Stafford, Donald, Kupp: Bang, Marry, or Dump?

Los Angeles Rams WR Cooper Kupp
Los Angeles Rams WR Cooper Kupp
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Week 14 - Anyone hoping to salvage the Los Angeles Rams for 2023 and beyond must be ready to play a very expensive game of Bang-Marry-Dump with Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, Aaron Donald, and Jalen Ramsey.

Hmm. Bang-Marry-Dump only has three options, and there are four expensive Rams veterans to deal with. So, perhaps Bang-Marry-Dump-Amicably Divorce, or something.

The Four Horsemen of the Rams Financial Apocalypse are projected to cost the Rams $99 million in 2023 cap space and a stunning $136.7 million in 2024 cap space. (As always, financials come courtesy OverTheCap.com)

Stafford, who turns 35 in February, has been coping with multiple injuries since the preseason and wasn't really all that spectacular when he led the Rams to the Super Bowl; he won't be worth the money down the stretch. Donald, who turns 32 in the offseason and contemplated retirement before signing a huge extension in June, currently has one foot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and one sprained ankle elevated for the foreseeable future. If you are interested in discovering where Ramsey's head will be at the end of a losing season or two, you are made of stronger stuff than Walkthrough is.

So what should the Rams do with their Big Four? Find out in this Super Bowl 72-hour-observation-level hangover edition of…

Los Angeles Rams TankWatch

The Rams Story So Far

The Rams traded a half-decade's worth of first-round draft picks and pawned their grandma's wedding ring for a victory in Super Bowl LVI. Now they are paying the bills.

Even before Stafford, Donald, and Kupp got injured, the Rams offense was hamstrung by a rickety offensive line and a lack of auxiliary playmakers. Their defense was better early in the season, but not stout enough to shut down quality opponents.

With everyone injured, Sean McVay and company have been reduced to making things up as they go along.

What Is Going Right?

Very, very little:

  • Bobby Wagner has played well, with two sacks and an interception against the Seahawks in Week 13 and some rugged run defense. When a 32-year-old linebacker with a chunky contract leads off a TankWatch "what's going right" segment, you know that a team is in trouble.
     
  • The Rams run defense ranks fifth in DVOA, thanks in large part to Wagner, Donald, and defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson.
     
  • Kupp was an Offensive Player of the Year frontrunner before getting injured.
     
  • An odd little factoid: the Rams offense ranks first in DVOA in third-/fourth-and-short situations. Rams quarterbacks are 12-of-14 for 191 yards and three touchdowns in these situations. It may be a reminder that Sean McVay can still cross defenses up with unexpected play calls and designs.

What Has Gone Wrong?

In addition to obvious things like the Stafford-Kupp-Donald injuries:

  • Allen Robinson was an expensive bust as a free-agent acquisition before getting injured. Robinson ranks 46th in DYAR, with a handful of red zone touchdowns buoying his numbers.
     
  • Ramsey draws tough coverage assignments week after week and performs well on a per-snap basis, but he has allowed six touchdown receptions according to Sports Info Solutions.
     
  • The Rams have shuffled through three different centers and five different left tackles so far in 2022. They rank last in the NFL in adjusted line yards.
     
  • The Rams rank 29th in special teams. They have suffered two blocked punts and a muffed return.
     
  • Opponents have outscored the Rams 100-40 in the fourth quarter. Not great!

Poor special teams play, constant line shuffling, and fourth-quarter collapses all underscore the fact that the Rams just lack depth and rank-and-file talent due to the draft picks they traded away and expenditures at the top of their payroll.

Building Blocks

Heh. There's no one on the Rams roster right now who can seriously be described as a "top prospect." Before you say "Van Jefferson:" he's already 26 years old and has 11 receptions through six games.

Safety Taylor Rapp, who turns 25 in a few days, is probably the Rams' best truly young player. He's a free agent in 2023.

Future Assets

Ugh. The Rams' first-round pick belongs to the Lions thanks to the Stafford trade.

The Rams have negative-$5.7 million in effective cap space for 2023; as of now, they would have a hard time assembling a 53-man roster next year, because so much money is tied up with the Big Four and so few depth players are under contract beyond 2022.

The Rams are actually showing an effective cap-space deficit of over $12 million for 2024, which is astounding. They are facing two years of cap cleanup.

The salary cap will rise enough to keep the Rams solvent, but it won't rise enough to make them free-agent shoppers. Even retaining the few in-house free agents worth keeping (Rapp, Robinson) will be a struggle.

Rebuilding Plan

This is gonna be ugly:

  • Step 1: Set a Timetable

    The Rams should designate 2023 a credit repair season. Active rebuilding can begin in 2024. Their goal should be to return to serious playoff contention in 2025.

    A smart timetable is essential: any quick fix general manager Les Snead and McVay might dream up (our next four draft classes for Brian Burns and DJ Moore!) is almost certain to make matters worse. But the Rams shouldn't be content to drift into eternal rebuilding, either.

  • Step 2: Bang-Marry-Dump

    Let's do this…

    Marry Cooper Kupp. Kupp's future cap hits ($26 million to $27 million) will be high but manageable, and he's likely to remain a productive player well into his early thirties. Kupp could be there for the Rams when they are competitive again.

    Bang Matthew Stafford. The Rams will need to swallow Stafford's prorated $86-million bonus through 2023 and perhaps 2024. They can release him for a manageable $18.5-million one-time cap hit before the start of the 2025 season. (Roster bonuses also kick in starting in 2025; the Rams probably never planned to keep Stafford that long.)

    Stafford will be a premium-priced bridge quarterback for the foreseeable future. Unless they can sucker the Colts or Commanders into a trade (the joke never gets stale), the Rams just have to live with that.

    Dump Jalen Ramsey. Ramsey may have the most trade value of the Big Four. He just turned 28 in October and has the skills of an elite cornerback. He can help a contender but is likely to be a surly presence in a losing locker room. The Rams should shop Ramsey hard in the offseason.

    Potential trade suitors will realize that the Rams are motivated sellers, of course, and that Ramsey's contract is a potential budget-buster. The Rams should be ready to settle for the sort of deal the Bears and Chargers agreed upon for Khalil Mack: second- and sixth-round picks, perhaps a little more.

    Amicably Divorce Aaron Donald. His cap number is $26 million next year and $34.1 million in 2024. The Rams simply cannot afford to keep Donald through what's likely to be his decline phase at those prices when they are not contenders. And Donald likely has little interest in getting pummeled by double teams for a losing team.

    Snead must try to craft a radical restructuring of Donald's contract: a big 2023 guarantee, easy outs for both sides after that. Donald might agree to such a deal in the name of future freedom; if he chooses, he could spend his late career as a Hall of Famer for hire the way Von Miller has done, or just earn a living as a sportsbook spokesman until his gold jacket arrives. Of course, Snead must find some 2023 cap space first. Hence, the need for a Ramsey trade.

    Setting Donald free would be a bold, risky move. Trading all the first-round picks in the world for veterans and paying them the gross domestic product of Norway was also a series of bold, risky moves. Snead, McVay and the Rams need to justify their "smartest guys in the league" status by shooting their way out of this slump.

  • Step 3: The Purge

    Wagner, like Donald, must be set free; that will save the Rams about $4 million in base salary and roster bonus. Tight end Tyler Higbee and his $8.6-million cap figure in 2023 must go: the Rams have no use for a soon-to-be 30-year-old C-plus-tier tight end.

    A'Shawn Robinson can walk in free agency; he'll be well compensated on the open market and could fetch a future compensatory pick. Leonard Floyd can still play at a high level, but the Rams will be forced to eat $26 million in future prorated bonuses and should leap at the chance to send his high cap numbers elsewhere in exchange for some mid-round picks.

    Somehow, Allen Robinson's contract was so poorly structured that the Rams won't save any money by releasing him. That's what happens when a spending spree crosses the event horizon and becomes a drunken night in a Wild West brothel.

    The Rams should only spend money this offseason on re-signing Rapp, perhaps crafting a Jefferson extension, and retaining some bottom-of-the-roster guys such as Michael Hoecht who are likely to be useful through a two-year prebuild/rebuild. Otherwise, 2023 will be all about munching on Stafford/Donald bucks and ramen noodles.

  • Step 4: Quarterback Prospect Reclamation Time

    This has already started! The Baker Mayfield signing probably won't amount to much, but the Rams need to pick up every crumpled betting slip in the racetrack parking lot and hope that someone made a mistake. So give the Rams your tired, your poor, your Jameis Winston, Zach Wilson, and Drew Lock. Even a medium-sized hit would take a lot of sting out of the next few years.

  • Step 5: Draft Quantity, Not Quality

    Well, the Rams need to draft quantity and quality, but they cannot afford to get precious about their selections.

    The Rams have second- and third-round picks in 2023; they traded their fourth-rounder for (holy cow, seriously, HOLY COW) Sony Michel back in 1974. That second-round pick will likely be in the top 35, the third-rounder in the top 70. They should trade down in both rounds to grab as many fourth-/fifth-/sixth-rounders as they can for 2023 and 2024. It's imperative that they bulwark the roster, particularly the offensive line, with warm bodies who have a reasonable chance to develop.

    Also, the days of swinging hard for small-school workout warriors (Cobie Durant, who might still pay dividends) and tiny specialists (Tutu Atwell, who will never be more than a WR4) are over. Every selection must be someone who could conceivably play a meaningful role right away.

    Oh, and no more running backs until the sixth round. Thanks.

  • Step 6: Hope Everyone has the Patience for This

    McVay signed a whopping extension through 2026 in September after an offseason of rumors that he might be tempted to chill in a broadcast booth for a few years after winning the Super Bowl. Snead also earned an offseason extension. Neither appeared very interested in slogging through a rebuilding cycle at the time, and neither has shown any interest in making soup from stock in the past. Owner Stan Kroenke is also no longer getting the boffo returns on his investment that he expected and has the resources to punt on McVay and Snead now that the party's over.

    McVay is supposed to be a genius. He should be able to manufacture an offense out of spare parts, develop young playmakers, and attract the coaching talent needed to rebuild the defense. Snead's aggressive wheeling and dealing not only won the Rams a Super Bowl but kept them in deep contention from 2017 through last year. These guys should be able to turn the Rams around if they choose to.

Final prognosis

Imagine the devil appeared on your shoulder and offered you a deal: your favorite team wins one Super Bowl, then finishes in last place for the next nine years. Ol' Scratch even vows to wipe your memory of the pact so the Super Bowl and losing seasons come as a surprise and feels earned. What do you say?

How you respond may depend on what team you root for. Jets and Browns fans may figure that they can handle a decade of losing standing on their heads and sign up for that Super Bowl. (The Faustian/Browns angle is too obvious to belabor.) A Patriots fan would likely shun such a deal. So would fans of the Steelers, Ravens, or Chiefs who are used to seeing their teams in more or less perpetual contention.

Your response might also depend on the nature of your fandom. If you own a PSL and tailgate in the stadium parking lot for every home game, you would probably turn down a decade in last place and the months of miserable Sundays that come with it. If you cheer for your favorites from the couch while also checking fantasy lineups, placing wagers around the league, and debating about mock drafts on Discord, then you might find it easy to enjoy NFL Sundays while your team plunges into hopeless rebuilding. Ironically, the more visceral your fandom, the more likely you are to regret trading the entire future for one parade.

The Rams did not trade nine years of failure for one Super Bowl. So far, they have traded one year of failure for one Super Bowl. That's a justifiable trade. They may have traded two or three years for one Super Bowl: a hefty price, but one most fans would agree was worth it. If the rebuilding program stretches into the mid-to-late 2020s, however, the "flags fly forever" justification for what the Rams have done also stretches, perhaps to a breaking point.

The stated goal of every NFL team is to win a Super Bowl, but the unstated goal is to make every Sunday exciting and relevant to maximize television ratings, ticket revenues, and jersey sales. Both goals are important to the fan experience, and serving the first at the expense of the second ("F*ck Them Picks" mode) or the second at the expense of the first (Colts-Vikings style wild-card perpetuity) can each have diminishing returns. The Rams cannot still be talking about what they did to win Super Bowl LVI when fans are wearing the Stafford jerseys they once bought for $120 to clean out the garage.

The Rams have a lot of work to do before they can be exciting and relevant again. The first step will be for them to sober up and perform a roster/budget cleanse. It won't be fun, and it will make things worse before they get better. But hard work and tightened belts in 2023 will put them in position to rebrand themselves as scrappy young underdogs by 2024.

In that respect, bottoming out instead of going 10-7 or so this year has been a disguised blessing. The Rams can get started on building a brighter future right away instead of trying to extend a window which has already slammed shut. And really, they have no choice, because living in the past will be too darn expensive.

Comments

98 comments, Last at 10 Dec 2022, 9:48pm

#1 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 08, 2022 - 10:46am

Imagine the devil appeared on your shoulder and offered you a deal: your favorite team wins one Super Bowl, then finishes in last place for the next nine years. Ol' Scratch even vows to wipe your memory of the pact so the Super Bowl and losing seasons come as a surprise and feels earned. What do you say?

Yes. Then I flee the room before Satan can reconsider.

Points: 1

#4 by serutan // Dec 08, 2022 - 10:52am

I was going to say a Lions fan would probably snatch the pen so fast he'd tear Satan's arm off.

Points: 2

#6 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 08, 2022 - 11:20am

I would be celebrating so hard Satan would have to reconsider his actions and be firmly told to sod off.

Points: 0

#9 by Pat // Dec 08, 2022 - 11:34am

The problem is there's no alternative stated, so it's just the status quo. For Lions fans, barring an ownership change, that deal would almost literally be the only option they have to win a Super Bowl. At all.

Suppose the deal has three options: status quo, guaranteed Super Bowl win + 9 years of suck, or swap your entire team+front office+ownership/etc. with a random selection of the top 16 winning franchises over the past 22 years (but no guarantees). For those not familiar, this list includes all the Super Bowl winners since 2000 except the Giants and Rams (plus Dallas, Minnesota, Tennessee, the Chargers, Falcons, and Dolphins). 

Personally if I'm a Lions or Browns fan, I'm taking the "swap your entire team" part in a heartbeat. Obviously I get the frustration from Vikings/Chargers/etc. fans and so I can see how they would be like "yah sucking is fine Super Bowl plz" but really that's just historical bad luck for the Vikings: most of their success came during a period when the NFL didn't really have parity, so being extremely good over a long period isn't enough to make anything likely. No one can predict anything from the Chargers, really.

Points: 0

#13 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 08, 2022 - 11:51am

For those not familiar, this list includes all the Super Bowl winners since 2000 except the Giants and Rams (plus Dallas, Minnesota, Tennessee, the Chargers, Falcons, and Dolphins). 

Personally if I'm a Lions or Browns fan, I'm taking the "swap your entire team" part in a heartbeat

I would much rather be the Giants than be the Chargers.

Frankly, I'd rather be the Lions than be the Chargers, Falcons, or Titans, and I'd have to really think about wanting to be the Vikings. The Lions at least do have titles (sorry Minnesota and Atlanta) and in an A-league (sorry Chargers). The Chargers are cursed just as badly as the Lions, and in an even more frustrating way.

I'll put it this way -- I think Detroit's situation is better than that of the Browns, Chargers, and Cardinals and probably the Falcons and Jags. I think Minnesota or Buffalo is just jumping from a frying pan to a fire. Dallas and the LA teams are owned by alien horrors walking around in skin suits and I hate rooting for anything associated with them, and the Rams are also an extremely frustrating team for their fans, ownership aside. I'm leery of the south Florida teams.

There are a bunch of teams I would not want to be a fan of. So I just take my cursed title and happily accept not having to root for Jerruh Jones. There are worse things than Satan.

Points: 0

#23 by Pat // Dec 08, 2022 - 12:33pm

So I just take my cursed title and happily accept not having to root for Jerruh Jones. There are worse things than Satan.

Except the problem is that in the deal, Satan wipes your memory, so you don't actually know why it's happening. And enduring 9 years of abject failure is bad. Really bad. It forced the Browns to be so desperate for a victory that they signed Deshaun Watson to an insane contract because, well, why else would anyone go to Cleveland.

Again, I don't think any team in the NFL has ever had 9 consecutive division last-place finishes. But it's close, with New Browns at 7. So yes, your cursed title does come with a strong risk of signing a sexual predator to a guaranteed contract to be the face of your favorite team.

Points: 0

#27 by robbbbbb // Dec 08, 2022 - 12:46pm

Every time someone mentions Cleveland in this fashion I have flashbacks to Ichiro on the subject:

"To tell the truth, I'm not excited to go to Cleveland, but we have to. If I ever saw myself saying I'm excited going to Cleveland, I'd punch myself in the face, because I'm lying."

Points: 1

#29 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 08, 2022 - 12:51pm

Lions were last or second from last from 2000-2010. They tied in two of those years, and were 1 game out of last in two others. The Cardinals have managed it, too. The Saints managed 12 seasons.

I know what abject, hopeless failure looks like. My team has hired an ex-Patriots assistant.

That's like doing a deal with the devil and getting nothing in return.

Points: 0

#35 by Pat // Dec 08, 2022 - 12:57pm

Lions were last or second from last from 2000-2010.

Right. So not  last. Second from last is not last. No 9-7 team, no 7-9 team, no years where as bad as you are, at least the Bears are worse. You're the worst. All the time.

I know what abject, hopeless failure looks like

And I know what it looks like when there's a divisional rival who previously won a Super Bowl but now turned into a hapless bumbling team that you laugh at hilariously, even though you've never won one.

That's what you're hoping for. To become Jerry Jones's Cowboys in the early 2000s.

Points: 0

#61 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 08, 2022 - 1:38pm

That's what you're hoping for. To become Jerry Jones's Cowboys in the early 2000s.

What you don't understand is Bills fans would have killed to do just that.

You know how much joy you get as a 6-10 from someone else finishing 5-11? None. 2nd-to-last has no surplus utility versus last.

Points: 2

#64 by Pat // Dec 08, 2022 - 2:22pm

 

You know how much joy you get as a 6-10 from someone else finishing 5-11? None.

You and I have very different experiences as fans.

Points: 0

#70 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 08, 2022 - 3:00pm

What's your experience as a fan?

In full disclosure, I don't know who you root for.

Points: 1

#85 by Pat // Dec 08, 2022 - 3:58pm

For me (as an Eagles fan), the season's only a real failure if the Cowboys do better. Losing to the Cowboys is frustrating (but survivable) so long as the Eagles have more success overall. Even 2020 came super-close to not being a failure - it was only those last two damn losses that did it.

Pretty universal feeling as well among my group of fans too. I feel like a lot of this is because the NFC East (*) is just so ridiculously close in terms of distance. I mean, yeah, you've got Dallas, but Dallas has friggin' fans everywhere. So when I was younger we ran into divisional fans all. the. time. And the 90s were just goddamn insufferable with the Giants, Dallas, and Washington all winning.

The Super Bowl loss in 2004 really wasn't that big a deal to me: squashing the crap out of the rest of the NFC East that year was just so, so satisfying.

(*: yes I know the Cardinals were in the NFC East for 30+ years, but you don't run into random Cardinals fans in the NY/PHI/WAS metro area)

(**: I also wonder if this is a "Pennsylvania and surrounding states" thing, because it's also true for a lot of college football in this area too. I don't give a crap about the national championship, it's fun, but whatever - beat the crap out of your rivals and I'm happy)

Points: 0

#91 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 08, 2022 - 5:12pm

As a Lions fan, I mostly hate the Bears. I hate how officials fawn over the Packers, but that's only when they are good. Lindy Infante wasn't getting any calls. (Also, growing up near Detroit, you hated all things Chicago -- Bears, Cubs, Sox, Blackhawks, Bulls, hot dogs)

The distance thing, I dunno about. Maybe it's because I've lived in weird fandom inflection points. We lived in a Bears area, my cousins were Cheeseheads, and my college was about 3:3:3:1 Lions-Vikings-Packers-Bears. But we didn't really hate anyone when they sucked, except maybe Chicago. And mostly that's because the Bears are simply awful to watch when they suck.

I'll put it this way -- I probably dislike the Cowboys more than I hate any other NFC North team.

Points: 0

#69 by Mike B. In Va // Dec 08, 2022 - 2:58pm

The man speaks the truth. 3rd or last makes no difference.

Points: 1

#32 by Raiderfan // Dec 08, 2022 - 12:54pm

Tanier gave an excellent breakdown of the situation and a way to fix it, but if you are going all in on improvement, why not trade Donald?  There must be at least a couple of teams that would trade the moon for him…like the Raiders, hopefully.

Am I missing something, like cap/contract constraints?

And I am obviously not a die hard Lions fan, but I am a little surprised.  They are a really fun team to watch.  I just watched a “QB School” breakdown of them against Rodgers and the D looked much better than I had been led to believe.  And a Ringer breakdown on the offense and Geoff’s performance was also complimentary.  With all those young, good pieces, and the Rams high pick for 2023, I am surprised people are not higher on them.

 

Points: 0

#36 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 08, 2022 - 12:58pm

With all those young, good pieces, and the Rams high pick for 2023, I am surprised people are not higher on them.

You know how Will hate-watches an 11-2 Vikings team because he in no way trusts them?

The Lions are like that, but without the historical competence. Never, ever, ever, trust the Lions with a lead.

Points: 1

#89 by Joey-Harringto… // Dec 08, 2022 - 4:15pm

Whenever the national media starts praising the Lions, I pretty much expect them to implode, because that's been my experience with them.  To quote Zendaya, if you expect disappointment, you can never be disappointed.

"Never, ever, ever, trust the Lions with a lead."

They were leading the Jaguars by 3+ possessions from the 2nd quarter on, and I was half-expected Trevor Lawrence to lead a legendary comeback until about 5 minutes left in the game.

Points: 1

#63 by JoelBarlow // Dec 08, 2022 - 2:20pm

The weird/interesting angle to all this is ... the Rams don't really have fans

The Rams in their current form easily have the second fewest long-term, deeply emotionally invested # of fans in the league, ahead of only the Chargers.

They're less a professional sports franchise than a dynasty sim in Madden. 

In that sense, I suspect that winning a SB and then immediately being very very bad for multiple years is probably bad for business. At the very least it doesn't continue the revenue generation. 

Points: 1

#72 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 08, 2022 - 3:01pm

Are there actual living Cardinals fans? Or are they just CoD NPCs?

Do the Florida teams have real fans?

Points: 0

#97 by BigRichie // Dec 08, 2022 - 7:34pm

Yes, the Dolphins definitely have fans. (who for understandable climatological reasons don't much travel to watch their team)

Points: 0

#2 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 08, 2022 - 10:49am

Ironically, the more visceral your fandom, the more likely you are to regret trading the entire future for one parade.

Tanier, prior to 2018, you would have murdered your mother for the chance to watch Nick Foles out-duel Tom Brady.

Visceral fans of bad teams would take the win and run. Flags fly forever.

Points: 5

#20 by IlluminatusUIUC // Dec 08, 2022 - 12:26pm

Right, Mike's is 100% the mentality of someone who has seen the parade. If Buffalo comes out of the early 90s with one single stinkin' ring, the entirety of the subsequent 2 decades have a very different feel.

Points: 3

#21 by Pat // Dec 08, 2022 - 12:27pm

Tanier, prior to 2018, you would have murdered your mother for the chance to watch Nick Foles out-duel Tom Brady.

I wouldn't have. And yes, seriously, that's not hindsight: not winning a Super Bowl while being a top-end team sucked, but there are way too many benefits to give up. Being a disaster of a team in the 90s nearly made me stop watching football altogether, and that wasn't 9 straight years of last place. Which would mean 9 straight years of the Cowboys doing better. Dear God.

To be clear, I don't think any team has ever had 9 straight years of last place. The Browns only had 7. Also to clarify, Mike on Twitter clarified he meant "last place in the division" which I think is a lot closer of a decision. If it was last place in the league (which no team has ever gotten close to) that'd be a gigantic "hell no" from me.

If it was 9 straight years of last place, that might actually cost you the team.

Points: 0

#40 by Pat // Dec 08, 2022 - 1:02pm

I'm actually curious what franchise has the record for most consecutive last-in-the-league place finishes. I don't think anyone's gotten past 2. It's hard to search because draft picks can be traded, obviously. I don't think anyone in the modern NFL has more than 2.

Points: 0

#46 by KnotMe // Dec 08, 2022 - 1:15pm

Yeah, couldn't find anything. Although 2 in a row was more common than I thought. The Browns and Bucs seem to be the only teams that have had back2back #1 picks twice. 

Points: 0

#59 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 08, 2022 - 1:33pm

Tying for last place but getting the 2nd pick feels worse than actually being last.

Points: 1

#41 by KnotMe // Dec 08, 2022 - 1:05pm

Honestly, I don't find last place in the division vs last place overall much of a difference. Both are terrible.  Last overall is nice as you don't have any shot at hope. I think the 6+ wildcard spots are the worst. Intellectually, you know there is basically no chance, but you get teased anyway. 

Points: 0

#62 by colonialbob // Dec 08, 2022 - 1:39pm

I disagree, for a couple reasons, but one of them I didn't think about until I saw you mention picks above - if you're finishing last place in the league 9 years in a row, that means you've had at least one first overall QB bust, if not several. Remember, you forget the deal happened, so you're going to go through a few cycles of hope and then disappointment when they just keep not panning out. Sure, there's a chance you'll draft a really good player first overall and they just aren't enough to elevate the team, but it's way more likely to imagine you're just gonna get underwhelming players and busts for a full decade of drafts.

Points: 0

#65 by Pat // Dec 08, 2022 - 2:27pm

Honestly, I don't find last place in the division vs last place overall much of a difference.

I think there's a pretty big difference when you're talking about a 9 year stretch. The only way you're that bad for that long is if there's something fundamentally horrible about your team (again, see: Lions, Browns but waaay worse), which means all hope you have is completely false, and you know it.

Last in the division for a long stretch isn't completely nuts if the rest of your division's crazy good (again, mostly see Browns). It's annoying as hell because of the rivalry aspect, though.

But last in the league for that long a stretch is so bad that it has a realistic chance of literally ending your team. Now, to be fair, for fans who aren't quite so tied to the area of their team, that might not be such a big deal, but those are very different fans to me.

Points: 0

#52 by colonialbob // Dec 08, 2022 - 1:20pm

As a Cowboys fan who only has vague young childhood memories of the 90s Super Bowls, and came of age during the Anthony Wright/Quincy Carter/Vinny Testaverde years - I also would certainly not make this deal. The Romo (and to a lesser extent, Dak) years have had some heartbreak, but they were much more enjoyable than even the 6-10 years, much less garbage bottom of division years. Not to mention 9 straight years of watching the Eagles, the Giants, and even the (barf) Commanders outperform you? No thank you.

Points: 0

#92 by Pat // Dec 08, 2022 - 5:53pm

See? See? It's an NFC East thing, I tell you.

And I would've turned that deal down in the 90s too. No way I could put up with being the laughingstock in that division for a decade.

Points: 0

#56 by colonialbob // Dec 08, 2022 - 1:23pm

I actually think that line is very true - I'm not nearly as big a fan of any other sport anymore, so if I were offered that deal for the Texas Rangers I'd sign up for sure, because 9 years where I don't really pay attention to them is not a big loss for me. The Cowboys, though... I'm already trying to improve my ability to not let things like the GB win this year ruin my entire Monday, so signing up for 9 years of that sounds pretty awful unless I was trying to quit football fandom entirely.

Points: 0

#73 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 08, 2022 - 3:02pm

I would sign both the Lions and the Tigers up for this deal.

Honestly, I'm kind of pissed it's not a legitimate offer. I'd love to see either of these teams win a title that I remember.

\I was alive for the Tigers' last WS win.
\\My dad was alive for the Lions' last NFL championship.
\\\Neither of us remember it.

Points: 1

#101 by KP // Dec 09, 2022 - 8:56am

The 1991 Twins got basically this deal and it almost killed baseball in Minnesota forever.

Points: 0

#3 by serutan // Dec 08, 2022 - 10:50am

 The first step will be for them to sober up and perform a roster/budget cleanse. 

 

     If Snead leaves/is fired, Stan should hire Reggie McKenzie to handle this.

Points: 2

#5 by theslothook // Dec 08, 2022 - 10:59am

Imagine the devil appeared on your shoulder and offered you a deal: your favorite team wins one Super Bowl, then finishes in last place for the next nine years. Ol' Scratch even vows to wipe your memory of the pact so the Super Bowl and losing seasons come as a surprise and feels earned. What do you say?

Chiefs fans today would refuse this deal. But I bet before Mahomes arrived, the answer was a resounding yes. Even Bills fans might be split on this Brownian bargain if it was offered to them right now. I think the majority of fans for almost every franchise would accept this bargain.

However, that narrative is too generous for what the Rams did. Their bargain was something like; pump our sb odds by 10-15% but bump up our long term pain probabilities by something like 30-40%. I don't think almost anyone but the Rams would happily accept that tradeoff.

Points: 0

#7 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 08, 2022 - 11:22am

Their bargain was something like; pump our sb odds by 10-15% but bump up our long term pain probabilities by something like 30-40%. I don't think almost anyone but the Rams would happily accept that tradeoff.

Isn't that what the Packers, Bucs, Broncos, Colts, and Browns have done in the last few years? And the Saints since... checks math... 1972?

Points: 1

#10 by theslothook // Dec 08, 2022 - 11:42am

The Packers paying Rodgers doesn't have to imply long term pain. Neither does it have to imply that for the Bucs. The Broncos decision ex ante wasn't seen that way either; they just landed on one of the worst lemons ex post.

The recent Saints are a good example, but even that one isn't as extreme as this.

Frankly, I can't remember a team trading half a decades worth of first rounders and tying up their cap so heavily into four players like the Rams have done.

Points: 1

#30 by Pat // Dec 08, 2022 - 12:52pm

The Packers paying Rodgers doesn't have to imply long term pain

Huh? Why? They're borrowing incredibly hard from the future, and they gave up all of their leverage with Rodgers. If Rodgers wants to keep playing, even though the team clearly knows he's a shell of his former self, they have no ability to get rid of him without help.

It's not a 9-year long pain or anything, but it's clearly at least 2-3. Which could stretch longer, too, depending on what decisions they need to make.

Points: 0

#31 by theslothook // Dec 08, 2022 - 12:54pm

If he was still a top 10 QB, it's an overpay but not so crippling that they have no shot at a SB. It looks crippling now because he has been far worse than they expected.

Points: 1

#43 by Pat // Dec 08, 2022 - 1:05pm

Yeah, I figured the "long term pain" percent increase included the chance that he would decline hard (or get repeatedly injured and keep trying to come back or something). But yeah, obviously if you couple "Rodgers keeps playing at an MVP level" to paying for him, as bad as it is, you can manage for a few years.

But, in fact, the inability to get out of that deal (giving up leverage regardless of what happens) was them adding that risk to the deal. If it was a more flexible deal I wouldn't have a problem.

Points: 0

#78 by theslothook // Dec 08, 2022 - 3:09pm

But the move doesn't have to imply a 7 year long odyssey unless Rodgers goes from MVP to bad player immediately. That probability was always there, as I and you both warned everyone in Rodgers extension thread, but notice how easily it was dismissed.

Points: 0

#86 by Pat // Dec 08, 2022 - 4:04pm

But the move doesn't have to imply a 7 year long odyssey unless Rodgers goes from MVP to bad player immediately.

It's just the fact that you're basically handing all control of the franchise over to Rodgers. Eventually he was going to get to the point where he'd decline (he's not Brady) and because the Packers essentially had no ability to do anything, it was always going to be a longer divorce than normal.

Points: 0

#8 by Tutenkharnage // Dec 08, 2022 - 11:29am

I agree that the narrative is far too generous. The Rams basically guaranteed several bad years by trading all those picks, because the NFL doesn’t work like the NBA, where the best players can carry a bad supporting cast with regularity. People are cutting them a lot of slack because they won the Super Bowl, but I think this is an easy case of “bad process, great result.”

Points: 1

#38 by Harris // Dec 08, 2022 - 1:01pm

If Tartt catches the easiest INT of his professional life, the narrative is entirely different.

Points: 2

#15 by JS // Dec 08, 2022 - 11:53am

However, that narrative is too generous for what the Rams did. Their bargain was something like; pump our sb odds by 10-15% but bump up our long term pain probabilities by something like 30-40%.

Exactly. Had the Rams lost to SF or Cincinnati, they would be getting excoriated right now. And that easily could have happened. Or they could have lost to KC or Buf in the Super Bowl. Or GB could have beaten SF, and then the Rams in GB. Or any of a dozen other things.

Yes, flags fly forever, and we only live in the world where LA did win the Super Bowl. Good for them. They should consider themselves lucky, not geniuses, because they absolutely are going to pay the price.

Once people have an idea that works, they tend to mindlessly repeat executing that idea forever. Fortunately LA is not in a position to continue executing that idea. It will be interesting to see what they do, and who does it.

Points: 2

#95 by CuseFanInSoCal // Dec 08, 2022 - 6:29pm

I mean, extremely cold weather even by January in Green Bay standards and your power back being injured early and epic special teams failures even by the standards of the worst special teams in the league happen in the same game all the time ...

Points: 0

#55 by BigRichie // Dec 08, 2022 - 1:23pm

They will give 'stars and scrubs' one more try next year. Upon going 7-10 this Sean also will 'retire' and wait for a dream job to open up. The GM, having no such options, will GM away till Kroenke fires him in a year or two. Kroenke will then sell the team.

Points: -1

#25 by Pat // Dec 08, 2022 - 12:36pm

But I bet before Mahomes arrived, the answer was a resounding yes.

Before Mahomes arrived, the Chiefs had multiple years of playoff success with the consensus-by-far best coach to never win a Super Bowl.

Taking that deal at that point would be an insane mistake. Mahomes didn't magically arrive to the Chiefs and make them a Super Bowl contender. The Chiefs got Mahomes because they already were one. (And in actuality, that's literally somewhat true, because Mahomes gamed the pre-draft process to ensure he got drafted by the Chiefs).

Points: 0

#39 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 08, 2022 - 1:01pm

Before Mahomes arrived, the Chiefs had multiple years of playoff success with the consensus-by-far best coach to never win a Super Bowl.

Do you mean Reid or Schottenheimer?

Points: 0

#68 by Pat // Dec 08, 2022 - 2:45pm

Do you mean Reid or Schottenheimer?

Schottenheimer was only the consensus best coach to never win the Super Bowl for maybe 2 or 3 years in the mid-90s. By the early 2000s, both Dungy and Cowher were arguably better and by the time Dungy and Cowher shed that criticism Reid was pretty clearly better, since they had similar win percentages but Reid had vastly more success in the playoffs.

But yeah, Kansas City's ability to have great coaches who couldn't win The Big One is pretty much unparalleled.

Points: 0

#76 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 08, 2022 - 3:08pm

They had Vermeil*, too!

Marty is one of the greatest regular-season coaches ever. He's 8th in games over .500 and 6th in playoff seasons. And he was 6th and 4th when he retired.
https://www.pro-football-reference.com/coaches/

\* post-ring, admittedly

Points: 1

#87 by Pat // Dec 08, 2022 - 4:08pm

Marty is one of the greatest regular-season coaches ever.

Greatest regular-season coach doesn't mean greatest coach to not win the Super Bowl, though. In the mid/early 1990s, Schottenheimer looked like a typical great coach being snakebitten in the playoffs a few times. By the early 2000s it was clear he was something different.

Dungy, Cowher, and Reid weren't that at all. They all had plenty of postseason success, just falling a bit short - basically all for the same reason (running into the freight train of a dynasty). It was plenty obvious to any sane fan that all three of them could win the Super Bowl.

Points: 0

#94 by tjb // Dec 08, 2022 - 6:28pm

The Bills were going to take Mahomes - Terry Pegula was apparently obsessed with drafting him - if they didn't trade that pick. McDermott got cold feet about taking a QB with a stub FO before he had even met his team and Pegula conceded the point.  It probably worked out best for everyone involved the way it played out though.

Points: 0

#11 by andrew // Dec 08, 2022 - 11:48am

Obviously the reason the Vikings have never won a superbowl is all these other teams that made deals with infernal entities to win it over them.

I can rest easily at night knowing my team has no such damnation-fueled trophies on their shelf.

 

 

Points: 5

#16 by theslothook // Dec 08, 2022 - 12:03pm

The numbering system for the comments seems to be off in the main page.

Points: 0

#18 by BroncFan07 // Dec 08, 2022 - 12:22pm

I appreciate that the Satan deal exercise was actually a cover by night shot at Broncos fans, who are now in Year 7 of the deal none of us remember making in 2015, which perfectly checks out with the rules. Apparently we were afraid of getting nothing out of the Manning years other than a bunch of wins and "look, Brady won more Super Bowls in that span" ridicule. The thing is, the team would have done this last 7 years anyway. So imagine how bad I'd feel if they didn't beat Carolina. Well done, Mike.

The deal, though, is that you have to determine what your end game is as a fan. If it's "I want to see the team win a Super Bowl once in my lifetime" then you may be working on your handshake. Of course, fans of teams who have won recently won't make that deal. Chiefs fans may have done it 10 years ago when they actually were losing to Denver all the time; now they would just laugh at it. But let's consider fans of a team like the Miami Dolphins. That team has been to 5 Super Bowls and won 2. I was born the year of the season of their last win. So in my lifetime, they won 1 SB I wasn't cognizant of, and appeared in 2 others, haven't been in an AFCC game since the mid-90s, and haven't been relevant until this season since Marino retired. So, someone my age that has never seen the team come even close to the Super Bowl, why would you have not taken this deal? At least you would have had that one good season.

Here are some stats to consider with the league as currently constructed with 32 teams:

Number of teams who have won a Super Bowl: 20

Number of teams with a single title: 5

Number of teams who have never appeared in a SB: 4 (and they're not making it this year)

Number of teams who have only appeared in 1 SB: 4

Lesson: it's actually hard to go to a Super Bowl, much less win one. Except for the first 2 decades of the 2000s Patriots.

Obviously this is a silly exercise and everyone views the game differently. I'm speaking as a fan who's been fortunate enough to see my team play in 8 Super Bowls (7 that can remember watching) and win 3 of them. So the pressing for another one is not as great and I can just play golf rather than watch what the team has become since. Oh yeah, 13 total teams have played in 2 or fewer Super Bowls. 

Points: 1

#24 by theslothook // Dec 08, 2022 - 12:35pm

Did the Broncos trade future championship equity for the present? I suppose they kind of did by signing Ware + Talib + Welker during the Manning era. Those were all higher priced free agents that someone like the Packers rarely if ever goes after. But its not exactly going "all in". And its hard to believe those moves are the reason the Broncos are in this crappy situation.

I think, in reality, the move that left them here was drafting Paxton Lynch. When he busted, for whatever reason, Elway seemed determined not to go the first round QB route again and thus began the series of dominoes that have led to the current Broncos. 

Anyways, there appear to be flavors of all in. If you think Mahomes is getting close to the end of his career, it does make sense to lard up your roster for one last push because honestly, Mahomes like QBs are just so rare that it is better to go for it. Sure, it can look foolish if you happen to have Aaron Rodgers as the successor in the wings, but most of the time its Brian Griese who is your successor. So in that context, it makes sense.

The Rams are different. They didn't have Mahomes and thus their odds were much much lower and less easy to justify ex ante. Lots of us wondered what would happen if any one of the Rams stars got injured. This season shows exactly why we were afraid of that downside risk. 

 

Points: 0

#26 by BroncFan07 // Dec 08, 2022 - 12:46pm

Agree on the Paxton Lynch point. And to think, Jerry Jones was licking his chops at the prospect of drafting him and was crushed when Denver swooped in. How things may have been different if Denver had simply kept their picks and then taken Dak Prescott later instead. 

Points: 0

#42 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 08, 2022 - 1:05pm

Lots of us wondered what would happen if any one of the Rams stars got injured. This season shows exactly why we were afraid of that downside risk. 

The Rams lost both Woods and Beckham last year. And most of their RBs.

What has really hurt the Rams is losing their O-line.

Points: 0

#60 by theslothook // Dec 08, 2022 - 1:38pm

The Rams lost both Woods and Beckham last year. And most of their RBs.

This is a bit misleading. Woods was lost in the middle and replaced by Beckham who was healthy and valuable until literally the first quarter of the SB. 

And if you are going to lose a position group, RB is by far the least damaging. 

I really was referring to what would happen if Stafford, Kupp, Ramsay, or Donald were injured. Basically, the team would be toast. That's, by comparison, not true if the Bills lost one of Diggs, Hyde, or Miller. 

Points: 0

#75 by Mike B. In Va // Dec 08, 2022 - 3:06pm

That's, by comparison, not true if the Bills lost one of Diggs, Hyde, or Miller. 

Man, this hurts. 

Points: 0

#84 by theslothook // Dec 08, 2022 - 3:55pm

The Bills are still the favorite aren't they? Maybe the Eagles have taken over the Sb odds now? But definitely now that the Bills have regained to the top seed, they have a real shot still. A crap weather game in Buffalo should help.

Points: 0

#79 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 08, 2022 - 3:09pm

And if you are going to lose a position group, RB is by far the least damaging. 

Tell that to the Ravens!

It's probably TE for the Rams. But they ended that year as a MASH unit that looked a lot like how they started this season -- they had a WR1 and nothing else.

Points: 0

#28 by Pat // Dec 08, 2022 - 12:48pm

 

I appreciate that the Satan deal exercise was actually a cover by night shot at Broncos fans, who are now in Year 7

No, you're not. You're not even close. You've only had 3 consecutive last-place finishes since the Super Bowl. That deal would mean that the team would have to crater way harder than the Broncos did. Guaranteed last place. No 9-7 years, or a 7-9 year where you can say "hey at least everyone else is struggling." Your team's the worst, and all your rivals are better.

Personally I think the exercise is more fun as "guaranteed worst in the league" since that's much farther from something that's happened. I think it's a closer call as "last in the division."

Here are some stats to consider with the league as currently constructed with 32 teams:

I've pointed this out before, and yes it drives Vikings fans nuts, but sadly, the league's much different than it was last century.

But every single team in the top 10 of winning percentage since 2000 has won a Super Bowl. Every one. And there are only 2 teams who haven't been in the top 10 who did (Rams and Giants).

The "Satan deal" poll is obviously silly, but a more interesting choice is "would you prefer your team to go super all-in for a high chance at a Super Bowl if it meant they sucked for years afterwards," and (to me at least) the correct answer is "no." It's pretty overwhelmingly obvious that "one hit wonder" type contender teams (Panthers, Bears, Falcons, Cardinals, etc.) are at a disadvantage.

Points: 0

#37 by KnotMe // Dec 08, 2022 - 1:00pm

The plus side of 9 years of last place finishes is you might be primed for another run when the 9 years ends.  I'm assuming some bad drafts early on to get you to 9, but some good hits in those last 3 years could put you back in when the payments are finished. 

Points: 0

#66 by Pat // Dec 08, 2022 - 2:35pm

The plus side of 9 years of last place finishes is you might be primed for another run when the 9 years ends. 

Yeah, this is trying to cheat a Devil's deal, though. The only way you screw yourself so bad that you're horrendous for a decade is if you were never actually good to begin with, and you're a fundamentally screwed up franchise. Again - pretty sure no team's ever had that bad a stretch. Ever. And back in the early NFL days with less parity, it was way easier to be bad for long.

Really, the Cowboys analogy is a good one, although "three Super Bowls for a decade of mediocrity" is more of a 'duh' trade. But if you imagine a supercharged version of the 90s Cowboys, where, I dunno, they win the Super Bowl this year on some fluke fumble return touchdown, but fire Dan Campbell because he's getting too much credit and bring back Matt Millen but this time as a coach and GM, sign Jared Goff to a 6-year, $400M fully guaranteed contract, and you watch year after year as Millen (now praised as a new wunderkind) drafts a RB first overall saying "he's the new Barry Sanders, really this time, we're America's team, they all love us!" While at the same time rolling out his new "6 WR all the time" formation and surgically putting Goff's body back together as he's destroyed over and over.

Really, the whole deal sucks for Lions fans because they know they're screwed either way. So yeah, obviously, they're gonna take the championship. But in the end, it's really, really not gonna help.

Points: 0

#80 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 08, 2022 - 3:12pm

Millen (now praised as a new wunderkind)

There are limits to Satan's power.

Points: 1

#81 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 08, 2022 - 3:16pm

drafts a RB first overall saying "he's the new Barry Sanders, really this time, we're America's team, they all love us!" While at the same time rolling out his new "6 WR all the time" formation and surgically putting Goff's body back together as he's destroyed over and over.

Also, I can't help but point out that if you cut-and-paste "Billy Sims" for "Barry Sanders", you have basically described the Lions circa 1988.

Only with a SB title in hand instead of Darryl Rogers going 4-12. You could also swap Jared Goff with Eric Hipple, Rusty Hilger, Chuck Long, Bob Gagliano, Rodney Peete, Erik Kramer, or Andre Ware.

Points: 1

#88 by Pat // Dec 08, 2022 - 4:13pm

That's why I said for Lions fans it kinda sucks, because, well, no matter what, you're screwed, and so you figure hey, at least one way I'll have a championship.

But of course the real thing you want to ask the Devil for is a competently-run franchise. Might not get you the win as quick, but it'll come, and you'll get the intermediate benefit of laughing your ass off with years of victory over the Packers.

Points: 0

#44 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 08, 2022 - 1:11pm

That deal would mean that the team would have to crater way harder than the Broncos did. Guaranteed last place. No 9-7 years, or a 7-9 year where you can say "hey at least everyone else is struggling."

https://www.pro-football-reference.com/years/1995/index.htm

Check out the 1995 AFC West, when three teams tied for last at 8-8.

https://www.pro-football-reference.com/years/2002/index.htm

Two divisions did it in 2002.

Last place teams can still be pretty good, and even in missing the playoffs can screw their rivals.

 

Points: 0

#67 by Pat // Dec 08, 2022 - 2:37pm

 

Last place teams can still be pretty good, and even in missing the playoffs can screw their rivals.

That's why I said that the "last place in your division" is a ton iffier. If the deal literally was "your team will be bottom-of-the-barrel Browns bad for 9 years" that's a lot different. That's a fandom-killing stretch.

Points: 0

#45 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 08, 2022 - 1:14pm

It's pretty overwhelmingly obvious that "one hit wonder" type contender teams (Panthers, Bears, Falcons, Cardinals, etc.) are at a disadvantage.

The Cardinals are the oldest team in the NFL. They have one legitimate title. There may not be a tomorrow.

Those teams don't get next chances (Bears aside; they suck out loud on offense, but their DEF+ST gets really good every few years). You take your shot when you get your chance.

\it's interesting to consider that they actually took this deal in 1925.

Points: 0

#57 by BroncFan07 // Dec 08, 2022 - 1:24pm

The way I see it, though, is missing the playoffs 7 years in a row is the same thing as finishing in last place. Because if you miss the playoffs, who cares if you were 3rd in the AFC West. I know for purposes of this exercise it was "guaranteed last place", whatever that meant as far as division or league. 

Points: 0

#74 by theslothook // Dec 08, 2022 - 3:05pm

See, you are confirming by now dead horse comment. Expected utility by wins is a flat line with one giant spike.

I know plenty of Ne fans who cannot bear to revisit the 07 season. That kind of says it all 

Points: 1

#82 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 08, 2022 - 3:20pm

That's not entirely true.

There is value in that first one. I kind of enjoy the Overfeated season, but it lost its luster when the Browns plagiarized it. 

I would also enjoy the Lions just making a Super Bowl. Not nearly as much as winning it, but that would be a satisfying season. Patriots fans are spiled and insufferable. You can't use them for any sort of sane baseline on expectations.

Points: 1

#90 by Pat // Dec 08, 2022 - 4:15pm

I know plenty of Ne fans who cannot bear to revisit the 07 season. That kind of says it all 

Yeah, it says Patriots fans are... eh, I can't really say it here. Use your imagination.

If you can't enjoy a season where you beat the trash out of all your rivals week in and week out because of one weekend, I dunno what you're watching the games for. Just watch the Super Bowl. If you win, go back and watch the rest of the season. If you don't, you save yourself a bunch of time.

Points: 2

#99 by Scott P. // Dec 09, 2022 - 1:20am

As a Pats fan the 2007 season was incredibly fun. Everything running on all cylinders. The SB loss hurt so much more because it was the Giants than because it prevented 19-0 -- god I hate the Giants. The SB loss to Philly doesn't sting 1% as much.

Points: 0

#102 by Pat // Dec 09, 2022 - 1:33pm

There's a difference between saying a season hurts and saying you won't watch it again (or, for the less-insane who don't rewatch stuff, won't watch documentaries/stories/etc. on it). The Eagles SB loss in '04 hurt a ton because that also was an insanely fun season that turned "oh f'crying out loud" bad with Owens's injury and then almost came back from it. Oh, and the entire rest of the NFC East was absolute trash. That ruled.

But man, the idea that I would just toss that season in the trash just because they didn't win? Hell no. I friggin' watched the Brady documentary on that year just to hear the Patriots side of that game.

Of course losing hurts. But if the only way you get enjoyment is if your team wins the Super Bowl? Man, that's a weird friggin' fan.

Points: 1

#103 by theslothook // Dec 09, 2022 - 1:51pm

I think its a matter of taste. I can't revisit the 09 season the way it ended. I can still revisit 04 and enjoy that season, but some seasons are too painful for me. 05 was another. 

Points: 1

#104 by theslothook // Dec 09, 2022 - 3:07pm

07 really was a season with much more at stake than a sb. I can understand why Pats fans can't revist that season. Lots of Patriots players talk about that season full of regret. 

Points: 0

#34 by KnotMe // Dec 08, 2022 - 12:56pm

The "base expectation" for superbowl wins is probably 1 every 32 years since there are 32 teams. Which is....maybe 2 in a fans lifetime at best, esp if you want to enjoy them..  If you put it that way, the win+9 years of suck doesn't sound THAT bad. I would take it to ensure another win. Even with a HOF QB you usually only win 1-2. 

Any team with young QB that hasn't won yet is probably the only case where I would have to really think about the deal since there is some possiblity of 2 in the window or that you could have 10 years of competence and win one anyway.. So...Bills. . Still might want to take the deal honestly. 

Points: 2

#19 by Romodini // Dec 08, 2022 - 12:26pm

If Donald gets divorced and Ramsey gets dumped, I don't think McVay is sticking around. He already said something along the lines of his fate is tied to the key players being there. I can't understand the Donald extension from any other angle -- ownership must have extended him just to make sure McVay stayed. 

Points: 0

#22 by IlluminatusUIUC // Dec 08, 2022 - 12:31pm

It's interesting that the LA sports fan was essentially offered this deal: Either you can have an all-out blitz for a single title (LeBron's Lakers, Rams) or you can have repeated close calls that never amount to anything (USC, the recent Clippers).

Points: 0

#58 by colonialbob // Dec 08, 2022 - 1:33pm

My biggest question is.... Mike, did you first pitch this article with the original name of the game??

Points: 2

#93 by mathesond // Dec 08, 2022 - 6:23pm

I think my 2nd favourite thing about this thread is no posts telling me how much money Google could pay me each month. (The first being the discussion itself)

Points: 3

#96 by Kaepernicus // Dec 08, 2022 - 6:54pm

As a 49ers fan pushing 40 I would definitely not take that deal. I was not even in high school yet for the last SB win and it was the best sports moment of my life. Getting to see it as a kid is something else. Getting one now still wouldn't touch that feeling. Losing the SB sucks but is also better than not making it. Those 2 weeks of lead up where there are only 2 teams anyone is talking about are awesome. Losing a conference championship game is also better than not making it. I will never forget the pain of the 2011/1990 NY Giants losses, 1992/93 Cowboys losses, 1997 Packers loss, 2013 Seahawks loss, or 2021 Rams loss. But I will always remember beating the Rams in 1989, Cowboys in 1994, ATL in 2012, and GB in 2019. You know what games suck far more than all of those losses? Getting bounced by the Packers and Falcons before the NFCCG to end Steve Young's career. Beating the Giants in 2002 and then getting stomped by TB in the divisional round.

As I have aged I have learned to love the revenge/rivalry scenarios more than anything else. Returning the favor to GB by destroying the majority of their HOF QB's playoff career. Knocking the Cowboys out in Dallas in their best season in decades. Coming back to knock off a fantastic Falcons team on the road as revenge for the dirty birds in 1998.

The worst periods of fandom were easily the post TO/Garcia salary dump 49ers who were miserable from 2004-2010 and the post Harbaugh team after everyone retired or went to jail. Being a fan of an untalented roster with awful coaching is the worst. The only redeeming quality of those awful 2000's teams was watching Bryant Young wrap up a HOF career. The post Harbaugh team was all about rooting for Bowman, Staley, and Gore. 

 The best case scenario for SF this year would be to win the division and knock the Seahawks out of the playoffs with a 3rd string rookie QB. Honestly don't care what happens after that.

Points: 0

#98 by theslothook // Dec 08, 2022 - 8:31pm

I live in the Bay area and I am surrounded by 49er fans. The one's I discuss Football nerdom the most would probably take the deal. 9 years is worth the tradeoff. 20 years is a way different story. 

Points: 0

#106 by greybeard // Dec 09, 2022 - 8:28pm

I became a 49ers fan in 2002 and live in Bay Area and would not take that deal. 2000s were pretty bad and 49ers did not win SB in the 2010s but it was fun to be a 49ers fan during that time. 
It much better to have the excitement every year then have it for one year and put something on a record book and suffer for a decade. 
 

Points: 0

#100 by Will Allen // Dec 09, 2022 - 7:05am

Eh, I started really tempering my hopes by January, 1988, and by January, 2010, the process was complete. If I get a competent, very physical defense, a competent, at least somewhat physical offensive line, and they are still in contention for the playoffs as the ball is kicked off for the last regular season game, I'm a pretty happy fan. I can take all the Wade Wilsonitude, Tavaris Jacksoning, and even The Ponderous Ones, that the world can serve to me, as long as scoring on my favorite team is difficult and very punishing, opponents get blocked with greater than average frequency. and the tournament is still a possibility on the last Sunday of the regular season. I hate this year's team because they, as A.B. noted, they are utterly untrustworthy, and because they are so aesthetically ugly on defense.

Points: 1

#108 by ImNewAroundThe… // Dec 10, 2022 - 9:48pm

The thing with blowing it up is, you may lose McVay whos already talked about retiring once this core is done. I'd be in no rush to be getting rid of these guys just because of a down year (partially due to injuries). They still have talent outside of them (as evidenced by their most recent win with a QB off waivers).

And yes take the SB. You play to win the game. But like the silly robo punter discussion, it's a pointless hypothetical based in no reality and provides no insight into the actual game of football. Rams fans don't care about this year (I wouldn't). And watch them bounce back next year and all the 11 year doom and gloom turns  (back) to "well...it still wasn't a good idea!" as Rams fans chuckle and stare at their ring. 

Points: 0

Save 10%
& Support Mike
Support Football Outsiders' independent media and Mike Tanier. Use promo code TANIER to save 10% on any FO+ membership and give half the cost of your membership to tip Mike.