OVERTIME RULES IN THE NFL PRESEASON AND REGULAR SEASONIf the score is tied at the end of the period, the game is a draw. Each side will have two timeouts, and if there is an extra timeout, the standard regulations will apply (4-5). If there is no overtime, the game ends in a tie.
There are several ways that a football game can end in a tie. A field goal or touchdown by either team will win the game. If the scoring team is ahead or has the last possession, they will usually try to kick a field goal or punt the ball away to prevent any further scoring opportunities for the opponent. However, these situations can sometimes change during real time games if the winning team wants to go for two points or if the referee signals for a free kick.
In pre-season games and during training camp, many rules are different from the regular season. For example, there is no halftime break during pre-season games. There are also no penalties during practice sessions.
During the regular season, most games are decided in the final minutes of play. If the score is still tight at the end of four quarters, the only way it can be resolved is with overtime. During overtime, each team gets one chance to score a touchdown to win the game.
If the game is tied at the end of regular, it goes into "sudden-death" overtime (the game will end the next time a team scores). A game finishes in a draw after a maximum of 15 minutes of overtime in the regular season. In the playoffs, the game continues until someone scores, at which point the game is over. Football 101: NFL Football Rules.
In order for a game to be completed within the scheduled length of time, each team must have the opportunity to score at least one touchdown during the course of the game. A team cannot depend on being granted more time by the referee to try to score additional touchdowns; if the first team fails to do so before the end of the period, the game will end in a tie!
There are two ways that games can end in the NFL: overtimes and kicks. Overtimers last 10 minutes on 4th down unless there is a safety, in which case they last 5 minutes. Kicks are free throws made by each team with no time limit. If necessary, multiple kicks can be held until someone hits one through the uprights.
To stop play in the NFL, the ball must be set on the 50 yard line of either side of center. The offense must advance the ball at least ten yards in four plays or less from their own 45 yard line or a new play begins.
NFL. If a game is tied after four quarters, it will be decided in overtime. A coin toss is performed in overtime to determine which team would have possession of the ball initially. If the game is still tied after 10 minutes of overtime, it is declared a tie.
College football. If the game is tied at the end of four quarters, it will be decided by extra periods. There are two five-minute periods in college football, and if the teams are still tied, another overtime period begins with another coin flip to see who gets to play first. If there's still no winner after ten minutes, the game ends in a tie.
High school football. If the game is tied at the end of four quarters, we get into some complicated rules about how it should be decided. If there's less than 10 minutes left on the clock, the game will continue until someone scores. However, if players from both teams are already on the field for any reason (fielded off sides, injuries, etc.), then they don't need to be replaced and can participate in the continuation of the game. So often in high school football, you'll hear the announcers say things like "and the players remain in the game" or "there's no replacement player available". Even though they're not getting paid, they still count as part of their team and can't be removed from the game.
Simultaneously, the recently implemented overtime rules have limited teams' ability to win with a short drive to set up a long field goal, thereby ending the game without allowing the other side a chance to even hold the ball. At the very least, those games ended the way NFL games are intended to... either team could be winning or losing.
Ties are rare in the NFL. There have been only six games decided by a score of 10-10 or more since the 1970 merger. All but one of these games occurred between 1982 and 2004. The exception was 1969, when two such games were played. Ties are even more unusual early in the season. Only three have happened in the first eight seasons of the current playoff system. Two of them came in 2001 when there were only 12 teams in the league.
In fact, there have only been five regular season games that have gone into overtimes during this time period. Three of them took place in 2002 when there were only 32 teams in the league. The other two came in 2003 when there were only 30 teams again.
The most recent tie happened last year between the New York Giants and New England Patriots at 12:34 AM on December 31st. It was the final game of the 2011 season and did not affect any postseason spots. However, it does show that ties are still an issue in today's NFL.