Finished 0 in any NFL game

NFL: The race for last place

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It's not a very daring prediction: the New York Jets football team will hardly win a game this year. The first NFL game against the Buffalo Bills was lost at 12:21. The Oakland Raiders was followed by a 20:45. Significant defeats in which some get the idea that the team is doing everything it can to do as poorly as possible.

This is exactly what has been debated in the USA for a few weeks. The accusation: The team's management apparently wants to lose. So take the sporting competition ad absurdum. There is some evidence of this. Before the season, for example, the New Yorkers gave up some of the team's experienced staff, such as Darrelle Revis, Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall. However, no equivalent replacement was required. So the team has deteriorated. And that although the Jets had already missed the play-offs in the past six years.

Nobody admits it in public

What the jets operate is called tanking. In essence, it's about ending the season as the worst team possible. Then you will get the first right of choice in the coming year when the so-called draft is about picking out the most promising new talents. With this almost socialist element in US sport, the sporting balance of the league is to be preserved.

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Tanking has long been a practice in US sports. Especially in the NBA basketball league it has been observed time and again in the past. In public, of course, no one admits to deliberately losing. "I really don't think any team tanked. I think they are going through a phase of change," said league boss Roger Goodell to the sports broadcaster ESPN. "I'm not fueling anything," Jets player Sheldon Richardson told the NJ magazine.

Of course, the players and coaches don't want to lose. They may even be doing their best. For them it is also about personal fates, contracts and ultimately money. But from the point of view of the managers, who in the end can purposely put together a not exactly competitive team, tanking is an easy way back to success. It is better to be really bad for a few years and then reward yourself than to take many small steps forward.

Object of desire: a new quarterback

There is a second limiting factor when it comes to the composition of the squad: the upper salary limit. Roughly speaking, each team is allowed to pay its players the same salary per season. However, money is transferred to other seasons according to different mechanisms. So if you don't spend everything in 2017, you will have more in 2018. The jets have, according to the website Spotrac currently one Cap space, so free salary, in the amount of around 19 million dollars.

So there is money, now the team only has to be last to get the first access in the draft. Object of desire: a new quarterback. The playmaker has an elementary role in football. In hardly any other team sport do individual players make such a big difference. Good quarterbacks can still achieve decent results with poor teammates. Like Matthew Stafford, who became the highest-paid professional footballer with the Detroit Lions.

Because a quarterback can make such a big difference, NFL teams keep an eye out for the next generation in college. And it's currently so good that that Tanking-Topic is heated even further. There are a number of promising quarterbacks, among which one stands out again: Sam Darnold.

A strong pass rate, many touchdowns, hardly any bad passes. In addition, a poster boy smile and a son-in-law look. The 20-year-old Darnold has long been in the notebooks of the NFL. Apparently also in that of the jets.

The New Yorkers' calculation could look something like this: lose this season, draft Darnold in the spring, use the salary buffer to sign good players around the quarterback and then finally play football successfully again. Many experts believe this could happen. Of course, the jets don't officially say anything about this.