The NFL once had a draft lottery (and should have one again)

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Last week’s debate regarding whether being drafted by a pro sports team is an honor (along with the broader question of whether the NFL draft has outlived its usefulness) caused me to forget about one of the other arguments that appears in this space from time to time: The NFL should have a draft lottery.

Like every pro sport, there’s a temptation among NFL teams to tank in order to improve draft position. No one connected to the NFL ever discusses that temptation other than to dismiss it, arguing that players and coaches would never do anything other than try to win. And while that’s true of the players who are on the field, coaches, General Managers, and owners have the ability to determine who will be on the field — and the strategic removal of the best players during meaningless games can help a non-playoff team become a playoff team by delivering a higher cut of rookies the following April.

Regardless of whether teams act on the temptation, the temptation is there. In Week 17 of the 2014 season, with the Buccaneers and Titans “vying” for the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, the Bucs led the Saints by double digits through three quarters. Then, with key players like Lavonte David and Mike Evans exiting at halftime and most starters gone for the final fifteen minutes, the Saints came back and won, and Tampa Bay acquired a clear path to quarterback Jameis Winston.

“Yeah, we didn’t have some of our best players right at the end but the guys we had in there we felt like we could move the ball and be able to win with,’’ former Bucs coach Lovie Smtih said at the time.

Although most players said all the right things, nose tackle Akeem Spence came very close to calling it what it appeared to be.

I mean it didn’t sit well with me, I’ll be honest,” Spence said. “But at the same time, it wasn’t my decision to make. It was a decision that came from up top so therefore . . . I mean I’m going to play with the guys that are out there. . . . But it’s tough when you don’t have your Lavonte David’s out there.”

For whatever reason, the apparent tanking didn’t become as big of a story as it arguably should have been. If it had, the NFL could have been compelled to consider bringing back a lottery concept to the draft.

According to the 2015 Official Record & Fact Book, a lottery was indeed used from 1947 through 1957. But it wasn’t aimed at eliminating tanking, per se. The lottery randomly gave one team the No. 1 overall pick before the start of round one. Which meant that one team each year actually had two first-round picks.

The first lottery winner was the Bears, who drafted Bob Fenimore from Oklahoma A&M. Ten years later, the Chicago Cardinals won the last bonus pick, taking quarterback King Hill of Rice. In January 1958, the NFL scrapped the process.

A new draft lottery would operate more like the NBA’s lottery, shuffling the draft order of the non-playoff teams for one or more rounds based on the outcome of a random process that could be (would be) televised and hyped and watched by millions.

From that perspective, it’s somewhat amazing the NFL hasn’t already done it. Although most of the milk has been squeezed out of the American udder, a draft lottery would give pro football one more offseason night for eclipsing the various sports that are actually, you know, in season.

Regardless of the revenue potential, a lottery reduces the temptation to tank. Regardless of whether another team does what the Bucs may have done (apparently, did do) to cap the 2014 season, why wouldn’t a team that already is out of the playoffs at least consider diving as deep as possible in the standings — especially since it’s no longer financially crippling to sign an unproven player at the top of the draft?

Here’s the part where plenty of you will insert comments calling the idea stupid or impractical, arguing that NFL teams don’t tank. Regardless of whether they don’t (and regardless of whether the Bucs did), the temptation is there. A lottery wouldn’t completely eliminate it, but the temptation would indeed be minimized.

172 responses to “The NFL once had a draft lottery (and should have one again)

  1. Need to get rid of the compensatory draft picks and make it a 12 round draft.

  2. nba lottery is a joke………….. we ALL know if the nfl had a draft lottery the rams still would have gotten the number 1 pick

  3. IF a team “might” tank for a number one pick, what would keep them from tanking to get more chances in a lottery ?

  4. The draft is a fantastic process which ensures fairness and competitiveness… along with the salary cap it means fans from every region will, at some point, improve and be competitive. Why replace that with a random system which will inevitably lead to some teams getting the top players year after year while others have to settle? That could set franchises back by generations through no fault of their own.

  5. Last thing I want to do is listen to the conspiracy nutters go off on how the picks were rigged in some team’s favor. On this one I’ll pass.

  6. the Patriots would get the first pick every year for the next 20 years by coincidence.

  7. Let’s not forget the Colts “SUCK FOR LUCK” campaign!!!
    THAT was OBVIOUS!!!!

  8. I think a simple lottery to determine the top 2 or 3 picks wouldn’t be the worst idea. but it doesn’t guarantee success. We’ve seen teams trade away their future on guys like RG3. Not every team had Andrew Luck rated higher than RG3. A lot of teams liked Mariota better than Winston. The jury is still out on that decision. Nobody was tanking in order to get Ben Roethlisberger. Meanwhile, teams that evaluated correctly were able to get guys like Aaron Rodgers and Joe Montana, after everyone else passed them up. So tanking for the number one pick, only works if your GM know what to do with it. A lottery would be lots of fun for the fans and bloggers. That’s for sure.

  9. That way they can really fix this thing. The Giants could always get first pic as the nfls house team should Move the league office out of new york

  10. If the team with the worst record doesn’t get the first shot at the best player than the draft has lost all sense of reason.

    Worst idea of 2016.

  11. I can see it now…Patriots tank and finish with a 6-10 record and are slotted 10th in the draft. Then BOOM they are magically granted the number 1 pick the same year the next stud QB comes into the league.

    Meanwhile the lowly unpopular teams stay that way until they’re forced to move to Mexico, London, Las Vegas, etc…

  12. Of the many bad ideas you have had, Mr. Florio. This might be the worst.

    Tanking in the NFL, is nothing compared to tanking in the NBA, the one major American professional sports league that DOES have a lottery. Your problem you seek to fix (NFL “tanking”) becomes a bigger problem when you introduce the system you are proposing will “fix” the problem (Lottery).

    You must not even remotely pay attention to the NBA. Have you heard of a team called the 76ers? You think a Lottery would REDUCE the likelihood of an NFL team tanking? NBA teams don’t just ‘potentially’ tank, they ADMIT it, and do so for entire seasons at a time. Sometimes multiple seasons in a row (see the aforementioned 76ers.

  13. If you’re worried about the integrity of draft, reverse the order for the top 10. #10 drafts first, 9 second etc…. After that, go with the normal order throughout the rest of the draft. No reason to tank then and all the reason in the world to try to win every game you can.

  14. Teams tanking also impacts the playoffs. Teams that are fighting for a playoff spot may find an easier path. Lets say the Saints are playing the buccaneers as stated above and need that win to secure a playoff spot. Clearly the Bucs could have won and if they did maybe another NFC team would have made the playoffs and this phony win gave the a tie breaker or a playoff spot they otherwise would have lost

  15. Plenty of skepticism remains about how the Knicks got Patrick Ewing back in the mid 80’s.

    The NFL front office’s proven lack of integrity over the last several years pretty much ensures that any lottery that they oversee would be questioned till the end of time.

    Great idea in theory but would likely do more harm than good to the league’s attempt to promote “fairness and integrity”.

    Leave it alone for now.

  16. First, I can’t believe I just read an article about tanking that didn’t even mention the Colts and Andrew Luck.

    Second, the biggest issue with the lottery would be the main reason for every other issue the league has. Nobody trusts the NFL commish and the other NFL Execs. No doubt that it would be fixed.

  17. Giving the worst teams the highest draft picks helps to make the overall level of competition more equal across the league, leading to better games overall. I would rather see an occasional late season flop in a meaningless game than see the rich get richer as in a team that just went deep in the playoffs end up with a #1 pick.

  18. If the NFL league office had any integrity I would welcome this idea. Since they don’t, I would leave well enough alone. One less thing they can get their corrupt hands on, manipulate to their liking, use the media to spread their lies, and generally treat us all like idiots.

  19. You can tell somebody did their research, the NHL draft lottery has the stink of “Fixed”. The NBA lottery has the stench of “Fixed”. Those drafts would be more doctored up than Tom Brady’s balls.

  20. More like Patriots go 1-15, slotted number one, but magically get 14. Stop acting like the last year plus of proof that the league has it out for NE didnt happen, haters.

  21. I’m not going to make the argument that NFL teams don’t tank, though it happens very rarely and coaches who do it, should be fined heavily.

    But the argument that I will make, and the one that should have been addressed in this article if you wanted to convince people the NFL needs a draft lottery, is that the lottery doesn’t work in the NBA.

    You cited one team that may have tanked one game at the end of the season.

    NBA teams regularly tank the last third of the season regularly, just to improve their chances at getting a high lottery pick. I have seen no evidence in the real world that a draft lottery prevents tanking.

  22. Why so a team that loses a Lebron type talent can magically get 3 out of the next 4 1st overall picks like Cleveland got? I’ll pass.

  23. What does it matter? The teams that perennially pick high in the draft never get any better anyway.

    Meanwhile, even though the NFL routinely steals draft picks from the Patriots, they make the playoffs season after season.

  24. Finding a problem that isn’t there for the sake of fixing something that isn’t broken.

    Tanking isn’t a problem in the NFL. Teams would rather trade up than lose revenue and season ticket support. There is more of an issue in the NBA still. Teams seemingly not pushing for the 8th spot when they will either get the spot they would have got or even the top spot thanks to the lottery.

    Do math, and I bet the lottery is more conducive to tanking. Lots of opinion in this article, not many numbers or facts to support it.

  25. The patriots would go 16-0 every year with a top 10 pick instead of last pick in every round like they have. That is most likely the NFL’s reason for not doing one. Sad but most likely true.

  26. I would argue that tanking is more prevalent in basketball or even hockey because one player can make or break a franchise. The NFL isn’t like that because there are so many moving parts.
    Also, I don’t think the lottery system is a fair one. I actually view it as a way to rig the system, Rose to the Chicago always seemed a little too “lucky” to me….

  27. Yeah, nothing like having a team like Edmonton win the lottery every year, hoard those players, and stay in the cellar for decades….

  28. The Ferengi who run the NFL have become obsessed with squeezing all of the milk out of the udder. After reading this article, I can’t foresee the owners giving up an opportunity to have a prime time lottery show.

  29. So you advocating doing this to prevent tanking? That hasn’t exactly worked for the NBA, now has it? The Sixers are a prime example of deliberate tanking. It finally got so bad the league had to intervene by bringing in Jerry Colangelo. Keep the NFL the way it is. Fans don’t tolerate tanking for more than a year or two at the most anyway.

  30. back then it wasn’t a lottery pick , it was 1 bonus pick awarded to the team with the worst record. if two teams were tied , then a coin was flipped. at that time the league was just 12 teams divided into 2 conferences ( east and west).
    the more changes this league makes the farther it gets away from the game that everyone loved and longs for again . all they do now is add bells and whistles .
    any day now i expect a senior OSHA executive will be appointed the NFL commissioner .

  31. Don’t give Roger any more horrible ideas, leave the draft alone!!!

  32. Let me try to understand the hypocrisy of many of the posts on this site today. You don’t want a lottery because you don’t believe teams cheat to get the number 1 pick or to be in the top five?

    You are 100% wrong. Did not the Indianapolis Colts cheat to get Andrew Luck? Of course they did ‘Suck for luck’ and you think that individual players like Brady and teams cheat and that’s why their good, not because they are good, because they cheat. That’s blaring hypocrisy!

    Believing teams don’t fudge lineups and such to be in a better position to get a top draft pick or the number 1 pick is naïve? You are basking in ignorance and hypocrisy because it is the worse form of cheating because you are now getting some of the best players in the draft to build your team stronger and stronger because you sucked the year before and should be rewarded for that because that is what it boils down to. Some teams do it for several years in a row to keep getting better and better draft pick but you still want to yell out loud when some individual cheats but close your eyes when real cheating takes place.

    Come on guys and gals wise up and let the league know they can’t keep being viewed as one of the most dishonest and disreputable pro leagues in the world.

    Think about what the Colts achieved by ‘sucking for Luck’…..They replaced one of the greatest QB’s in NFL history after having him for years and got to take the best QB in the draft immediately by cheating and you want to let this go on? Why? Because you are a fan of one of those teams that cheat the draft by finishing last or near last. It’s time teams pay for the way they run their teams not rewarded.

  33. I want a lottery because I hate rooting for my team to lose. Every year once the playoff chance starts to slip away, I start hoping that they lose. And I’m upset when they win. A lottery would fix that problem.

  34. Stupid idea for sure….
    Don’t change it… The league office is already too corrupt!!!!

  35. As long the worst team has an edge to get the top pick, it change nothing, teams will continue to tank.

    But you can give the same chance 25% for the last four teams to get the top pick.

    No reason to be the last as long you stay in the bottom 4

  36. It would make more sense to get rid of the draft altogether. If sports weren’t granted exemption from anti-trust regulations it would probably be illegal. The NFLPA, through its CBAs, cedes the right of players to hawk their wares to any and every team. The NBA’s draft does not produce competitive balance, and who is to say that the NFL’s draft does? Assuming the salary cap stays in place, rich franchises should not have a competitive advantage. The remaining argument in favor of the draft is that it’s so much fun.

  37. Mixed feelings on this.. on the one hand, the NFL loves ratings/attention/airtime.. it all equals $. So this is a natural fit. You could even broadcast this at half time of the Super Bowl so people actually watch those 15 minutes.. er 30 minutes.

    On the other hand, would this make trades of future 1st round picks include the “lottery protection” condition? Those confuse the hell out of me in the NBA.

  38. Amazing that more people are talking about the Patriots (who wouldn’t be involved in such a lottery because they never finish in the bottom five) than the Colts who did tank twice to be able to draft the two best ranked QB of their generation, Manning and Luck. Pathetic haters.

  39. The 76ers have been tanking for the last 5 years so the lottery doesn’t stop teams for tanking it just doesn’t automatically reward them for it. Plus the Titans deserved the #1 pick this year the same way they deserved the #2 pick last year. They were devoid of talent outside of the QB and WR position. Plus unless you don’t have a QB or you are the Houston Texans you are probably trading the #1 pick any way. The lottery will just make desperate teams more desparate and a team that is mediocre a chance to dominate with a really high pick. Leave it as is.

  40. The lottery, if it only included the worst 2-3 teams, would be a lot of fun. I don’t think it would make any difference in teams winning and losing though. Denver didn’t have the number one pick when they got super bowl winning QB Peyton Manning. The Patriots won the previous year with 6th round pick Tom Brady, and Seattle won the prior year with a 3rd round pick, Russell Wilson. Brady, a 6th rounder won 4 super bowls, as did Montana, a 3rd rounder.

  41. Take all non playoff teams. One ping-pong ball each in the hopper. And draw the draft order from there, and do it one hour before the actual draft starts.

  42. Call it the Andrew Luck rule. Where was the integrity of the game that year, Ginger Hammer?


  43. What if they reversed it? The last team to miss the playoffs got the first pick and the team that had the worst record got the last spot for non playoff teams. That would make teams that are bad play until the final game was over. Thoughts?

  44. They need to go back to the 12 round draft. They don’t need a lottery. I hate the lottery in other sports. The lottery keeps the worst teams from getting the best players in the draft. For example, Tim Duncan going to the Spurs when the Spurs barely missed the playoffs.

    You can’t legislate “tanking”‘out of the leagues. It still happens; lottery or not.

  45. Very mixed feelings because of the standard the NBA and NHL have set with some highly suspect draft lotteries. Everyone talks about the NBA and for good reason, but was anyone really surprised when the Penguins ownership was struggling and magically ended up with Sidney Crosby? Anyway, the draft lottery will happen. It’s another television event that the league can sell to the highest bidder. It’s a matter of when not if.

  46. League parity is very good right now. A draft lottery would throw that off.

    Bad teams would have even less chance of getting competitive again with a draft lottery.

  47. before we move on to draft lottery can we decide what a catch is first?

  48. Dumb, the nfl doesn’t have an issue with tanking, no team is going to throw an entire season for a draft pick so just stop this nonsense right here. The nfl is the best league and the nba is the worst, please spare me on taking league policy concepts from them

  49. Way more important than changing the draft would be changing the amount of players on the active roster from 53 to 58…. Now there’s an improvement!!!!

  50. So the NFL is stacked with Ex-Jets employees, the Jets constantly don’t get punished for things other teams lose draft picks for, and the haters think those guys are going to give the Pats first over all picks?

    Wow, hater nation truly is blind.

  51. The NFL is a big successful business…. And Liberals hate big successful business’…deep down in the bleeding hearts, they really want the game banned and slowly but surely they’re getting their way….

  52. The National Basketball Federation is not a good model how to run a sports league. IF the NFL keeps changing the rules and format of the foundation of the game you run the risk of slipping into irrelevance.

  53. you can like or dislike the idea of a lottery.. but you cant deny teams tanking.. I mean the suck for Luck campaign lasted two years and the Tampa in the given example, and those are just really recent im sure we could go back and look at the tape and find one every couple years

  54. Goodell has turned the league into a joke

    Everyone knows the Colts threw games to Suck for Luck – we saw those games with our own eyes.

    Not so much of a peep from the League office to look into fixing games.

    But the Jets Jay Feely’s ball boy gets caught taking tips to alter and “prepare” his footballs? Just a warning.

    Jets QB Brett Farve in the middle of a sexual harassment case brought by two Jets employees won’t give up his phone with the evidence? No prob. $50,000 and gee, we don’t have any evidence, so keep playing for the Jets!

    If they had a draft lottery the NFL would fix it anyways

  55. Tanking will be a problem regardless. The problem is that the sport rewards both champions and loser. That being said, a lottery of the top 3 picks could at least prevent tanking from being a viable strategy

  56. A draft lottery doesn’t eliminate tanking, look at the NBA for that proof. It also raises the question of “conspiracy”, again look towards the NBA and when the Knicks won the lottery to draft Patrick Ewing, the Bulls to draft Derrick Rose, or Cleveland to draft LeBron James. The draft lottery is nonsense, the NFL doesn’t need to “fix” the draft, especially just for the reasons certain people in the media dislikes it.

    There is an old saying, “leave well enough alone”. It certainly applies to the NFL draft

  57. Every Raiders fan voted no on this idea. Being perpetually in the top 10 of the draft every year is their Super Bowl.

  58. No one is tanking. You aren’t going to convince a bunch of guys to put bad tape of themselves out there. The “Suck for Luck” was a media creation. Everyone in the front office got fired right after the season. Where is the head coach for Tampa that so called tanked? When you lose and get the first pick more times than not someone else will be in your job to make that pick or at least develop that pick. Losing is a stain that can’t be washed out in the NFL.

  59. It would be good for the worst 3-5 teams and would add drama to the offseason.

    But it might lead to even MORE tanking because there will be more teams with a chance to get into that lottery and all of a sudden a team who is not terrible could vault into that top pick.

    I’d rather see a system where the top players get to pick which team they would want to play for.

  60. petersjeffrey36 says:
    May 8, 2016 12:15 PM
    you can like or dislike the idea of a lottery.. but you cant deny teams tanking.. I mean the suck for Luck campaign lasted two years and the Tampa in the given example, and those are just really recent im sure we could go back and look at the tape and find one every couple years

    Who had this brilliant strategy of losing so you get fired and someone else gets to draft Luck? The GM and coach where all fired. I am sure Bill Polian decided that losing his job and getting his son fired in the process wasting all those years of his work there. There was no suck for luck, the Colts almost lost that pick in the last week.

  61. I like Hockey’s lottery. Non-playoff teams could get #1. I think they modified it this year so #’s 1,2,3 are all in the lotto.

  62. The problem with the NBA draft is that they make the lottery into an event for teams that suck. It’s like the 46 minutes when teams don’t play. The NBA draft lottery is the worst event going. If the NBA were to really do the lottery proud, they would hold it in a landfill or a sewage plant or a slaughter house. Why reward terrible team players, coaches and owners with an event for losers? Sheep that watch this are dumber than worms.

    I don’t have a problem with a lottery (in the backroom), just don’t sell it for must puke TV.

  63. First, tanking isn’t an issue. You site one game among hundreds. Got any others? Second, the nba draft lottery does nothing to stop tanking. Teams are just willing to assume the risk. Would that happen in the NFL?

  64. Great idea. The current system rewards franchises who consistently lose and encourages tanking.

  65. And the lottery should be set up so all 32 teams have equal chances. No more rewarding losers.

  66. A draft lottery would be one of the worst ideas possible. There are already so few real legit QBs coming out from college these days, to rob the worst team(s) in the league from the possibility of getting one (assuming they’re so bad because they need one) would be a travesty. I shudder to imagine if in 2011 the Panthers got screwed out of the #1 pick by a draft lottery and ended up with #2, 3 or some other pick and we ended up having to reach for Gabbert, Locker or whichever of all the other scrub QBs that came out of that draft not named Cam.

    I couldn’t care less if teams are “tempted” to tank. Maintaining a competitive balance far outweighs removing that “temptation”.

  67. Honestly the worst teams in the league don’t deserve the top draft picks. They’re bad for a reason and no matter how much talent they get it almost always goes to waste.

  68. Come up with a top 32 players in the draft year, have an open auction. No 1st round trades, fans get to see what the team are really looking for. Then go back to the regular draft from round 2-7

  69. The 5 teams with the worst records should have the ping pong balls to determine position. The way things are now the Browns will half step every year and get a top 3 pick. It will make games in Dec more competitive.

  70. Um, maybe time to pay attention to the NBA and how poorly this works out during the season. Tanking for 80+ games is pretty common…just ask Laker fans.

  71. A lottery is a silly idea. There is a reason the teams picking early are picking early. No amount of tanking will make them any better. Tanking helps if your GM knows what they are doing, most teams don’t have a GM that knows what they are doing. John Elway has walked in and appeared in two Superbowls and doesn’t seem to be slowing one bit. Other GMs have been around since he was playing and have yet to reach a Superbowl. NFL history is all you need to know that a lottery won’t make a difference.

    Or just look at the Hall of Fame. It’s full of low draft picks. Dan Marino wouldn’t have been a lottery pick. Neither would Tom Brady. Or Shannon Sharpe. Russell Wilson would have been there in the third. Arian Foster wasn’t drafted. Brandon Marshall was picked in the fourth.

    You could have gotten RG3 though so there’s that.

  72. Also we shouldn’t go back to twelve rounds. There are players that end up being picked late who end up on teams not best suited for there talent. Peyton Barber is a good example this year. He might be fine in Tampa, but if he was signed by a zone blocking team he could flourish. Unfortunately I believe Tampa is a power running team. In that type of system he’ll most likely end up as a short yardage specialist. Free Peyton Barber. Let Elway have him.

  73. Unlike the NBA, most NFL players play to win regardless of potential draft status.

    In 2003, Arizona could have lost to Minnesota and secured the #1 pick, but scored two late touchdowns to win and wound up with the #3 pick instead…Prime example that at least some integrity exists in the NFL.

    If you’re going to address bad teams tanking for a better draft pick, let’s address 13 and 14 win teams tanking to “rest players” for the playoffs.

  74. Could someone stating the “fact” the Colts tanked tell me how they actually tanked? And who did it? Everybody knew that teams was poorly built around Manning – they spent too many resources on weapons and not enough on the o-line or defense. Hell, people still (rightly) accuse them of wasting Luck like they did Peyton by following a similar model. So you had a team build entirely around one of the best QBs ever fall completely apart when that QB missed the entire year due to injury.

    Is it because their QBs were Painter and Orlovsky? Let’s not forget the signed Kerry Collins when it became apparent Manning would miss some time. And Collins was quickly injured behind a bad o-line. The Colts never paid big money for a quality backup QB during manning’s prime. As bad as Painter was he was also Manning’s backup the prior year.

    Oh, and the GM, his son, the HC, and nearly all the coaches were fired. The team completely changed schemes – going from 4-3 to a 3-4 defense. They also immediately turned over the majority of the roster. All weird for a team that “tanked”.

    I’ve asked this question several times and the only “proof” I’m ever provided is their record (with Manning) in the years prior. Yet everyone also new they were a flawed team built completely on Manning’s shoulders. Amazes me.

  75. The Colts’ suck for Luck tanking of that season was set up by not putting in place worthwhile QB options. They knew Manning was going to be out but couldn’t do any better than Curtis Painter? Really? They were completely taken by surprise that he couldn’t lead them to a winning season? Really?

    As for the idea that Bill Na Polian wouldn’t tank a season if he might get fired, the tanking was his going away present to the franchise.

  76. The 76er’s have openly tanked the past 4 seasons for a better chance in the lottery for the #1 pick. Lottery does not stop tanking.

  77. How about just leave it as it is? It’s not the ideas you come up with that are bad, it’s just the mentality that more and more regulation and central control is (seemingly) the answer to everything. This is where we differ. What ends up happening, is the person controlling all these new mechanisms has almost dictatorial power. Sound familiar?

  78. The NBA is absolutely rigged. If it’s not, explain how the Cleveland Cavaliers got the number one pick 2 consecutive years after Lebron left to take his talents to South Beach.

  79. The only way to keep teams from tanking (for draft position or ping pong balls) is to change the draft order to be based on record after 12 games. That should also be the trade deadline.

  80. Any article that mentions tanking needs to mention the infamous and blatantly obvious “Suck for Luck” campaign. Only the Broncos rival their dirty, cheating culture.

    Does anyone trust Goodell to not manipulate a lottery? After the snow job they pulled on the Pats and the lies they told during the made-up Deflategate fairytale. The NFL’s 2 pet franchises Indy and Denver would always get the tops picks anyway.

  81. NBA lottery has too many teams involved that makes it stupid. Wouldn’t be against maybe the worst team in each conference have a shot at the #1 pick. The Crybaby Colts and the suck for Luck campaign was obvious.

  82. What a dumb idea, there is nothing wrong with the draft..the NBA draft lottery sucks, nobody likes it and its the main reason there is no parody in the NBA.. And alot of teams would win the lottery and trade the pick for a kings ransom

  83. It is kind of mindboggling that people actually think a lottery makes things “Fairer”. Teams will still tank it to get a chance to be in the top lottery pick and then you have the hilarious situation in the NHL where the Edmonton Oilers have won the number one pick in the 4 of the last 6 drafts(not that it has made them any better as they are a top lottery pick in 2016) that journalists are yelling and screaming for a special Oiler rule to add on top of the lottery will stop tanking rule. Just can’t this lottery thing to work right or make teams better.

    The draft is perfectly fine and tanking is a strategy that is part of the game since the beginning of time. Any special rule you try to concoct and invent will not erase that and only create more dysfunctional situations.

  84. “No one connected to the NFL ever discusses that temptation other than to dismiss it, arguing that players and coaches would never do anything other than try to win. And while that’s true of the players who are on the field, coaches, General Managers, and owners have the ability to determine who will be on the field — and the strategic removal of the best players during meaningless games can help a non-playoff team become a playoff team by delivering a higher cut of rookies the following April.”

    Why don’t you ask Jim Caldwell and Lovie Smith how tanking worked out for them? Coach’s can’t afford to tank, because they never reap the benefits of it. And if Tom Brady decided out of the blue to retire, and the Patriots tanked, then the NFL would likely dock them a first round pick for it.

    In the NBA even the worst teams win some games. In the NFL, it would look really bad if a team went 0-16 and didn’t end up with the first pick.

  85. If the team with the worst record doesn’t get the first shot at the best player than the draft has lost all sense of reason.

    Worst idea of 2016.
    Be patient, it’s only May. The league office will come up with something that sucks even worse before the year is over.

  86. I’ve been clamoring for a draft lottery for years. My main issue has been that there are a handful of teams (including the team I am a fan of) that tends to always be in the middle of the pack in terms of season records. 7-9, 8-8, 9-7 almost every season so they never get a premier draft pick.

    Then I watched a team like the Detroit Lions suck in all the best players in the 2000’s and ruin them. The Cleveland Browns are notorious for doing the same. Tampa Bay and Jacksonville, too. Bad teams/bad franchises often have a toxic culture. It’s either bad coaching, bad leadership, or toxic fans that ruin the opportunities for the players.

    And then there’s tanking. There’s no denying that it happens. Why not just take all the non-playoff teams and randomize the order of those picks? Do it live on TV with one of those little lottery ball things and make a whole event out of it.

    Then crappy franchises are forced to fix their culture and fix their coaching since they won’t be guaranteed to be fed the premier college talent year after year.

    If it means teams like the Lions don’t get to bogart (and ruin) nine top-10 picks in a ten-year span before they can become relevant… GREAT. They might find out that tanking at the end of every season is part of what creates the losing culture.

  87. What a STUPID SUGGESTION… Shuffle ALL the non-playoff teams? As a Raider fan this would’ve most likely have moved us up, but Frankly its unfair because the Titans and some of those teams are CLEARLY not as good as us…
    TO WIT: Indy was a non-playoff team, but that was due to the fact that Luck went down, why the hell would you want to make them better because of an injury… That’s stupid.
    LET Tampa and Titans tank in the last game of the season, they still both suck

  88. The NBA Lottery is at best, a travesty. Just think what the NFL could contrive? Add another 2 months to the combine- senior day-pro day – Draft weekend or maybe a two week wait to the lottery! An NFL lottery is a bummer. Let the teams tank if they are that bad a loser. Seems like they don’t do a lot with the first round picks anyway? Patriots, Seahawks, Packers, Steelers, Panthers, and a few others usually seem to be in the hunt without a top-round pick. Scouting and GM’s are where it’s at. Forget first round picks. BTW who is Ryan Leaf? Oh yeah, where is he?

  89. lol this is dumb I watch the whole draft & I’m a panther fan & i can remember John Fox last yr he & the coaches gave up from the start ,they knew they wasn’t going to be around it but the Panthers next coachs got it right ,IF your team can’t get it right it isn’t about the players it’s about the development of those players in the right system

  90. Completely surprised Painter didn’t lead them to a winning season? Of course not. But Manning didn’t suffer a catastrophic injury where they knew he’d be out, he was recovering slowly from a procedure. They didn’t know he wouldn’t play at all until well into the season. When they realized he wouldn’t be available to start the season they went and signed Kerry Collins to a 2yr / $8m contract. They tried to improve their QB situation, but how many starting quality QBs are available a few weeks before camp opens? You act like good QBs are easy to find.

    Amazing that year also wasn’t painters last in the league. So either other teams wanted to tank too or that’s an indication of the overall lack of QB talent in the league.

  91. Because the idea of a perennial Super Bowl contending team, like the Patriots, Packers, Broncos, ETC. having a championship season, and then turning around and “lucking into” the #1 pick the next Draft does not seem like a very fair system to me.

  92. It isn’t broke, don’t fix it. Much like the the playoffs, while sometimes change is good like the Extra Point. That is something EVERY team deals with EVERY game. The Playoffs or lottery, would have an impact on 2-5 teams.

    In the NBA you can be a third of the way through the season and teams still have over 50 games to play yet, and plenty of time to tank. You don’t have that luxury in the NFL, because only have about 10 games left when you find out what kind of team you have and where you stand in the division.

    Another reason I am against this, is in the NBA the talent going entering the draft hoping to be lottery picks is MASSIVE. Pick 1-14 is Equal to the first 2 rounds of an NFL draft. Each team has 2 chances to pick up REALLY good talent. In the NBA teams like the Spurs and others that draft late in the first trade them around what would be 6th round picks in the NFL.

  93. Worse than teams possibly tanking games, is horrible teams not getting to pick high to get help for their teams. The NBA draft lottery does exactly zero to stop teams from tanking games. It just takes away the guarantee that the worst teams will get the best pick. Heck, the 76ers in the NBA have tanked the entire season the last couple of years, so how was the lottery any deterrent?

  94. billbrasky72 says:
    May 8, 2016 10:41 AM

    Giving the worst teams the highest draft picks helps to make the overall level of competition more equal across the league, leading to better games overall. I would rather see an occasional late season flop in a meaningless game than see the rich get richer as in a team that just went deep in the playoffs end up with a #1 pick.
    You mean like the 2011 Colts and their full season “Suck for Luck” campaign? 2010 10-6, 2011 2-14, 2012 11-5 records. According to the twits on here that would never happen, all teams except the Patriots are owned by little angels who have never put a foot wrong.

  95. I understand the sentiment, but unless we’re prepared to forbid good teams from pulling players from late-season games to “save” them for the playoffs, this wouldn’t be fair.

    If it shouldn’t be fair to throw a game to increase one’s competitive advantage in the draft, it should be fair to throw a game to increase one’s competitive chances in the following (playoff) game.

    I think this is a solution in search of a problem.

  96. “Not every team had Andrew Luck rated higher than RG3.”


    Ummm…I think we all remember:
    In 2011 it was clearly “Suck for Luck.”
    It was never “Be Lazeee 2 Get RG3”

    Weird thing: If you read the 137 comments above, you’d think 95% of readers were against adding a lottery component to the draft. But the poll says only 56% voted that way. Are they just more eager to be heard?

  97. Hockey is my primary sport, football secondary. The NHL, while flawed and inconsistent with it’s punishment also, is widely considered less corrupt than the NFL. With that being said, I would say probably half of the people I see online or talk to in person think that the lottery is rigged. I’m not sure. I tend to think the NBA lottery is rigged, at the very least. If the NFL had a lottery, I would immediately assume it’s predetermined.

    And on top of that, the lottery does nothing to discourage teams from tanking. Buffalo and Edmonton tried their hardest to tank when Eichel and McDavid were the top prospects. Toronto seemed to have no interest in winning very many games this year, with Auston Matthews being available at number one.

    While the idea makes some sense on paper, I think we’ve seen more than enough evidence from other leagues to decide that in practice, it’s actually a terrible idea.

  98. lance19 says:
    May 8, 2016 7:37 PM

    “Not every team had Andrew Luck rated higher than RG3.”
    You’re 100% correct on that. Even HOF GM Bill Polian, who was the Colts’ GM, said he had them rated equal. The whole suck for Luck thing got started in S.F. when newly hired coach Jim Harbaugh chose to stick with Alex Smith after everyone thought he’d be cut. Harbaugh coached Luck at Stanford and so that was the belief. They figured the 49ers were tanking by going with the ineffective Smith. The Redskins traded their house away to get RG3. I guarantee you they’re one of the teams that had RG3 rated higher than Luck. Just like when Peyton Manning came out. There were a few teams that would have taken Ryan Leaf.

  99. The only way I’d be for it is if you made it an equal chance for ALL non-playoff teams. No team is ever going to tank in order to miss the playoffs. No team would have ANY incentive to not only try to win each game but also pursue the BEST roster possible every year and ALL year.

  100. It already is a lottery. Usually if a team tanks, it’s to get in the top 3 to take a qb, but with college offenses running less and less pro style, winning the draft by losing the season is even more of a crap shoot than it once was, and it was never a sure thing. RGIII, Leaf (whom the Colts likely would’ve taken were he not opposed to playing there), Bradford, Russell, David Carr, Smith…. Round and round and round she goes. Which is why when you see a guy with the name Luck at the top of your board, you go with it. Need all the Luck you can get.

  101. switchwitch59 says:
    May 8, 2016 6:51 PM

    You mean like the 2011 Colts and their full season “Suck for Luck” campaign? 2010 10-6, 2011 2-14, 2012 11-5 records. According to the twits on here that would never happen, all teams except the Patriots are owned by little angels who have never put a foot wrong.

    So, if the Colts “weren’t tanking” and Jim Caldwell was “the amazing head coach we all know him to be,” how many times would Curtis Painter have lead the Colts to victory?

  102. Why do these people feel they need to keep changing things in the NFL. Leave it alone please.

  103. No they shouldn’t. Like the old saying goes, if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. The Titans weren’t tanking and same with the Browns. Do teams tank?? Maybe, but it’s not always happening often. The NBA Draft lottery is ok and all, but the NBA Draft isn’t as watched like the NFL’s is which pretty much shows that the fans don’t need any changes to it.

  104. The only way a draft lottery works is if the BEST team in the lottery has the best chance to win the top pick. If that’s not the case, and the lowest teams have the best chance like in the NHL and NBA, then teams will still tank just for the slightly better chance.

    I think the only real hope for teams to not tank is if every team not to make the playoffs gets the exact same chance at the top pick. Then they would have nothing to lose by tanking.

  105. When the NHL was trying to save the Penguins they used the lottery to do a solid for Lemieux when he came to the rescue. How many 1st and 2nd picks did they get for the next few years. And how many Cups have the won from that?

    Draft Lottery? um, no thanks.

  106. There is not doubt that Indy sucked for Luck. They just kept sending ole Curtis Painter out there week after week. There were journeyman QBs available, but the Colts had no interest.

    As a Titans fan, it was difficult to play against Manning all of those years. He took a mediocre Colts team and made them much much better. Also explains why he had so much trouble in the playoffs – against the best teams, one man QB show is not enough.

    When it was clear that Peyton would not play that year, and that Luck – the highest rated QB since Peyton – would be available, the Colts tanked every single week. They did not try to improve the team, and it worked. They got Luck who will now torment us for the next decade.

    NFL definitely needs a lottery system for the top 10 picks or so.

  107. A lottery is disrespectful to players who are already playing on fringe contracts.

    The players’ contracts are not guaranteed and to put this lottery pressure on them creates even more pressure-caused injury risk.

  108. Tanking isn’t going to help teams like the Browns who will be bad no matter where they draft as well as drafting the Johnny Manziels. In fact, the lottery might help in that it would put them in later in the draft so at least somebody who knows what they’re doing can get an early pick.
    I’d worry if the Pats tanked and their organization gets the first pick. Those guys kinda know what they’re doing; they’ll trade it for a boatload of other picks.

  109. The Colts Sucked for Luck…Bucs tanked for Winston.

    A lottery of just the most pathetic records would be fine…like 5 or fewer wins, something like that. Not every non-playoff team and nor every losing team. Just the worst of the worst so that playing with pride doesn’t “hurt” your team.

  110. The entire order of the draft ought to be constructed via random assignment. And no weighting. Every team should have an equal chance to end up both first and last. Rewarding losing is one of the reasons so many teams are consistently horrible.

  111. So the theory is that Lovie Smith pulled some of his best players in order to tank the season, in order to get the top pick in the draft, in order to get the QB they wanted?

    How did that work out for Lovie?

  112. Ya and somehow Cleveland in the NBA kept winning the #1 spot over and over. Lebron and Kyrie Irving and another #1 after that. Complete B.S. And the NBA is a joke so please keep this away from the NFL.

  113. If these coaches/gms wanna tank a season for a kid who may not even perform at the next level, thats on them. Lets just leave the game how it is, por favor. Bad enough special teams are dwindling down to nothing.

  114. If the NFL were in charge, they’d fix the outcome to benefit certain teams – best leave this alone even if organizations like the Colts fix games to “Suck for Luck”

  115. detsteve says:
    May 8, 2016 10:21 AM

    IF a team “might” tank for a number one pick, what would keep them from tanking to get more chances in a lottery ?

    Unless the draft order is determined using a method completely independent of team record, there will always be an incentive to lose. But if you think of a prescribed order as a special type of random distribution, a lottery would allow the league to significantly reduce the advantage of finishing with a marginally worse record.

    In the NBA draft, the worst team has a 25% chance of getting the #1 pick, while the 2nd-worst team has a 19.9% chance. So the difference between those two positions is 5.1%. In the NFL, the difference is a full 100%, which is a much bigger incentive.

  116. the difference is in the NBA, the owners will approve of tanking because it only takes on player to turn a franchise into a contender.

    Jim Caldwell and Bill Polian still lost their jobs immediately after allowing the Colts to draft Andrew Luck when they should have been rewarded for their ineptitude.

  117. laces out says: “Jim Caldwell and Bill Polian still lost their jobs immediately after allowing the Colts to draft Andrew Luck when they should have been rewarded for their ineptitude.”

    You precisely nailed why the whole “Suck for Luck” thing is a myth, and why people who believe it are idiots.

    Coaches and GMs do not get rewarded for tanking. They get fired for tanking. Same with players. The only people who benefit are future coaches and future GMs. That takes away any real incentives for current coaches and GMs to tank a season, leaving only mythical incentives for fans stupid enough to believe them.

  118. OK so we’re going to point out the Bucs….I think a worse scenario is….Colts get rid of Manning a year before Luck comes out of College and then becomes the worst team in the NFL…really?

  119. laces out says: “Jim Caldwell and Bill Polian still lost their jobs immediately after allowing the Colts to draft Andrew Luck when they should have been rewarded for their ineptitude.”

    Polian was retiring anyways – who knows how many millions Irsay paid him and Caldwell.

    We all saw those game – purposeful mis-throws, drops to ensure they stayed in the “lead” for the worst record.

    No doubt Goodell demanded they had be fired to make it look good, so people wouldn’t know how this League is fixed – but I guess now everyone can see that now with DefameGate

    Definitely not a equal chance of all teams to get the #1 pick OR even an equal chance of the non playoff teams to get the 1st pick. It would be very easy to look at the past ~20yrs of final team W/L record and create a cutoff where a number of teams are bunched at when Week 17 (or 16) comes around and there are too many teams and factors at play where teams wouldn’t have enough info to know whether to tank.
    It could even be setup where there is a known cutoff of X # of teams in Tier 1 that are in the lottery for the top picks OR even a lottery where you could have any given year X to Y # of teams that changes based on end results of any given year.

    At the end of the day, a straight up lottery wouldn’t work, but it could very easily be devised to make it fun for fans, get rid of any tanking concerns and keep parity in football (which is already a sport where that’s not much of a concern anyhow).

    No Brainer.

  121. I’ve got what I think is the solution to “tanking.” Something like this works – not the exact formula, but you’ll get the idea:

    Flip the system for the worst teams:

    You should give the top picks to the BEST of the worst – not the worst of the worst. That way, the worst teams are at least still fighting to win to the end – not tanking to finish dead last. The Bucs would have been scrapping to win that game – not giving it away.

    There’s got to be a formula that could work that out. Wouldn’t be perfect – nothing is – but it sure would end tanking and replace it with playing to win.

  122. elvoid – then the best will stay the best, and the worst will never improve.
    Do you think Alabama will EVER fall out of the top 25? Same scenario in the NFL.

  123. A lottery won’t matter – it’s just trade bait for a lot of teams, so no matter who ends up with picks 1-2-3-4, two or three of them will probably be traded.

    I guess we can ask Cleveland, Detroit, Houston and San Francisco this in a year from now. Maybe San Diego or Indy, too.

  124. jddre – not true in the NFL. What round was Tom Brady drafted in? How much success have the Browns had with top 50 or ten picks over the years? How many high draft picks have the Pats had over the last decade or so, and how are they doing?

    Look at it historically – yes, sometimes that #1 pick matters – sometimes it doesn’t – Marino was picked at 27.

    Make them fight on the field for that #1 pick – not roll over and play dead for it.

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