NFL should, but won’t, have a draft lottery

2023 NBA Draft Lottery
Getty Images

The NFL should have a draft lottery. The NFL, obviously, doesn’t have one.

An NFL draft lottery would become a major offseason tentpole. It would fill the dip that often occurs between the early days of free agency and the final countdown to the draft. It would generate attention and, more importantly, money.

So why won’t the NFL do it? My theory, as expressed in Playmakers (I think), was and is that the NFL wants to avoid doing anything that will acknowledge the inherent temptation to tank. If the NFL were to create a system that, for example, gave more lottery balls to teams that finish lower in the standings, the NFL would be admitting what everyone currently knows — bad is good.

Bad is good.

That’s already the way it is, without ping-pong balls bearing team logos.

Bad is good. The temptation is there. Sometimes, teams act on it.

The Buccaneers did it in 2014, in order to nail down the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. The Eagles did it in 2020, benching Jalen Hurts for Nate Sudfeld in the second half of a winnable game against the then-Washington Football Team in order to secure a higher spot in every round of the draft.

Perhaps most notoriously, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross tried to do it in 2019, in order to win the Joe Burrow sweepstakes. Ross allegedly offered then-coach Brian Flores $100,000 per loss that year. Ross avoided punishment by persuading the NFL it was a joke. (We’re still looking for the punchline.) The NFL had a good reason to accept Ross’s explanation, since the NFL presumably didn’t want to shine a spotlight on someone giving in to the very real temptation to tank.

There’s a way to craft a draft lottery that actually eliminates the temptation to tank. And it’s surprisingly simple. The 18 non-playoff teams enter the lottery, and each of them have one ball in the machine.

The 18 non-playoff teams have an equal chance to secure the No. 1 pick. That means there will be no incentive to lose games.

The only potential temptation under that model would come from an owner who would rather have a one-in-18 chance to secure the right to a generational talent over a ticket to a snowball’s chance at a Super Bowl win. But if a team were to make curious roster decisions in advance of a Week 18 game that had a playoff berth on the line, it would be more conspicuous. It would attract more attention and scrutiny. It would be very hard to get away with it.

Chris Simms and I argued about it today. He believes it’s good to reward bad. I don’t like the idea of consistently handing to a dysfunctional team prime real estate in the draft. What’s the incentive to truly change things if one of the hidden benefits of being bad is being in position to eventually stumble into a franchise-altering talent like Joe Burrow?

A non-weighted lottery including the non-playoff teams is the right way to go. It would allow the NFL to have a compelling event in late March or early April.

It also would address one of the lingering concerns regarding the gambling space, where clear proof of tanking could spark criminal prosecutions and/or civil litigation regarding the integrity of games on which people placed wagers under the assumption that both teams were actually playing to win.

121 responses to “NFL should, but won’t, have a draft lottery

  1. Wouldn’t make any sense. That also means teams 1-10 have a chance to lose out on a top 5 pick, even a top 10 pick. Teams that are typically from 14-18 are relatively good teams, just need a few pieces to complete the roster.

  2. At the very same time this position has been posted, NBA fans throughout basketball country (outside of San Antonio) are arguing that the lottery should be abolished citing, in part, how the NFL’s lottery free draft allows for quicker worst to first turnarounds than any other league that conducts a draft. The only reason to go to a lottery style draft would be simply to monetize another aspect of the NFL’s offseason. The owners may be greedy but they aren’t entirely stupid and would hopefully recognize that the draft as currently structured sells hope to downtrodden fan bases and there is tremendous value in the wait until next year mentality that carries fan’s aspirations over from one season to the next.

  3. No. They should make offers in broad daylight and let the athletes choose who they want to work for. Sorta like anyone w a desired skillset.

  4. Can’t win either way.

    Go with a lottery, and you get stories like Stern rigged it so Ewing could be in NYC.

  5. Simple. Do it backwards. 16 draft in the order that they finished, and then the other 16 go into a lottery.

  6. NBA teams still tank. Some things can’t be solved with ping pong balls.

  7. Don’t mess with what works. The NBA is a terrible league. The best part of the NFL is the ability for the worst teams to rise to the top. Don’t start a system that can keep the bad teams down.

  8. Hate the draft lottery, not a fair process for the bad teams to try and get better. I get not everything in life is fair, but the NFL should find better ways to circumvent teams tanking.

  9. I strongly disagree with a draft lottery for the NFL. A lottery potentially punishes legitimately bad teams. Instead of having the #1 or 2 pick in the draft or the equivalent trade value, that team could end up with the 10th pick (or worse under your scenario). It won’t stop tanking. Teams on the playoff brink with no real chance to advance will still tank in the hopes they end up with the first pick. That’s especially true now with so many teams making the playoffs and so few true contenders. No, a lottery is not the correct way to go. Stricter enforcement and harsher punishment would be more effective..

  10. a nfl draft lottery would cut down on non-playoff teams from tanking on purpose. If the nfl thinks the current draft model is a tv success, wait until they see how many people tune in to see who gets the 1st pick with a lottery system.

  11. And are the fans suppose to believe it’s legit even when the Patriots, Packers, Steelers, and Cowboys are always winning it?

  12. Lotteries are dumb.

    Just investigate every team and if it’s found, strip them of their first. Done. NO team wants that fate.

    You get what you earn. And it includes being bad.

  13. Funny how you want to explain away the Ross finding by the NFL. More like Brian Flores is a bitter disgruntled employee. He flat out lied about his interview in Denver and purposely and deceptively provided a misconstrued interpretation of the conversation about Ross to make him look bad in regard to tanking. That guy has zero credibility.

  14. Yeah, imagine if a 9-8 team got the 1st overall pick over a 3-14 team. Florio would be 1st in line to talk about how the lottery is a terrible idea and ruins parity.

  15. A draft lottery in the NFL would be a bad idea. Tanking really isn’t a problem in the NFL like it was in the NBA. As other commentators have mentioned, a really bad NFL team dropping out of the top 5 or 10 would make no sense and harm the league a lot going forward in my opinion.

  16. A valid question is how many spots are up for lottery selection, 1, 3, the entire front half of the first round? Also, is the lottery selection only for round 1, or would that postion translate to rounds 2-7 as well?

    Also, as far as timing of this TV event, it would have to be prior to the Combine, so teams know what their draft postion is before interviews start with players.

    IF the NFL went to a Lottery selection (and I don’t think they should), my suggestion would be weighted, with all non-playoff teams getting a number of ping-pong balls equal to the number of team losses AND only the first overall pick is up for grabs. The rest of round 1, and all of rounds 2-7 would be based on same ordering used today.

    I think it would minimize tanking (is it worth taking Ls at the end of the season to get less than an additional 1% chance to for #1 pick?) and no-one’s draft position is worsened by more than 1 spot in round 1 if they don’t win the lottery.

  17. If every non-playoff team had only one ball you could kiss parity goodbye. Too many good teams that missed the playoffs for injuries or other odd reasons would potentially become great with one or two picks. Meanwhile the bottom dwellers could easily end up with picks in the teens and remain bottom dwellers for years. Fans of those teams would tire of the emotional drain year after year and simply walkaway. Parity = good for the NFL. One ball draft = No Parity. Bad for the NFL.

  18. I love the non-weighted lottery idea. How about non-weighted lottery for the first round order, then snake draft for the following six??? Let’s mix this mf-er up!!!

    Seriously, the NFLPA should support an idea like this too. How many super talented players had potential careers wasted because they were drafted by last year’s 1-15 bottom feeder team?

  19. Let’s just take the AFC for example and say it lines up “chalk” at the end of the year with the Bills, Jags, Chiefs and Bengals winning the divisions. It’s not hard to imagine a 10+ win Ravens team with a healthy Lamar, a 10+ win Jets team with Rodgers, a 10+ win Chargers team with Herbert, a 10+ win Dolphins team if Tua can stay on the field. You’re telling me you want a 10+ win team to have a shot at #1 overall? That’s stupid. The draft is a bad thing for the “free market” many people want for players, but it’s incredible for parity and hope for the downtrodden franchises. I could get on board with no “tie breakers” and using the lottery system to determine draft order for teams with the same record, but not just throwing all non playoff teams in the same hat. That’s terrible. You’d probably have owners pulling what the Mavs did this year and saying “well we MIGHT get in, but we aren’t good enough to win it all so let’s just throw our hat in the ring for the lottery instead and run out the backups this week”.

  20. It depends on what you want for the league. “Bad is good” theoretically helps poor teams become better teams quickly, or at the very least it generates the excitement of that potential. The draft lottery Florio proposes, where every non-playoff has a 1 in 18 chance of the top pick, means that some teams with poor lottery luck will continue to draft mid-level, not get the generational player that can help turn a team around quickly and they will languish near the bottom of the league for extended periods. Parity = competitive = $$$

  21. The NFL unfortunately has old owners that are resistant to any change. The younger self made billionaires in this exclusive club understand that making a decision is better then doing nothing. If the change needs modification to work, it is a pathway to success. The older owners mostly inherited their success and have “no men” advising them. It is paralysis by analysis. The idea of a lottery is worth trying. But so is fulltime referees who are responsible for getting the calls on the field right. It should.not be the coaches burden to challenge a bad call. Perhaps more changeover in ownership can bring much needed improvement.

  22. The Colts sucked for Luck in 2011, but funny how Jim Irsay always gets a pass.

  23. The NBA does a lottery and I consider it garbage, especially when the generational talent goes to a borderline playoff team.

    The answer is simple. Instill a Death Penalty for franchises that tank. Create an independent panel to judge the evidence like a civil trial. If there is a preponderance of evidence, not necessarily evidence beyond a shadow of a doubt, that franchise loses it’s first round pick. That would prevent obvious tanking. There will always be some marginal tanking, like calling plays that run into the teeth of a defense or vice versa, but if it is not noticeable, then the NFL’s goal is accomplished. If a team is accused of tanking, air the hearings and presentation of evidence during a dead time before the draft. It would be like watching a slow motion car wreck. People can’t help but watch, and that’s all that matters to these Turks.

  24. “Trust the process”, “Suck for Luck” and tanking did not turnaround franchises. Lotteries reward or tempt mediocrity. Each franchise is a product for the locality, and overall for the NFL. We have real world examples of how tanking doesn’t change your outcome- playing well/coaching well does.
    I do not want to pick on other franchsies, but a few come to mind:
    Cleveland, Detroit, Raiders, Jags, Lions, Jets Texans and Commanders are the lowest win percentage teams of the last 20 or so years. They have been consistently low performing for so long and picked at the top levels of the draft – yet nothing much changed.
    The fans local to the teams reward or boycvott the stands, merch, etc. they also miss out on prime time games, got flexed…
    I know its a communism style league with a full fledged oligarchy and revenue sharing-why give more incentive to more teams to tank? The fans will vote with their pocketbooks. The good franchises will be all to happy to let the lower 10 or 15 fight for scraps while they enjoy the greater franchise value (DC-aside) and compete for the SB. JMHO.

  25. The nfl SHOULDNT have a lottery but probably will since every year they become more determined to make this sport worse.

  26. 2014 Tampa is a perfect example of why there’s no need for a lottery. Losing is contagious, and only the GOAT could turn that pirate ship around.

  27. hate myself for typing this says:
    May 17, 2023 at 11:26 am
    Can’t win either way.

    Go with a lottery, and you get stories like Stern rigged it so Ewing could be in NYC.

    One of the biggest myths of all time. Conspiracy theory nuts will believe anything.

  28. The core players come from rounds 3 thru 6. Have one of your staff do the research on Hall of Fame players drafted in the first round vs players drafted in the 1st round that were out of the league by year 5.

  29. All of the people talking about how the current system promotes parity are the same people who claim that the draft is a total crapshoot. Totally inconsistent positions.

  30. Amazed by all the “rigged” comments. If you think it’s rigged why do you care?

  31. My wizards have lost the nba lottery far, far more than they have won. No thanks to a system that doesn’t balance out and has at the very least the image of league tampering

  32. Why should crappy teams always benefit from the highest picks? Why reward ineptitude? If folks are worried about kinda good teams that have bad records due to flukes or injuries, then just do the lottery for the 8-10 worst teams. This isn’t change for change sake. Sometimes I think folks are just scared of change.

  33. You never know, the NFL Loves to implement dumb ideas. an NFL draft lottery could be right up their alley

  34. If the NFL had a draft lottery, a 9 or 10 win team that misses the playoffs would have a chance at the number one pick while a team under .500 that wins a weak division would not.

  35. The only reason why nba teams tank is because of the salary structure in guaranteed Contracts. It ruins the game by hamstringing gm’s ability to maneuver. Too much money flying out of the window to players salaries you simply cannot do that with 65 player rosters. It’s much easier to tank a team game with 6-7 players affecting the outcome than it is an nfl game where you have a good 30-40 people affecting a games outcome. Some things don’t need to be fixed, the nfl is fine the way it is.

  36. That would impact trades big time.Noone would trade for a teams first round pick if yhey didn’t have a idea where they were picking.The nfl also has bigger rosters than the nba so the current system is just fine.

  37. The only reason media types are for a lottery is that it will give them something else to whine about when it doesn’t work out like they think it should (and it won’t).

    The REASON the NFL is the single most lucrative sports franchise in the WORLD is because of its relatively balanced competitive nature. You never know who is going to make it to the SB (raise your hand if you picked the Eagles to make it to the last one and you AREN’T an Eagles fan) and most fans have a reasonable chance of believing their team might.

    The 2 things that ensure this is the HARD salary cap (unlike in the MLB teams can’t hoard talent for a mere monetary penalty or the NBA where you get exemptions for signing your own players) and the guaranteed annual access by the worst teams to the best new talent available (whether they take advantage of that is another matter).

    Year in and year out in the NFL surprise teams make the playoffs and sometimes win the SB. There is constant turnover among the teams that do make the playoffs. The cap and the draft go a long way to ensuring that.

    If it ain’t broke don’t fix it and the NFL certain ain’t broke.

  38. I have said the same thing. The only way it works to me though is

    1. Playoff teams stay placed based on playoff finish for spots 19-32

    2. The 5 worst teams in the league are placed in the first lottery to determine the first 5 spots

    3. Teams 6-10 are in a second lottery to figure out those spots

    4. Teams 11-18 are placed in a 3rd lottery that determines those spots in the draft

    It seems simple enough and makes the most sense. The worst team shouldn’t be rewarded with #1 but the team at #18 shouldn’t have a shot at #1 overall either.

  39. Tanking isn’t as much of a thing in the NFL as people think.

    Everyone accused the Colts of tanking for Luck but that season ended up with almost the whole front office fired and the roster purged. So what would be in it for them if there’s a tanking scheme.

    Florio mentioned the Bucs- how does anyone know they did it to tank? Could have just as easily been evaluating players for next season.

    The idea of a single player at the top of the draft being a guaranteed franchise changer is way more rare in the NFL than it is for the NHL or NBA. The status quo is fine, the league doesn’t need a draft lottery,

  40. “And are the fans suppose to believe it’s legit even when the Patriots, Packers, Steelers, and Cowboys are always winning it?”

    Is this like that Sesame street game where we are supposed to pick the 1 out of 4 who doesn’t belong???

  41. No Need. The direct impact that 1 player can have on a 12 man NBA team far exceeds the impact that 1 player can have on an 53 player NFL team.

  42. The NFL has been striving for parity for decades. Parity gives all fans hope. It fills stadium seats and gets a lot of advertising.

    IF the worst teams don’t go early in the draft, they will continue to get worse. Fan bases will dwindle, as ill ticket sales and advertising.

    While there is no way to prevent tanking, a lottery at least makes it a little less likely.

  43. Give them each one ball. No reward for finishing last. No reason to tank not guaranteed to get the first pick, so why tank.

  44. I am interested in knowing more about this Bengal’s time machine:

    How could the Bengals have “tanked for Burrow”, when Burrow did not become a legitimate NFL prospect – let alone someone worth tanking for – until the NFL season was almost over. Remember he started the year as a “nobody.”

  45. And yes in todays NFL one player can have an impact on a team. Not guaranteed but very possible.

  46. If the nfl and all major sports wanted more competition they would reverse the draft order. Super Bowl winner gets number one pick and runner up gets the next pick. Etc . Every single game would be competitive. Sports like the rest of our culture rewards losers. There would be no tanking with this system.

  47. Here is the answer to this issue, not perfect but it is better than a non weighted lottery by far. Each team earns points through the season, for simplicity let’s say each team gets 1 point for the position they are in 1st in the league gets 1 point last gets 32. You do this for the entire season and at the end you add up the points and whatever team has the most gets 1st pick. What this does is it doesn’t rewards teams that tank like it does now. The current system benefits the team that comes in last after the last week of the season so it only really values that week. What if a team was last for 12 weeks of the year but get passed by a team that tanked in the last week of the season, they would still get the 1st pick

  48. Yup, let’s screw up the most popular league in America and crush the hope of downtrodden franchises. As others have said, the NFL works because it’s the only where you can go from worse to first…much of it due to the fact that their draft is not left to dumb luck.

  49. “The NBA – a product promoted well beyond its interest level.”

    Best quote I ever read when describing that league. Hits the nail on the head. Why would anyone want to emulate the NBA?

  50. The NFL draft works fine. There’s decent parity in the league compared to other sports leagues. That’s why the TV ratings are the envy of the world. When you’re the envy of the world, why change anything? People make good livings by being naysayers. That’s fine, but the NFL isn’t going to fix anything that’s not broken. Money talks.

  51. No, no, no…the NBA lottery is a joke, and teams still tank just to increase their odds of getting the #1 pick. The bigger problem is with all the college talent you can’t find enough for teams outside the top 5 to improve?

  52. NBA teams tank all of the time, despite a draft lottery. Why would changing the NFL draft into a lottery change anything? Wouldn’t it just make everything worse? If you want to change it fine, but a lottery didn’t stop the NBA and it sure won’t stop NFL teams either

  53. Stu Bidaciou says: “Suck for Luck.”

    …except that it got the GM and HC fired before Luck got there…

  54. Sorry Mike, but Chris is right on this. And if a bad team “tanks”, who cares? Even the fans would prefer it.

  55. No. No, the NFL should not.

    PFC should get rid of the numerous streaming ads and videos that obscure written content. But they won’t.

  56. I don’t like the lottery. A legitimately bad team should have the right to a top pick. But that shouldn’t continue for the rest of the draft. I’d like to see snake drafts in the NFL.

    Getting the top pick of every round should not be a reward for poor performance. There should be reward for being successful.

  57. In the NFL the number 1 overall pick can be a curse if you pay the wrong guy. See the Browns and Baker Mayfield. I think once in a while the #1 pick has a clear advantage, but often a top 5 or even top 10 pick is enough. Mahomes was a 10th, Josh Allen 7th. At the top skill positions, there is no sure thing. Heck, people hotly debated Ryan Leaf vs Peyton Manning for who should be picked #1. Even Luck, although he succeeded at the NFL level, he really didn’t do much for the colts. No Super Bowls and an early retirement.

    The difficulty in identifying skill position players that will succeed at the NFL level makes a lottery unnecessary. Tanking really isn’t a huge problem.

  58. It works for a league that plays 80+ games a year and one player drafted or traded can make a team. In a full contact team sport not so much. Unless you like the sound of, “and with the 4th overall pick, the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs select…”

  59. They really shouldn’t. I don’t think teams tank in the NFL like they do in the NBA. See: Houston last year.

    The NBA lottery is super, super annoying. Don’t do it.

  60. That way they can tilt the playing field even more in favor of their preferred teams!

  61. I’d be ok with a lottery/coin toss for the tope 1/2 picks, to prevent “suck for Luck” and “Tank for Trevor”.

    If you knew the top pick was on a coin flip between the bottom 2 years, you wouldn’t have them trying to throw games because it wouldn’t impact their chances.

  62. I am against anything that would make the NFL more like the NBA.

  63. No they shouldn’t. That will just encourage tanking like in the NBA and with the shortened careers of NFL players it would never work.

  64. Speaking of which, the NHL lottery is brutal too. You have awful teams that slip from 1 or 2 down to 5 or 6 then have teams that should be around 7 get the top pick. (See Vancouver and New Jersey)

  65. Awful idea. I hate it. NHLrigs theirs to put the stars in the markets they want. NBA one makes no sense as bad teams lose out on the luck and can never get out of the cellar.

  66. Without other teams tanking how is Coach Tomlin expected to keep his miraculous no losing seasons record intact?

  67. You should, but won’t, request to work in the NFL corporate headquarters. You have the answers (to questions no one asks) to everything.

  68. 1 chance at the #1 pick per non-playoff team makes zero sense. You want to give a team that may have missed the playoffs because of a tie-breaker a chance equal to a seriously bad team. How about looking at the 4 worst teams in the 12th week, and putting them on an equal footing, but giving them an additional chance at the #1 pick for each remaining game they WIN? That way they are in the mix for the #1 pick because of a bad season, but if they salvage something out of it their odds increase. Instead, we have the Texans winning their last game and losing out to tanking Chicago for the #1 picks.

  69. Except in the NFL all of the evidence is that bad is not good. Good organizations pick in the teens and 20’s every year and still are competitive year in and year out. Bad organizations get top 5 pick after top 5 pick and stink for generations. Tanking speaks to your organization’s culture, and that drives winning more than your draft slot.

  70. I thought I agreed, then I thought about it. If the Texans and Panthers had picked 5-10… I doubt either team sells many tickets this year—that would be a big problem for the NFL.

    Drafting is an inexact science and there will be misses in this year’s draft. But the problem comes when teams take all the QBs early.

    I believe there is a better solution. Change the season back to 16 games (fixing the record book in the process) and expand/lengthen the playoffs. More teams will be relevant for longer, preventing tanking. Increase playoff pay for players.

  71. Making any argument for a lottery based on tanking can not be justified after the Lions with knowing it had no shot at the playoffs went into Lambeau Field in the very last game of the entire year, in a win and your in scenario for the Packers & the Lions beat them and ended Aaron Rodgers career in Green Bay….The Texans beating the Bears when in need of a QB, the Rams would have beat Seattle if not for referee interference. Teams play hard week in week out.The top picks are great but it is no sure thing.You punish the teams that tank if caught you don’t punish the other teams in order to right a wrong .

  72. Yeah, and then they could stream it on NBC’s streaming service. *eyeroll*

    At the very least, you ought to be able to make the name of that streaming service acceptable in terms of posting here. My gosh, it is a bird, why would the last four letters which is a vulgar word for a male body part be cause for posts not being posted? How embarrassing. Do you have any idea how ridiculous that is?

  73. So you’re saying that if the system is set up to reward tanking, you get more tanking? Interesting, I agree. You get what you incentivize. Just like when the system is set up to pay people to not work, you get less people working.

  74. bullcharger says:
    May 17, 2023 at 1:21 pm

    In the NFL the number 1 overall pick can be a curse if you pay the wrong guy. See the Browns and Baker Mayfield.


    Yeah, all he did was get them their first playoff win in 30 years, before they made the elective choice to dump him in order to pay the biggest contract in league history to a guy who also had only one playoff win.

    The Browns’ curse wasn’t having the #1 pick, it was (and is) being dumb. This, more than anything to do with the draft system, is what keeps bad teams bad.

  75. I don’t feel even a little bit bad for anyone who gambles on a football team that is 3-13 to win…and then feels slighted because the 3-13 team didn’t care about winning. Just me.

  76. Use the “18 teams, 18 lotto balls” scheme to determine the first round order. BUT with the caveat that if a team moves up more than 3 spots from its “non-lottery” position, they slide backwards in each remaining round. If a team would pick 15th, but the lottery moves them up to 10th, then their 2-7 round picks move backward from 15 to 20. If a team loses positioning based on the lottery, then their round 2-7 picks get moved forward accordingly.

    This would give each non-playoff team an equal chance for the top pick (to prevent tanking), while still keeping the overall draft value for each team reasonably in line.

  77. The league should breakup the Super Bowl winner, moving the head coach to the lowest ranked team (lotto or no lotto) if they so want him (or her).

  78. A lottery involving the bottom three or four or maybe five teams would be fine. Then you’d avoid situations like Houston having to deliberately lose the last game (which Lovie messed up). It would make for an interesting TV event.

    But, definitely not involving all non-playoff teams. Teams that are in the middle of the pack like Pittsburgh and Detroit and others last year should not have a chance at the number one pick.

  79. You mean lottery to see which team gets Mahomes each year? Lol

    I think my Broncos are ok with that…

  80. If you’re going to do a lottery to prevent tanking, put all 18 non-playoff draft spots on the board. Then each team will put in a number of balls equal to their position in the rankings. Team 18 would have 18 chances to get the number 1, while team 1 would only have 1 chance. That’s 1 in 117 chance of getting the top pick vs 18 in 117. As each slot is assigned winning teams would be removed from the next draws. Every team has a chance to get a top pick, just not an equal chance. This rewards teams for trying to improve, eliminates talented players from going to bad teams, and would likely end tanking. The parity argument doesn’t work otherwise a team like the Browns should be the best team in the NFL. When no teams are resigned to a top 5 draft pick there will be far less 13+ winning teams, but also far less 3 win teams.

  81. Let’s start by remembering that the reason the lottery began to begin with was because David Stern wanted to rig an NBA draft to get Patrick Ewing to the New York Knicks.

    Once you understand that, you should very quickly get the idea why a lottery is a bad idea. Whther the Knicks legitimately “won” that lottery or not will forever be debated. The mechanics behind the Cavs “winning” the lottery to ensure Lebron stayed in Northeast Ohio never quite seem legitimate.

    It only gets worse from there. The 2020 Detroit Red Wings were significantly worse than any other team in the NHL and lost three draft positions because the New York Rangers “won” a lottery they should not have.

    The idea that lotteries “add excitement” that wouldn’t be there for a draft is absurd. What they do, far more than adding excitement now is piss off a majority of fanbases, and the longer they go on the worse a league looks.

    Teams don’t need to be “disincentivized” from tanking. Players don’t play to lose, and coaches don’t coach to lose. Also, a league is either gate revenue dependent (NHL) and, accordingly has limited ability to put a tanked product on the field/ice (because they’ll lose gate revenue for a bad product) or it isn’t gate dependent at all (MLB, NFL, NBA) and accordingly has no need to win, ever because they make money anyway.

    In sum, lotteries are a dumb idea and the suggestion the NFL should embrace them are dumb. If anything, the other three leagues using them should stop, because they’re a solution in search of a non-existent problem that alienates fanbases.

  82. So take away the one ray of sunshine for fanbases with nothing to cheer about? I’ll take late season tanking over the fixing controversies this would ignite.

  83. The NBA should tell you that draft lotteries are anathema to parity! The NFL’s system isn’t perfect, but any team can win a championship in any given year. Teams are steeped in ineptitude literally for decades because of the NBA lottery – done behind closed doors and no one knows if it’s even legitimate! We don’t want to give the NFL another closed door opportunity that impacts fans! No lottery!

  84. I’m not for a lottery but relegation is an idea I could get behind.

  85. Aside from not needing another tentpole for the NFL and thinking that if you gamble on end of season (or any) NFL games you’re getting what you deserve, I can tell you exactly how this would work.

    The New England Patriots would somehow mysteriously ‘win’ the lottery every year (even if they weren’t eligible) and it would turn out that the NFL was using under inflated ping pong balls that had been illegally filmed. It would turn out the guy turning the ball hopper and selecting the draft order was Tom Brady in disguise.

  86. My fix is worst record gets the 1st pick… catch is you cannot get a top 5 pick again for 5 years… even if you have the worst record! So if you had the worst record for 3 consecutive years you’d be picking 1st overall followed by 2 years at 6th overall… you’d just take the next worst ranked teams and bump them all up 1 spot.

  87. They would do it in a New York minute if they can figure out how to make money on it.

  88. A lottery is not needed. The top 10 picks should be awarded to the 10 worst teams based on the order that they were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. The last team to be eliminated would get the number 1 overall pick, second to last number 2,….etc.

  89. Not a good idea. What happens if a top Qb gets hurt and the team is a a top 5 team and just miss the playoffs. That superstar QB is back the following year. Do they deserve a number one pick which the team will trade and get more pics so make a great team gets even better..

  90. What happens to ‘parity’ then ? Teams at the bottom would never have a reasonable chance of acquiring enough good talent to compete . There are no ‘starting fives’ in the NFL.

  91. NO! No no no no no no.F NO! Just look at the NHL, the blackhawks trade one superstar, publicly announce they’re not retaining another & then get gifted yet another transcendent player in their upcoming draft. Coincidence? Yeah, ok. Meanwhile teams like Montreal, Philly (who really doesn’t deserve it to begin with anyway), Anaheim, and many more have gone YEARS without one of those types of player. Look at the NBA, the spurs get gifted wembanyama…probably a pretty good thing for the league he’s going somewhere with a tradition of winning, coincidence? Nahhh, it would be coincidental if the lottery was done on live tv picked by an impartial 3rd party but nope, never is…I wonder why.

    Now looking back to the NFL, how’s it gonna look when Dallas or Pittsburgh barely miss out on the playoffs & then get rewarded with the top pick, people would justifiably go ballistic. The lottery needs to go in every sport in this country, not added to the most popular one.

  92. There’s a way to craft a draft lottery that actually eliminates the temptation to tank. And it’s surprisingly simple. The 18 non-playoff teams enter the lottery, and each of them have one ball in the machine. – I 100% agree with this as you have nothing to win by losing.

  93. I 100% disagree. The NFL needs to do a reverse order draft. The best of the worst gets the highest draft pick. This will make sure everyone plays until the end of the season.

  94. Enough of the lottery nonsense and tanking conspiracy theories please.Pete Rozelle had it right when parity was the order of the day and the draft and the scheduling structure were means for poor teams to recover and become relevant quickly. Where would the Steeler , Cowboy and 49er dynasty’s have come from otherwise.

  95. The draft, including the first round, is riddled with busts. Having the 1st pick doesn’t ensure success. If it is so important, teams can trade up. The less than stellar success rate of draft picks should be enough deterrent. Again, eliminate the 17th game and expand the playoffs with another round—that will encourage mediocre teams to keep playing. Higher playoff pay would encourage players to play through the 16 game whistle.

  96. Unlike the NBA, one player doesn’t change anything overnight. There’s no 7’5″ guy who will change your team immediately.

    It’s not really necessary as teams unable to win continue to screw things up. Chicago traded a load to get Mitch Trubisky. drafting a player nearly everyone wanted (Trevor Lawrence) has netted Jacksonville a few more wins and it looks good but based on results, he’s just as good as Kurt Cousins so far. Or Joe Burrows, Cincinnati has won as many SB’s as had the last 10 Bengals QB’s.

    Or the Lions, pretty much drafting in the Top 10 for 30 years … so at the end of. the day, it’s Peyton Manning or Ryan Leaf …

  97. Here’s how a 16 game season with expanded playoffs looks.

    24 teams make the playoffs. The eight division winners get a bye in round one. 8 teams fail to make the playoffs. If a lottery is needed, let the bottom 8 pray for their lottery miracle. Out of market access to playoff games will be tough due to round 1 volume, so throw streamers a bone($).

    Nobody tanks. More impetus for all to win games up to the end, especially those who want a round 1 bye. The current limit of 2 byes for each conference’s best record disincentivizes other division winners from competing in final game(s)—not anymore!

  98. Wrong. That was a rumor that was actually put out there by the GM at the time, Bill Polian, who for years had relied on Peyton Manning to get 12=13 wins with a mediocre roster. When Peyton went down with an injury the roster was exposed.

  99. Great idea! Seems the same losing teams get high picks every year but they still end up being losers, so high picks are wasted on them anyway. No more rewarding losing teams, and the best lottery would be one that gives all 32 teams an equal chance.

  100. I prefer a weighted lottery. Superbowl winner gets 32 balls. Worse team gets 1 ball. Gon in reverse order the 32nd pick then all their balls are removed. Then the 31st pick. I think you would find out that some would stay the same. There would be some big movements but the top 7-10 of the top 10 losers would still be in the top ten and the worst team would still pick # 1 about half the time.

    I like the idea.

    Another event for the NFL that they can fill with cheerleaders and highlights while they reset the balls. It would stop the tanking which does happen.

  101. Make the bottom 3 teams draft in reverse order so there’s incentive to win games at the end of season. So all bottom 3 teams want to be seed #30, which will get #1 draft pick. Of course the teams above them still want to tank to fall into that spot. No win but at least that will make it more interesting towards the end of the season for losing teams.

  102. The Bears didnt have to tank to get the first pick, they were just that bad.

  103. I would say tanking is a negative in any sport. Not only do you promote a losing culture, you lose revenue at that gate. Also, there is no guarantee the guy you tanked for will ever become good enough to justify what you did to get him. The only thing that matters when drafting is the guy making the picks. If he knows what he is doing, you’ll be successful. If he doesn’t, it doesn’t matter where you pick.

  104. Lottery would make sense. They could draw the first ball on Thursday night, the second ball Friday night, then the remaining balls Saturday. Imagine the suspense, the analysis, the revenue made from telecasting on ESPN and the NFL Network. Better yet, stream it on Amazon.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.