Let’s Make Like George Clooney And Solve This Thing

December 2, 2008 at 10:42 am (Uncategorized)

There is extreme chaos in fantasy land and so in an effort keep our inboxes a little less cluttered I have volunteered my site to act as a message board for all commentary regarding the conundrum. I ask that Bruce S please not read this post because we are discussing the possibility of requesting you as an unbiased mediator. If that is the case then you reading the comments could taint your judgment.

Here is the situation.

6 teams are tied at 7-6.

3 of those teams will make the playoffs.

The tie break rules are

1. wins and losses

2. head to head

3. total points

when the computer told us the 3 teams that had made the playoffs many felt that an error had occurred.

the purpose of this thread is to come to a reasonable an fair consensus of what should be done to solve the problem.

I propose that we wait until 10 tonight for all thoughts to come in then give a final decision at 11.



  1. Lants said,

    I was right…. new blog topic on Daniel’s Den…

    but yeah… i think bringing bruce in would be a good idea

  2. danielbalc said,

    you requested it, I made it.

    customer service baby.

    I think bringing Bruce in is the only fair way.

    Jeff should not be forced to have to make this decision. We all respect him and have admired his work as commissioner for the past several seasons. he has been a great commish and no one wants for him to have to make such a difficult choice.
    clearly no one in the league can be said to be unbiased. even those who are completely out of it like Frank or Rob. So if we can get the 6 people involved to agree to go with bruce’s decision then we can see what he thinks…

    so we need to hear from…
    and Jeff

    The other positive about this blog is that everything is done out in the open. lets not have secret emails going back and forth trying to rally support. Lets keep everything transparent so that the integrity of our very fine league is maintained throughout.

  3. Lants said,

    really it is only down to 4 people… either jeff and wences are in or mom and I are in….

  4. danielbalc said,

    good point. But both mom and jeff have taken the martyr role in an effort to keep the peace. That’s not fair.

    we want the most fair decision possible. That is why all the 7-6 teams should have a say.

  5. danielbalc said,

    Ok so I talked to Bruce and in an effort to maintain transparency here is our email exchange…

    hey bruce,

    We are having a big time problem in our fantasy league regarding a tie breaker scenario for who gets in the playoffs. We would like an unbiased mediator to rule on how the rules should be interpreted. You have been suggested as you were once a commish and are currently removed and free from any prejudice. Would you be willing to hear the cases and settle this dispute? We are presently having the conversation on my blog so if you can refrain from reading until asked that would help (assuming of course you are willing to judge).

    let me know please,

    Hi Daniel

    Solomon here.

    Yeah, I’d be willing, but I already read the early entries (I am assuming there may have been more) on your blog.

    It does seem like there is a problem. It would help if I could erase from my memory the names of the teams that seem to be getting shafted. A way around that is for me to consult with some of my FFL buddies from work who know nobody in your league.

    That way a simple analysis of the disputed numbers etc. can yield a fair pronouncement.

    Let me know. Have a group of you guys assemble the relevant data for me (us) including the tiebreak rules as stated – which apparently are poorly stated. Also, try to get consent from all concerned parties that this arbitration is acceptable.

    Bruce S.

    so with this in mind I need to hear from, most importantly Wences, Jeff, Mom and Lance.

    And maybe from Carl and Matt if somehow or another you guys have a valid complaint (the only way I see that is if the arbitration panel somehow ruled that all 6 7-6 teams have a playoff for the decide who should face Ted.)

  6. Jeff said,

    Ok I got on here,
    My argument is this the rules have been the same for the past 4+ years I have been running things, but they have never come to play. The tie breaker works like this: head to head which takes your record against all the teams you are tied with, and then total points scored. That has been the rules as long as I have known, now in an effort to make everyone happy without changing the tie breaker rules I suggest that we have a four way game with the high score moving on. It gives us all a way to move on and win money. If you have the best team you will score the most points. That is what I would like to see happen.


  7. Matt said,

    (the only way I see that is if the arbitration panel somehow ruled that all 6 7-6 teams have a playoff for the decide who should face Ted.)

    I would vehemently appose this as it would possibly take me out of the playoffs when I am in when using either of the argued tie breaking rules now.

    I also do not agree with those that state that these have been the rules since the league started. I distinctly remember on more than one occasion making and missing the playoffs by virtue of total points.

    I still contest that this rule was unknowingly adopted because it is how our new software breaks ties. Had anyone paid attention to this it would have been discussed at the draft and changed back to the old way of total points.

  8. Matt said,

    he tie breaker works like this: head to head which takes your record against all the teams you are tied with, and then total points scored.

    This shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the term “head-to-head” and is why there is confusion.

    Head to head is dealing with your record against one opponent.

    If there is a more than three way tie and no one has beaten everyone then total points is the next tie breaker.

  9. Jeff said,

    Matt is in and is playing my dad. it is between the other 4 players. I know this is how we all thought it worked but that is not how the sosfwear works. that is why i said 4 way game. and we can all have a shot.

  10. Goldminers said,

    No changing rules!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If that is the way the program handles head to head then that’s final!

  11. danielbalc said,

    After speaking with my Mom this is what she says…
    she will only agree to arbitration if every other person in the league will agree.

    The arbitrators will not be asked to come up with any creative solutions but rather will be asked to do one thing….

    Interpret the rules as they are presently written on the league website regarding tie break scenarios.

    if you will agree that this is a fair way of settling the dispute please say yes. if you do not agree please say no.

  12. Pablo Honey said,

    I agree with Matt. This is not how the league has been the past 4+ years. It is possible that it was set up this way but this is the first instance it has actually come into play, but that doesn’t make it right. The problem here is the fundamental understanding of what the rules actually are supposed to be. We just need everyone to be honest, in a church league why is this so hard? Can anyone honestly say that they believe the tiebreak rules in play right now are correct and the way they have always been?

  13. Jeff said,

    Thats what I think but i am willing to compromise!

  14. danielbalc said,

    let me make it very clear. We will not ask for the rules to be changed. We will ask how should the rules be interpreted

  15. Pablo Honey said,

    I don’t think that is a fair system for the arbitrators to use because that does not give them all of the information surrounding the situation. I believe it is important to note that the majority of the players in the league have always understood the rules to work different than they are right now. The arbitrators should know that the league rules have changed to what is currently being enforced, they did not work this way in the past.

    In fact I disagree with the arbitration idea entirely. The thing that makes this league great is it’s exclusivity, and we need to govern ourselves! I instead propose that we have a league vote, and in the result of a tie the final decision is made by the commissioner and everyone deals with it. And if anyone is too much of a baby to accept the decision made they are free to leave the league. If you don’t want to go with a vote then I would rather have the commissioner make whatever decision he wants without trying any arbitration.

  16. Lants said,

    here is what i believe has happened…

    with the old system… the tie break was head-to-head (meaning 2 players not everyone at your win-loss) and then total points… in changing systems… we never came across the problem until now… just like this….

    santana moss returns a punt 80 yards for a touchdown… he should get 14 points…. but earlier this season he recieved 28 points because it gave him points as a defense/special teams twice.

    the system wasnt set up correctly and we didnt know until the problem actually happened…. just like this case… every year it has been the same but we havent had this many teams involved… and with so many of the teams beating the other teams you cant say that head-to-head is your overall record against the other players… therefor it should be changed to how we are familiar with the tiebreaker rules… just like santana moss got his 14 bonus points taken away

    it isnt changing the rules… it is correcting a flaw….

    head-to-head is 2 people…. not 6

  17. Lants said,

    I also remember going to work after speaking with Jeff and he had agreed that if no team had beat all the others then it would come down to total points… and he had changed the system… and i went to work seeing that if jeff didnt score the 20 points then i was in the playoffs… then i got home and it was changed back again….

  18. Pablo Honey said,

    Good point by Lance there. How exactly did that scoring flaw get in? Anyone who writes software could tell you that you can’t account for every scenario when testing a program. You can test for years but eventually one scenario might come into play that will cause your code to crash or produce an error. This could easily be the case when the scoring system started awarding double points for skill players on punt returns, who’s to say it’s not the case in the standings formula as well?

  19. danielbalc said,

    well since paul refuses arbitration it goes to Jeff making the final decision. I trust Jeff’s judgment as comissioner. He has always done a great job and I am sure he will make the most fair decision in this complicated case. No one saw this coming and now he has the unenviable position of making a decision none of us should have had to make
    He hinted that he will doa 4 way playoff there is also pauls suggestion of a vote and then there is the possbility of just leaving it as is. Either way it is in Jeffs hands and while everyone can try to persuade him to their own position I will just say that no matter what he decides I have the utmost confidence in him.

  20. Pablo Honey said,

    I totally agree. And anyone who wants to blame me for vetoing arbitration that’s fine, I’m 1200 miles away, I can take it. Jeff, do what you feel is right and best for the league and we will address the tiebreak issues next year at the draft.

  21. Goldminers said,

    head to head can be any number of teams. As for the integrity of the league we should stick to the rules as defined by the program whether everyone understood them or not. Maybe we should have taken the time to understand the rules better. Either way someone will feel cheated. Even though I don’t agree an arbitrator is the answer if that’s what everyone wants then ok. I’m against a vote.

  22. Lants said,

    jeffs choice

  23. Jeff said,

    If it my choice then I say Matt plays Lynn and we have a 4 way game and the winner moves on. That is simple. The computer is impartial and how it is on the web site is how it has been. but we will be like a happy family and compromise by have all 4 make it and play each other, high score moves on.


  24. danielbalc said,

    Maybe we should have taken the time to understand the rules better.

    I totally disagree with that because i think we all understood them the exact same way. To me that is the biggest problem here. No one thought head to head meant best winning percentage verses teams of the same record. That is a strange interpretation of the rule that only a machine could make.

    the reason you have a third tie break (actually a second tie break) is to use it and in this case that tie break is total points.

    no rules are changed no ones feelings are hurt. It’s doing what we all knew to be correct.

    as it stands now Lance A) has the same record as Jeff B) beat Jeff head to head and C) has more points than jeff but is till left out of the playoffs while jeff gets in. It’s not that I am favoring lance because he is my brother I think if the shoe were on the other foot I would be in jeffs corner.

  25. Goldminers said,

    I totally disagree with that because i think we all understood them the exact same way.

    No we didn’t. That’s why were in this mess.

  26. Pablo Honey said,

    Did anyone honestly understand the head-to-head tiebreaker to mean your winning percentage against all other teams with the same record? Please be honest. No one will answer this. Anyways as I said before I support Jeff’s decision.

  27. Ted said,

    I don’t understand the comment “how it has been on the website is how it has been”. There is nothing on the website that explains the fact that if there are 6 teams tied then it would break down the records against each team. How would anyone one in this league have ever known that? What is on paper is head-to-head and that is what everyone understood it to be.

    I don’t like the idea of having 4 teams play for a chance to play in the semifinals.

    Also, Matt I like you so this isn’t personal just objective, how does Matt get to play Lynn? He is tied with two others with a “head-to-head” record of 3-2 (which I agree is not a typical way to do head-to-head). If you go the other way with total points then Val woud win by a landslide with 1349. Again this leads me to say that Matt would have an unfair advantage having only played against one team (Lynn) to get to the semifinals.

    So, then I thought well how do you decide this and I looked head-to-head and Val beat Matt so she wins in two of the catagories and Matt wins in one. So I ask again. How does Matt move through by himself? I don’t think this is the right way to go about it and since it isn’t 10PM yet I think this needs to be thrown out for discussion because Val is getting punished again. She beat Lynn in the regular season and would have a better chance at the money against him versus three other teams.

    I don’t care who gets to move on but I do think there has to be a reason that statistically makes sense. Just throwing Matt there isn’t fair to everyone else.

    Thoughts??? Am I missing something?

  28. Goldminers said,

    I can live with Jeff’s decision or an arbitrator.

  29. Matt said,

    If you notice in the league polls section you will see that I asked a question a while back regarding how the standings are ordered seeing that it was not total points as the basis for the ranking.

    I never got an answer and he we are.

  30. Goldminers said,

    Let’s just give everyones money back and start over next year.

  31. Matt said,

    Thoughts??? Am I missing something?

    I am guessing it is because I am the only team in the top six using either of the tie breaking scenarios.

  32. Matt said,

    I will submit to whatever ruling Jeff decides.

    …..Jeff be sure to make a decision that does not favor yourself so we won’t have to throw meat and pumpkins on your front porch.

  33. Lants said,

    whatever… i think that if you can correct the santana moss flaw you can correct the standing flaw…

    but im good with the 4 way game…

  34. Goldminers said,

    It makes sense to me. Just like the pros who use their record within the division as a tie breaker.

  35. Pablo Honey said,

    So your saying teams with the same record should be viewed as being in the same division?

  36. danielbalc said,

    Ted brings up a great point about Matt being rewarded even though he lost to Mom and has fewer points. That doesn’t work.

    The way I see it if you do a play in it has to be all 6 7-6 teams.

    Lynn can have a bye and the winner of the winner of the other 6 would play Ted while I would play Lynn.

    Now let me make totally clear I do not favor this position I am simply stating as a fact it is a more fair scenario then 4 7-6 teams playing.

    why 4?
    why not Carl?
    Carl would have to be included as well.

    again I have to point out that as it stands lance will be out even though he beat jeff head to head and has more points.

    Also mom would be out even though she beat matt head to head and has more points.

    can anyone honestly say that is fair?

  37. Goldminers said,

    What is fair? No solution is totally fair.

  38. Pablo Honey said,

    Daniel’s right, Carl must be included.

  39. danielbalc said,

    i just read jeff’s “final” decision and I have to protest loudly that it cannot be.

    if you are doing a 4 way battle to see who gets in then you have to also include Carl because he has the same record AND he beat Matt and Lance and has more points than wences.

    the easiest solution is to say the three teams with the highest point total are in.
    That, contrary to some strange ideas, is how it has always been.

  40. danielbalc said,

    What is fair? No solution is totally fair.

    I believe it is completely and totally fair that the total points is the tie breaker.

    I find it difficult to believe that Jeff and Wences can honestly disagree with that.

    the next level of fairness would be to keep things the way they are (even thought it wasn’t how anyone believed the rules to work)

    after that would be a 6 way play in

    but the least fair of all the scenarios is to have a 4 way game excluding Carl

  41. Matt said,

    Lynn can have a bye and the winner of the winner of the other 6 would play Ted while I would play Lynn.

    This is the absolute worst decision possible just barely better than cancelling the seaon.

    It totally throws out a team’s body of work through the season and makes it a one week luckfest. BAD BAD BAD.




  42. Goldminers said,

    My solution is to give everyone’s entry fees back. Any money left over would go to Ted who won the league outright. We can start over next year and define all rules up front.

  43. danielbalc said,

    I agree with matt…

    there are only two decisions…

    1. Wences and Jeff are in
    2. Mom and Lance are in.

    no play ins
    no giving back everyone’s entry fees (that is really weird).

    I think Jeff can either decide between those two on his own or he can allow the league to vote. but those should be the only two options

  44. Lants said,

    if jeff and my mom are so willing to sit out why dont we just do that?

  45. danielbalc said,

    I guess I have to say the lesser of the evils is for the playoffs to be as they are and for us to make sure that such a scenario doesn’t happen again next season.

    matt should be playing jeff and wences should be playing lynn. That’s the set up. stay with it. Blame the computer and fix the problem next year.

  46. danielbalc said,

    sticking with it as is works to my advantage as it removes the third highest scoring team from the playoffs. so i guess I am satisfied with that option

  47. Athena said,

    i think i heard this dilemma on the radio today…

  48. Goldminers said,

    What would Dr. Laura do?

  49. Lants said,

    she would tell us what we already know and then we would argue with her more…..

  50. Matt said,

    The more I think about it…..

    It seems best to just continue on as things are and allow the tie breaking rules that the software has set up govern.

    It may not be the most fair or most equitable, but it is how it is set up now.

    Next year we can all agree at the beginning to allow total points to be the tie breaker.

    These are the consequences for not giving more attention to the questions being asked in the league polls section. 🙂

  51. Pete Rozelle said,


    Apparently the software’s conception of head to head when there are more than two teams involved is that the collection of 7-6 teams (in this case) are considered as a group. Within that group, the winning percentages of those teams (as if they had a little league of their own – [ hah, there’s a culture reference and a movie reference all in 5 short words]) determines the ranking.

    Well, guess what. That’s how the NFL does it. Google “NFL Tiebreaker Rules”.

    And it’s not how the BCS does it. They do if A beat B and C beat A, then it must be that C would have beat B. And I’m not surprised that the FFL software doesn’t have access to the BCS algorithm.

    The sovereign software has elected some to salvation and elected some to damnation. So, my verdict is stick with the sovereign’s verdict.


    Pete Rozelle


    The big mistake going on here is that you should have the “points scored” as the first tie breaker. That would virtually insure that the head-to-head tie breaker would involve just two teams. Which is the way you would like it to operate. When you list head-to-head before total points, you’re asking for trouble. Especially with six teams all with the same record. Also, in our work league, we use the same software as you do, and we also have head-to-head before total points as a tie breaker. Astoundingly, a team with third most total points in a sixteen team league is not going to the playoffs because he got beat head-to-head by the other 6-7 guy in the league even though he probably scored 300 more points.

    Philosophically speaking, head to head in FFL doesn’t carry the same implications as head to head does in the NFL – and I’m talking about a single head to head game. The only true indicator of team performance in FFL is total points.

    You should expand to 16 teams and go to 4 divisions. Allow 8 teams in the playoffs, and allow the winner of each division in to the playoffs regardless of record.

  52. Goldminers said,

    Well stated Pete.

  53. Anthony said,

    According to the NFL, tie breakers amongst more than two teams goes head to head for all games amongst the tied teams. That would appear to be the same as your league.


    I think the software is trying to mimic the same rules as the NFL. Not a bad idea, however your league should use the rules that were understood to the league during the beginning of the season.

  54. danielbalc said,

    Well the verdict is in. Jeff decided to leave it as the computer says.

    I think this was his best decision because it really isn’t his fault, we can blame it on the computer and look into changing it next season.

    But let me state emphatically that I do believe it should be changed.

    The NFL rules don’t mean anything in our situation. What matters, and we I think everyone agrees with, is total points scored. That is the truest indicator of the strength of a fantasy football team and the playoffs should, for the most part, be a reward to the best teams.

    The way our league has broken down the #3, #4, #7 and #9 top scorers are out while #10 and #11 are in. The annoying part is that #3 and #7 have the same records as #10 and #11 and didn’t necessarily lose heads up to them.

    So if we make total points the tie break ahead of head to head are we gettind the more deserving team?

    I think yes and here is why….
    Hypothetically say lance and jeff were the only two tied at 7-6. Lets say lance has more points scored than jeff on the year but jeff beat him in week 2 when lance’s players didn’t play because of a hurricane.

    Who would be more deserving to go to the playoffs? Lance, who had more points and a flukey bad timing type of week?Or Jeff who had the good fortune of beating lance on that flukey week?

    Now clearly under our current rules the head to head matchup would be the ultimate decider so perhaps instinctively you would say, “It doesn’t matter if lance had a bad week that day, that’s how it goes, Jeff deserves the playoff spot.”

    OK I get your point but here is the reality of what happened this year…
    Lance BEAT Jeff head to head AND he had more points than him and Jeff is the one in the playoffs and not Lance.

    So in my estimation we would all be better off by saying even in the case where a head to head matchup could be taken as the tie breaker the actual more deserving team is the one who scored the most points on the season.

    So I propose that next season we make total points the first tie break and then head to head.

    now the potential pitfall is that you could have another 6 way tie and lets say one team had beaten every other team in that group but had fewer total points then the others so they don’t make the playoffs despite the fact that they beat every team that made it in ahead of them.

    That is a real possibility, but I still think total points is a better basis of reward in the case of a tied record. Plus I see that as the least likely scenario. (of course who could have possibly seen what we just experienced happening?)

    The most ironic part about that point is that of the six 7-6 teams the only one to beat more than 2 of the current playoff teams was Carl who actually beat 4! In other words the teams Carl beat were much better than the teams the other 5 beat (the only other team to beat 4 of the 6 playoff teams was Ted).

  55. Anthony said,

    If points are the most important aspect of Fantasy Football, and you propose to use them as the first tie breaker, then wouldn’t points be a better way of determining all playoff spots? Why not use total points as the first means of seeding the playoffs. You can use regular season record as payout for the regular season, with X dollars per win. That way, the guy who got lucky and played everyone on their bye weeks doesn’t snake their way into the playoffs. Sure, he gets decent money for getting lucky, but the best teams make the playoffs.

    Otherwise, if head-to-head matters in the regular season, shouldn’t head-to-head matter in the playoff tie breakers?

    Say the second place guy had the 10th worst points. How is that any more fair than the current tie breaker fiasco you are enduring now?

    I’m not even in the league so my comments don’t mean much. I am surprised to see 6 7-6 teams. That is crazy.

    Another possible idea is create a toilet bowl to allow the teams that got screwed to get some money they *might* deserve.

  56. Albino Hayford said,

    I have no stake in any of this, but I hope now that you all have some sympathy for our Texas Longhorns getting SHAFTED by the idiot computer programmers of the BCS. We beat Oklahoma straight up on a neutral field and got shut out of the league title game by some geek with a pocket protector.

  57. Goldminers said,

    I will probably be the lone vote next year for keeping it the way it is. It is what it is. Call me a traditionalist but I like the way the NFL does it. Wins are the only thing that matters. Fantasy football is meant to emulate the real thing. So, JUST WIN BABY!!

    My sympathies to all the Longhorn fans. As a USC fan I can sympathize. The BCS stinks!!!!!

  58. danielbalc said,

    lynn, that doesn’t make any sense.

    If wins are the only thing that matters then why is Jeff in and Lance out when Lance beat him heads up?

  59. danielbalc said,

    Jim, A geek with a pocket protector?

    It’s a lot more complicated than that. Don’t blame the BCS. The BCS is doing a great job (remember the BCS isn’t designed to spit out it’s final numbers until all the games have been played. It’s the Big 12’s own fault that they wanted an incomplete program to be their final tie-breaker.

    A better tie-breaker for a conference of universities would have been the previous year’s football team graduation rate! How appropriate would it be for major universities to actually allow the scholastic achievements of their students to have some type of influence on their extra-curricular activities!

    If Texas got in then Texas Tech would have said, “but we beat them heads up!” evidently heads up doesn’t matter in fantasy football or college football. But at least in college football there is a pretense (be it ever so small) that the players are students. In fantasy football we have no such pretense.

  60. Goldminers said,

    let’s not even discuss this year anymore. It’s done. I’m talking next year. I have no problem with the head-to-head rule.

  61. Goldminers said,

    I beat Ted, so what.

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