Stranger things have happened. An insightful piece on the Superteam Trend in the NBA:
The naturally-formed dynasty seems all but dead in the NBA for the time-being. Forget the solid draft picks and brilliant trades and even the front office; the players will organize everything. NBA players have begun taking front office matters into their own hands, recruiting fellow NBA players to come play for their team and contend for a title. That means guys like Blake Griffin and Kevin Love could find themselves bolting to championship teams once their contracts are up. But that can also mean that teams like the 60s Celtics, the 80s Lakers and Celtics and the 00s Lakers and Spurs, all of whom developed their dynasties through their front office, by drafting the right guys and trading for the right people, instead of solely via free agency, could be replaced by these artificially formed super-teams.
That’s the world of the NBA as it stands right now. Might the world of the NFL mimick it someday soon? What do you think?
My opinion: barring an incredible victory for the players in this CBA standoff that would eliminate cap and roster restrictions, you’re probably not going to see a Superteam Trend in the NBA for several reasons.
1. The money in the NFL isn’t nearly as good as it is in the NBA.
LeBron James chose to go to Miami over returning to Cleveland Cavaliers for less money. But “less money” means a smaller $100 million contract. The biggest NFL contracts don’t compare to the contracts you’re going to see in the NBA or MLB, for a couple reasons I have listed below. Therefore, if you’re choosing between $100 million contracts, you can be choosier about where you land. In the NFL, your choices are typically still for tens of millions, but not a hundred million.
2. Superteams already kind of exist, occasionally.
The Cowboys and 49ers of the 90s frequently brought on numerous star and former star players willing to play on their team for less for a legitimate shot at a championship. The Patriots routinely do that now. The worst kept secret in the NFL is that one of the best free agent recruiters in the league is Tom Brady. It’s part of the reason Junior Seau returned for that history 18-1 season with the Patriots that ended in a Super Bowl loss.
3. Career length is much shorter in the NFL.
By the time players become available for their second contract, and can personally choose who to sign with, they are typically in their mid-to-late 20s and usually have about five years left in their NFL careers. That decreases the incentive to bypass more money for a shot at a title.
4. There are more players on the field in football.
Even if you could somehow engineer a free agency deal that landed you three potential Hall of Famers on your football team, that doesn’t mean much when it takes twenty two starters plus special teams play to net you a championship.
5. Depth is too important in the NFL.
You need eleven quality players on both sides of the ball… assuming nobody gets injured. Football is a much more physical sport than basketball, and you need quality depth to make a run at a title. A Superteam carries with it no guarantee that it will have the depth to be able to do this.