Auctioning the NFL overtime possession

Che, Yeon-Koo; Hendershott, Terry

In an National Football League overtime, a coin is tossed to determine which team will receive the kick off. In the sudden death format starting on offense has a significantly higher chance of winning. This makes coin tossing one of the most climatic moments and immediately confers an advantage to one team. Proposals to improve the ex post fairness by guaranteeing each team one possession reduce the efficiency and excitement of the sudden-death format. We propose a simple approach motivated by economics: the coaches of opposing teams bid on the yardage from its end zone at which his team would begin offense, with the low bidder winning the offense right. For instance, if coaches of teams A and B bid 18 and 21 yards, respectively, team A would win and begin its offense at 18 from its end zone. This note analyzes the equilibrium outcome of such an auction and discusses its properties.



More About This Work

Academic Units
Department of Economics, Columbia University
Department of Economics Discussion Papers, 0506-25
Published Here
March 28, 2011


May 2006