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To Win or To Tank

Discussion in 'Miami Dolphins Forum' started by KeyFin, Oct 13, 2019.

  1. cbrad

    cbrad . Club Member

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    Look.. given that there's no way to know Ross's true intentions it's fine if you see what's happening as "rebuilding" and I see it as "tanking". One thing is clear: what's happening right now is absolutely what tanking looks like in other sports (this is actually the 2nd time as a fan I'm experiencing this: first time was tanking over multiple seasons with the Astros).

    So as I said in a previous post, we can just end this by saying it's a difference of opinion.
     
  2. Fin D

    Fin D Sigh Club Member

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    It is also exactly what rebuilding, in the NFL, looks like.
     
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  3. Fin D

    Fin D Sigh Club Member

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    For anyone....

    Define what you think an NFL team rebuilding means.....
     
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  4. The Guy

    The Guy Well-Known Member

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    When you neither have an average or better quarterback, nor are you trying to develop a young one with potential. At that point losing becomes so inevitable and meaningless that you should be rebuilding.
     
  5. Fin D

    Fin D Sigh Club Member

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    You described when a team should rebuild, but I was wondering what do you consider rebuilding? Like what actions would a team take?
     
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  6. ExplosionsInDaSky

    ExplosionsInDaSky Well-Known Member

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    76ers fan here, just simply chiming in to agree with this statement. Philly would lose countless amounts of fluke games during the four seasons that they tanked in the NBA.
     
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  7. Losferwords

    Losferwords Member

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    0 - 16 is the only thing that matters.... I am opening rooting for losses each and every week.
     
  8. jdallen1222

    jdallen1222 He can smell your fear

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    Plantation, Fl

    Why? I hate seeing this team lose, I would happily take at least one win.
     
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  9. cbrad

    cbrad . Club Member

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    Best of both worlds (tanking and seeing us win some games) is for us to get the #1 pick without going 0-16. That's what I'm hoping for. But I'd rather see all our competitors for the #1 pick have at least 2 wins more than we do before I root for us to win the next game. Cinci in particular is making this more nerve racking than I was hoping.
     
  10. Vertical Limit

    Vertical Limit Senior Member

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    Lol its crazy to say that a team with all the talent like Atlanta currently holds the #4 pick... how does dan quinn still have a job..
     
  11. Pauly

    Pauly Season Ticket Holder

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    I really hate this tanking and the delusional hope that with the number 1 pick we’ll be guaranteed our HoF caliber franchise QB for the next 15 to 20 years.

    For starters let’s look at where HoF QBs were drafted.
    No 1 overall: 5
    Aikman, Bradshaw, Elway*, Namath** and Young***.
    * refused to play for the sad sack team that drafted him
    ** selected 12th overall in the NFL draft and 1st in AFL draft.
    *** supplemental draft pick, not regular draft.

    Other first round: 7
    Dawson, Graham, Griese, Kelly, Layne, Marino, Tittle

    Rounds 2-3: 5
    Favre, Fouts, Montana, Stabler, Tarkenton

    Rounds 4+: 7
    Blanda, Jurgensen, Starr, Staubach ***, Unitas, Van Brocklin, Waterfield

    *** Due to military service commitments he would not be available to play until 4 years after being drafted. As a Heisman winning QB he had a good chance of being drafted No 1 overall without those commitments - however modern players also get their draft stock discounted for off field issues too.

    Not drafted: 2
    Moon, Warner

    Quite simply history shows that you have good chances to find your HoF Franchise QB in places other than the number 1 pick.

    The other way to look at it is the performance of No 1 overall pick QBs. The list of No 1 overall draft pick QBs is:
    Angelo Bartelli
    Frank Dancewicz
    Harry Gilmer
    Bill Wade
    Bobby Garrett
    King Hill
    Randy Duncan
    Roman Gabriel
    Terry Baker
    Jack Concannon
    Joe Namath
    Terry Bradshaw
    Jim Plunkett
    Steve Bartkowski
    John Elway
    Vinny Testeverde
    Troy Aikman
    Jeff George
    Drew Bledsoe
    Peyton Manning
    Tim Couch
    Michael Vick
    David Carr
    Carson Palmer
    Eli Manning
    Alex Smith
    JaMarcus Russell
    Matt Stafford
    Sam Bradford
    Cam Newton
    Andrew Luck
    Jameis Winston
    Jared Goff
    Baker Mayfield
    Kyler Murray

    That’s 35 QBs selected number 1 overall. So far we can say 6 were ‘worth tanking for’ i.e. the HoFers plus Peyton Manning. Eli Manning will probably end up in the HoF, but if he does it will be for his playoff heroics not his sustained level of excellent play. With Goff, Mayfield and Murray their careers are too young to make a decision on yet.
    I definitely put Andrew Luck into the “not worth ranking for” group. The only years Andrew Luck had above average passing efficiency was in 2014 and 2018 which were the 2 years he had above average pass protection (ref: https://www.footballoutsiders.com/stat-analysis/2019/2018-rate-adjusted-pressure).

    When you look at all the bad things that happen with tanking, especially bad habits and bad attitudes learned - which goes for players and staff - I don’t see the odds of getting the QB that gives you ongoing success being worth it.
     
  12. cbrad

    cbrad . Club Member

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    Yeah this has been pointed out before. No one should think that the chances of picking a great QB with the #1 pick are high.

    HOWEVER, the chances of picking a franchise QB with the #1 pick is MUCH higher than with any other pick. Note how you categorized things. You compared just one pick (the #1 overall pick) against all other picks in the 1st round, or against all picks in rounds 2-3, or against all picks in rounds 4+. Each of those categories has FAR more picks than just the #1 overall pick.

    So IF you want a franchise QB, by far your best shot is to pick at the #1 spot, which is why tanking is a good idea. And tanking has worked well in other sports (to the point the team becomes a champion as a result) so it's not like bad habits necessarily develop.

    Of course for tanking to work you need to draft well, and not just at the QB position. Whether we have the right GM for this who knows.
     
  13. Puka-head

    Puka-head My2nd Fav team:___vs Jets Club Member

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    Slightly left of center
    :bless:
     
  14. Pauly

    Pauly Season Ticket Holder

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    Of course I agree that #1 overall is the best place to look for your HoF QB. The problem as I see it is that, at best, you’re looking at roughly a 1 in 7 chance of getting your man. There are other ways to get your man without going through the tanking process.

    As I see it there has been precisely 1 successful tank job in NFL history, Jimmy Johnson’s Cowboys, but that was predicated on two things that are not replicable in today’s NFL - the Herschel Walker trade and having a better idea of the value of draft picks than other teams.

    When you look at teams that have turned around from being perennial losers to being a dominant dynasty, the most common factor is finding is finding a HoF caliber coach. The Dolphins before and after Shula being hired; the 49ers before and after Walsh being hired; the Green Bay Packers before and Lombardi being hired. HoF QBs such as Elway and Peyton Manning didn’t win championships until after good/great coaches were brought in.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2019
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  15. Pauly

    Pauly Season Ticket Holder

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    Thinking about it another way, we can say tanking was “worth it” if the QB/HC combo goes on to win a Superbowl. If the HC gets fired it basically means their plan wasn’t good enough, and someone else came in to fix their mess.

    If we look at #1 overall QBs who won a superbowl, we have

    Joe Namath
    Terry Bradshaw
    Jim Plunkett
    John Elway
    Trent Dilfer
    Troy Aikman
    Peyton Manning
    Eli Manning

    I will count Eli as being drafted by the Giants because of the pre-draft trade agreement they had reached with the Giants.

    Of those eight #1 picks You have Namath and HoF Coach Ween Ewbank; Bradshaw and HoF coach Chuck Knoll; Troy Aikman and Jimmy Johnson; Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin. Johnson and Coughlin may not be HoF coaches, but they both have strong records.
    Edit to add: of these 4 QB/HC combos only 2 of them (Namath-Ewbank and Bradshaw-Knoll) were with the HC who “earned” the #1 pick overall.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2019
  16. AGuyNamedAlex

    AGuyNamedAlex Well-Known Member

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    I actually have two terms I use.

    Rebuilding is where you strip something down to the floor level and restart. You are both right, this is tanking AND rebuilding. No need to play semantics. They arent mutually exclusive at all. I think you like to disagree with each other lol

    Retooling is where you have a lot of strong pieces but your team doesnt have a true identity or needs a section of the roster (maybe the lines, linebackers, so on) rebuilt.
     
  17. DolphinGreg

    DolphinGreg Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    I'm not worried about finding a QB amongst the 2020 and 2021 options. Good lord, that's going to be the least of our problems.

    If that's all we needed to do I'd be ecstatic.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2019
  18. Fin D

    Fin D Sigh Club Member

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    Tanking is specifically trying to lose. We aren’t doing that. There’s actually no compelling evidence that we are purposely trying to lose. In fact, there’s a significant amount of evidence we are not trying to lose.
     
  19. Galant

    Galant Love - Unity - Sacrifice - Eternity Staff Member

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    Part of the problem here, as happens with a lot of language, is that words come to mean different things to different people over time.
    My understanding is that the term 'tanking' originated in boxing and related to pre-determined outcomes for various reasons, which inevitably included matches being thrown. But boxing is an individual sport. There's only one person involved and his or her effort and will are the only things that matter. And usually there would be some sort of outside interest influencing the fighter to fix the match - the promise of money etc.

    Football is a team sport, perhaps the most complex team sport in existence. You have multiple players and coaches involved in the actual game play, and then you have a manager involved in swapping out different players in different roles. In order to use the term 'tanking' in the NFL in the same way as it was used originally, or as people think about it in boxing, you have to somehow carry the actions and motives across to multiple people. It would be fair to suggest that a GM or HC or owner have the influence necessary to affect the whole team of players and staff and effectively 'tank'. Those individuals can, by their own will, make choices to ensure the team loses. Other individuals, by themselves, cannot. A QB can throw a game, sure, but that would come down on just them, and their own interests, and not the team.

    I might be missing something, but I suspect only the owner(s), GM and HC can pull off a team tank, and I think it would take a combination. So an owner has the most influence, but would need a GM and/or HC to pull it off. A HC could do it with the owner, in spite of a GM's best efforts, and so to a GM could in spite of a HC's best efforts. However, in the case of the Dolphins, I think the idea here is that all three are on the same page here - that is, the Dolphins in 2019 are losing due to actions of management. The losing is and was predictable and, at least to some extent, intentional. So from that, you can argue that you have the ingredients to compare tanking in boxing with what the Dolphins are doing. However, maybe not. One ingredient is missing which might change the perspective. Outside interest.

    When a boxer loses intentionally it's not done so that they can become a better boxer. The Dolphins, however, can argue that what they're doing is exactly that - to become a better team and win more. Football, being better at football, as a team, is their sole motivation here. There is no outside interest (we assume) - that is, we don't think someone is paying off Ross etc. so that the benefit for Ross and co. is money, land, politics or some other gain. The only interest here is football itself - winning. And that, I think, is a key consideration.

    The Dolphins, I think it's clear, are losing in order to win. They've gotten worse in order to get better. This is essentially different from 'tanking' or match fixing, in individual competitions, and is, I think, a result of the complexities of team sports and capped leagues. The losing is strategic, taking a long term perspective (if 1-3 years can be considered to be 'long term'), and has as its aim, victory. Being good, for longer. And that's the aim of sports.

    So this boils down to a difference of opinion on strategy.

    PS - Punting. Can that be argued to be tanking a drive? You're calling quits on a drive and giving the ball to the opposition early. Shouldn't a competitor go for it on 4th down every time. Make that 10 yards, move the chains, keep going. Otherwise you're just giving in to the defence, you're saying that they've won. Well yes... but no. You realise that it's a better strategy to give the opposition the ball further back in the field than to risk turning it over nearer your goal.

    So maybe the Dolphins are punting this season, in order to gain better overall field/talent position, to start over on a new drive towards a superbowl....?
     
  20. The Guy

    The Guy Well-Known Member

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    The front office (not the players and coaching staff) may not be trying to lose on purpose, but it’s clear to me that it isn’t trying to win right now, and that’s enough of a story on its own. I don’t think we need to get any more precise about the team’s intentions than that to have a story.
     
  21. cbrad

    cbrad . Club Member

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    1 in 7 is world's better than any other alternative. You do what you can to increase the odds. And let's remember that the "other ways" of getting that QB all require tons more luck than with the #1 pick. Point is.. there's no reason to argue we shouldn't try to get the #1 pick.

    Dallas picked Aikman with the #1 pick. And they did that BEFORE the Herschel Walker trade. Very different from the scenario we're in.

    The 49ers dynasty did not coincide with Walsh's tenure. It coincided with precisely the years where Montana and Young were starting most games, from 1981-1998. Walsh was only there until 1988. So if anything that shows how important the QB is unless you want to claim that Seifert was as great a coach as Walsh.

    Similarly, Peyton Manning had a similar win% with both Dungy, Caldwell and Fox, going to the SB with all 3 QB's, and it's the coach not the QB? No it was the QB.

    I think overall that the HC is the most influential person on a football team, but QB is right behind it. You'll find as many examples where you can say it's the coach not the QB as vice versa. The QB matters a TON and the best way to get a consistently above average QB is to pick at the #1 spot which we're trying to do. It's the right strategy.
     
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  22. Fin D

    Fin D Sigh Club Member

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    Again, a team can do one of three things:

    1. Try to win.
    2. Try to lose.
    3. Not worry about winning or losing.

    #2 is the only option that is tanking. #3 is NOT tanking. We are doing #3.

    My fat and old *** could enter a marathon. If I did it, I wouldn't be trying to win but i also wouldn't be trying to come in last, my goal would be to simply finish it. I would have a goal that is neither winning nor losing. I would be doing #3, but the people here, following their logic, would say I'm doing #2 and tanking the marathon.

    The Dolphins are trying to get better, but not by getting the first pick. That isn't their goal. Their goal was to purge the roster of bad contracts and acquire draft capital. They took the house down to the rafters, so they could rebuild it properly.

    Doing things like keeping borderline players, like Thill for example, is what we've always done. That isn't rebuilding. I mean the word itself actually means to build again. People are arguing for a renovation which what we've always had.

    So many of the people complaining about this rebuild were the same people complaining in years past that we've always taken half measures in fixing the roster. Now we take a full measure, and Ross and Grier actually and respectfully tell us to our faces that is what they are finally doing, and many of those same people are losing their collective poop and screaming we're tanking.

    It makes no sense. Rebuilding is rebuilding. Tanking is tanking. A team can do both (we aren't), but it doesn't;t matter the size of the entity or team or what league, these things still hold true.
     
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  23. Galant

    Galant Love - Unity - Sacrifice - Eternity Staff Member

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    I don't necessarily disagree but I think that 'tanking' comes down to semantics more than anything else. I agree in that I don't think the Dolphins are 'doing whatever is necessary to get the #1 pick'. However, as you said, they're trying to build up draft capital, and part of that is finishing the season with a better round one pick. So although I do not believe that the Dolphins would or should throw an individual game in terms of play or coaching, I struggle to believe that the Dolphins would be happy finishing the season with the 15th pick in the draft. I think, and it's just my suspicion, that part of the plan was to get a high draft pick this year, even if not #1. They want to be up there so that they can get 'their guy'. That being the case, I believe that they do care about losing, in the same way that a team cares how far back the ball gets punted (to refer to my previous analogy). They want the best position possible, because this season, in itself, doesn't matter.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2019
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  24. KeyFin

    KeyFin Well-Known Member

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    I think the difference between rebuild and tank comes down to your core of young players and leadership. We parted ways with Tannehill, Sitton, Asiata, Branch and Larsen in the first wave- that's two starting linemen off the bat and possibly a good prospect. Then we moved onto defensive leaders like Quinn, Wake, etc. We replaced all these folks with rookies and CFL standouts that clearly weren't on the same level...to me that's where the "rebuild" philosophy starts falling apart. You can't compete without solid players in the trenches and those moves alone could create an 0-16 season.

    Then we followed up with Stills, Minkah and Tunsil...three young positional leaders in their respective areas. Combined with Wake, Denney and Tannehill, all your veteran voices in the locker room are now gone. QB Fitzpartick filled that void nicely in terms of leadership and I think he's done everything right as a professional, but again...we emptied the trenches and gave him no real chance at success. The same goes for Rosen- people say he's "failed" or "proven he's not the guy", but you can't evaluate a QB when he's taking 10+ hits per game. It's not Rosen's fault for trying to do too much with too little...that's really on the front office.

    This is not a rebuild because you can't really name a single area where we've improved as a team.
     
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  25. Fin D

    Fin D Sigh Club Member

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    You didn’t define what you think a rebuild is. By your post I can at least infer that you believe a rebuild should have immediate results, I guess.
     
  26. KeyFin

    KeyFin Well-Known Member

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    I think I did- a rebuild is replacing your team leaders and aging veterans with young, competent players...especially in the trenches. A "tank" on the other hand, really isn't defined since it's never happened to this extreme in the NFL. So my early definition would be the opposite of grabbing those competent players...it would be signing just about anyone on the cheap and not worrying about your chances of winning.

    To me, it's almost impossible to use the word "rebuild" when there's zero focus on the word "win".
     
  27. Fin D

    Fin D Sigh Club Member

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    Ok, so a rebuild is a one offseason process in your opinion. Replace leaders and veterans all in one offseason?

    Tanking is clearly defined as purposely trying to lose.
     
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  28. KeyFin

    KeyFin Well-Known Member

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    No, not replace everyone in one off-season...unless you fire/trade everyone in one off-season. For instance, there's zero reason we don't still have Wake or Denny for another year or two until we found suitable replacements.
     
  29. AGuyNamedAlex

    AGuyNamedAlex Well-Known Member

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    From the front office perspective there is tons of proof.

    A tank doesnt imply that the players otlr coaches are intentionally losing. We gutted the roster far beyond rebuilding it. Its pretty clear the FO strategy is to end up with at least a top 3 pick if not #1 overall. To me that implies a tank, but the tank is part of a rebuild.
     
  30. Fin D

    Fin D Sigh Club Member

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    Sure there is, we had to clear cap space and they weren't part of the future. on top of that, you owe to them to give them a chance to find a team and situation that is more beneficial for their twilight, instead of a team in full rebuild.
     
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  31. Fin D

    Fin D Sigh Club Member

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    No there really isn't.

    The roster, contrary to popular belief wasn't gutted. Most of the players we dumped were targets to be dumped by the fanbase during the season last year.

    Thill, Stills, McDonald, Quinn, Wake, Kiko and James, were all discussed to either be dumped, traded or not resigned for the money they would like want.
     
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  32. AGuyNamedAlex

    AGuyNamedAlex Well-Known Member

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    So you think the plan is to win this year? As in, as many games as possible? Then the FO would rather be picking 13th than #1 in our situation?
     
  33. Fin D

    Fin D Sigh Club Member

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    Sigh.

    I've said multiple times now.......

    A team can approach the season in 3 ways:

    1. Try to win.
    2. Try to lose.
    3. Try to do neither because there's other goals, like rebuilding.

    Only #2 is tanking. We are doing #3.
     
  34. AGuyNamedAlex

    AGuyNamedAlex Well-Known Member

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    I dont agree with that and I think you're just using semantics to not address the issue.

    As I've said rebuilding and tanking arent exclusive. It's fairly obvious the plan is to rebuild by losing as many games as possible.
     
  35. Fin D

    Fin D Sigh Club Member

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    This isn't semantics. I have also answered that question numerous times and I am not avoiding anything.

    I also said they weren't exclusive earlier.

    I do not think it was anyone's intention to lose games. Full stop. I'm not hiding that or anything.

    They are rebuilding by tearing it down to the rafters. If they were intentionally trying to lose, why bring in Fitz and Rosen? Why weren't they actively shopping all their assets, like Tunsil and Minkah?

    Again, not one single move can point to tanking that doesn't actually point to rebuilding. Where as numerous things point to just rebuilding and not tanking.

    Every last one of you saying this is tanking, want us to do what we've always done, which is cling to borderline players while trying to add more and if we don't, you'll label that as tanking.

    This is a classic rebuild, just like numerous teams have done in the past. Only now Armando called it tanking before a single move was taken, so everyone else jumps in.
     
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  36. Big Phin

    Big Phin Member

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    Tanking is the buzz cuss word. Before you can rebuild something, you have to tear it down. The Dolphins have done just that. You can agree or disagree with the decision, but what's done is done. Let's just hope that we can all look back on this time with a laugh while we're celebrating being a franchise that is not a laughing stock and actually matters. I think any middle aged to old timer around these parts would love to go back to those days of the 70s/80s/early 90s. For you youngins' that have stuck this out and have known nothing else but still keep being a gluttonous soul, bless you.
     
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  37. DolphinGreg

    DolphinGreg Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    Great post, Galant. You expressed the strategy and goals of tanking really well. I would hope that at this point it doesn't need to be laid out any further.

    Whether or not tanking actually increases the odds of future success and whether it's useful when so few good teams have done it and when so few of the great organizations have built themselves up that way remains to be seen.

    But I think the goals are just as you've laid them out.
     
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  38. Galant

    Galant Love - Unity - Sacrifice - Eternity Staff Member

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  39. AGuyNamedAlex

    AGuyNamedAlex Well-Known Member

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    I can answer your entire question by pointing out I said the front office was tanking, not the coaching staff or players.

    I am not implying Grier has ever told Flores to lose. What I am implying is that there was 0 effort made to add any talent to the team, which you would do in a rebuild, yet a lot of effort put into depleting it of talent.

    Most rebuilding teams DO NOT get rid of all their talent in one offseason, young an

    d old, and not replace anyone as the process unfolds. Even rebuilding under Sparano or Philbin, yes those were rebuilds, the entire roster was churned over but new pieces were added and old pieces were kept along the way where they fit in.

    Every addition to this team was a failure they could kick the tires on. If it worked...great, if not all the better for losing this year.

    Also I dont read Armando so I have no idea what he says, nor do I care, but if he called it a tank he was right. Blind squirrels do find nuts.
     
  40. Fin D

    Fin D Sigh Club Member

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    That doesn't answer my question, because I specifically brought up FO moves.

    I mean you are literally saying rebuilding is what Sparano or Philbin did (it isn't) and we should still be following that model (we shouldn't).

    The goal this year was to acquire draft capital and open up salary cap. We did that. We did that so well, people don't even know what to say about it....except....we've never seen this before so it must be TANKING!!!!!!!!!!!

    Armando called this tanking BEFORE a single move was made. Then everyone else jumped in and called it tanking BEFORE we got rid of Tunsil and Minkah. What's more likely, Armando saw into the future or he pushed a narrative that everyone else glammed on to due to typical fan overreaction?

    We also didn't get rid of all our talent. The only real talent we lost was Minkah, Tunsil and an effing long snapper.
     

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