Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Sunday, February 8, 2009

NFL to go NBA like Draft lottery?

We can all agree that the hype, excitement, and unpredictability of the NFL Draft is far superior to any other professional sport. The worst team from the previous season picks first (as long as the pick has not been traded) and the picks go from there down to the winner of the Super Bowl having the last pick of the first round. Should this format change? The NBA has a lottery system that keeps the top picks unpredictable, which is an incentive for teams not to intentionally lose at the end of the season after all playoff hopes have gone down the toilet.

I had previously never questioned the format of the NFL Draft format. In a league where coaches and owners know that winning is important for fans, value of the franchise, player morale and satisfaction, television contracts and endorsements, would a team really lose of purpose? Watching the Lions this season, I saw an awful team, but not a team that gave up or intentionally lost games. I found one Canadian blogger by the name of Ryan Bolta who argues that the NFL should have a draft lottery to discourage bad teams to "determine their own fate".

Bolta writes:

The Detroit Lions shouldn't have been awarded the number one pick without winning a lottery.

Despite owning the first 0-16 season in NFL history, the right to draft the best pro prospect shouldn't be a given right. It allows for bad teams to control their own destiny in a negative fashion. Any team eliminated from playoff contention knows the future is what's important. Nothing is stopping a bad team from investing in the future by losing games as the regular season comes to a close.
Have you ever followed players that have been drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft, more importantly the Lions early picks? Did Mike Williams, Charles Rogers, and Joey Harrington help the Lions future in any way, shape, or form? The NFL draft is a crap shoot. The bad teams in the NFL do have control over their own destiny, but that doesn't mean they are making the best decisions or even choosing the best available players. Look at the Patriots draft choices. They continually pick late or near last in every round of the NFL draft, does this hurt them? No, they have gotten better players than those teams that get to "control their own destiny".

If it was up to the Detroit Lions, they would be fine with not selecting first in the NFL Draft. The first pick comes with uncertainties and a very high price tag.

Bolta also thinks that instituting a lottery would make the final weeks of the NFL season more interesting:

"The Lions need the help, but it really is time to put a system in place that adds chance to the equation when deciding the draft order. It would most definitely make for some more exciting football in the final weeks of the season."

"It would most definitely make for some more exciting football in the final weeks of the season." WHAT? So you are saying that the Lions would try harder the last two weeks if there was a lottery system? Nothing would change. The Lions had the #1 pick locked up at the end of the season....and they didn't play any better, nor were their last few games any more exciting.

The NFL draft format should stay the way it is. One of the beautiful things about the NFL is that teams can turn around their fortune in a single year (Cardinals, Dolphins, Falcons). In the NBA we see the same teams dominate for long runs, which tend to drive support out of the cities that constantly have terrible teams. The Lions are bad enough with getting one of the top picks every year, let's not make it harder for teams like the Lions to build a decent team.