December 29, 2008

NFL Draft Order Tiebreakers (In English)

Here are the NFL's draft order tiebreakers in layman's terms. A lot of people Google looking for these, but the NFL's official version is quite difficult to understand. Luckily we've had hands on experience applying the rules, and can translate them into English.

The draft tiebreakers are as follows:

1) Super Bowl Winner picks 32nd

2) Super Bowl Loser picks 31st

3) Teams are ranked in inverse order of their record (i.e. - worst picks first). Ties count as a half win and half loss.

4) A playoff team always picks after a non-playoff team with the same regular season record. If two playoff teams have the same regular season record, but one was eliminated in an earlier round, that team picks first.

5) Ties are then broken using strength of schedule or SOS (average of all 16 opponent's winning percentage, divisionmates count twice since they were played twice. Or count the wins of all 16 opponents, same result. Most media sources use the percentage method). Weaker schedule picks earlier.

6) If SOS fails to break the tie, and the teams are in the same division, apply the division playoff tiebreakers (except the "loser" picks first).

7) If SOS fails to break the tie and the teams are not in the same division, but the teams are in the same conference, apply the conference playoff tiebreakers (except the "loser" picks first).

8) If the teams are still tied, or are in different conferences, a coin toss decides the order. If three teams are tied such that the tie can be broken as to two teams without a coin toss, but not between any of those two and a third team, the "loser" of the breakable tie flips against the other team first.

(A scenario where all three teams are stone tied is nearly impossible since there are only two conferences and intraconference tiebreakers go very deep before a coin flip. In such a case though, the two or more teams from the same division or conference would flip first as part of the conference/division tiebreaking process first, then the draft order coin flip process would take over.)

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