• phil cantor/@osgphil

Stop bitching, your favorite professional sports team isn't capable of tanking



So imagine if you will, you are paid a lot of money to compete at the highest level of sports. Your level of pay and job security is tied totally and completely to your performance. Not the teams performance---yours.


Or look at it like this: Your personal job security is based on how well you do your job.


In two or three sentences, I've just explained to you why your favorite team isn't capable of "tanking" for draft position the following season.


It's a constant trope or complaint in fan comments and on sports talk. In the NFL this year, it's "Tank for Trevor". Which sounds great if you are a fan, but for players is not a thought that crosses their mind.


Ask one of them if you have the chance.


Right now, as I write this, the New York Jets are unquestionably the worst team in the NFL. They're currently 0-8 and have the best chance to qualify for being the #1 team in next years NFL Draft.



Yes, there's a better than average chance they'll lose most, if not all of their remaining games. But it won't be because they don't try.


Head coaches get paid based on whether or not they win games. Period. Deliberately trying to lose is not something they're capable of thinking about.


I said this in the beginning, the athletes, they don't get paid based on wins and losses, they get based on their performance. If they "miss a block" or "don't lay out for a catch" or "miss a wide open throw/catch" the chances of them keeping their jobs--is by doing them to the best of their ability.


And in professional sports, that means one team will--but not always the best team will have a chance to win.


The difference between the best teams and worst in Major League Baseball, the NFL, NBA, NHL or even MLS is not that huge. And I'm not implying the worst team could potentially win a 7-game series versus the best.


But in one game on one day any given team in any given sport can win a game. It happens. It happens a lot.


Every fan wants to see their team draft the best players and put themselves in a position to be successful, I get that part.


All I ask is fans stop bitching on Twitter or in the comment sections of stories when their team, that may not be very good, intentionally try to lose games.



It won't happen, hasn't happened and likely never would.


Here in Atlanta, it's a regular topic of conversation with the Falcons and Hawks. I'm not going to accuse those fans of being stupid. But I will say those bitching when their team wins because it will impact their draft position, have no earthly idea of what they are talking about.


So just stop. Please stop. You don't realize how stupid you sound or come across. Just accept that your team isn't very good and let things play out how they will.


If they win a game, enjoy it. Be happy they showed signs of life. Be happy they had some success. Success is not easy in professional sports. Not nearly as easy as you might think.


And know that your team is either going to get that draft pick or they won't. And it may or may not have changed anything about their fortunes.


But also, don't ever forget athletes are professionals. They get paid and get jobs based on their performance. If that performance helps their team win, all the better.


Teams will win and teams will lose it's the nature of sports. Just understand you have never walked a mile in the shoes of a professional athlete. Just like you wouldn't get a promotion or success in your job if deliberately did it poorly, neither will they.



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