A draw or tie occurs in a competitive sport when the results are identical or inconclusive. Ties or draws are possible in some, but not all, sports and games. Such an outcome, sometimes referred to as deadlock, can also occur in other areas of life such as politics, business, and wherever there are different factions regarding an issue. In some sports, such as cricket, a tie and a draw have different meanings.
Resolving ties or draws
In instances where a winner must be determined, several methods are commonly used. Across various sports:
- Some other measure may be used, such as aggregate point difference.
- A game may continue on in extra time. To ensure a quick result, some form of sudden death rule may apply.
- In some sports, a penalty shootout or bowl-out may occur.
- A rematch may occur at a later date, especially if a winner must be selected (in a final).
- The result might be decided by chance (e.g. a toss of a coin) when no objective method of determining a result remains.
The rules governing the resolution of drawn matches are rarely uniform across an entire sport, and are usually specified by the rules of the competition.
In other areas, such as in a vote, there may be a method to break the tie. Having an odd number of voters is one solution—after the election of the Doge of Venice by a committee of 40 was deadlocked in a tie, the number of electors was increased to 41—but may not always be successful, for example, if a member is absent or abstains, or if there are more than two candidates. In many cases one member of an assembly may by convention not normally vote, but will exercise a casting vote in case of deadlock. Sometimes some method of random choice, such as tossing a coin, may be resorted to even in a formal vote.
Tie games, which were commonplace in the National Football League (NFL) through the 1960s, have become exceedingly rare with the introduction of sudden death overtime, which first applied to the regular season in 1974. The first game this new rule applied to ended in a tie between the Denver Broncos and Pittsburgh Steelers. The most recent NFL tie happened on 27 September 2020, when a game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Philadelphia Eagles ended in a 23-23 tie. Coincidentally, this was also the second tie between the two teams in their last four meetings, with their previous draw occurring on November 16th, 2008.
- In the NFL, if the team having first possession in overtime scores only a field goal, the other team receives the ball and can either tie the game with a field goal resulting in continuation of overtime (which then becomes sudden death) or score a touchdown, thereby winning the game. This modified sudden death rule was instituted during the 2010 playoffs and adopted for the 2012 regular season. If the overtime period ends with the score tied, either because both teams scored field goals on their initial possessions and failed to score again or neither team scored throughout the duration of the overtime period, then the game ends in a tie. Tie games are listed as part of a team's official record, counting in the team's winning percentage as half a win and half a loss. A game ending in a scoreless tie has never occurred since the introduction of overtime. The exception to this rule is the playoffs. In the playoffs additional overtime periods are played until a winner is determined.
- Ties are so rare in the modern league that after Donovan McNabb and other Philadelphia Eagles players said—when the team and the Cincinnati Bengals tied 13–13 in 2008—that they did not know that a game could end in a tie, Ben Roethlisberger estimated that 50% of players did not know.
- In National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) college football, overtime was introduced in 1996, eliminating ties. When a game goes to overtime, each team is given one possession from its opponent's twenty-five-yard line with no game clock, despite the one timeout per period and use of play clock. The team leading after both possessions is declared the winner. If the teams remain tied, overtime periods continue, with a coin flip determining the first possession. Possessions alternate with each overtime, until one team leads the other at the end of the overtime. Starting with the third overtime, a one-point PAT field goal after a touchdown is no longer allowed, forcing teams to attempt a two-point conversion after a touchdown. If the game continues past the fourth overtime, the teams alternate attempting two-point conversions (a single play from the 3 yard line) until the tie is resolved.
- The unpopularity of ties in American sports is reflected in the saying, "A tie is like kissing your sister." The earliest known use of the phrase was by Navy football coach Eddie Erdelatz after a scoreless tie against Duke in 1953.
- The 1968 Yale vs. Harvard football game ended in a 29–29 tie, but the Harvard Crimson student newspaper famously printed the headline "Harvard Beats Yale 29-29".
- 6 October 1990: Kansas and Iowa State end their game in a 34–34 tie, giving KU the all-time NCAA Division I-A record for number of tie games with 57. Illinois State holds the Division I-AA record for ties with 66. Since then, NCAA football games have a tie-breaking rule, so only an extenuating circumstances game suspended on account of weather, or a rule change reinstating ties would allow this record to be broken. The 1995/96 school year was the last to feature non-weather curtailed tie games.
- NCAA Rule 3-3-3, Suspending the Game, permits tie games primarily on weather. NCAA rules on inclement weather include policies on lightning, requiring a minimum 30-minute delay upon the first detected lightning strike within 7.5 miles (12 km) of the venue, and each lightning strike detected at the venue results in an automatic resetting of the clock. Officially, a tie game can only be declared if the teams agree to, or the conference declares the game, a draw, because of severe weather conditions if the game cannot continue at a reasonable time (curfew, travel logistics, weather warnings), it is an official game, and the game is tied. Official tie games can take place if the score is tied at any time when the game is suspended, tied at the end of regulation, or at any overtime period. If one team has scored in their overtime period, but the second team has yet to complete its overtime period when the game is forced to end early because of weather, as in baseball, the score is wiped out and the game ends in a tie.
If both sides have scored an equal number of goals within regulation time (90 minutes), the game is usually counted as a draw. In elimination games, where a winner must be determined to progress to the next stage of the tournament, two periods of extra time are played. If the score remains even after this time, the match technically remains a draw; however, a penalty shootout (officially called "kicks from the penalty mark") is used to determine which team is to progress to the next stage of the tournament. The team who wins the shootout is the winner of the match. In less important competitions, the extra time may be skipped and the match goes straight to penalties after a drawn 90 minutes.
Some competitions, such as the FA Cup employ a system of replays where the drawn match is repeated at the ground of the away team in the first game. Although this was a widely used tiebreaker, it fell out of favour after excessive replays caused organisational and practicality issues.
In two-leg, home-and-away fixtures in which a winner must be determined at the end of the second leg, the away goals rule may be employed if teams' aggregate scores over two legs are level; the rule gives victory to whichever team scored more in its respective away leg. Typically the rule may be invoked both to obviate extra time and after extra time to obviate a penalty shootout. All UEFA (European) club competitions use away goals; by contrast, CONMEBOL (South America) competitions did not use this rule until 2005. Major League Soccer, the Tier One league in the United States and Canada, did not adopt the away goals rule until 2014.
Australian rules football
Draws in Australian rules football have occurred at an average of two per season (under the current fixture). If a draw occurs during a regular season match, the result stands as a draw, and both teams earn premiership points equivalent to half of a win (two points, or one in South Australian competition).
Traditionally, when a draw occurred during a finals match, the match would be replayed the following week, but the Australian Football League introduced extra time to finals (except for the Grand Final) in 1991 following the logistical difficulties that arose after the 1990 Qualifying Final between Collingwood and West Coast was drawn, and introduced extra time to Grand Finals in 2016.
Where used, extra time typically consists of two periods, each five minutes long (plus time-on if applicable), with winner being the team ahead after both periods; if scores are still level at the end of extra time, the game continues under sudden death rules, where the siren will not sound until a team next scores.
Ties are relatively rare in baseball, since the practice dating back to the earliest days of the game is to play extra innings until one side has the lead after an equal number of innings played. Although a game can be called a tie in some situations, usually in a case where one or both teams have used all available pitchers. Games can be called after fifth innings in extenuating circumstances, such as suspension due to bad weather
For some amateur and international game, tiebreakers are used prompting an earlier conclusion during extra innings: If a tiebreaker is used, after a certain extra innings (usually 3 or 4, determined by organizer before the tournament), the innings will start with the previous two batter loaded.
- In Major League Baseball, a game may end in a tie only due to weather or, historically, darkness (a called game due to darkness is unlikely to happen now that all Major League parks have floodlights; darkness also means reaching the curfew prohibiting innings from starting after 1 am local time). While any game that has reached 5 full innings is statistically official, a tie game does not count in the standings. Before 2007, tie games ended by weather were replayed from the start, but since 2007, the games are continued from where they left off. A tie game may also be declared if a game is tied, the two teams are not scheduled to play again for the remainder of the year, and the game does not affect playoff implications; a recent example occurred on 29 September 2016, between the Chicago Cubs and the Pittsburgh Pirates.
- The 2002 All-Star Game was declared a tie after eleven innings, due to a lack of pitchers; this decision was considered controversial, and from the following season onward, MLB awarded home field advantage in the World Series to the league that won the game to prevent such a situation in the future.
- In Japan, a game in regular season (including interleague) or Climax Series (the 3-team stepladder playoff to determine the team playing Japan Series) tied after nine innings may continue for up to three extra innings, after which the game is called a tie if the score is still even after 12 innings. Ties do not count against a team, however, and are "discarded" for purposes of winning percentage. If teams are tied in the won-loss percentage at the end of the season, the team with the better record the previous season wins the tiebreaker. If a tie occurred in the Climax Series (tied series in the first round or 2–3–1 with the first-place team winning two games, the team winning the first round winning three, and one game is tied), the team with better standing in that regular season advances.
- During the Japan Series, prior to 1993, up to nine extra innings could be played, and from 1994 until 2018, up to six extra innings could be played, for a limit of 15 innings in the first seven games. The maximum game length was reduced to 12 innings for the 2018 Series; thus Game 1 between the Hiroshima Carp and the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks ended in a 2-2 12 inning draw. If no team has won the series after seven games, all subsequent games starting with game eight will be played without an innings limit.
- During the 2011 season and 2012 regular season, the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami resulted in special rule changes for energy conservation. All night games had a 3-hour, 30-minute limit, and the result was an automatic tie game if it was tied after the 9th inning and the time limit was reached. The rule did not apply to the 2011 Japan Series, and was later lifted before the beginning of the 2012 Climax Series.
- Unlike MLB, NPB's All-star games do not include extra innings. Therefore, a tie will be declared if 9 innings have been played if neither side is leading.
- In Taiwan's CPBL, the same rule as NPB applies in the regular season. In the Taiwan Series, there is no limit to the number of innings in a game, but any game that has reached official game status and is tied when a game is called because of weather is an official tie game. (Amended in 2011).
- In America's college baseball, a conference will declare a game may be tied in extenuating circumstances, usually in the final game of a series only, or in non-conference midweek games:
- The game reaches curfew time, to allow the visiting team to travel home for classes the next day. Often, the curfew time will be early, forcing the game to be started early. In the Southeastern Conference, for example, the visiting team shall post travel details and a designated departure time to the home team prior to the start of the season, with no game starting later than 1 pm local time if a team is using commercial air travel. No half-inning may start within 15 minutes of the designated departure time.
- If an inning begins, and the visiting team has scored at least one run to take the lead, but the home team has not finished its turn to bat in the extra inning, the entire inning can be wiped off and the game declared a tie. This is typically used in extra innings.
- However, if a game starts late, and the trailing team is at bat at the 15-minute point, and ties the game, the game can be declared a tie.
- Many amateur baseball leagues include tie games in the standing if an official game is called for darkness or rain with a tie score. Oftentimes a point system is used for standings, with two points being awarded for a win, and one for a tie.
- For Japanese's High-School level baseball, which they are held in form of single-elimination knockout tournaments, prior to a 2018 rule adopting the WBSC tiebreaker, a tie was declared after 15 innings (18 innings before 2001) with a replayed game the next day. Starting with the 2018 tournament, all games will adopt the WBSC tiebreakers in 13th inning with the exception of both Koushien finals: those games can still declare as tie (and rematched) like previous rule, and only during the replayed game will the tiebreaker be in effect starting with the 13th inning.
- In International level games, tiebreaker rule are introduced in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The finals of the 2009 World Baseball Classic is the first international game using under this rule.
Ties are somewhat rare in basketball due to the high-scoring nature of the game: if the score is tied at the end of regulation, the rules provide that as many extra periods as necessary will be played until one side has a higher score. If a game is non-competitive (such as an exhibition game), a draw may be declared if the scores are tied at the end of regulation. Draws are also possible in any competition such as European major competitions where knockout stages in that league are contested as a two-legged tie. If the first leg is tied, or the second leg is tied but there is a definitive winner in the two-game aggregate score, then no extra period is played.
When a match ends with completion of the specified maximum number of rounds, and the judges of the match have awarded an equal number of points to both boxers, or if there are three judges (as is the custom) and one judge awards the fight to one fighter, another awards the fight to the opposing fighter, and the third scores it a draw (split draw), the match is declared a draw. The contest would be scored a draw even if two of three judges score it a draw and the third does not (a majority draw). Draws are relatively rare in boxing: certain scoring systems make it impossible for a judge to award equal points for a match. If a championship bout ends in a draw, the champion usually retains the title.
If there is a draw in a quarterfinal or a semifinal match of a tournament, a tiebreaker round is played instead.
There are various ways a game of chess can end in a draw: stalemate, agreement between the players, the fifty-move rule, threefold repetition, or neither player having sufficient material to checkmate. At top-level play, roughly half of games end in a draw.
- A tie is the identical result that occurs when each team has scored the same total number of runs after their allotted innings, all innings being completed. This is very rare in Test cricket and has happened only twice in its long history, but they are slightly more commonplace in first-class and limited-overs matches. In some forms of one-day cricket, such as Twenty20, a Super Over or a bowl-out is used as a tiebreaker to decide a result that would otherwise be a tie. See this list of tied games.
- A draw is the inconclusive result that occurs when the allotted playing time for the game expires without the teams having completed their innings. This is relatively common, occurring in 20–30% of Test Matches. A team with little hope of victory will try to play out the remaining time and cause a draw. The principal purpose of a declaration is for a team who are leading to avoid consuming time and increasing the chances of a draw. Limited-overs matches cannot be drawn, although they can end with a no result if abandoned because of weather or other factors.
If the score is even after three periods, the game may end in a tie, or overtime may be played. In most North American professional leagues, the regular-season tie-breaker is five minutes long, with each side playing at least one man short. Starting with the 2015–16 NHL season, the National Hockey League went from playing one man short to two men short in overtime. Should a team have two players penalised during the overtime, the team on the power play will play with a fifth player. In the Southern Professional Hockey League, each side plays only three players, with a minor penalty in the first three minutes resulting in a team on the power play earning an extra man; a minor penalty in the final two minutes, or a major penalty, results in the awarding of a penalty shot. A goal wins the game in sudden death; otherwise, a shootout will occur, with three players participating for each side. If the score is still tied, the shootout will go into sudden death. In North American minor leagues, the same procedure is used except shootouts are five players. In each case, the winner of the shootout is awarded credit for a regulation win (two points), and the loser of the overtime is marked with an overtime loss (OTL) and receives credit equal to half of one win (one point). In the National Hockey League, shootout wins are still counted as two points, but for breaking a tie in terms of points at the end of the season, the team with more regulation and overtime wins (ROW) takes the higher position in the standings. The Swedish Hockey League (SHL) uses a 3–2–1–0 point system in the regular season, where a regulation win is worth three points, a win in the five-minute sudden death overtime period or a shootout win two points, and an overtime loss as well as a shootout loss one point in the standings.
In the National Hockey League, in the playoffs, in general unlimited 20 minute sudden death periods are played, making a tie impossible. An exception occurred during the 1988 Finals, when a power failure forced the early abandonment of Game 4 between the Boston Bruins and the Edmonton Oilers with the score tied 3-3. The game was later replayed in its entirety, with the Oilers winning and sweeping the Finals except for the one shortened tie game.
Ties rarely occur, since multiple simultaneous player eliminations will rank the eliminated players by chip counts. However, if two or more players are eliminated in one hand, and both players started the hand with identical chip counts, the players will be tied in official rankings. It is impossible for poker tournaments to end in a tie (since one player must end up with all the chips), though multiple players may be tied for second (or lower) place.
In racing sports, if competitors appear to finish simultaneously and no technology (such as a photo finish) can separate them, this is considered a "dead heat" and in most cases the competitors tie for the place.
The term "dead heat" originally came from when horse racing from when horses used to race in matches consisting of multiple heats, rather than single races, with the total number of wins for horses determining winner of the match. When the judges could not determine the first horse over the finish line, the heat was declared "dead", and did not count. If there is a dead heat, wagers are paid on all winning horses, but against half the original stake (or one-third if there were three tied horses, and so on). See List of dead heat horse races.
Ties in motor racing almost never occur. Nearly all modern racing cars and motorcycles carry electronic transponders which relay precise timing information down to the thousandths of a second. However, a photo-finish camera is used at the finish line, and if the two vehicles cross the line together, the position may be declared a tie. The 1974 Firecracker 400 is the only case in modern NASCAR history where a tie has occurred in a position; Cale Yarborough and Buddy Baker tied for third after 160 laps. At the 2002 United States Formula One Grand Prix, Ferrari's Michael Schumacher attempted to stage a dead heat with teammate Rubens Barrichello but failed, finishing 0.011 seconds behind Barrichello. The F1 Sporting Regulations provide that in the event of a dead heat in a race, points and prizes will be added together and shared equally among the tying drivers.
In Grand Prix motorcycle racing, dead heats are avoided by fastest lap times being a tiebreaking measure. This rule resulted in Héctor Faubel winning the 125cc classification of the 2011 German motorcycle Grand Prix after a photo finish could not separate him and Johann Zarco.
In the premier Australasian rugby league competition, the National Rugby League, draws are possible but first are subject to golden point overtime. Golden point also applies to the State of Origin series and Four Nations matches. In rugby league in the United Kingdom, draws can also occur, as in league games, if the score of both teams remain level by the end of 80 minutes play, the game ends a draw, and each team is awarded one point in the league rather than two for a win.
Draws are uncommon in rugby union due to the variety of different ways to score and different values for each type of score. Draws are allowed to stand in league play. In the knockout stages of the Rugby World Cup, two 10-minute periods of extra time are played. If there is still no winner, a 10-minute period of sudden death is played where any score wins the game. Should the result still be tied a place-kicking competition is held where 5 players from each side take one kick each from anywhere on the 22-metre line (usually straight in front of the posts). The semi-final of the Heineken Cup between Cardiff Blues and Leicester Tigers at the Millennium Stadium was decided by a "kick-off". After five kicks per team, the scores were level at 4–4 after Johne Murphy (Leicester) and Tom James (Cardiff) had missed their kicks. Moving now to sudden death, the score continued to 6–6 but, after Martyn Williams pulled his kick wide, Leicester number eight Jordan Crane scored to send Leicester Tigers to the Heineken Cup Final in Edinburgh. In certain knockout competitions, if the scores are drawn after 80 minutes, the teams that have scored the most tries are considered the victors. However, if the number of tries scored are equal, the teams proceed to play overtime.
In professional sumo, draws were once common place but are no longer used in any situation. In situations that would have resulted in draws (such as close results, exhaustion, or injury) are currently resolved with immediate rematches, temporary breaks, or forfeiture.
In most professional tennis matches, a tiebreaker rule applies in each set to avoid lengthy matches, as happens quite frequently if the traditional tennis rule for winning a set is followed. When players reach a score of 6–6 in a set, instead of continuing the set until one opponent wins with a two-game difference, a special game is played to decide the winner of the set; the winner is the first to reach at least seven points with a difference of two over the opponent. This however does not apply to the final set of matches at the French Open, allowing the total number of games in a match to be virtually unlimited (for example, the final set of the Isner–Mahut match at the 2010 Wimbledon Championships ended only when John Isner beat Nicolas Mahut 70–68). The Australian Open and Wimbledon Championships did not use a final set tiebreaker through the 2018 tournaments, but will begin to use a tiebreaker in 2019 (For Wimbledon, the final set tiebreaker will only occur after 24 games in the final set).
In versus-fighting games, a draw occurs when both players end the match through a double KO; or via time over, with the same percentage of life bar. For example, some of these games, such as Street Fighter and Tekken, require two rounds to win the match, and if after a third round the score ends in a 1–1 draw, the players have to fight again in an extra round. If this extra round ends in a draw, the game will end for both players. In Mortal Kombat, if a round ends when the time runs out and both players have complete life bars, the game ends for both players, because due to Mortal Kombat's gameplay (in which every common hit takes block damage) it is virtually impossible for a round to end tied, and that means the players were not playing for real. In the Super Smash Bros. series, if two or more players have equal lives or points at the end of a match, a sudden death period begins with each fighter having 300% damage, essentially making it so a single hit can win the match.
Ties in tournament play
- Weak ordering, a mathematical formulation of a ranking that allows ties (such as in the outcome of a horse race)
- Guardian newspaper:Police Federation chooses new chair with a coin toss, 23 May 2014. Example of random tie-breaking: the leader of the Police Federation of England and Wales was determined by a coin toss, after a tied vote.
- "Tie? What tie? Players getting education on NFL rules". NFL.com. Associated Press. 17 November 2008. Retrieved 25 November 2018.
- Florio, Mike (18 November 2008). "BIG BEN THINKS HALF THE LEAGUE DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT TIES". ProFootballTalk. Retrieved 25 November 2018.
- American Dialect Society listserv message, 26 November 2002.
- "Harvard Beats Yale"
- Coaching Records Game by Game
- Division I-A All-Time Wins
- DeLassus, David. "Division I-AA All-Time Wins". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved 12 April 2011.
- Whiteside, Kelly (25 August 2006). "Overtime system still excites coaches". USA Today. Archived from the original on 6 September 2010. Retrieved 25 September 2009.
- "Pittsburgh Pirates 1, Chicago Cubs 1". Retrosheet. 29 September 2016. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
- Coskrey, Jason (28 October 2018). "Japan Series opener ends in 12-inning tie". Japan Times. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
- Matisz, John (23 January 2018). "3-on-3 OT: The NHL has found the sweet spot--and we're all better for it". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
- Allen, Scott (13 June 2011). "The Last Three Ties in Stanley Cup Finals History". Mentalfloss. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
- Kennedy, Linda. Kelso: Horse of Gold. Westholm Publishing, LLC: Yardley, Pennsylvania. 2007.
- FIM WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP GRAND PRIX REGULATIONS. Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme. 17 February 2018. p. 61. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
In case of ties, the riders concerned will be ranked in the order of the best lap time made during the race.
- "Faubel victorious after photo finish". MotoGP.com. Dorna Sports. 17 July 2011. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
- Gunning, John (7 July 2019). "Sumo 101: Tied bouts". The Japan Times. Retrieved 28 July 2020.