The penalty shootout is a method of determining a winner in sports matches that would have otherwise been drawn or tied. The rules for penalty shootouts vary between sports and even different competitions; however, the usual form is similar to penalty shots in that a single player takes one shot on goal from a specified spot, the only defender being the goalkeeper. If the result is still tied, the shootout usually continues on a "goal-for-goal" basis, with the teams taking shots alternately, and the one that scores a goal unmatched by the other team is declared the winner. This may continue until every player has taken a shot, after which players may take extra shots, until the tie is broken, and is also known as "sudden death".
A penalty shootout is normally used only in "no ties allowed" situations (for example, a tournament where the losers must be eliminated) and where other methods such as extra time and sudden death have failed to determine a winner first. It avoids the delays involved in staging replayed matches in order to produce a tie-break. A common complaint about penalty shootouts is that they only determine the better team in the one, rather narrow, discipline of taking penalty shots, rather than fairly determining the better team in overall play.
Sports in which a penalty shootout may be used include:
Penalty shootouts, properly known as "kicks from the penalty mark" and a nickname of "spot kicks", are used as a tie-breaking measure in many knock-out tournaments or cup competitions where matches cannot end in a draw. If scores are level after regular time and extra-time (if used), each team will alternately take penalty kicks against the opposition goalkeeper. If, after five pairs of kicks, an equal number have been scored by each team the shootout proceeds to sudden death.
If a game is tied after regular time and a clear winner is necessary (like in knockout tournaments), it would proceed to two 5-minute periods of overtime with a 1-minute break before each. If the scores are still tied, a second overtime of 2x5 minutes is played. If the game is still tied after 2 overtimes, the game goes into a penalty shootout. Five players per side throw 7-meters-penalties, if still tied, one player per side take a penalty throw until a decision is found, which is the same procedure as in association football.
If the score remains tied after an overtime period, the subsequent shootout consists of a set number of players from each team (3 in the NHL and IIHF rules and 5 in most North American minor leagues, and one in some other leagues) taking penalty shots. After these shots, the team with the most goals is awarded the victory. If the score is still tied, additional shots are played until one team scores and the other does not; the scoring team wins and is awarded two points in the standings, while the losing team is awarded one point. In North America, the winning team receives two points regardless of whether the win comes in regulation, overtime or the shootout, while the losing team receives no points for a regulation loss and one point for an overtime or shootout loss. In the NHL, the player scoring the shootout-winning goal is not officially credited with a goal in his personal statistics; thus, a player who scores twice in regulation and once in the shootout is not credited with a hat trick. On December 16, 2014, the Florida Panthers defeated the Washington Capitals 2-1 in the 20th round of a shootout, making it the longest shootout in NHL history.
In many European leagues a team receives three points for a regulation win and two for an overtime or shootout win, with the losing team's points awarded in the same manner as in North America. Regardless of the number of goals scored during the shootout by either team, the final score awards the winning team one more goal than the score at the end of regulation time (or overtime).
In many North American minor leagues, the player that scores the shootout-winning goal is credited with one shot on goal and one goal. The losing goaltender of the shootout is credited with one shot against, one goal against, and an overtime/shootout loss. North American professional hockey does not allow shootouts in post-season play, and instead will play multiple 20-minute sudden-death overtime periods as are needed until a team scores. The official IIHF name of the procedure is game-winning shots (GWS). In some European countries, the post-game penalty shots are unofficially known as "bullets".
In rugby union, five players take kicks on goal from the centre of the 22-metre line. If the scores are level after five players from each team have kicked, the shootout goes to sudden death. This tie-breaking method was used for the first time at a professional level in Leicester Tigers' Heineken Cup semi-final victory over the Cardiff Blues on 3 May 2009; after a 26–26 draw after extra time, Leicester won the shootout 7–6.
Following a tie in regulation, 5 players and a goalkeeper are chosen by the coaches of each team. Players shoot from the 5 meter line alternately at either end of the pool in turn until all five have taken a shot. If the score is still tied, the same players shoot alternately until one team misses and the other scores. The scores from the penalty shootout are added to the score instead of being counted as a separate score as in other sports. Colleges have no such shootout procedure; teams play two straight 3-minute periods, and if still tied play multiple 3-minute golden goal periods.
In the revived XFL, the league plans to use a new overtime scheme, similar to penalty shootouts in other sports. Overtime will be decided by a multiple-round shootout of one-point conversions (though the attempts will take place from the 5 yard-line rather than the 2 yard-line) similar to a penalty shootout in soccer. There will be five rounds of the shootout, where the offense can score a point by converting in the end zone, while the defense can score a point by forcing a turnover (should a turnover occur, the play would be dead). To speed up the overtime process, both teams offense and defense will be on the field at the appropriate end zone. Once one team's offense has completed their round of the shootout, the other team's offense will play their round from the opposite end zone. In theory, this process could continue on a "point-for-point" basis. Unlike sudden death overtime in the NFL, these overtime rules ensure that both teams have an opportunity to win the game, provides a way for defense to make a greater impact on the outcome of overtime, and would limit overtime to 5 or 6 minutes.
Penalty shootouts are also used on a few game shows:
- The final round of The Weakest Link involves the remaining two contestants having to answer a series of three to five questions each (depending on the version); the player who answered the most questions correctly in the previous round has the option to choose who goes first. Whoever has the most correct answers at the end of the round is declared the winner; in the event of tie, the round goes to sudden death, where questions continue to be asked to every player until one contestant answers correctly and his or her opponent answers incorrectly.
- The Rich List uses a penalty shootout tiebreaker where the two teams are asked questions about the same subject until one team answers correctly and the other team answers incorrectly. Whoever gives the last correct answer in the tiebreaker advances to the bonus round.
- Jeff Z. Klein, "Hockey Night in Europe: Goodbye, Columbus," New York Times, Oct. 25, 2008
- V. Lychyk, "English borrowings in recent Soviet Russian," Papers and Studies in Contrastive Linguistics 29 (1994), p. 153.
- "Blues 26–26 Leicester (aet)". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. 3 May 2009. Retrieved 3 May 2009.