No one likes ties. They are unsatisfying and force the NFL’s standings to include a third column. 12-4 is a good record. 12-3-1 is gross.
Let’s kill ties once and for all. How, you ask? Here are 10 ideas:
1. NCAA rules
This one should be self-explanatory to anyone who’s watched a college football game go to overtime. Teams trade offensive possessions from their opponent’s 25-yard line. If the first team scores a touchdown, the other must match or the game is over.
2. XFL rules
Much like NCAA rules, XFL overtime periods involved teams trading possessions. But there was a catch: If the first team scored a touchdown on its first play, the second team also had to score on its first play, etc.
3. Dueling 2-point converts
Similar to the NCAA and XFL, this idea involves trading offensive possessions. But instead of starting at the 25-yard line, teams will start at the spot of a two-point convert: the 2-yard line. This idea would also help keep the final scores of games down, as teams couldn’t pile up matching touchdowns in overtime.
4. Dueling FGs
Teams trade field-goal attempts from increasing distances until one team misses – first attempt from 35 yards, then 45 yards, and finally 55 yards. If both teams hit all three, 1-yard increments can be used until a winner is decided.
5. Blind-bid FGs
Both teams write down the maximum distance from which they are willing to attempt a game-winning field goal, then whichever team bids higher must attempt the kick. For example, if Team A bids 45 yards and Team B bids 46 yards, Team B must kick from 46 yards and will either win or lose the game based on whether that kick is good.
6. Dueling FGs; only 1 kick per player
The same idea as No. 4, except no player on the roster may attempt more than one kick. Teams must decide whether to use their starting placekicker for the initial kick from 35 yards or save him for a longer kick. Could a quarterback or a linebacker make a kick from 45 yards? Let’s find out.
7. Dueling Hail Marys
Each offense runs a play from the 50-yard line. Anything less than a touchdown is a failure. Teams trade plays until one scores a 50-yard touchdown. Hail Marys are encouraged, but teams are also permitted to throw it short and attempt to score via a series of laterals.
Standard NFL overtime rules, but with only a center and one pass-rusher at the line of scrimmage. Blitzing is not allowed.
9. Race to score
The same rules as the NCAA (both offenses get the ball at the 25-yard line), but both offenses are on the field at the same time at opposite ends of the field. Unlimited downs, first team to score a touchdown wins.
10. Dueling goal-line plays
Two footballs are placed at midfield. Both teams send their goal-line offense onto the field. Each offense must run the ball between the tackles at the same time. The winner is whichever team gains more yards. Linemen must decide whether to block for their own running back or tackle the opposing runner. It would be sublime carnage.