- Beck O’Kelly ’22
As the NFL approaches the midpoint of the season, many fans are questioning the motives of a few of the bottom teams. In particular, the Miami Dolphins who are currently the bottom of the AFC East have a record of 0-4 and have been outscored 133 to 16 so far this season. They appear to be playing for the future and not competing this season.
Judging by the current trades the Dolphins have made, trading away many of their veteran players for 2020 and 2021 draft picks, it does not appear to be helping them compete any time soon. During this season, the Dolphins have traded left tackle Laremy Tunsil, receiver Kenny Stills, and linebacker Kiko Alonso in exchange for draft capital. Most recently, the Dolphins traded their former 2019 first- round pick, cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick. After seeing the success of tanking in the NBA with the Philadelphia 76ers, the Dolphins are now experimenting with this tactic.
By cleaning out their roster of any talent they once had, the Dolphins now appear to be aiming for the number one overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft. Dolphin’s Coach Brian Flores denies all accusations of tanking and insists that the Dolphins are intending to compete every Sunday. However, despite what Flores says, the Dolphins are throwing away this season whether he tells his players that or not. Many fans call out the Dolphins for disrespecting the game and ruining the spirit of the league. Sophomore Zach Freire states that “tanking is unethical and is not in the spirit of football, they are playing for the future and not really having an incentive to win.”
On the other hand, Sophomore Robert Plaschke believes tanking to be a part of the sport, “Tanking is necessary, I mean you can’t always be average sometimes you just need to take a step back to get in the right direction.” Also, Sophomore Aroosh Kumar states tanking to be proven and effective: “I mean look at Phili’s success in the NBA creating a roster of all- around scorers with Embiid and Simmons.”
Whether tanking is genuine to the competitive nature of the sport or not, it will not stop teams from trying it. As we look to the future it would be interesting to see if the NFL would consider adopting a lottery draft system similar to the NBA’s. To all Dolphins fans and other tanking teams, as you experience constant defeat remember to TRUST THE PROCESS.
Photo from NFL.com