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ERIC Number: EJ944630
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Aug
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 9
ISSN: ISSN-1947-279X
The Overtime Rule in the National Football League: Fair or Unfair?
Gorgievski, Nicholas; DeFranco, Thomas C.; Swaminatha, Hariharan; Sofronas, Kimberly S.
MathAMATYC Educator, v2 n1 p56-60 Aug 2010
In 1974, the National Football League (NFL) initiated a sudden death overtime rule for games ending in a tie score at the end of regulation time. The rule states that the sudden death system of determining the winner shall prevail when the score is tied at the end of the regulation playing time of all NFL games. The team scoring first during overtime play shall be the winner and the game automatically ends upon any score (by safety, field goal, or touchdown) or when a score is awarded by Referee for a palpably unfair act (NFL Record and Factbook, 2005). The rule further states that if neither team scores points during the overtime period, then the game ends in a tie. Over the past few years, football fans, sportscasters, newspaper editorials, as well as mathematicians have all weighed in on whether the NFL overtime rule is fair to both teams. Some football enthusiasts have offered alternatives to the rule. In 2003, NFL owners rejected a proposal to change the overtime rule. Does the NFL overtime rule give the winner of the coin toss an unfair advantage? In this paper, the authors examine the coin toss and its effect on the outcome of an overtime game using logistic regression. (Contains 5 tables.)
American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges. 5983 Macon Cove, Memphis, TN 38134. Tel: 901-333-4643; Fax: 901-333-4651; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A