Why you shouldn’t hate ties

Over the past two weeks, two NFL games have ended in ties, a relatively extreme rarity in football, seeing as the last tie in the NFL before the Cardinals-Seahawks and Redskins-Bengals ties of the past two weeks happened in 2014. Given that ties are really rare in football, both ties were big points of conversation among sports pundits in the days following the results. Unfortunately, the overwhelming consensus is that football fans hate ties. But why?

In the United States of America, there seems to be this long-standing belief, particularly in sports, that there must always be a winner, and therefore there must also be a loser. However, this isn’t true in all sports. Soccer is the best example of a major sport in which ties are commonplace.

In soccer, a tie simply means that neither team was able to get a leg up on the other on that day, and therefore both would take a point from the game, instead of the winner getting 3 and the loser getting 0. Now, the points system wouldn’t work in the NFL (16 games is too few to do that), but the idea of ties should be better received among football fans than it has been.

Defining a “tie” as “neither team being better than the other” completely defines what happened in the Seahawks-Cardinals and Redskins-Bengals games. Simply put, neither team deserved to win. In the Seahawks-Cardinals game, which I wrote about previously, neither team deserved to win because both offenses were pretty bad. If anything, both defenses should have gotten wins and both offenses should’ve gotten losses. In the Redskins-Bengals game, both teams did as well as the other, simple as that.

What was interesting about the Redskins-Bengals game is that it took place in England. Sure, the reception to a tie isn’t totally positive, but ties are a regularity in the English Premier League.

That said, you shouldn’t hate ties. If we really love competition, then seeing two teams play to a draw should be a dream come true. It just means that neither team was better than the other on that day, and that’s OK.

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