What’s wrong with the Patriots and how can it be fixed. The league is in week 15 and the Patriots haven’t clinched the division. Sitting at 10-4 they’re in third place in the AFC and a four way tie for 3rd best league record. Many of the games they have won were very close games and they are only sixth in points scored. They don’t look like the team that has averaged 12 wins in the past decade but it can be fixed.
The main problem that I see is the leagues constant drive towards parity. Everything from revenue sharing to draft order is designed to hold good teams back and give bad teams the chance to improve. The league has to abandon this socialist approach and let free market economics decide who improves and who doesn’t.
Step 1a) Abandon the equal sharing of TV revenue. Let the networks submit individual bids on the games of each team. More people pay to watch games in the big markets and they should make more money.
Step 1b) Remove the salary cap. It’s un-American. My neighbor drives a Ferrari and I drive a Honda but he makes more money than me and deserves it. Why shouldn’t the Cowboys, Patriots, Redskins, Texans, Eagles, and the NYC teams be allowed to buy the players they want?
Step 2) Determine the draft order by lottery. The best teams give us exciting playoffs and championship games. Why should we punish them by letting bad teams pick the best players?
The problem is none of these things will happen and maintaining any semblance of a dynasty will be impossible in the future. The new rookie salary cap is going to have long term effects we won’t fully see for a few more years. Although we gave the bad teams the best picks it also required them to commit a larger cap number to signing these players. This hindered their efforts to made broad improvements to the roster or through free agency. These hindrances to rebuilding are gone now and every team will have the ability to make sweeping roster changes with a 2 year plan. With the “elite” quarterbacks now claiming 16% of a team’s cap space the new Superbowl winning formula might include avoiding these. Ala Seattle’s potential or the Ravens last year the new winner may be the team with a quality quarterback playing under his original contract and leaving the team with extra money to sign support players.
Given the current conditions for acquiring the players to assemble a team, the Patriots don’t have to fix anything. So far they field a competitive team every year and that may be all that can be expected of any Coach or Front Office. Parity may be a word we all sort of ignored as something that wasn’t working but the times are changing.
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