Thursday, April 25, 2013

How To Rig The NFL Draft (Pre-2011)

I've developed a strategy to maximize your money if you're one of the 20-40 best college football players entering the NFL draft. Seriously, I did. The catch? It's not longer feasible thanks to the new collective bargaining agreement. But it would've worked. Here's how (Scott Boras, eat your fucking heart out):

Say the new CBA didn't happen - there is no cap on rookie salaries and rookies aren't subject to large fines for holding out and not reporting to mandatory training camp (current cost: $30,000/day). We're talking the days when the best college players could be found holding out all summer to secure contracts worth more than proven NFL stars. Your earning potential is limited by employer's willingness to pay.

Now say you're a player like K-State's Arthur Brown - projected to go somewhere around the 30th pick, maybe in the high 20s, but also the potential to drop to the low 30s. You can command great, but not elite money. That's fine. Figure out what you're worth/willing to sign for under normal circumstances. Add 5-10 percent. Then proclaim that you will not sign with a team that doesn't give you that amount of money. You will be drafted by a team willing to pay that much money.

This strategy would not cause the Vikings to select Brown at #23. Or the Ravens at #32. Or even the Steelers at #48 - despite each team's need for LBs. What plays out is you drop to the fifth round, and two things start happening. First, the available talent around you is diminished and you look more enticing in comparison. Secondly, teams begin panicking because crucial needs were not met in the early rounds while pressure mounts to take the best available player. And this is where the beauty of game theory begins to unfold.

I understand that if I'm the Vikings and take Brown in the fifth round, I'm not paying for the #23 (we'll pretend Geno Smith was taken here) player in the draft and the #155 player (should the Vikings take Brown in the 5th round) in the draft - I'm paying for what I consider the #23 (Smith) and the #30 (the real ranking we assign Arthur Brown) in terms of rankings, but paying the equivalent of drafting #23 (Smith) and #15 (say, Georgia LB Jervis Jones). It's costing me more money than if I took Brown at #30, caeteris paribus, but I'm ok with that - it's the price I pay for being able to take two first round quality players. At this point, Minnesota is not paying what it believes Brown is worth on the open market - it's paying for his worth PLUS the value of being able to take another highly talented player. And the farther he drops in the draft, the greater that value becomes.

Some experimentation is needed here. What price would cause teams to drop you into the sixth round without completely scaring them away? There must be a sliding scale model that could be developed. There's also the issue of credibility - are you seriously willing to hold out? It worked for douchebag Eli Manning and forced the Chargers to scuttle him for Phillip Rivers, but Eli is supported by a successful family - this only works if you can demonstrate the ability to support yourself through other means while not collecting a paycheck from the NFL. Additionally, you must assume that the marginal benefit of your additional demand is greater than the loss of revenue from holding out a season (multiplied by the odds of having to hold out).

I think this could've worked. It would've brought the system crumbling down in two years and brought along a CBA structure similar to the current one a lot faster, but there was a window of opportunity. Teams will overpay players in the face of necessity - does anyone really believe Dwayne Bowe is worth top five money? But the free agent market for wide receivers is lousy, the draft ain't any better, and Kansas City has to have a #1 option at the position to be successful. So as of this offseason Bowe now makes top five money. Faced with the prospect of taking a player in the sixth round that likely won't make the team or a potential Pro Bowler who'll command more salary cap space than you'd prefer, if the need is great enough, you go Pro Bowl every time.

Every system can be unexpectedly manipulated through unconventional means, all we lack is insight and the courage to follow through.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

To Sage Francis

Television evolves. As kids it was our babysitter; now it's our mistress.

 Get outside. Do something.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

You've Got Me All Wrong

Really, you do. I don't believe in government because I don't believe in government. I don't believe in government because I don't believe in institution. It doesn't matter if it's WorldCom, AIG, Fannie Mae, or the NYC Dept. of Education. Every institution hits that point where bureaucracy becomes entrenched, provision falters, and adaptation is necessary but unattainable. That's the beauty of capitalism. When you start doing something better than the next guy, fuck the next guy. That's your territory now. As a consumer, I love it. I go to Daily Grind. If there weren't any other options, I'd go buy coffee there if it cost five bucks a cup, it tasted like crap, and the wait staff glared at me as I walked out the door. That's like communism's parallel. But now I've got a market, and don't go there anymore because there's a woman out there capable of setting up shop across the street to brew me a cup from freshly roasted beans for half price with a smile, and Daily Grind would die. As a consumer, I love capitalism. Sometimes I don't want it. I'm willing to pay taxes for the government to pave that street outside my apartment, even though I know someone else could do it cheaper and faster and probably do it so the street lasts longer. But then they'd charge me a dime every time I went home, businesses would refuse to set up shop nearby, and I couldn't order cases of wine online to be delivered to my front door without paying an additional delivery charge to FedEx. That's the country's problem. We're split between people that believe the government did an efficient job of paving that road, and those that don't think the government should be in the business of paving in the first place. Public roads are a necessary evil, but even evil acts good in the sunlight. So keep an eye on your government, because the more you watch the better it acts. I think some people would consider that democracy. You've got a civic duty to fix that which needs fixin', sure. You've got another civic duty to get off your ass and find that which needs fixed in the first place. I think you start recognizing those things not when you stop believing in government, but when you stop believing in institution. That's my definition of democracy. You've got another civic duty to prevent the mingling of institution. That's called capture, and it happens when Bank of America drops the ball on thousands of mortgages and gets bailed out. One poorly run institution cannot stand - the woman across the street that just opened up a coffee shop has a rich brother-in-law who'll bankroll my home purchase without dicking me. But then government institution comes and props up private institution and we can live without the latter, but not the formal. So keep an eye on your government and don't allow it to get captured. The intermingling of institution; the SEC calls it collusion in the marketplace, but in 2008 I called it the SEC. That's when I watched the life savings of millions of Americans fucking destruct while those same hard working citizens also lost their jobs. Prevent the intermingling of institution. Government institution allowed the business institution's shit to happen. Prevent the intermingling of institution with sunlight. That's my definition of democracy.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

As a child, I remember my awe of father's ruthless precision in killing snakes. There was the rattler that tried to kill my mom in the basement, the bullsnake that wrapped itself a around a lamp cord in the bedroom, and the black snake that came after me in the shed. All three met the same demise.

A mite slow to play sports myself, father was a mongoose. Each encounter ended the same - a fatal blow behind the head delivered via shovel or hoe left the body angrily convulsing and mouth desperately gasping for life.

To me he was a hero. To the serpents, a monster. And when he looked himself in the mirror every night, he was merely a man doing whatever necessary to protect his family and defend his farm.

The snake is a metaphor for carpetbaggers. I was born in Alabama in 1862. 

And father shed no tears while laying waste to those bastards from New York and Philadelphia.