Will teams “Suck for Luck”?

A regular feature on Friday’s edition of NBC SportsTalk comes from one of Peter King’s favorite phrases:  “You’re wrong and here’s why.”

This week’s debate focused on the question of whether teams will try to lose (or not try to win) late in the season in order to secure dibs on Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, the clear-cut first overall pick in the draft and the man regarded as one of the best prospects at the position, perhaps since the last big-time Stanford quarterback.

Obviously, I’m right and Peter is wrong.  Watch the video to find out why.

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29 responses to “Will teams “Suck for Luck”?

  1. Team will not Suck for Luck. We didn’t see it happen last year when he was expected to declare for the draft. So why would that change this year?

    I will also say that Landry Jones and Matt Barkley are going to be QB studs as well. Compared to all QBs last year not named Newton (Gabbert, Dalton, Kaepernick, Ponder, Locker), Jones and Barkley are much, much better prospects than those guys. I would not be surprised if one of them turn out to be just as good a pro, or better, than Luck. I’m not saying that is likely to happen, but it is definitely possible. Remember, we live in an era where Ryan Leaf was also considered a no-brainer, 100% lock of a pro-QB and in an era where Tom Brady was not even considered by most teams.

  2. Honestly as a Diehard Dolfan, I would not mind them sucking in order to get the #1 pick, but would not want them making it public…My Dolphins are bad enough that I don’t think they have to try to hard to suck anyway..As Always: I will stick with them even with Goof Ball Owner, lousy GM, and lame duck coach..Knowing Ireland he will draft the best OT or something anyway.

  3. Imo Andrew Luck will end up at either the Niners or the Colts. With the Dolphins and Broncos being right in it.

    Niners: Harbaugh. They’re not tanking and will trade up for him.

    Colts: Bill Polian’s son, Brian works for Stanford.

    Dolphins, Broncos and Niners have been at sea forever since Marino, Elway and Montana/Young retired, forever searching for the next one.

  4. i’m kind of hoping the Dolphins get him, but the owner is a moob. It would be criminal for the Colts to get him, and not skip a beat going from Manning right to Luck.

    Broncos getting him, and having him torture the Raiders would hurt for me, but you have to be the best to beat the best.

  5. Sometimes the media over hypes a guy so early that when they do finally come into the league, the expectations are nearly impossible to live up to….And also a lot of times the media is simply wrong. Jimmy Clausen, Ryan Leaf, Brady Quinn, there’s a million can’t-miss guys who missed.

  6. I can imagine a coach/FO trying to suck for luck.

    But all the players on the team? Why?

    They don’t care about that, they either want to make more money, or at the very least keep their jobs.

    I don’t buy for one second that an entire roster would suck for luck.

  7. For every Peyton Manning, we go through 1,000 Heath Schulers and Akili Smiths and Danny Weurffuls

  8. Peter King is right. The controversy from basically throwing games, would be huge, and may be against some NFL rules. It would be obvious that it was happening to fans of the team, and would become national news. This type of conspiracy would also certainly come to light eventually.

    There is also a big difference between this and sitting people to get them healthy when you have the playoffs locked up.

  9. Interesting.

    This is my take. Peter is right, in that no OWNER is going to, either covertly or overtly, direct his head coach to lose. Peter laid out the reasons why, and he’s absolutely right. No owner is going to try to manipulate his way to the winning of the Andrew Luck Derby.

    BUT…Mike is also right, because while the owner will not do so, the head coach, the offensive coordinator and certain players are perfectly placed to make the necessary moves in a game to assure a loss, tracelessly an d without any conspiratory conversation or agreement.

    In fact, players are the most likely of all, given time to think about it, of making sure teams lose late season games. A fourth and goal play where the star running back or wide receiver, who has suffered through an awful year with a terrible, inept quarterback, can easily drop the pass, fumble the ball, or slip a yard short, and easily determine a winner or loser in the Luck Derby, with no words spoken by or to anyone.

    Coaches, so long as their jobs are safe, can just as easily arrange losses by their play selection and substitutions, guaranteeing that the #1 pick is theirs.

    You can wave the “We wanna win!” flag all you want, but the real question is: WHEN do you wanna win…in a meaningless game at the end of this season, or possibly for a decade of excellence in the future?

  10. Who’s to say that Luck won’t pull an Elway and tell the drafting team, don’t draft me I won’t play for you and force a trade? It kept Elway out of Baltimore.

    Since he has the option to go back to Stanford he wouldn’t have to sit out to prove his point.

    No, suck for Luck makes no sense, you could tank the whole season and still not have a guarantee.

    Now that would help your season ticket sales…

  11. No way it happens in a team where the HC and GM are not under a long term deal.

    The HC gets paid on Win/Loss record. Not on whether the team that fires him will end up with Luck.

  12. How many times are you going to ask this, Mike? I like your articles and videos, but sometimes you pound home the same point a little too much.

    I agree with whatsafairway, sucking for Luck doesn’t make any sense when the league currently has FOUR 0-4 teams, and I have doubts that any of them are going to start winning any time soon.

  13. I tell you one thing. You won’t catch the Steelers losing games on purpose like that.

    If they suck (and they DO) it’s not just gonna be for Luck.

    It’s gonna be because they just stink real bad…

  14. Ask Phil Sims if the 49ers laid down against the Rams to keep the Giants out of the playoffs back when he was playing.I remember his press conference at the time, he was livid. They could put someone,or several players on IR and tank a season.It will surely be scrutinized towards December, accusations will fly.But the real ? is will he come out.

  15. Hmmmmm, a ridiculous debate between two guys that have never played competitive organized sports. No team of pros are going to lay down and intentionally lose games so their team’s owner/gm can get a shot at a college player that may not even pan out at the NFL level.

  16. Why would any coach want to suck for Luck? To get him, you’ll have to go 0-16 or 1-15. You think there’s a lot of job security with a record like that, no matter what the GM tells you?

  17. Two points….

    1. Someone made a great point about high expectations. Newton came in getting slammed and he had a chip on his shoulder and was able to rise when there wasnt expectation. Ryan Leaf was a lock, there have been many other ‘locks’ at other positions that failed too. There’s a genuine risk Luck could bust due to that dynamic.

    2. I disagree with the person saying the players/coaches have the ability to tank. More than anyone, those guys cannot afford to tank. They can get cut and fired for mere bad play. It’s their livelihood. And coaches often find it tough to get another gig if they perform badly. Or can only find a co-ordinator or position coach job. No team will tank, but if it’s likely it would happen something like week 17 when a team could lose and get the #1 or win and get the #2 or #3. MAYBE then it might be feasible. But even then there’s been many instances in the past where teams with the #32 pick coming into week 17 won games against better teams, and celebrating closing the year on a high.

  18. The problem with the “suck for luck” idea is the head coach. No head coach of a 0-16/1-15 season could be considered safe from getting fired. Sparano is the most likely coach to get canned; the assertion that he would purposely lose in order to benefit the franchise/owner that have treated him like garbage is absolutely ridiculous. Players are too worried about the “next guy up” to screw up on purpose. When you see guys dropping balls or throwing picks, odds are they are simply making bad plays rather than purposely tanking the season.

  19. Colt’s future Hall of Famer Boll Polian will “Suck for Luck” by letting Coach Jim Caldwell and his staff do whatever they want and not signing competent replacements for guys put on the IR.

  20. Imo Andrew Luck will end up at either the Niners or the Colts. With the Dolphins and Broncos being right in it.

    Niners: Harbaugh. They’re not tanking and will trade up for him.

    In a word, no.

    First of all, the Niners would have to hope that any team winding up with the #1 overall pick doesn’t need a QB themselves. Of the teams who are 1-3 or 0-4, this means Miami, KC, Denver, Seattle, Indy (depending on Manning’s status) can’t be #1 overall. You can probably throw Minnesota and Jacksonville on that list, too – I think both would gladly take Luck and trade Gabbert or Ponder, unless either one of them makes some kind of breakthrough this year.

    The Rams are currently 0-4 and looking like a first-overall candidate, but do you honestly think for one second they’d make a deal with anyone in their division? They’d probably trade the pick (or pick Luck and trade Bradford), but not to a team they play twice a year.

    Beyond that, the Niners are very likely to win the NFC West this year, which means the earliest they’d be drafting is 21st overall. If they win in the first round, as the NFC West winner usually does (laugh at them all you want, the West has had a team win a first-round game for seven straight years), the highest they’d pick is 25th overall.

    Assuming the team with the #1 overall pick did want to trade, the Niners would have to offer far, far more than, say, the Seahawks or Dolphins, who will likely be picking in the top five or ten, would have to offer. The Falcons gave up two number ones and two number fours to move way up and get Julio Jones. The Niners would have to give up a lot more than that to get Luck, and outbid teams with far more attractive draft picks to trade.

    The chances of Luck winding up a Niner are infintesimal. Even if the Niners start to play abysmally, at this point, they’d have to hope that 3-13 is good enough for #1 overall, or that a team like Carolina, who doesn’t need a QB, gets the #1 overall and is willing to trade with them.

    This will not happen.

  21. The 46 active players on Sunday (on any NFL team) will not suck for anyone. They don’t give a crap who’s on next year’s team.

    The coach and GM might have a little wink-wink agreement to aim for the top of the draft, but the guys who are suiting up and playing ball aren’t quitting for anything.

    Teams end up with the first pick for one of three reasons:

    1) Devestating injuries.
    2) Horrible coaching.
    3) The team is legitimately bad.

    You don’t end up with the first pick as a result of lack of effort.

  22. This is a ridiculous notion with far too many variables to warrant any team of professionals looking each other in the face and telling each other to lose. It’ll never happen and it’s preposterous to even suggest it.

  23. I know Dolphin fans are hoping to suck for Luck, my question for these arrogant fans is: Why Have the Dolphins sucked for the past 27 yrs? Have those just been the suck for fun years!

  24. Who’s to say that Luck won’t pull an Elway and tell the drafting team, don’t draft me I won’t play for you and force a trade? It kept Elway out of Baltimore.


    Luck would be fully aware who will have the #1 overall pick when he declares for the draft. If he doesn’t want to go to that team, his only option will be to not declare.

    Elway had leverage which allowed him to dictate terms to the Colts, namely, that he could go and play for the New York Yankees instead. To my knowledge, Luck doesn’t have baseball as a fallback position.

  25. a coach on his own could push the team in subtle ways to continue to lose… it doesn’t have to be benching starters.. it can be position rotation plus play packages plus focus on the wrong acquisitions… all kinds of things can happen…

    say in off season a head coach on a team that needed QB and O line was nearly fired and he sat down with the owner who didnt know much about NFL and said:

    if you give me an extension and guarantee I wont be fired through 2013, Ill push the team in subtle ways to lose aiming to get Luck … we’ll draft and trade the wrong positions, we can ignore QB and save cash this year, increase depth in other areas, and then be in a great spot with a potentially history making QB and great cash on hand for O line next year…..

    and the Phins have done just that… the wrong players in the off season, ignored QB and O line, nonsensical play calling…. no urgency to fix issues that are obvious to the whole world….

    if Peter King thinks that a good old boy deal that takes into account a few more years job security cant happen in the NFL, he’s been drinking the Canton Koolaid too much…

    the Fish smell for good reason already….

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