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Rams-49ers first NFL tie game since 2008

The NFL saw its first tie game since 2008 on Sunday. Just how rare is a draw in professional football?

Brian Bahr

The St. Louis Rams did not lose. The San Francisco 49ers did not win. Instead, the two NFC West rivals played each other to a hard-hitting, ugly 24-24 tie that gave the NFL its first tie game since the Philadelphia Eagles and Cincinnati Bengals fought to a 13-13 tie in 2008.

Since the NFL folded the AFL into one league in 1970, there have been only 46 tie games during the regular season. This week's tie was only the third since 2002 and just the fourth time in more than 20 years.

NFL owners changed regular season overtime rules in March 2012 to mirror the rules used for extra playing time in the post season. Under that rule, each team gets a possession, unless the team that wins the coin toss scores a touchdown on the resulting drive.

That rule change was implemented to prevent the team that won the coin toss from winning the game on a field goal alone. It would not have mattered for either of these teams as each one missed field goal opportunities in the lone extra frame allowed by the rules.

The Rams franchise has finished four games since 1970 with a tie, all between 1970 and 1976. The 49ers have tied three times prior to this week's game.

A tie game is already drawing some fire from fans who would prefer to see the game settled. The ineptitude of both these teams in overtime on Sunday is unlikely to be enough to push the NFL to make any kind of change to the rules.