Standing tie breaking positions used on the site are calculated using actual tie breaking procedures as much as possible. When tie breaking procedures are not known, or there is a discrepancy with the result versus known historical positioning, the actual determined order is used.
To see tie breaking calculations on the full season standings or week standings pages, click on the order icon beside the team in the standings. This will display a popover summarizing the tie breaking calculations for that team.
CFLdb welcomes all reports of errors and corrections to standings and tie breaking procedures along with contributions of official tie-breaking procedures from bygone eras and leagues.
The tie breaking procedure is defined in the CFL rulebook. As of writing this in 2020, for seasons 2010 onward the procedures used in priority order are:
In addition to the tweaking of the procedure, the bigger change in 2010 came with the adoption of reseting the priority to the first priority if any team is eliminated from the tie breaker but tied teams remain. Let's look at an example to see this in practice.
Tied group 1.0: CGY, EDM, SSK, WPG
Tied subgroup 1.1: CGY, SSK, WPG
Tied subgroup 1.1: CGY, SSK
From 1997 to 2009 the procedure priority was:
During this period, and tie breaking procedures prior to this, the priority procedure did not reset if a team was eliminated from the tie breaker. Let's look at such a scenario.
Tied group 2.0: BC, CGY, EDM
Tied subgroup 2.1: CGY, EDM
As shown, prior to 2010 the tiebreaker procedure for the 2.1 subgroup continues to use the next tiebreaker method after a team is eliminated, in this case #7 Points Quotient Division before breaking the tie with #8 Points Aggregate League.
Tiebreaking procedures are known for the CFL for the following eras:
However, it is possible that the known 1985 procedure may have been in use since 1958 or earlier since tiebreaker calculations show no discrepancies using that procedure.
It wasn't until 1952 that the IRFU adopted a tie breaking procedure. Prior to that, ties in the final standings were usually decided by single game playoffs. However, in 1951 HAM, OTT, TOR ended in a three-way tie at 7-5 for first place. The three-way tie caused a draw for a bye into the final (rather than a statistic determining the tie breaker), which OTT won, resulting in HAM and TOR playing in a two-game total point playoff for the right to play OTT in the IRFU Final, also a two-game total point playoff. These circumstances likely led to the adoption of tie breaking procedures for 1952 and the abolishment of games to break regular season ties. The media of the day reported the standings order as HAM, OTT, TOR, which appears to be alphabetical, though that can not be confirmed. CFLdb Statistics displays the order as OTT, HAM, TOR based on the order the CFL uses in their Annual Guide and Record Book (and has used for at least 30 years) which reflects OTT winning the bye into the final.
In addition to the above gap for the CFL and predecessor leagues (CFC, IRFU, WIFU) tie-breaking procedures are not known for other leagues as well. For these leagues, contributor and researcher provided final league standings are used to determine the standings order. All should be aware the accuracy of the order displayed in the case of ties has not been verified and may contain errors.
If you find an error or discrepancy in the tie breaking results or procedure/calculations listed, please report your findings so they may be investigated and corrected.