America to have tied games in regular-season play, as Major League Baseball (in the modern era since 1900) and the National Basketball Association have historically played until there is a winner. Unlike soccer (association football), in which teams routinely play for a draw (for the benefit of a point in the standings), NFL teams rarely play for ties. In general, tied games in the NFL are frowned upon by both teams and fans.[3] Because tied games are rare, some players have not known they were allowed in the NFL, such as former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, who said after a tie game against the Cincinnati Bengals that he did not know a tie was a possible result.[1][4]

Tie games were once frequent in the NFL between its inaugural season in 1920 to 1973, when the league did not have overtime during the regular season. Games that were tied after regulation (60 minutes, divided into four quarters of 15 minutes) immediately ended. During this period, the NFL had a total of 258 tied games. Only three seasons (1934, 1950, 1952) went without a tied game, while five seasons (1920, 1923, 1926, 1929, 1932) had at least ten ties. The most ties, 17, occurred in the 1920 inaugural season.[5]

Ties have since become uncommon after the rules were changed in 1974 that added one sudden death overtime period (15 minutes) to regular-season and preseason games if they were tied after regulation.[6] Under the original overtime rules, any score by either team in overtime would win the game,[7] which was proved to grant a substantial advantage to the team that won the coin toss.[8] The rules were then modified in 2012 so that the teams "have the opportunity to possess the ball at least once in the extra period unless the team that receives the [first] overtime kickoff scores a touchdown on its first possession." The game can also automatically end on a safety or a defensive touchdown. If the team that received the opening kickoff instead scores a field goal, the other team has an opportunity to tie or surpass that score; if they are able to tie the score, the next team to score any points wins.[9] The overtime rules were further modified in 2017, shortening the extra period from 15 minutes to 10 minutes for preseason and regular season games.[10]

Since 1974 there have only been 22 tied games, the most recent occurring in Week 8 of the 2016 season when the Washington Redskins and Cincinnati Bengals tied 27–27. A tie game happened in each of the first three seasons after the overtime rules were altered in 2012. The Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars are the only current NFL teams that have never recorded a tied game; the New England Patriots have never recorded a tie in an NFL game, but recorded nine ties as members of the American Football League (AFL). The Chicago Bears have played to 42 ties (all prior to 1974), the most of any NFL team,[11] while the Green Bay Packers have recorded the most ties since the 1974 introduction of overtime with five.

Tied games (1920 to 1973)

From 1920 to 1973, there were no overtime rules during the NFL regular season.

Season No. of ties
1920[A][5] 17
1921 7
1922 9
1923 13
1924 7
1925 9
1926 14
1927 6
1928 6
1929 10
1930 7
1931 3
1932 10
1933 5
1934 0
1935 4
1936 2
1937 3
1938 3
1939 3
1940 4
1941 2
1942 1
1943 3
1944 3
1945 1
1946 3
1947 2
1948 1
1949 3
1950 0
1951 3
1952 0
1953 3
1954 2
1955 3
1956 2
1957 1
1958 3
1959 1
1960 5
1961 3
1962 4
1963 5
1964 6
1965 2
1966 5
1967 9
1968 4
1969 5
1970 9
1971 8
1972 5
1973 7

Tied games (1974 to 2011)

Between 1974 and 2011, a pure sudden death, one 15-minute overtime period was used, in which the first team who scored, in whatever fashion, won the game. Only 17 games ended in a tie during this period.

Key
Symbol Meaning
Team (#) Denotes the number of times the team has tied a game since 1974.
No. Date Away team Home team Score Note(s)
1 September 22, 1974 Pittsburgh Steelers Denver Broncos 35–35 First regular-season overtime game in NFL history.[13]
2 September 19, 1976 Los Angeles Rams Minnesota Vikings 10–10 With about a minute left in overtime, Vikings quarterback Fran Tarkenton's pass is intercepted by Rams linebacker Rick Kay at the Los Angeles 1-yard line. The Rams then concede the tie with the ball deep in their own territory.[14]
3 November 26, 1978 Minnesota Vikings (2) Green Bay Packers 10–10 Both teams finished the season with an 8–7–1 record. Minnesota won the NFC Central over Green Bay by virtue of a 1–0–1 head-to-head record.[3]
4 October 12, 1980 Green Bay Packers (2) Tampa Bay Buccaneers 14–14
5 October 4, 1981 New York Jets Miami Dolphins 28–28 Jets kicker Pat Leahy missed a 48-yard field goal as time expired in overtime.[15]
6 December 19, 1982 Green Bay Packers (3) Baltimore Colts 20–20 Baltimore, which eventually finished its season at 0–8–1,[B] overcame a 20–6 fourth-quarter deficit to force overtime. Packers' Jan Stenerud missed wide right from 47 yards with 2:00 left to seal the draw.[17]
7 October 24, 1983 New York Giants St. Louis Cardinals 20–20 Only overtime tie to date on Monday Night Football.[18] Cardinals' Neil O'Donoghue missed three field-goal attempts in the extra period from 45, 20 and 42 yards, the last two in the final 66 seconds.[19]
8 November 4, 1984 Philadelphia Eagles Detroit Lions 23–23
9 October 19, 1986 San Francisco 49ers Atlanta Falcons 10–10
10 December 7, 1986 St. Louis Cardinals (2) Philadelphia Eagles (2) 10–10 2nd tie game in 1986 season. First season to have more than one tie game since overtime was started. Most recent tie game to be broadcast on CBS.
11 September 20, 1987 Denver Broncos (2) Green Bay Packers (4) 17–17 Game played at Milwaukee County Stadium
12 October 2, 1988 Kansas City Chiefs New York Jets (2) 17–17
13 November 19, 1989 Kansas City Chiefs (2) Cleveland Browns 10–10 Chiefs kicker Nick Lowery, one of the most accurate kickers during the 1989 season, played poorly on the sloppy turf of Cleveland Municipal Stadium. He missed a 45-yard field goal that would have won it for Kansas City with four seconds left in regulation. In overtime, he had a chance to win the game on a 47-yard attempt with 3 seconds left, but missed that one as well.[20]
14 November 16, 1997 Philadelphia Eagles (3) Baltimore Ravens 10–10 Each team had an unsuccessful field-goal attempt in the overtime; Ravens' Matt Stover missed wide right from 53 yards with 2:21 remaining, Eagles' Chris Boniol also wide right from 40 yards on the last play of the game.[21]
15 November 23, 1997 New York Giants (2) Washington Redskins 7–7 First overtime tie in the league's Sunday night slot, and the only one so far in an ESPN-aired game (and in an NFL cable package, as NFL Network's Thursday Night Football has yet to carry a tied game). Redskins' Gus Frerotte injured himself by headbutting a stadium wall while celebrating his team's lone touchdown.[22]
16 November 10, 2002 Atlanta Falcons (2) Pittsburgh Steelers (2) 34–34 Atlanta mounted a 17-point comeback to force overtime. Pittsburgh wide receiver Plaxico Burress was stopped a yard short of the end zone on the final play of overtime.[23]
17 November 16, 2008 Philadelphia Eagles (4) Cincinnati Bengals 13–13 Bengals kicker Shayne Graham missed a 47-yard field goal with seven seconds left in overtime. Eagles QB Donovan McNabb infamously stated at the post-game press conference that he didn't know games could end in a tie.[24]

Tied games (2012 to 2016)

In 2012, the league instituted a modified sudden death overtime. If the team that received the opening kickoff instead scored a field goal, the other team had an opportunity to tie or surpass that score; if the other team was able to tie the score, the game became a true sudden death, where the next team to score any points by any method would win. Five tied games occurred between 2012 and 2016, averaging one per season. In three of these five games, both teams managed to score a field goal each before the 15 minutes expired in the overtime period. In the other two games, neither team scored during the overtime period (these games would have therefore been ties under the pre-2012 overtime rules also).

No. Date Away team Home team Score Note(s)
1 November 11, 2012 St. Louis Rams (2) San Francisco 49ers (2) 24–24 While this was the first tie under the modified overtime rules, it would have been a tie under the old rules as neither team scored in the extra period. The Rams had a game-winning field goal taken away because of a penalty. Both teams missed field goal attempts in the overtime period.[25]
2 November 24, 2013 Minnesota Vikings (3) Green Bay Packers (5) 26–26 The Packers scored 16 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 23 and force overtime. Both teams scored a field goal in the overtime period, resulting in a final score of 26–26. This was the first tied game in which both teams converted field goal attempts in the extra period.[26]
3 October 12, 2014 Carolina Panthers Cincinnati Bengals (2) 37–37 Both teams scored a field goal in the overtime period. Bengals kicker Mike Nugent missed a 36-yard field goal attempt as the overtime period expired. The game was the highest-scoring tie game in NFL history since the institution of overtime[27]
4 October 23, 2016 Seattle Seahawks Arizona Cardinals (3) 6–6 Lowest scoring tie since introduction of overtime.[28] Arizona kicker Chandler Catanzaro and Seattle kicker Steven Hauschka missed consecutive field goals from short distances late in overtime after having each made one earlier in the overtime period, and Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer threw a Hail Mary pass that was knocked out of the endzone at the end of the overtime period, resulting in the 6-6 tie. This is the first tie since 1997 to be broadcast on a network other than Fox.
5 October 30, 2016 Washington Redskins (2) Cincinnati Bengals (3) 27–27 First overtime game played at Wembley Stadium in London, and the first overtime regular season tie game played outside the United States.[29] Second time in the overtime era in which there were ties in two consecutive weeks, and first since 1997. Neither team scored in the overtime period. Redskins kicker Dustin Hopkins missed a 34-yard field goal in overtime which would have won the game.

Tied games (2017 to present)

At the NFL Spring League meeting on May 23, 2017, a rule change was approved for the upcoming 2017 NFL season, which shortened overtime from 15 minutes to 10 minutes for preseason and regular season games.[30] The intent of reducing overtime to 10 minutes was to reduce fatigue and injuries, despite concerns that doing so could also result in more tie games.[31]


Notes

Notes
  1. ^ No official standings were recorded throughout the 1920 season and teams played games against opponents outside of the league.[12]
  2. ^ The 1982 season was reduced from 16 to 9 games because of a 57-day players' strike.[16]
Footnotes
  1. ^ a b Campbell, Dave (November 13, 2012). "Rams–49ers tie likely not enough to alter NFL rule". The Huffington Post. Retrieved February 25, 2013. 
  2. ^ Piascik, Andy (2005). "Old and New Style: Winning Percentages" (PDF). The Coffin Corner. Professional Football Researchers Association. 27 (5): 21–23. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 2, 2013. Retrieved January 16, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Graham, Bryan Armen (November 17, 2012). "An argument in favor of tie games". Fan Nation. Sports Illustrated. Archived from the original on December 3, 2013. Retrieved February 25, 2013. 
  4. ^ Farrar, Doug (November 12, 2012). "49ers and Rams players fail the test when asked about overtime rules". Shutdown Corner. Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved February 25, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b "1920 APFA Weekly League Schedule". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 27, 2013. 
  6. ^ Jonsson, Patrick (November 12, 2012). "First NFL tie since 2008, between Rams and 49ers: What is this, soccer?". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved February 25, 2013. 
  7. ^ Chase, Chris (March 28, 2012). "NFL passes new overtime rules for regular-season games". Shutdown Corner. Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved February 27, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Rules proposal passes on 28–4 vote". ESPN. March 24, 2010. Archived from the original on 2010-03-27. Retrieved March 27, 2010. 
  9. ^ "NFL overtime rules". National Football League. March 28, 2012. Retrieved February 27, 2013. 
  10. ^ Thomas, Jeanna (May 23, 2017). "NFL voted on rule changes for the 2017 season, and we graded each one". SBNation.com. Retrieved May 23, 2017. 
  11. ^ "All-Time Records of Current NFL Franchises" (PDF). Pro Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved February 3, 2014. 
  12. ^ "NFL Champions". Pro Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved January 15, 2013. 
  13. ^ Chase, Chris (November 12, 2012). "All recent NFL ties have happened in mid-November and other interesting facts". USA Today. Retrieved February 25, 2013. 
  14. ^ Rollow, Copper (September 20, 1976). "Viking-Ram tie all Fran's fault". Chicago Tribune. § 5, p. 1. 
  15. ^ Eskenazi, Gerald (October 5, 1981). "Jets and Dolphins play to a 28–28 tie". The New York Times. Retrieved October 13, 2014. [page needed]
  16. ^ "NFL History by Decade: 1981-1990". NFL.com Baltimore finished with zero wins, eight losses, and one tie. Retrieved February 27, 2013. 
  17. ^ Christopulos, Mike (December 20, 1982). "Packers blow lead: Colts earn 20–20 tie". The Milwaukee Sentinel. [page needed][dead link]
  18. ^ Weinfuss, Josh (October 23, 2012). "Amped Up For Monday Night Football". Arizona Cardinals. Retrieved February 26, 2013. 
  19. ^ Litsky, Frank (October 26, 1983). "Mistakes Hurt Giants in Tie". The New York Times. [page needed]
  20. ^ "Lowery, Chiefs Fit to Be Tied, 10–10". [Los Angeles Times]]. Associated Press. November 20, 1989. [page needed]
  21. ^ "Eagles 10, Ravens 10". Chicago Tribune. November 17, 1997. p. 8. 
  22. ^ Schremmer, Mak (November 13, 2012). "Redskins Pro Bowler remembered for bizarre celebration". The Joplin Globe. Retrieved March 17, 2013. 
  23. ^ Bouchette, Ed (November 11, 2012). "Steelers settle for tie as Vick rallies Atlanta from 17-point deficit in fourth quarter". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved February 25, 2013. 
  24. ^ "Eagles, Bengals play to NFL's first tie in six years at 13-13". ESPN. Retrieved February 25, 2013. 
  25. ^ Gregory, Sean (November 12, 2012). "Unusual Ending: How the NFL Got a Tie Game". Time. Retrieved February 25, 2013. 
  26. ^ "NFL roundup: Patriots refuse to quit, ties still happen, and the Buccaneers are... good?". Statesman Journal. Salem, OR. November 24, 2013. Retrieved November 25, 2013. [permanent dead link]
  27. ^ Orr, Conor (October 12, 2014). "Bengals, Panthers have highest-scoring tie game ever". National Football League. Retrieved October 13, 2014. 
  28. ^ Bergman, Jeremy (October 24, 2016). "Cardinals, Seahawks settle for historic tie after wild OT". National Football League. Retrieved October 24, 2016. 
  29. ^ Orr, Conor (October 30, 2016). "Redskins-Bengals London duel ends in 27-27 tie". National Football League. Retrieved October 30, 2016. 
  30. ^ Thomas, Jeanna (May 23, 2017). "NFL voted on rule changes for the 2017 season, and we graded each one". SBNation.com. Retrieved May 23, 2017. 
  31. ^ Ruiz, Steven (May 23, 2017). "3 possible consequences of the NFL shortening overtime to 10 minutes". USA Today. Retrieved May 23, 2017. 

General references

  • "Past Standings (1920–2013)" (PDF). National Football League. Retrieved February 27, 2013. 
  • Sessler, Mike (November 11, 2012). "Rams-49ers play to tie in game fueled by weirdness". National Football League. Retrieved February 25, 2013. 

External links

  • National Football League
  • Pro-Football-Reference.com: Years
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