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NFL Draft format could eventually undergo a big change: Roger Goodell doesn’t rule out lottery possibility

The NFL has been running a draft for more than 85 years, and in that time, the format has never really changed: The team with the worst record is rewarded with the first pick in the following year’s draft.

While that format is great for parity because it gives the worst NFL teams access to the best college players, it’s not a perfect format. The big problem with giving the best pick to the worst team is that it rewards the tank.

One way to fix that problem would be to change the draft format. To keep teams from going under, the NBA uses a lottery system, and believe it or not, it’s actually an idea the NFL has been considering.

During an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio this week, Roger Goodell was asked about the possibility of the NFL implementing a lottery-type system, and surprisingly, he said the league actually has regular discussions about possibly making a change.

“The Competition Committee talks about it, I would say on a regular basis,” Goodell said, via Pro Football Talk. “I haven’t heard it in the last two years, but I never say never about any of those things. There may come a time when we think it’s appropriate.”

While the league has at least considered making a change, it doesn’t look like a change will happen any time soon.

“We think that the [current] the system works really well the way it does,” Goodell said. “Our teams, as you know, are not in tanks. These teams work hard and play hard, and they play hard no matter the circumstances, and that’s something we’re really proud of in our game.”

Of course, the NFL might be more willing to embrace the idea if it turns out that teams ARE failing, and right now, two teams are being investigated for doing exactly that. Former Browns coach Hue Jackson said he was encouraged to tank in 2016 and 2017 and that allegation was serious enough that the NFL is investigating it.

Also, let’s not forget about the Brian Flores lawsuit. The former Dolphins coach claims team owner Stephen Ross offered him $100,000 for every game he lost in 2019. The NFL is also looking into that allegation and if the league finds out there’s any truth to that, that could be something that paves the way for the league to move to a lottery system in the draft.

Under a lottery system, each team that doesn’t make the playoffs would receive a ping pong ball and those balls would be put into a lottery machine. The NFL would then pick a ball to determine who gets each pick from one to 18.

The worst teams each year would have more ping pong balls to give them a better chance of getting the first pick, but there’s no guarantee they’ll get it. The lottery system would mean that a team with a winning record from the previous season could theoretically get the first pick (for example, even though the Colts, Saints, and Chargers all finished 9-8, they would be eligible for the first pick). choose because they didn’t make the playoffs).

That said, Goodell doesn’t seem to think the current system is broken and doesn’t seem interested in fixing something that isn’t broken.

“Our league has never been more competitive,” Goodell said. “And even when we went to all 17 games for 18 weeks, you saw that competition through the final weekend, through the final game, almost down to the final play. And they didn’t have to do that, but they did it because that’s the way that compete. I’m very proud of that. I was incredibly proud of not only the quality of our game this year, but also the competition and the way everyone played until the end of the game.”

While it doesn’t look like the NFL will implement a lottery system any time soon, the fact that the league has at least considered it means it’s possibly something we could see in the future.