Professional athletes play sports for two reasons: They play to make money and to win games. There is no other incentive necessary, or that would even work, to get the maximum effort out of players. And what would certainly be a terrible idea, is adding a “playoff game,” in which the result is the winning team receives the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.
The DraftKings Xwitter account posted an idea for one more NFL postseason game from @thefantasyeng. The proposal was that the worst two teams in the league play on the Thursday night before Wild Card Weekend, and the winning team receives the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.
Losing is never a good feeling. A bad streak at a weekly game night can result in conflict both relationships — platonic and otherwise. After running into large men at full speed for 17 weeks, with the result being a mere two-four victories, it would be reasonable to believe that the last thing an NFL player would want to do is play an 18th game.
The No. 1 overall pick might appear to be a significant reward. For the fans and the front office, absolutely, but the players don’t gain anything from winning a fake playoff game. A team that played poorly enough to have one of the best records in the league is going to make many changes during the offseason. Why would a player risk injury and give his all, so his team can replace him more easily in the coming months?
What was the prize for winning the NBA In-Season Tournament? $500,000. The NBA knew good and well that a top-five percentage lottery pick would be no incentive for the players to gut through a tender quad to help with national television viewership. Half a million dollars though, that is a great reason to spend some extra minutes on the Theragun and play an 83rd game. The money goes directly into the players’ pockets while they are still on the roster.
Asking players to put their bodies on the line for the betterment of a franchise that they may not be on in the future makes little sense to me. I work for checks and wins, why shouldn’t they? I am not the biggest fan of tanking, even though I understand it in the NBA. Star players have more of an impact in basketball than any other team sport. Still, a No. 1 overall pick does not guarantee an NBA Championship The Orlando Magic have picked in that spot four times and still have not won one, while the Miami Heat have never had the top selection and have three NBA titles.
The top pick in a professional sports draft sounds good because the possibilities appear limitless. A team has its choice of an entire pool of the best young talent. That’s cool for the fans and the front office, but means nothing for players maximizing their own youth to set up their financial futures. An 18th game for the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft is a ridiculous idea, and it will likely never be a prize in a pro sports league.