A Potential Solution to the NFL’s Competition Problem…

January 05, 2010 | Glenn Clark

Our good friend “The Ethical Governor” Ralph Jaffe checked in with us Tuesday morning on “The Comcast Morning Show” to ask Drew Forrester if he thought the Indianapolis Colts were “unethical” for sitting Peyton Manning and company and helping the New York Jets clinch an AFC Wild Card berth. The next two hours turned into general NFL discussion about what can be done to change the competition problem at the end of the season. The most discussed idea I have heard has involved NFL Draft picks, although the one proposed “Give the top picks to the teams with the most wins” idea I’ve heard doesn’t quite do it for me.

I DO have a NFL Draft-related idea though.

It would involve not only giving the BEST teams in the NFL a reason to keep playing through the end of the season, but also the worst teams in the NFL a reason to keep playing through the end of the season.

The idea would be to put extra significance on the final 6 weeks of the season. For the Top 10 teams (and ties) and the teams who reach the playoffs, my suggestion would be to re-seed Draft positioning based on performance over the final 6 games of the season. (I chose 6 because few teams are ever eliminated through the first 10 games of the season.)

If that system was in place for the 2009 season, it would have played out this way…..

Teams that will get the Top 10 picks (and ties) currently and their records over the final 6 games:

1. St. Louis (0-6)
2. Detroit (0-6)
3. Tampa Bay (2-4)
4. Washington (1-5)
5. Kansas City (1-5)
6. Seattle (2-4)
7. Cleveland (4-2)
8. Oakland (2-4)
9. Buffalo (3-3)
10t. Denver (via Chicago, who went 3-3)
10t. Jacksonville (1-5)
10t. Miami  (2-4)

Using my scenario, the Top 12 picks in the NFL Draft would go something like this (ties would be broken by worst overall record)…..

1. Cleveland
2. Buffalo
3. Denver (via Chicago)
4. Tampa Bay
5. Seattle
6. Oakland
7. Miami
8. Washington
9. Kansas City
10. Jacksonville
11. St. Louis
12. Detroit

The scenario would have to play out for every round (not just the 1st round) in order to prevent teams who had traded away their first round pick from tanking at the end of the season.

Conversely, picks 21-32 would also be awarded to the playoff teams based on how they finished over the final 6 games of the regular season. Here are those teams and their records over the final 6…..

21. New York Jets (5-1)
22. Baltimore (4-2)
23. Arizona (4-2)
24. Cincinnati (3-3)
25. New England (3-3)
26. Green Bay (5-1)
27. Philadelphia (5-1)
28. Dallas (4-2)
29. Minnesota (3-3)
30. New Orleans (3-3)
31. San Diego (6-0)
32. Indianapolis (4-2)

Therefore, the Draft Order would look like this…..

21. San Diego
22. New York Jets
23. Green Bay
24. Philadelphia
25. Baltimore
26. Arizona
27. Dallas
28. Indianapolis
29. Cincinnati
30. New England
31. Minnesota
32. New Orleans

If my scenario-if the Colts had won out, they would have gotten the #22 overall pick instead of the #28 overall pick. Bill Pollian (who apparently made the decision to call off the dogs) would have to REALLY think about the consequence of dropping 6 or so spots in Draft positioning.

It isn’t a perfect scenario, but it’s an idea. It rewards teams for continuing to try as the NFL season winds down, which is clearly a major problem right now.