Monday, October 29, 2012


The worst feeling when watching a sporting event is knowing that the team you support has quit.  You can tell by their body language and actions that they do not care.  In most cases this happens because the players have lost all motivation to perform well.  In most American team sports the team with the worst record is rewarded with the #1 draft pick.  There is no punishment for a team performing poorly.  The only draw-backs I can see for a team being the worst team in the league is 1) You don't get the satisfaction of winning a championship, 2) players won't get recognized (all-star games/ pro bowls). and 3) fans will make fun of you.  The reward for being the worst team is you get a chance to draft the best player available at the start of the next season.  An argument can be made that the rewards of being the worst team can outweigh the rewards for being the best team.

In the NBA, 1 player can literally turn the worst team into the best team team with the worst record into the team with the best record in 3 seasons.  In the NFL, taking a quarterback #1 overall can set up your team for success for the next 15 years.  Choosing first overall in a draft can have a tremendous impact on a franchise for many, many years.  The way you get the first overall selection in a draft is to be the worst team the year before.  Now while this sounds fair on the surface, there are many flaws in this system.  Think about this in a broad sense: You are rewarding a team for being bad. When a franchise is struggling and they realize about half-way through the season that they are not going to make the playoffs, their best choice is to lose more games.  They will be rewarded with a better draft choice at the beginning of the next year. Perfect!!  The problem with this is it really pisses off passionate fans.  No one wants to go out and watch their team perform poorly.  No one wants to go to a game knowing their team doesn't want to win.  No one should want their team to finish in last place so they can get the best pick in the draft.

I look at European soccer leagues for transformation.  In these leagues the teams with the worst record get relegated.  What this means is that if you have the worst record in the league, next year you won't be playing in that league.  That's right.  The Charlotte Bobcats will be playing in the D-League next year.  The beautiful thing about this system is that the top performers in the lower leagues will be promoted to the higher division.  In the English Premier League, the bottom 3 teams get relegated to the championship division while the top 3 teams in the championship division get promoted to the Premier league.  There is a huge gap in monetary funds allocated between the leagues as well.  If a team is relegated they can potentially lose up to $50 million dollars.  This usually means that teams will sell their star players since they can't afford their contracts.  So in this system a team will fight every day to avoid being the worst team because they want to avoid losing out on $50 million and potentially losing their best players.  The players also play their hardest because being relegated is one of the worst feeling due to the fact that you are no longer playing the best competition.

Many fans will think this idea is stupid because they feel they are entitled to something.  If you think about it though, this system creates a greater appreciation for the fans.  The supporters are extremely happy when they don't get relegated. They are extremely happy when they get promoted.  Instead of being happy that you are the worst team (and getting a high draft pick), you are happy that you aren't the worst team. Also, teams will have top be proactive instead of reactive. If your QB is playing poorly and you aren't seeing the results you need, see ya! Aint' nobody got time for you to get out of your slump- We are trying to win now!!

Maybe coming from a background where my favorite sports teams haven't been dominant has influenced my thoughts. Being excited over the 1st overall pick just doesn't seem right though. I want to be excited about the team and knowing that they players actually care. Giving up mid-season should never be an option though. The fans deserve more than that.

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