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The Cleveland Browns and the Draft
Dateline, Vancouver, February 2018
I grew up in Cleveland and even though I live in Portland Oregon now, I still root for the Browns. The Browns have been dismal for quite a while, essentially ever since the team was resurrected in 1999. Everyone in Ohio has plenty of suggestions as to how they'd fix the Browns, and I'd like to present my plan, which addresses the underlying cause of that trend.
Cleveland Browns Should CrowdSource the Draft
I grew up in Cleveland and even though I live in Portland Oregon now, I still root for the Browns. And like everyone else from Cleveland, I like to speculate on what's wrong with the Browns and tout my own cures.
The Browns have been dismal for quite a while, essentially ever since the team was resurrected in 1999. Clevelanders seem to take this personally, kind of like the in-laws making fun of your ugly lawn that you are so proud of. A few years back, I added to that insult in a suggestion to my cousin - that maybe the players would rather be someplace exciting. He thought not, pointing out that there are several other small, boring, great lake cities that have been to a Superbowl.
Anyhow, everyone in Ohio has plenty of suggestions as to how they'd fix the Browns. Most of these plans are just beer drinking rubbish. For example, every last person in Cleveland will tell you that all they need to do is draft a Hall o Fame quarterback, while completely ignoring the fact that that plan has been an ugly failure for the last 17 years. With that dismal trend in mind, I'd like to present my plan, which addresses the underlying cause of that trend.
The Browns have a sad track record when it comes to the draft. I think this is mostly because the coaches and the front offices have never been on the same page. The front office doesn't know what the coaches need, and the coaches don't know what to do with the players recruited by the front office. So here is the solution: crowd source the draft.
There are two types of crowd sourced voting: #1, people simply vote for a candidate. #2, people place bets on the candidates, similar to the stock market. Type 2 has a better track record of predicting a winner because the people who are the most confident will bet the most money.
It works like this:
A. People who want to be on the committee pay $100 to $1000 for a seat. These seats should include: coaches, sports writers and the general public. The buy-in cost needs to be set so that 1000-5000 people buy-in.
B. Then on the day of the NFL Draft, each time the team has a turn, each person on the committee places a bet on their favorite player. On each turn they will bet twice - the initial group is thinned and the top 5 candidates will get voted on again. The amount that a person paid for his seat ($100) is all he gets for the entire draft, plus his winnings. So they must place their bets cautiously.
C. The candidate with the highest bets (on the second vote) will get drafted. The value of the bets is a function of the number of people who betted on him and the dollar amount they betted.
D. Bettors who picked the winner will split the pool of that round, while the others lose their bets. This will give the winners extra clout in future rounds, but those who bet poorly will be weeded out.
E. At end of the draft, the bettors keep whatever winnings they have. Those who bet the best could have a good payout, those who betted poorly will lose their initial payment. This is the incentive to study and take this seriously.
The primary ideas here is that the people who are the most confident will bet most money. And the people who most often predict the concensus are rewarded the most. This system has been shown to greatly outperform the general population, and even the experts on occasion.
The real question is whether a betting pool can outperform the experts who are paid to study these athletes all day long. They possibly can because with several thousand participants, the pool will spend more total time studying the athletes. But the bigger reason is simply, the college draft is mostly just a crap shoot. Coaches and sports writers almost never agree on who is the best quarterback, and the top picks are commonly duds.
Nobody is actually going to do this. The people who would have to implement this program get paid a lot of money for their expertise, and if this actually works they'd be running themselves out of a job. But this could be tested outside the organization and without commitments. There are already web sites that run this sort of crowd sourced betting, and it could easily setup a forum to do the draft for one of the teams. Then afterward, the drafted players could be compared to the crowd players to see who picked better. If it works, try it for real next year.
By voting twice per round, bettors will win or lose twice per round.
To prevent people from just voting for the apparent leader, the vote tally of the 5 candidates is not shown.
This will reward for picking the consensus favorite, not the actual best player, because there is no way to identify how good a player is until the season starts.
Realistically, the team personel would have more clout by starting the pool with a lot more money.
For example: Team coaches & office = $1000 each. Local sports writers = $300 each. Others = $100.
This obviously needs a bunch of security to weed out destructive voters and outside hackers.