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Is a Tie just as bad as a Loss? (Indy/Hou Week 4 as example)

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    Pretty straightforward question, but I can't fully decide where I stand: Is a tie in an NFL game just as bad as a loss? Technically speaking, a tie is like half a win, half a loss; it's a .5 on the record. In either direction depending on what you are comparing it to. But that's always still better than a full -1.0, right? It's just simple math.

    So why in the world did Indy go for it on 4th down and 4, with only 27 seconds left on the clock in overtime, on their own 42? Here's the recap, starting from the play just before, and I'm sure you can guess what happened:

    Texans vs. Colts Week 4 Highlights (link to YouTube video starts at play just before)

    So Indy could have punted and all but guaranteed the game to end in a tie. Where they would have been 1-2-1 instead of 1-3. And also don't forgot, this was a divisional game so wins, losses and ties matter even more. This call could literally mean the difference between which of these teams wins the division and goes to the playoffs.

    Indy going for it on that 4th down and not getting it almost assured them a loss. But they were already going to at best tie if they punted, and they wanted to win. Which was a real possibility. With 27 seconds and all you need is a FG, I actually totally understand the mentality of win or go home, we didn't come here for no tie.

    Curious of what others think of this: if you were the head coach in that moment, what would you have done?

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    First of all, I dont think there should even be such a thing as a "tie" in professional sports. Play the game to quadruple overtime.. who cares? Fans would love a quadruple overtime game, in most cases anyway.

    I don't think a tie has any place, especially when it comes to games where win/loss records matter. Sure, throw in as many ties as you want in the preseason, but they should play until a win in the postseason.

    Take hockey for example. It used to be I think double overtime, then would turn into a shootout. Basically, whichever team's single player vs. goalie scores more out of 5 attempts wins the game. It has now been changed to if a game ends in a tie, a overtime round is played. If the overtime round is unsuccessful, it turns to a sudden death match.

    The NFL should take note of this and change their weird overtime rules. I've never really understood how they work anyway.

    Anyway, yeah, that was a dumb decision on their part. A tie is obviously better than a loss.

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    We'll probably see even more ties now that the NFL shortened the OT time of play to 10 minutes instead of 15. Though I agree, there shouldn't be any ties. Would be cool to see them line up on the 10 yard line and see how many plays it takes for them to score a TD. Then the other team tries. Lowest count wins. If that ties, keep doing it. No kickoffs. No having to go the full length of the field. No field goal winners. Just red zone TDs. Problem solved.

    Also, if I was the coach.. I would have not gone for it. Unless it was a better situation, like 4th and 1. Or they were at least 10 yards away from a long FG try if they didn't get it. Or less time. All those working against, the Colts were wrong to give the Texans a win there.

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    PowerPlay Wrote:

    First of all, I dont think there should even be such a thing as a "tie" in professional sports. Play the game to quadruple overtime.. who cares? Fans would love a quadruple overtime game, in most cases anyway.

    The reason they don't play more in overtime is because of fear of injuries. The league has specifically changed the rules for OT to be shorter to avoid injuries and fatigue, which leads to injuries. But if they just changed the way the game is played in overtime, they wouldn't have to worry about it as much.
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    The Cowboys just added a new wrinkle to this question of going for it or not in OT. Watching that week 5 game vs the Texans made it very clear just how short 10 minutes really is. If you have any kind of methodical drive whatsoever, you are going to run 3-6 minutes off the clock. Which means each team really only has 1 solid try and scoring a touchdown. Maybe 2 if the defense makes a good stop.

    So I was feeling pretty nervous and conflicted about the clock situation when Dallas had the ball on the Texan's 42 (Dallas got the ball first) and it was 4th and 1 with only 5:40 left on the clock.. and they decided to punt. They felt they could give the ball away, stop Houston with time left on the clock, and score at least a FG for the win, even though they just went for a 4:20 drive themselves. Pretty nonsensical to me.

    I think this is the opposite of making too much of a ballsy play, like Indy did. This is making a way too safe call, that ended up biting them, as Houston had a crazy 49-yard catch by DeAndre Hopkins that lead them right into field goal territory anyway.

    Dallas could have won by showing some courage and understanding the clock was not on their side. They also seemed content with the knowledge that if time ran out, they at least got a tie. So in that case, a tie to me would have been worse than a go for it loss.

    What's your take on that one??? Here's the highlights from that game:

    Cowboys vs. Texans Week 5 Highlights

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    SFriedman Wrote: The reason they don't play more in overtime is because of fear of injuries. The league has specifically changed the rules for OT to be shorter to avoid injuries and fatigue, which leads to injuries. But if they just changed the way the game is played in overtime, they wouldn't have to worry about it as much.

    I completely understand that they dont want more injuries, but this is professional level football. I don't think that's a good reason to have ties in postseason. Winning games is specifically what the players/coaches/management signed up for. Every sport has risk of injury at any point in the game. Simply because a player might get injured from longer play/fatigue is a really goofy reason to just call a match a tie. I've seen pretty much every level and position of player get hurt in the first quarter, so fatigue caused injuries just doesn't strike me as a good reason.

    I wonder how the players see this topic. Do you think they would agree that they should play until a definite win? Or do you think they like it they way it is, or that ties are acceptable?

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    PowerPlay Wrote:

    I wonder how the players see this topic. Do you think they would agree that they should play until a definite win? Or do you think they like it they way it is, or that ties are acceptable?

    I think the player's commission has been lobbying for safer play all around for a long time. But not sure how they feel about the overtime rule changes. I imagine they aren't happy about more ties across the league, and would have rather the rules been changed to yeah, something more like hockey shoot outs.