Ask The Commish: What Are The Best Tiebreakers?

By Reginald James
Reginald James

Do you write a newsletter to your league? I’m not a new commissioner, just a curious one. I think it might be fun for the league, just not fun for me to write, so I might ask if someone wants to do it starting next year. My writing sucks, there’s no way. What do you put in yours if you do?


No, I don’t write a league newsletter. I thought about doing it a long time ago, but I knew it would be something I didn’t want to have to keep doing. I figure it’s something you can’t just start and stop. A weekly newsletter means just that, weekly, not when the mood hits you. Either you’re all in, or out, so that’s a hard pass for me. I do send out a final congratulatory letter to announce the three teams that placed and won money, as well as the person who gets a bonus for the most total points for the season. I’ll cite stats like how many championships each person has won, or how they placed in the previous years, sort of like league trivia. Stuff like that. I enjoy doing that, but I wouldn’t want the job of doing a weekly report or review.


I’ve heard about commissioners who will post a video recap on Tick Tock instead of writing one. Would something like that work for you? Instagram or even YouTube surely could work too. Maybe consider making that an option for the person you get to do it, as well. Who knows, you might have someone in your league who not only will be happy to do it in your stead, but they also might turn out to be really talented or creative and produce something really cool.


Playoff league. What would you say are the most important tiebreakers to have to decide who gets in, and in what order?


1) Total points

2) Best head-to-head record

3) Total team touchdowns

4) Longest winning streak

5) Highest margin of victory in a single game

6) Highest point total in a single game


To me, total points is the most important tiebreaker. Of course, I like my rankings, but I could  easily understand how someone might prefer a different order. You might think highest margin of victory holds more weight than a long winning streak, for example. While it’s not my style, one might choose to get a little creative. A “creative” tiebreaker, for example, might have tied managers take part in a physical contest like a game of P-I-G, or even a staring contest.


Head-to-Head: Take a peek at your league schedule. Do all the teams play each other? If they don’t, eliminate the head-to-head tiebreaker as an option, because you’re going to run into trouble, for instance, if you end up with a three-way tie between teams who haven’t faced each other before. It can happen, especially if your league has divisions.


Total Points: One way to solidify this tiebreaker as the best one, in my opinion, is to make sure you have fractional points set up for scoring. Fractional points prevents whole-number ties. Total points juiced with fractional scoring pretty much ends any tiebreaker. Can you still end up with a tie? Sure, but the possibility is going to be very low.


Some folks find comfort in the simplicity of a coin flip, or pulling names out of a hat. I’d rather run with the ones I listed above, but you might want to keep those in your back pocket as a last resort.





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