The NFL is always looking for new, inventive ways to draw in new viewers and showcase itself nationally, especially in the offseason. Here’s an old, un-inventive way to do exactly that: Follow the NHL and NBA and adopt a draft lottery.
Not only would doing so help ensure that teams won’t purposely throw in the towel at the end of the season, but it would give the league a chance to steal prime-time television ratings for one extra night each March. If you think the annual schedule release bonanza is a spectacle, wait’ll you see the type of ratings NFL Network could pull for the draft lottery each February.
The problem is that situations like those almost always get conspiracy theorists going. The reality is that if funny business is a possibility, it’s easier for foul play to occur with a lottery than without one. That’s probably why over 80 percent of NFL fans polled at Pro Football Talk prefer not to adopt a lottery system.
And after Tuesday’s NBA draft lottery, 49 of the 50 American states voted on ESPN.com that the NBA needs to change its draft system. The only state cool with the current system, Ohio, is home to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who have won the first overall pick in three of the last four years.
The lottery does seem a little silly and unfair. And it might explain why there’s less parity in basketball and hockey than there is in football. But it would add another element of intrigue to the offseason calendar, and sports are supposed to be intriguing and entertaining.
I’ll admit it’d be fun, but I still think the unpreventable resultant controversy would outweigh the novelty.