Roger Goodell says tanking “clearly did not happen” in Miami; the facts show Stephen Ross clearly tried to do it

Indianapolis Colts v Miami Dolphins
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The NFL will never, ever, ever admit that one of its teams intentionally lost a game. Ever. The complications and implications in a world of legalized gambling would be too severe. From lawsuits to perp walks to the potential creation of a federal agency that regulates the NFL, nothing good ever would come from the league announcing to the world that one of its teams prioritizing losing over winning — and acted on it.

Three years ago, the Miami Dolphins prioritized losing over winning. At least, the owner did. The NFL’s investigation of Stephen Ross found that, on a number of occasions during the 2019 season, Ross “expressed his belief that the Dolphins’ position in the upcoming 2020 draft should take priority over the team’s win-loss record.” Although the league found that the Dolphins never deliberately lost any games in 2019 (the team’s performance early in the season would suggest otherwise), it wasn’t because Ross told them to ignore his stated preference. It was because coach Brian Flores did.

The end result has caused some in the media to naively assume that Ross was exonerated. It also has allowed the NFL to declare that there was no tanking — while glossing over the fact that Ross definitely tried to tank.

“The integrity of the game is critically important,” Goodell told reporters on Tuesday, via Ed Werder of ESPN.com. “I think the findings are very clear . . . and while tanking clearly did not happen here, we all have to understand our words, our actions have implications and we have to be careful.”

Tanking didn’t happen only because Flores refused to go through with it. Ross clearly wanted Flores to do it. Flores felt sufficiently pressured to do it to sound the alarm internally. The NFL has not disclosed the communication Flores distributed to key team executives. That document would go a long way toward showing how aggressive the tanking effort was.

Don’t count on the league ever doing it. Tanking can never be acknowledged by the league. Even when it happens. As it did in Week 17 of the 2014 season, when the Bucs clearly blew a game against the Saints in order to get the first pick in the next draft.

The temptation will linger until the league changes its procedure for determining draft order. The best way to do it would be to have a lottery that gives all non-playoff teams an equal shot at getting the first pick, and so on. No one is going to blow a playoff berth for a one-in-18 chance to get the top spot in the draft. And there would be no reason for the worst of the non-playoff teams to try to lose a late-season game, since it wouldn’t improve their draft status.

73 responses to “Roger Goodell says tanking “clearly did not happen” in Miami; the facts show Stephen Ross clearly tried to do it

  1. Coincidently, (or not), the playoffs have been expanded to include more teams and the season extended by 1 game which by nature will make it extremely unlikely for tanking to occur with the amount of revenue dollars that come in for playoff games.

  2. Not too many things can unite most NFL fans like the belief that Goodell is garbage.

  3. Protect those that pay you. Make an example to those that don’t sums it up for me.

  4. Tanking is a hard thing to get rid of in a satisfactory way. But a lottery like you describe would be horrible. Why would we want a team that barely misses the playoffs to get the #1 pick and best player out of pure luck? For example the Chargers and Ravens missed the playoffs last season. Would we want them having the rights to a Joe Burrow? They don’t need it and would get tons of free draft capital to trade away by pure luck.

  5. Just as phony as saying there was no copy of the Ray Rice tape maybe even more so. Or that the Chiefs didn’t deserve to lose a first rounder back in 2016 tampering with Jeremy Maclin despite other teams being penalized a first rounder for tampering. Roger Goodell is a clown.

  6. I’m shocked I tell you. I’m shocked that there is tanking going on here. Here is you 65 Million Mr Goodell. (Mr Goodell) Thank you.

  7. As a lifelong Dolphins fan, (over 50 years) I too wanted our team to lose rather than win meaningless games in 2019, so I am not upset with Mr. Ross on that issue, but the tampering is problematic.

    I do not blame Flores for winning despite the owners’ wishes. That was his job and the reason they can’t prove “Tanking Allegations”

    They still got the QB many wanted in the end despite all these “Hindsight experts” who now say Justin Herbert should have been taken Despite him being ranked below Tua at the time and history has not had the final say on this debate.

  8. If it “clearly did not happen,” then how come you have done everything in your power to make sure it never sees the light of day in a real courtroom, Roger? Is it because you know that the findings in court would make it very clear that Ross was guilty of trying to fix games by directly offering Flores $100,000 for each loss in order to tank?

    Enough of this charade…allow Flores to sue in Federal Court so we can see all the evidence for our selves.

  9. Flores felt sufficiently pressured to do it to sound the alarm internally.
    —-
    After he was fired. Trying to rewrite history as usual but the fact is he went along with it right up until the day he was fired.

  10. We see plenty of teams tanking at the end of a season to get their preferred playoff opponent.

  11. Goodell has cheated again. Goodell doesn’t like facts, science or reality.

    When is the FBI going to investigate Goodell under RICO?

  12. Ha! Go back and watch the Bengals/Dolphins game and tell me the Bengals did not throw that game. Total trash.

  13. theuncletodd says:
    August 9, 2022 at 8:20 pm
    Rog is Sgt. Schultz from Hogan’s Hereos…. I see nothing
    ———————————————–
    You forgot, I know nothing

  14. See my name…but he’s not stupid enough to admit that Flores was offered a bribe to tank for obvious reasons. Even if there was a void check for 100K from Ross to Flores.

  15. footballpat says:
    August 9, 2022 at 8:15 pm
    We see plenty of teams tanking at the end of a season to get their preferred playoff opponent
    —-
    Teams rest players in meaningless games. Not the same thing as a bribe to lose games on purpose. That’s Black Sox level stuff.

  16. Ross can THANK GOD that legalized gambling wasn’t fully legal when he was pulling this stunt. If this happens after it really kicked in he would be forced to sell the club and Goodell would be walking the plank for defending him.

  17. It’s almost expected in todays society, when a person gets fired, or doesn’t get the promotion they wanted, they resort to attacking their employer. Today it’s not only common, but becoming the norm. My personal opinion of Stephen Ross, I think he’s a jerk and just another wealthy guy. But it is beyond ridiculous to think an owner of an NFL team actually would pay a coach to lose. Absolutely ridiculous.

  18. The NFL is protecting itself from civil lawsuits coming from the gambling community.

  19. cjmcfootball says:
    August 9, 2022 at 8:26 pm
    They don’t give Nobel prizes for attempted Chemistry.
    ————
    lol good pull

  20. How about this perspective. According to you, Ross clearly wanted Flores to lose/tank – and Flores didn’t do it. In most places I have worked, when the Boss/Owner tells you to do something, and you do the opposite – you get fired. Yet, he coached 2 additional seasons for the Dolphins afterwards.

    Isn’t it possible he didnt clearly want Flores to lose/tank? And frankly, Flores also didnt mention this as an issue until after he was fired = 2 years after this allegedly happened. Seems like conjecture or speculation to me.

  21. How does Goodell know that Ross didn’t offer some players the same deal? If the coach won’t go along try the players.

  22. Teams potentially tanking for better position is accounted for in the spread.

    It is knowledge that everyone has and can use. This knowledge is not advantage or disadvantage to a bettor.

  23. Teams tank all the time to better their chances of getting a high draft pick. I’m not sure of the so called “facts” that Brian Flores brought to the table though. It was someone’s word against someone else’s. It doesn’t really scream facts. Now if there was something in writing then sure I’d believe it but we haven’t seen that. Skin color doesn’t make someone more or less believable. If that’s what we’re going with then OJ really didn’t do it, regardless of what the “facts” say.

  24. Omg teams do that in the nhl nba and mlb all the time. It’s called the trade deadline! It’s even more obvious when you see the sellers and the buyers.

  25. lowlyfinfan88 says:
    August 9, 2022 at 8:59 pm
    Teams tank all the time to better their chances of getting a high draft pick. I’m not sure of the so called “facts” that Brian Flores brought to the table though. It was someone’s word against someone else’s. It doesn’t really scream facts. Now if there was something in writing then sure I’d believe it but we haven’t seen that. Skin color doesn’t make someone more or less believable. If that’s what we’re going with then OJ really didn’t do it, regardless of what the “facts” say.

    No Flores told his bosses (team execs and the GM) Immediately he went public after he was fired. And multiple people interviewed confirm Ross wanted a high draft pick over wins. It’s multiple people’s words against Ross’s. The NFL position is that Ross was joking which Is a joke.

  26. clubpiscopo says:
    August 9, 2022 at 7:44 pm
    Not too many things can unite most NFL fans like the belief that Goodell is garbage.
    ————————————————————————
    I am by no means exonerating Roger Goodell nor making excuses for him, but I think we sometimes, myself included, look for one target to take our frustrations out on.
    I sometimes tend to forget that Roger was out there (and remains there) simply to do the bidding of his Bosses, (the owners).
    I truly don’t know how much real power or say he has.
    So yes, he will be replaced sometime in the future, but don’t expect his replacement to be “Mr. Nice Guy”. He, like Goodell will be there primarily to do his Bosses’ bidding.

  27. Does anyone else feel Goodell has too much power? For one person to be judge, jury, and executioner is ludicrous. There cannot be justice when decisions are determined by what appears to be based on a person’s personal bias.’

  28. Flores says he complained internally. Let’s see him produce a copy of the complaint. Or, let me guess, Flores didn’t put this supposed internal complaint in writing?!

  29. I still think Flores went all major league about it cardboard cutout and all

  30. Draft lottery like when the NBA desperately NEEDED Patrick Ewing in the BIG NY market and SURPRISE, SURPRISE, the Knicks beat the ‘odds’.

    I’d rather have a team or 2 tanking for an unknown 50/50 QB than the previous commenter being totally correct by allowing the Ravens or Chargers to get 5 draft picks in a trade for the #1. That would be obscene. They tanked and got Winston. So what if the 2015 Bucs traded 3 picks for Winston to say, the Giants who lucked into #1. The Bucs would have been even in a worse situation.

    The NFL will never have a lottery. It’s better to warn about tanking than to have the world think the Lottery is fixed when Jerruh gets #1 with a 10-7 record. Then gets it the next year with a 9-8 record. No lottery, no way. Big mess waiting to happen.

  31. If Roger says they didnt tank and did nothing wrong, it MUST be TRUE. After all, Roger is always honest and forthright !!

  32. I don’t want a draft lottery but it’s not like the top picks are guarantees. I bet most drafts top 3 players weren’t in the top 3 picks. One of them in the top 3 picks probably isn’t overwhelmingly common either.

  33. The Dolphins would claim some one off a practice squad on Tuesday and start him on Sunday. Does that sound like a team that was trying to win? Starting him would be the coaches decision, right?

  34. Tanking for Tua or any other player is stupid, as no one is a sure thing. Anyone ever tanked and picked up a real star? PFT always likes to bring up TB tanking and they got Jameis Winston. Didn’t work. That someone would think tanking for a player that (at best) is a 50/50 proposition is stupid. The team loses a lot of money when the stands are empty (as do the opponents) while the team is on the way to a 2-14 record, etc. Plus the players themselves hate getting questions from everyone they meet about why they don’t win, etc.

  35. There are ways of determining draft order that are neither fully random nor linked purely to one season’s record. For example, a points system where worst record accumulates 100 points, best record accumulates 20. Points carry over from one year to another. Each draft position would “cost” a certain number of points, and only teams with that many points banked would be eligible to be drawn (the SB winner would likely have no chance of selecting in the top 5, for example). The drawings would begin with the first overall selection, and the number of points the eligible teams each had would be treated as raffle entries, meaning that if you have the most points, you have the greatest odds of landing the next selection. Yet tanking for a single season would never net enough points to guarantee first overall.

    This is just the basics of the concept, and even so it may sound complicated, but I think fans could quickly grasp something like this, and it could be made to be fair.

  36. The Bengals “lost” week 16 against the Dolphins and retained their #1 pick. Now look at the fortunes of the two teams. The Bengals picked #1 and just went to the Superbowl.

    If Flores had done what Ross asked: The Dolphins would have had the #1 pick (Burrow). The Dolphins would be contenders and Flores would still have a job.

  37. There should be a playoff for the top 8 picks. So if teams tank then they want to be the 8th worst team so they get the highest seeding.

  38. Roger knows he can’t turn on an owner. Let alone the integrity of the game. Roger is a puppet to the Billionaires.

  39. In my mind a team that tanked would win zero games. Flores claim is nonsense. If he was trying to tank Flores
    Would have been fired the first game he won.

  40. The NFL has not disclosed the communication Flores distributed to key team executives. That document would go a long way toward showing how aggressive the tanking effort was.

    Don’t count on the league ever doing it. Tanking can never be acknowledged by the league. Even when it happens.

    The NFL won’t but Flores will.

  41. pkrlvr says:
    August 9, 2022 at 8:09 pm
    Flores felt sufficiently pressured to do it to sound the alarm internally.
    —-
    After he was fired. Trying to rewrite history as usual but the fact is he went along with it right up until the day he was fired.

    nyfootballgiants says:
    August 9, 2022 at 8:55 pm
    And frankly, Flores also didnt mention this as an issue until after he was fired = 2 years after this allegedly happened. Seems like conjecture or speculation to me.
    _____________________

    Flores sent a written report to Dolphins management at the time Ross made the offer. He DID NOT wait until after he was fired.

  42. Pay Flores his money and reinstate him as a HC. He was the only person of integrity to prevent tanking and the league and the owners are making him pay personally for taking actions which ultimately protected them.

  43. Nothing was proved. It’s his word against the owners. The coach was a dolt and not liked at all

  44. Stephen Ross & his sidekick Beal should be forced to sell asap, they’re an embarrassment to all.

  45. The Cleveland Browns tanked for 3 years straight on purpose for draft capital and to this day nobody will acknowledge it or accept it, so what did you think the NFL would say about tanking tgat was alleged to be going on in Miami? That whole “Tanking for Tua” was never a thing either was it? *Eyeroll* try harder.

  46. There are a lot of teams that aren’t all in on winning. It’s hard to pick one team out at random, and try to penalize them. Basically, any team that didn’t have an elite QB, and didn’t sign Colin Kaepernick when he was available, wasn’t putting winning above politics. I’m not saying I would have signed him. I’m just saying all teams aren’t trying to win.

  47. Good thing Flores wasn’t on board with tanking in 2019… gets blown out in each of the first 4 games and starts the season 0-7… so upset about owner wanting to tank he says nothing publicly until he’s fired.

  48. pkrlvr says:
    August 9, 2022 at 8:09 pm
    Flores felt sufficiently pressured to do it to sound the alarm internally.
    —-
    After he was fired. Trying to rewrite history as usual but the fact is he went along with it right up until the day he was fired.

    ——————

    Your point is well taken, and I do have those same questions. But i myself would be really interested in seeing this memo he sent around to ream execs prior to being fired. Im in the camp that believes that if there is truly nothing to see in the evidence, then they should be letting folks view that evidence to observe that for themselves. The refusal to do what should be a simple thing begets the question as to why that does not seem to be such a simple thing. The secrecy games the NFL gets itself into does make one smell a lot of rats.

  49. As far as the league’s claim that they don’t want anything misleading bettors goes they really don’t live up to that. It’s not the tanking that misleads them, Its the denial of it. If the NFL was truly into fair gambling on a level playfield they would just put all the facts out there, tanking and all, and tell folks this is the landscape to consider when spreading your bets. Trust me that would not slow down the betting at all, it would only result in the losers not being able to later claim they were cheated. (Which the NFL does leave itself exposed to when they withhold information no matter their reasoning for doing so)

  50. The temptation will linger until the league changes its procedure for determining draft order.

    —————-

    Is that really the biggest temptation now Mike? Given the $$ from gambling there is way more to be gained from intentionally losing games than a draft pick. It just can’t happen any more. I agree with you… fix the draft, but also prevent the owners from fixing games with serious punishment.

  51. fan70 says:
    August 9, 2022 at 8:57 pm
    How does Goodell know that Ross didn’t offer some players the same deal? If the coach won’t go along try the players.

    ——–

    Definitely possible. I was thinking with legalized gambling this might become a reality at some point. I was thinking blocked punts are a huge game changer in terms of spread, and all it takes is one of the lowest paid players on the team to miss a block and the punt defense get’s through. Frequency of blocked punts is a stat to watch.

  52. Facts?? They matter to the league for punishing Watson (and the Browns) but not when it comes to an owner

  53. the NFL was (maybe still is) for the longest time a “NON PROFIT ORGANIZATION” How could that be? the NFL wont let the Networks talk on Gambling, but have no problems cashing the Gambling Checks.

    The NFL is in NO position to tell an Owner he can’t position himself better for the future. Regardless of the Brian (I can’t win so I better sue) FLores’ lawsuit, tanking really doesn’t bother me

  54. lowlyfinfan88 says:
    August 9, 2022 at 8:59 pm
    Teams tank all the time to better their chances of getting a high draft pick. I’m not sure of the so called “facts” that Brian Flores brought to the table though. It was someone’s word against someone else’s. It doesn’t really scream facts. Now if there was something in writing then sure I’d believe it but we haven’t seen that. Skin color doesn’t make someone more or less believable.
    _________________

    Seems like it makes someone less believable to you. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be automatically discounting Flores’ report of the incident.

  55. This all comes down to the semantics of “tanking”. There’s clearly a difference between actions like trading players for future draft picks & playing younger players instead of veterans (legit decisions sacrificing short-term competitiveness for long-term improvement) and actually throwing games. What about teams that have already clinched a specific playoff seed resting starters in Week 18? Does that qualify as tanking?

  56. So to be clear, Flores claim is Ross asked him to tank the season and he said no. And we’re surprised to hear no tanking actually took place? Huh.

  57. The Cleveland Browns tanked for 3 years straight on purpose for draft capital and to this day nobody will acknowledge it or accept it, so what did you think the NFL would say about tanking tgat was alleged to be going on in Miami?
    ==========

    Were they tanking?

    Or were they just a completely inept organization like the 1990s Bengals, and 80s Yucs/Bucs?

  58. If the NFLPA was smart, or had any strength, they would using this controversy to get rid of the Draft altogether.

  59. Everyone on here bad mouthin the NFL and Roger, but once the season starts you’ll all be sucking on the teet of the NFL every sunday like a degenerate gambler. So put your keyboard swords away shut up and wait for the beginning of the season like a good boy.

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