In the National Football League (NFL), a tied game occurs when a regular season game ends with both teams having an equal score. If a game is tied after regulation (60 minutes, divided into four quarters of 15 minutes), a 15-minute sudden-death overtime period is held. Under current overtime rules adopted in 2012, "teams . . . have the opportunity to possess the ball at least once in the extra period unless the team that receives the [first] overtime kickoff scores a touchdown on its first possession". The game can also automatically end on a safety. If the team that received the first opening kickoff instead scores a field goal, the other team has an opportunity to tie or surpass that score. Prior to the rule change, any score by either team in overtime would end the game. Ties have counted as a half-win and half-loss in league standings since 1972; before that, ties were not counted in the standings at all.
Tie games were once frequent in the NFL, but have become uncommon because of a rule change in 1974 that extended the existing sudden-death overtime for post-season games into the regular season. Only seven ties have occurred since the 1989 season, a statistic that has been attributed to the increasing accuracy of kickers. Unlike in association football (soccer), where teams routinely play for ties because of the benefit of a point in the standings, NFL teams never play for ties; the sudden-death overtime system does not provide for an easy way to finish in a tie. Instead, ties are almost always the result of mishaps or mistakes from the teams involved. Tied games are considered to be the least desired outcome a football game can produce, in part because of an American cultural aversion to ties. Because of the rarity of tied games, some players (such as former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb) that have participated in one have recounted that they did not think a tie was a possible result for an NFL game. A tie has been recorded in both seasons since the introduction of the new overtime rules in 2012. These rule changes were originally implemented in 2010 to only playoff games in response to statistics that showed that since 1994, teams that won the coin toss won overtime 59.8 percent of the time, and won 34.4 percent of the time on the first possession on a field goal; they were later extended to all regular season games.
Baltimore, which eventually finished its season at 0–8–1,[B] overcame a 20–6 fourth-quarter deficit to force overtime. Packers' Jan Stenerud missed wide right from 47 yards with 2:00 left to seal the draw.
Each team had an unsuccessful field-goal attempt in the overtime; Ravens' Matt Stover missed wide right from 53 yards with 2:21 remaining, Eagles' Chris Boniol also wide right from 40 yards on the last play of the match.
Only overtime tie to date on a Sunday night and lowest-scoring one under modern rules. Redskins' Gus Frerotte injured himself by headbutting a stadium wall while celebrating his team's lone touchdown.
The Packers scored 16 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 23 and force overtime. Both teams scored a field goal in the overtime period, resulting in a final score of 26–26. First tied game in which both teams converted field goal attempts in the extra period.