FIRST Robotics Competition Blog

Double Elimination Playoffs Update

Dec 08, 2022 Written by Fiona Hanlon, FIRST Robotics Competition Team Experience Specialist



It is with great joy that I am able to share this news with our community. We are excited to announce that we will be implementing the Double Elimination Playoff Model at all official FIRST® Robotics Competition Events for the 2023 season. This includes the division playoffs and the Einstein tournament at FIRST® Championship. As with many things we try in FIRST Robotics Competition, this is a pilot. We will be soliciting feedback from teams, volunteers, and Program Delivery Partners after events to understand how this went and what (if any) changes should be made. Please help us by sharing your feedback in the surveys that are sent from FIRST.

I want to take a moment to thank all the volunteers who helped us with this project. For those who may not know, we formed a working group to help determine a solution to the challenges timeouts introduced at events and opened this up to look at the entire playoff model. A few months ago, we announced the outcome of that working group but noted it was dependent on being able to complete the work to implement this change prior to the start of the 2023 events. We again turned to our community and have been working closely with this volunteer group the past couple of months.

Since we shared preliminary information about the model, we have made a few changes and updates to share with the community now. We swapped matches 3 & 4 and 11 & 12 based on feedback from the community to improve the time available to all teams. Additionally, the initial schedule included breaks but did not specify what content would be shown during them. We have created a plan for various content to fill the time, including presenting most of the awards during some of the breaks at many of our events. The 2023 FIRST Robotics Competition game manual will have the complete tournament ruleset including updated graphics.


Thank you again to everyone who helped provide feedback and a huge thank you to our volunteers for helping us make this a reality!

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Any update how district points will be distributed based on the change to double elimination playoffs?


Information about District Points will be in the 2023 CHARGED UP Game Manual released at Kickoff.

-Fiona Hanlon
FIRST Robotics Competition Team Experience Specialist

The winners of the Impact Award (formerly Chairman's) should be announced first, followed by Rookie All-Star, then Engineering Inspiration, with all other awards being announced AFTER those big 3. The reason is that teams that believe they are in the running for the "big 3" awards DREAD hearing their team called out for any award before the big 3, because that basically means they didn't win the big award. Students often cry when they hear they've won another award, and that looks really bad! 
If the winners of the "big 3" are announced at the beginning, A) teams who don't win it will HOPE to win another award afterwards, not FEAR it. And B) more teams are still paying attention and not packing their trailers/gone yet. When Chairman's was the last award announced, lots of people had already left the event because frankly, they knew they were done. They missed out on watching the winning Chairman's Award video as well.
The ideal time to announce Impact Award winners is after the first half of alliance selections are over. Pretty much EVERYONE is paying attention at that time, plus it give captains a few extra minutes to figure out their 2nd picks without causing unwanted delays.

I agree with the sentiment expressed here, however the solution I would rather see implemented is to have each event announce finalists for Impact and potentially EI. This system recognizes more teams, and has worked well since it was reintroduced at Championships. This also allows teams to know their proximity to achieving the goal. It can be challenging to attend an event with many great teams, and not know if you were 2nd from the top or 2nd from the bottom of the list. Being a finalist could be considered an award itself, thus removing the nerves about winning other awards. That removes the nerves from a majority of teams and creates an attitude of enthusiasm for any recognition as opposed to a desire for specific recognition. It's well established that teams are ranked for award consideration in the judging process, meaning no additional steps would need to be taken to implement this solution. I would imagine finalists are announced between rounds of alliance selection.

Really good points here! I have to agree and I am sure many teams would as well. I hope FIRST and events take this into consideration and possibly switch things around. 


Thank you for the suggestion. At this time, we will not be making a change to when the FIRST Impact Award is presented but may look into this in the future.

-Fiona Hanlon
FIRST Robotics Competition Team Experience Specialist

Not sure how this comment fit into the announcement, but it's interesting. It is disheartening to see the disappointment. It's even more disheartening to see teams leave early and showing a little disrespect in my opinion. I'm wondering if the answer isn't elsewhere. Perhaps we coaches should model GP more by not taking our teams away early. Perhaps discussions about staying to help take-down of the arena. Perhaps we need to emphasize other aspects of FIRST over specific awards. Just a thought.

This is excellent news. I'm very excited for the new format. Thanks to the working group and the community for making this happen!

I understand this isn't the place for feedback, but has consideration been given to the treatment of "rematch" finals? The fact that an alliance could win/lose the event winner spot against another alliance while having an even win-loss-tie record against them feels strange (e.g. Alliance 4 wins M2 against Alliance 5 2-0 and Alliance 5 wins the finals against Alliance 4 2-0 resulting in Alliance 4 vs Alliance 5 ending the event tied 2-2). Admittedly, requiring alliances to play an additional series if the Winner of M13 wins the finals against the Winner of M12 in a "true" double elimination would be cumbersome for scheduling.

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