Imagine if the NFL instituted the same draft lottery system used by the NBA. Instead of automatically giving the team with the worst record the No. 1 pick, it merely gives them a 25 percent chance to have it.
It's sort of dumb, but also brilliant. It's meant to discourage a team from tanking the season, even though it doesn't seem to stop them. But maybe if the NFL had a lottery, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers wouldn't have miraculously blown a 20-7 fourth-quarter lead in the last game of the season.
Unfortunately for the purposes of this writing, Tuesday night's NBA version of the lottery was a disappointment. The team with the worst record, the Minnesota Timberwolves, still managed to score the top pick. But last year, the team the league's ninth-worst record, the Cleveland Cavaliers, jumped all the way up to No. 1. If that scenario were extrapolated to the NFL, the Buffalo Bills would have had the first pick. It would mean no Sammy Watkins trade or giving up this year's first-round pick to get him. The Bills may have taken someone like quarterback Blake Bortles first overall, keeping him out of Jacksonville.
Want it to get even stranger? In 2013, the team intended to get the eighth overall pick jumped all the way up to the third pick. Who was eighth in the NFL's draft order in 2013? Buffalo again. In 2012 in the NBA, the team with the fourth-worst record won the lottery and ended up at No. 1. That would have pushed the Cleveland Browns to No. 1 to get Andrew Luck instead of Indianapolis.
That sound you hear is the Rust Belt crying out in anguish demanding a lottery system.
Again, this year's NBA lottery was a tame affair. The only movement that happened was the team in the No. 4 slot moving up to No. 2. If that happened in the NFL, it would have given the Oakland Raiders the No. 2 pick and the Tennessee Titans would have slid to No. 4.
Would we have a seen a different the draft play out differently than we did? Maybe not. The Raiders at No. 2 would have entertained more trade offers, but considering what teams were offering, it's unlikely to have led to a deal. Jacksonville at No. 3 sure seemed steadfast on taking edge rusher Dante Fowler, so they may not have moved off their pick either.
It seems the thought of having an NFL lottery this year would have been more fun than the ultimate outcome. But lets think about this a little bit. Really, it's a surprise the NFL hasn't instituted a lottery system already. If nothing else, it would give the league a good reason to cancel the Pro Bowl, which is almost universally seen as terrible.
The week before the Super Bowl could have the draft lottery show instead of the worst all-star game in sports. Would you rather watch players sleepily go through the motions of a game while wearing garish, neon-laden jerseys or real life sporting drama?
For the NFL, the single best thing about the lottery is that the NBA has managed to drag out something that takes just minutes to execute into a 30-minute special before the start of the playoff conference finals. If the NBA can fill a half an hour, the NFL could make this an hour-long special and subsequently program supporting content around it.
This may all seem superfluous, sure, but it's the NFL in 2015 we're talking about. Think of the suspense and drama and the commercial opportunities. And if you've enjoyed DeflateGate, just think of the fixing conspiracies people would have about NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and the lottery. It would do for football takes what fracking has done for the fuel industry. We need a new outrage resource and an NFL draft lottery would offer it.
SB Nation presents: Let's fix the NBA Draft Lottery