Tag Archives: Sports

Salary Cap Sports: Has it Worked?

The salary cap for professional sports has always been a hotly debated topic. Many of the people in favor of the salary cap have argued that it is a way of leveling the playing field for all competing teams and gives even the low budget, small market teams a chance at competing for a championship. Opponents of the salary cap think that it is a way for owners to keep money out of the hands of the players and keep it for themselves. Some of the questions I will explore in this article include: Has parity been affected due to the implementing or exclusion of a salary cap? What teams have benefited the most or the least from the cap situation? Should the cap be expanded or reduced? I will look at other aspects as well. Buckle up.

How This Began

This research began because of my interest in how the four major sports league in North America, as well as college football and basketball, and my curiosity in the variance of champions in those six sports. In order to get a data set, I had to set a parameter for where to start. I set this by looking at what point did the 4 major sports start to look the most like they do today. I determined this to be the merger of the NBA and ABA in 1976. I chose this because at this point, the Super bowl and NFL had been established for some time, the NHL was coming of age and becoming more like the game we watch today, and baseball was thriving. Basically, it’s the modern age of sports start point.

I first looked at the parity in each league. How often was a unique team winning the title? All leagues have around 20 teams at the start of the data set and have expanded tenfold since. I knew some would be low and some would be high percentages based on prior knowledge of champions. I simply divided the number champions in each respective league by the number of seasons. Here were the results:

  • NBA: 14 teams in 40 season = 35%
  • NHL: 16 teams in 39* seasons = 41%
  • NFL: 16 teams in 40 seasons = 40%
  • MLB: 21 teams in 39* seasons = 53%
  • CFB: 20 teams in 40 seasons = 50%
  • CBB: 19 teams in 40 seasons = 48%

* league with cancelled championship due to work stoppage

I was not surprised to find that the NBA had the least amount of variance. The Lakers, Celtics, Spurs, and Bulls have dominated the landscape in terms of titles since the merger. The next two lowest leagues in terms of title variance were the NFL and the NHL respectively. The NHL saw a huge increase in variance in the 90s as the NFL has seen little variance difference. The New England Patriots have won 5 Super bowls since 1976, the most of any team. that accounts for almost 20% of all the NFL titles. The Broncos, Steelers, 49ers, Redskins and Giants have all won at least 3 Super bowls in that same time span.

On the contrary, The MLB, and major college sports have seen the most variance since the NBA-ABA merger. This was a major surprise to me. These sports are notorious for top heavy, power teams or leagues with repeat champions in conference play. Because of these stats, I then went back into the spreadsheets to look at before and after for leagues with a salary cap in order to see if the variance in the NHL, NFL, and NBA have improved since the implementation of the cap. Here’s what the numbers looked like:

Before Cap

  • NBA: 6 teams from 1977-84 =  75%
  • NHL: 11 teams from 1977-2004= 40%
  • NFL: 7 teams from 1977-94 = 43%

After Cap

  • NBA: 10 teams from 1984 to present= 30%, -45%
  • NHL: 7 teams from 2005 to present = 53%, +13%
  • NFL: 14 teams from 1994 to present= 58 %, +15%

The NBA has clearly trended in the wrong direction since the implementation of the salary cap. I will grant them them small sample size of 8 years for the “before cap” data set but when we expand that out, the parity decreases. The Boston Celtics dominated the early landscape of the NBA. Parity did not exist in the NBA in the early days. The NHL and NFL are trending in the right direction. The NHL has a very young salary cap and it is arguably the most unforgiving one in all of sports. It has allowed teams who have never won a cup before (Carolina, Anaheim, LA) or teams who have not won in decades ( Boston, Chicago, Pittsburgh) to be competitive with the likes of Detroit and Montreal. The NFL data is skewed because of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, both generational, hall of fame NFL icons who have led the Patriots to an ungodly stat line since 2001. It will be interesting to see the NFL landscape after both or one of them retires. The NFL has trended to more parity even with these two legends leading the way so I expect it to increase as time goes on.

Why the Cap?

Based on the numbers, the cap is not a guarantee that parity will increase significantly. Why then, does the cap exist? The answer is the owners. A salary cap is, exactly what it sounds like, to a populist, a way to suppress wages. Without a strong players union, owners keep salary caps so they can not pay market value for a superstar. In baseball, with no cap Giancarlo  Stanton and David Price command contract upwards of $30 million a year because teams are not only paying for their on field services, but increased promotional revenue as a result of them being on their teams. Tom Brady, Sidney Crosby and Lebron James have their sports earning potential capped on their respective teams and, without question, would command similar salaries if the cap was taken out of those sports. For the owners, a cap makes the most business sense and it dupes the public into thinking the league is aiming for more parity.

It will be interesting to see where the trends go in the future. As of this writing on May 23, 2018, The NBA has only teams who have won before in their final four and the NHL has at least a 50% of having a first time winner with Vegas in the final.

Thanks for reading,

Foz

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The Pats Fan Roller Coaster: A Story of Super bowl 49

 

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On the surface, being a 25 year old New England Patriots fan will get you no sympathy from fans of every other sports team across the four major sports in North America. Since I was ten years old, my favorite team has had one head coach, one starting quarterback (save for an injury in 2008 and a 4 game suspension in 2016), and have only missed the playoffs twice (2002 and 2008). I will never complain about supporting this team, but it is not without epic emotional swings during this big games. Super Bowl 49 was the prime example of this. Here’s how the game unfolded in my parent’s living room that fateful night.

Tom Brady INT at Seattle 10, 1st Quarter 0-0: The most uncharacteristic throw I’ve ever seen given the stakes with Brady. Red Zone picks are what the Brandon Weeden’s of the world do, not the greatest QB of all time. Still a lot of time left but my god what a dumb dumb dumb dumb throw. Would have really put Seattle up against it.

Brady to Gronk TD, late 2nd Quarter, Pats 14-6: Seattle covered Gronk with some fat LB split out to the sideline! Pats might hang a hundo on this team! Let’s Go!!!!!!(Brady voice).

Wilson to Mathews TD, super late 2nd Quarter, 14-14: Kyle Arrington should have been cut 3 years ago (but with a lot less nicer language mixed in between). Seattle can double dip now and I’m starting to panic.

Wilson to Baldwin TD, late 3rd Quarter, 24-14 Seattle: I need and adult…

Brady to Amendola TD mid 4th, 24-21 Seattle: Get a stop, get a stop, get a stop, get a stop, get a stop, get a stop!!! The tease is getting too much now. Patriots clearly setting up to break my heart again. Anyone else you’d rather have in this situation than Brady though?

Brady to Edelman TD, Late 4th, 28-24 Pats: IS THERE ANYONE ELSE YOU’D RATHER HAVE! THAT’S MY QUARTERBACK! It would suck to be the fan of another team right now. Brady Brady Brady! (oh yeah, get a freakin stop D!)

Kearse catch, super late 4th, 28-24 Pats: Never meant to get Lombardi IV I guess. 2007 all over again. How much torture can happen. 2005 Super bowl seems like a lifetime ago. Sun questionable to rise in the AM.

Butler INT super duper late 4th, 28-24 Pats: I blacked out and fell off my couch and onto the floor. I still do not remember how I got face down on the floor but my first thoughts after I came too were: “S*** we are way to backed up! How we gonna kneel?! Gotta give them the hard count Tom! Give them the Hard COUNT!” I’v coached football too long to even enjoy the INT for the amazing play it was. I was too concerned with taking the knee to end it. Was sure something would go wrong. My buddy calls me in the moment reacting similar to me. Utter and pure shock.

Brady gets them to jump, Bruce Irvin gets DQ’d Pats win 28-24: The moment Michael Bennett jumped offside was the single happiest moment of my watching the Patriots since Vinatieri’s kick to beat the Rams. Pats win, Super bowl champs against all odds. Tom Brady is the greatest of all time. Felt like I didn’t breathe for 4 straight hours.

This is not by any means a unique experience. I’m positive every other Patriots fan went through this same emotional swing during the game. I never in a thousand years thought I would experience such emotion with this team. My first memories of Patriots’ games were my dad having to find them on the bunny ears with the old TV in the early 90s because they wouldn’t sell out home games and put the game on TV. I had to watch Desmond Howard and Reggie White destroy any hope of a Super Bowl I thought we had in 97. I had to deal with Pete Carroll taking a Super Bowl team and driving them into the ground. Even in 2001, the Pats were 5-5 and using a backup QB before they went on this historic run. I wouldn’t trade this team for anything in the world. Remember when you’re watching the game Sunday between Atlanta and New England that the Pats’ fan base may be insufferable at times, but it’s because our peaks have been as tall as our valley’s have been deep. We live on the extreme ends of the spectrum. Our sports town has had its collective heart’s ripped out by giving up home runs to end seasons, giving up 3-0 series and 3-0 game 7 leads, and miracle catches. We’ve been on the right side of all those things as well. I’m sure Sunday will be no different but, as I wrote for my dad before I went to bed after searching for Championship t-shirts all night after Super Bowl 49, “Thanks for making me a fan of this team!”

@Fozberry64

What to Watch for on Championship Sunday

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(something to consider when rooting against the “cheating” Patriots)

Here’s some interesting things to consider when watching Championship Sunday:

1. Can the Packers win with zero healthy WRs?- The packers WR core is decimated with injury. Nelson is not suiting up for the second week in a row, Davante Adams and Geronimo Allison were both limited or DNPs at practice this week, which leaves only Randall Cobb as a viable threat for Rodgers at the WR position. They will need to be creative with Montgomery and Cook this week in order to pull off the upset on the road in ATL.

2. Will Bennett feast vs the Steelers?- The Patriots offense looked subpar at best vs a very stingy Houston defense. The Steelers are very talented up front but lack the secondary that Houston has. Gronk has typically demolished the Steelers zone coverage schemes in the past. Gronk has 8 TDs and averages almost 100 yards a game in 5 career games vs the Steelers. Can Martellus Bennett come close to this type of production? If so, I like the Patriots chances this weekend.

3. Falcons D containing Aaron Rodgers- What Rodgers is doing, is nothing short of historic. He is putting up ungodly numbers and almost singlehandedly won the game in Dallas last week. The Falcons D was dominant vs Seattle and Russell Wilson last week. Playing at home, in the last game ever at the Georgia Dome, this defense has an opportunity to show the world that they can play.

4. Can Pittsburgh turnover Brady enough to win in Gillette?- Brady has been good for a turnover a game in the playoffs during his hall of fame career. One turnover will not be enough as it has not been enough for other team in the past (New England is 6-3 when Brady only throws one interception in a playoff game). If they can turn him over more than once, they may be able to keep the Patriots under 30 and have a chance.

5. What will the dumb conspiracy be this year?- Pittsburgh has the flu right now, odds are, someone blames the Patriots for biological warfare this week. Just the way it always goes. Last time the Steelers came to Foxboro, they complained that they were getting the radio broadcast in their headsets (sup zo!). Let’s see what ridiculous excuse the NFL decides to believe is the key to the Patriots success this year!

@fozberry64 on twitter

Time to Complain about the BBWA Again

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There has been a hiatus on me complaining about baseball hall of fame voting the past two years. This is only because the last two years were no brainers that not even the most comatose BBWA writer could screw up. Guys like Griffey, Pedro, and Randy Johnson all got in and obviously all deserved their first ballot status. This years ballot was a little less obvious.

The “stars” going into the museum this year are Tim Raines, Jeff Bagwell, and Ivan Rodriguez. On the surface, this doesn’t look to glaring an issue. Pudge was an all time catcher who was the best defensive catcher not only of his generation, but of all time. The eyes told you that but the metrics do too. He has a career defensive WAR of 317. For those new to the stat, that means he accounted for 317 more wins because of his defense than the average catcher over the course of his career. Tim Raines has the second highest baserunning coefficient of all time behind Ricky Henderson. I’m a little too young to have watched Raines, but people tell me he’s the best leadoff hitter ever not named Ricky Henderson. And then Bagwell. Not much to say about him. He was a borderline hall of famer at best based on numbers and by watching him, he never did anything of consequence or drastically affected the game of baseball. He would be first ballot “Hall of Really Really Good” not first ballot hall of fame if it were up to me.

The biggest issue is the people voting. Most of them use this ballot every year to stand on their soapboxes and preach about integrity and playing the game the right way and all that nonsense instead of celebrating the greatness that deserves to be recognized. It is multiplied by a thousand this year because of the hypocrisy of the voters.

This year. The BBWA voted in Bagwell and Rodriguez, both of whom have obvious links to PED use in baseball. Bagwell was on the same thing that McGwire was (which was not outlawed by the MLB at the time). Rodriguez was in the same locker room as notorious PED users Rafael Palmeiro and Jose Canseco. The links are obvious yet the BBWA gets to pick and choose who cheated and who didn’t? If the BBWA wants to take a stance, take a stance. Too many people vote for guys like Bagwell but then leave off Bonds, Clemens and Manny? It’s embarrassing.

The BBWA can take all the stances they want one way or the other. Just don’t tell me you have no time for PED users and then vote in the ones that you like. Bonds, Clemens and Manny were  thousand times the player than Bagwell was. Just vote for the best players! it’s about baseball, not stuffy baseball writers preaching about integrity.

Twitter: @fozberry64

 

Dumb NFL Coach of the Week: Divisional Round

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(similar to this but not even close to the same)

WINNER: JASON GARRETT!

Not going to lie, it was a CLOSE decision. Andy Reid was up to his usual tricks and screwed up the clock enough at the end of the  game where he didn’t have any timeouts and there was zero sense of urgency. Could have easily been him this week but he comes in third. NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Philadelphia Eagles

Also could have been old friend Bill O’Brien! His decision to kick a field goal to stay down 17-16 instead of going for a TD when he has that inept offense deep in the red area was the biggest loser decision ever. He of all people should know that you cannot go into Foxboro and expect to win by kicking field goals in the redzone. It’s just not an option. The second he did that I said, “well that’s dumb, his offense will never be that close again.” Sure enough, they never got in the red area for the rest of the game. Gotta play to win there Bill.

And now to our winner, Jason Garrett. Garrett having his offense spike the ball on First down, with a time out, at the GB 40 yard line with 50 seconds left was the dumbest move of the year. Not only did it leave Rodgers with too much time after kicking the field goal but it took away a down they needed to get the next first down! The play there was for Garrett to take his time out and have 50 seconds to get 5 yards to kick a field goal. 50 seconds is a lot of time to manage. No reason to waste a down with 50 seconds left and you still have a timeout on the edge of Field Goal range! It was maddening. Absolutely the worst coached team this weekend was Dallas. They have a stellar team but with that coach, they will never win anything.

Twitter @fozberry64

Obligatory NFL Divisonal Round picks column

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(Let’s hope this year’s Packers v Cowboys game is as entertaining as the one from 2015)

 

New England over Houston 34-10: Easiest money for the weekend. Patriots not only win easily at home, they probably cover a historically large spread too against the worst team to ever win a playoff game. Make it 7 straight AFC title games for Brady and the Patriots.

 

Kansas City over Pittsburgh 24-18: Kansas City finally gets over their home playoff hump and keeps Pittsburgh at bay. Their defense/special teams are just too opportunistic. I expect this to be visible as Big Ben has struggled away from Heinz Field this year. Costly turnovers haunt the Steelers in this one as Smith game manages his way to another title game.

 

Atlanta over Seattle 35-31: The team that kicks the field goal always loses. This time, it’s Seattle. Their offense just won’t be able to keep up and overcome the defensive loss of Earl Thomas. Ryan will finally get over the hump and win a game he’s supposed to at home in the playoffs.  Quinn and Shanahan should have a great gameplan in place for this one and barring a Dan Quinn game mismanagement, Atlanta will move on.

 

Dallas over Green Bay 31-30: Dalla is going to have to put up points and lots of them to win this one. Green Bay is hot but without Jordy, Rodgers has classically struggled. This is a little factor but I’m going to go out on a limb and say Mike Mccarthy has his Grady Little moment in this one. He will leave that one point on the board somewhere whether it’s an ill advised fourth down attempt or bad play calling deep in his own end. He will be the goat in this one as Dallas survives and advances.

Follow me on twitter: @fozberry64

NFL Divisional Round DFS RBs

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Running Back notes to consider when creating your million dollar lineups this weekend

  1. Le’veon Bell is a generational talent- Not breaking news but it’s worth saying again and again. Bell has made a mockery of the competition when he has been on the field. The stats are very much in his favor as he always surpases 150 yard from scrimmage but your eyes can back up these stats. He is the most patient back in the league. Bell never forces his carries into the pile. He waits and waits and waits until he has a crease and explodes through it. He’s the anti-Trent Richardson. He’s what Laurence Moroney always wanted to be with his dancing until the hole opens up. Difference is, Bell has vision that his unique only to him. Obviously Bell is chalky and his ownership will be super high but you need to have exposure. Road teams always get this thing in their head where they feel they need to run, especially with the cold weather forecast for Kansas City. Expect Bell to have a day.
  2. Blount Week-  Bell’s former team mate and joy ride buddy Legarrette Blount has gameflow going for him this week as a 16.5 point favorite over Houston. As I wrote yesterday, look for him to get numerous red zone and goal line carries early and then clock killing carries late in a cold Foxboro Saturday night.
  3. Hard to find- The rest of the slate is tough to call. Gameflow will not be favoring Seattle as I expect them to be in a track meet in the Georgia Dome. Freeman and Coleman are also a tough call (Freeman>Coleman). Atlanta will look to use their backs in the passing game so target them for your mid to low priced options. Rest of the slate is brutal. Elliot could be a nice contrarian play against GBs top run defense. Game flow will hurt Elliot if the game goes like I think it will. Hard to roster Ware/West with the given injury concerns to Ware combined with a Pittsburgh front that has been playing very well.