It strikes me as odd that, beyond strength of schedule, the only way in which a tie for draft position between two teams from separate conferences can be broken is with the flip of a coin.
This year, two coin flips will be held. Tomorrow at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, we’ll find out if the Panthers or Dolphins will pick eighth or ninth and if the Chiefs or Seahawks will pick 11th or 12th.
But they won’t just flip the same coin twice. No, that would be too pedestrian for the world’s most lucrative professional sports league. Instead, according to the Charlotte Observer via Yahoo! Shutdown Corner, “the coins are specially minted for the occasion and feature logos of the respective teams on both sides.”
You kiddin’ me?
Considering the importance placed on the draft — and particularly the first round — by fans, pundits and front offices, it’s surprising that they haven’t turned this into a television event, even if it only takes a few minutes. I’m sure NFL Network could afford to cut into its 50 hours* of Combine coverage to show us a very crucial moment for each of the four franchises involved.
While there’s a decent chance the two teams that lose the toss don’t get robbed of the player they wanted (although it’s possible Minnesota lost out on J.J. Watt when he was picked one spot ahead of them at 11 last year), Miami and Seattle are candidates to trade up for Robert Griffin III. In that game, the difference between eight and nine and 11 and 12 could be significant. And under the new collective bargaining agreement, top picks are arguably more valuable than they were when the players selected with them demanded unfathomably high salaries and guarantees pre-2011.
Sometimes, No. 9 picks have turned out better than No. 8 picks and No. 12 picks have experienced more success than No. 11 picks. And sometimes, the higher pick has delivered by outperforming the pick that immediately followed. Sometimes, it’s a toss up (pun!). The point is that this might change the short- and long-term futures of the four organizations involved, even if they don’t know it for years to come, and even if they think they’ve “won” the karma game by gaining the higher pick by virtue of tomorrow morning’s toss.
Tomorrow’s winners could be long-term losers. The flip of what I assume are two very expensive commemorate coins could impact the standings for years to come.**
How stupid is that?
** Maybe a slight exaggeration