Week five of the NFL ended Monday night. The Kansas City Chiefs sit at the top of the league with five wins and zero losses and the Cleveland Browns, New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers sit at the bottom of the league with zero wins and five losses. Teams at the top of the league are living stress free, while the bottom feeders have to think about whether or not they are going to tank their season. When teams decide to tank their season, they are choosing to lose games on purpose in order to gain an advantage in the draft with hopes of acquiring the number one pick in the draft.
Tanking is a phenomenon in sports that is widely practiced. Theoretically, at the beginning of each season, for any sport, all teams in the league have a chance at winning that sport’s championship. This means that, at the beginning of each NFL season, the Cleveland Browns have as much of a chance of winning the Super Bowl as the New England Patriots. Unfortunately, this theory of an even race is not very practical. If you ask a friend who they think will be in the 2018 NBA finals, your friend most likely will respond by saying the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The reason people can attempt to predict such things is because not all teams are created equal. The main variable that separates professional sports teams from each other is the talent level of the professional sports teams. Usually good teams have a lot of talent, and bad teams have little talent. One way to acquire talent is through the respective drafts of each sport.
Is tanking cheating? Some people believe that tanking is cheating, and it takes a hit at the integrity of sports. People who disapprove of tanking also think that it is cheating sports fans. Other people believe that tanking is not cheating but good strategy. Their argument is that even if management does not put the most competitive lineup in the game, the players themselves still want to win the games, so blame front office, not the players. I do not think tanking is cheating. I am a Chicago Bears fan, and I love my team so much that I want them to lose all of their games from now on. It would be easier for my Bears to acquire more talent if they have high draft picks than they would if they were a middle of the pack team year in and year out.
In 2011, #SuckforLuck took over the headlines for the NFL. #SuckforLuck was a hash tag created for teams deciding to tank their season in hopes of getting the number one pick to draft the best quarterback in the 2011 draft class: Andrew Luck from Stanford. In 2011, the Indianapolis Colts won the #SuckforLuck sweepstakes. The Colts actually needed to win the Luck sweepstakes because Peyton Manning, their MVP quarterback, was hurt and aging. They, therefore, replaced their MVP quarterback with the best QB in the 2011 draft class. Andrew Luck is very good, but the Colts still suck. Overall, tanking doesn’t mean you will be the best team after your high draft pick, but by tanking, the team can become more talented quicker.