Mike Greenberg is very upset about the Miami Dolphins tanking. Greeny gave viewers a monologue on Get Up this morning where he told them that the Dolphins, who went 7-9 last season, are going to stink on purpose. Don’t tell him, but the Dolphins were probably going to stink anyway.
Greenberg points out that tanking works because the Astros and Cubs did it and each won a World Series. Then he uses the Browns as an example of tanking working because the Browns are betting favorites in Las Vegas, something that all teams are secretly worried about.
A graphic appears showing four of the 30 MLB franchises that are currently in the tank. Baseball is in trouble because the Cleveland Indians went 15-1 against the Detroit Tigers this season. What was going on in 1996 when the Indians swept the Tigers, 12-0? The Yankees have beaten the Baltimore Orioles 17 out of 19 games this season. This is almost as bad as when the Yankees went 19-3 against the Orioles in 1955. Back then tanks were only war machines. The Yankees are 229-141 against the Orioles this Millennium. Maybe the Orioles aren’t losing to the Yankees because they’re trying to get a high draft pick. Maybe they’re just the Orioles.
Greenberg is very upset that the Dolphins will go from missing the playoffs annually with records that are generally just below .500. Instead they might lose a few extra games and see a turnaround like they did after going 1-15 in 2007.
In 2008 they picked Jake Long 1st overall, signed Chad Pennington and went on to an 11-5 record with a loss in the Wild Card. Since then they’ve had one 10-win season which also ended with a Wild Card loss. Honest question – if the Dolphins tank this year, who the hell is going to notice?
And how do we know it will work to begin with? The Dolphins’ last two top-10 picks were Dion Jordan and Ryan Tannehill. If the Dolphins end up with a top pick next April it will probably just result in mediocrity for a currently exciting college quarterback.
So why is he really upset? Because the Dolphins are suddenly doing what his beloved Jets have been doing? Trying to game the system so they can make the playoffs for the first time since the Mark Sanchez / Rex Ryan era? They have won 14 games total over the last three seasons and have picked third in the last two drafts. Were they tanking? Yes. Was it more painful to sit through than the two season under Rich Kotite where they tried really hard and really earnestly and went 4-28? I doubt it.
Say what you want about the tenets of tanking, at least it’s an ethos. Tanking gives the teams draft picks, which give the fans – and the teams – hope. That hope works about at about the same rate of success as it did before tanking. Tanking has resulted in the 76ers winning exactly two playoff series since 2011. It has also resulted in people spending money on Markelle Fultz and DeAndre Aytonjerseys.
Now the Dolphins are trying something new because what they have been doing – trying and middling for decades – hasn’t worked. It really sucks that this could possibly hurt ESPN’s broadcast partner, the National Football League, but it’s a risk that billionaire owner Stephen Ross appears willing to take.