Re-organizing sports to be more fan friendly

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2011-12 Roster Adjustments

    • Bain takes over before the draft

    • Profitable teams (payroll not a factor) from 2010-11. These teams may go over the cap to re-sign all of their players if they wish, but may not sign any draft picks, and may only sign players to replace retirees or players placed on the season long injured reserve so long as they remain over the cap:

      • Bulls

      • Clippers

      • Heat

      • Knicks

      • Lakers

      • Mavericks

      • Rockets

      • Warriors

      • Celtics

      • Suns

      • Spurs

    • Revenue

      • Previous Year Revenue to be Disbursed is $4.15 Billion

      • Player cut (51%) is $2.1 Billion

        • League pays out $1.46 Billion in guruanteed player salary pre-Bain, leaving $640 million for the rest of the league

        • $33 Million taken from the $640 million to pay for Injured Reserve Fund ($9 Million), Rookie Allotment ($3 Million), and the Supplemental Salary Cap ($21 Million) for temporary injury and skill replacement players–leaves the NBA with $607 Million to disperse for pay-for-performance

      • The Salary Cap for 2011-12, before adjusting for non-profit teams later, is $20,233,333. This is much lower than a regular salary cap because all guruanteed money is already paid out and the league-minimum salary is now much lower, which decreases the cost of 5-7 flotsam players on each roster considerably. The cap will nonetheless rise drastically as league revenues go up and guruanteed salary burdens from the pre-Bain era decrease.


          • Post Re-Signing Cap ReAdjustment:

            • Over the cap, profit market Bulls, Spurs, Mavericks, and Heat -$25,627,795 total over the cap.

            • The 18 nonprofit teams will see their cap reduced

            • The Memphis Grizzlies and Orlando Magic’s cap space is less than the reduction, so they simply lose all cap space beyond league minimum $100k salaries

            • The remaining 16 nonprofit teams lose $1.56 Million per team from their cap

        • Draft

          • At the deadline before the draft, Timberwolves and previous pick Ricky Rubio agree to deal

          • At the conclusion of each team’s re-signings, the compensations received on the one-time supplemental draft to transition into the Bain Capital Era.

            • From now on, draft choices may not be traded, only players. Once rookies have played for one month, though, they may be traded, preventing, officially at least, “draft rights” schnennanigans that confuse fans.

          • The Compensations (this year only) :

            • Los Angeles Clippers

              • Owe this year’s 1st. round pick, a future 1st. round pick, two 2nd. round picks

              • Committee Conversion to Bain NBA: Surender this year’s Elite Round selection, may not participate in this year or 2012 Regional Draft

            • New Jersey Nets

              • Owed two likely low 1st round draft picks, owe their own lottery pick this year, a future first round pick, four future 2nd. round picks

              • Committe Conversion: Surrender this year’s Elite Round selection (6 spots higher than Clippers), may not participate in this year’s regional draft

            • Cleveland Cavaliers

              • Owed a net of 3 2nd. round picks, also owed a 1st. round pick and a pick swap in the future

              • Conversion: Receive the equivalent of two mid-round picks, the #2 and #7 picks in the Special Supplemental Draft (#14 and #19 overall)

            • Denver Nuggets

              • Owed two first round picks (one likely mid, one likely low) and a net of 1 2nd. round pick

              • Conversion: Receive the #3 and #8 picks in the special supplemental draft(#15 and #21 overall)

            • Minnesota Timberwolves

              • Owed two first round picks (one likely mid, one likely low) and a net of 1 2nd. round pick

              • Conversion: Receive the #4 and #7 picks in the special supplemental draft (#16 and #20 overall)

            • Charlotte Bobcats

              • Owed two first round picks, owe one first round pick

              • Conversion: Receive the #1 pick in the special supplemental draft (#13 overall)

            • Golden State Warriors

              • Owed three 2nd. round picks

              • Conversion: Receive the #5 pick in the special supplemental draft( #17 overall)

            • Boston Celtics

              • Owed three 2nd. round picks

              • Conversion: Receive the #6 pick in the special supplemental draft (#18 overall)

            • Toronto Raptors

              • Owed two late 1st. round picks, owe two 2nd. round picks

              • Conversion, Receive the #9 pick in the special supplemental draft (#22 overall)

            • Washington Wizards

              • Owed a late 1st. round pick

              • Covnersion: Receive the #10 pick in the special supplemental draft (#23 overall)

            • Detroit Pistons

              • Owed two 2nd. round picks

              • Conversion: Receive the #11 pick in the special supplemental draft (#24 overall)

            • Oklahoma City Thunder

              • Owed a low 1st. round draft pick

              • Conversion: Receive the #12 pick in the special supplemental draft (#25 overall)

            • Milwaukee Bucks, Utah Jazz, Houston Rockets

              • All owed a 2nd. round pick

              • Since they are from the three different conferences, each team receives first rights automatically on all players qued from their conference until they choose to draft a player this year only in the regional draft

            • Los Angeles Lakers

              • Owed two 2nd. round picks

              • Receive the #13 pick in the special supplemental draft (#26 overall)

            • Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs

              • Bulls and Spurs owed one 2nd. round draft pick

              • Since the league wants to encourage competitiveness and profitability, it allows profitable markets to re-sign players over the cap. However, they wish to never let teams who decide to do so participate in the draft at all to allow other teams exclusive rights on the next generation of stars. A special exception is made in the case of compensating for pre-Bain draft picks, though harsh rules will be enforced for the privliege of getting to draft all for the Bulls, and Spurs

              • After the regional round is complete and all regional round-eligible teams have either drafted players to the 15-man roster or declined any more picks, the Supplemental Over The Cap Draft, a one time event, will occur. The Spurs and Bulls will get one pick apiece

            • Phoenix Suns

              • Owed two 2nd. round picks, a trade exception, and a low 1st. round pick

              • Owe a future 1st. rounder and a 2nd. round pick

              • No compensation occurs

            • Atlanta Hawks

              • Owe late 1st. round, owed 2nd. round

              • May not participate in this year’s regional draft (and thus don’t get any draft picks at all)

            • Sacramento Kings

              • Owe a net of 2 2nd. round picks

              • May not participate in this year’s regional draft

            • Orlando Magic

              • Owe a late 1st. round pick

              • May not participate in this year’s regional draft (thus no draft picks at all)

            • New Orleans Hornets

              • Owe a distant future 1st. round pick, net of two 2nd. round picks

              • May not participate in this year or next year’s regional draft

            • Portland TrailBlazers

              • Owe a their own high 1st. rounder and a future 1st. rounder; owed a mid-1st. rounder

              • Surrender next available Elite Draft selection

            • Miami Heat

              • Owe two future, likely low, 1st. rounders, two 2nd. round picks and a trade swap option

              • Surrender next & third (after getting to pick one season) available Elite Draft Picks

            • New York Knicks

              • Owe one future, likely low, 1st. rounder, a trade exception, and five 2nd. round picks

              • Surrender next & third (after getting to pick one season after surrendering for the first time) available Elite Draft Picks

            • With the new elite draft rules, some argue that the Knicks and Heat will be crippled from rebuilding,but Bain reminds fans and pundits that neither LeBron nor Carmelo would have gotten away in the new Bain system, and the Heat and Knicks will enjoy frontrunner status for years. The strategy for both will now be to continue to re-sign above the cap, until their players decline so much that they are under the cap by default, as they know a protracted, 3-5 year rebuilding process is likely required as soon as the current 4-6 year championship windows for each begin to close

          • Shane Battier trade cancelled under league suspicion (Grizzlies-Rockets)

Simulating the Bain NBA

  • Teams may play players only at their specified positions, and for a maximum (remainder/decimal not rounded) of the whole number they actually played in the RL season

  • The players stat X minutes / 48 will determine their portion of contribution to each category

  • First,we consdier the home team on offense vs. the away team on defense, we begin with the league median of 95 possessions per game

  • Turnovers are determined by the offensive team’s turnover rate averaged with the defensive team’s steal rate and block rate added together. These are subtracted from the 95 possessions

  • The percentage of quality looks (115% bonus, or 20% becomes 23%, 30% becomes 35%) is determined by the offensive team’s assist rate. This is subtracted from the overall shot attempts (both 3pt and regular), which are taxed down to 85% of the previous rate to account for difficult shots.

  • The number of 3pt attempts is determiend by the teams adjusted 3pt/2pt per minute ratio

  • Shots and points are made for the above two categories based on team FG% and 3pt%. The team FG% and 3pt % is determined by first deciding who shoots how often. Each player’s usage rate-assist rate minutes divided by the total of each players usage rate minus asssist rate X minutes. This determines what portion of the total shots that player will get. From there, the proportion of 3 pointers is decided by the individual players 3pt/2pt ratio.

  • Next, each player’s free throw attempts per minute is multiplied by minutes played to determine total free throw attempts. This number is averaged with 80% of the opposing team’s total fouls (fouls per minute times minute added together) to determine free throw rate. The free throw% adjusted by which players are taking the free throw determines the points scored from these free throws.

  • Next, we’ll determine the extra shots determined by offensive rebounds. The offensive team’s offensive rebound rate is averaged with 100 minus the defensive team’s defensive rebound rate. This is multiplied times missed shots (missed FGS + 30% of missed free throws) to determine the # of offensive rebounds.

  • Again, the appropriate 3pt/2pt ratio is calculated to divide up available shot attempts created from these offensive rebounds. Points scored are added to the toal points scored from before.

  • If the offensive team is at home, 2 points are added for home court advantage (regular season, 5 points playoffs)

  • This total number is averaged with the defensive team’s minutes-adjusted Defensive Rating multiplied by 95, the possessions

  • This final score, in the regular season, is either increased to 105% (hot streak), kept the same, or decreased to 95% of previous (cold streak)

Introducing The Bain NBA Takeover

  • The situation: It’s September 2011. An outside audit proves the NBA’s revenue numbers are not mere negotiating tactics–this time, the league, despite record profits, is in danger of losing many small market teams due to devestating financial losses. After losing a chance to buy out the NHL in the ‘04-’05 lockout, Bain Capital makes a shocking, successful bid to buy a controlling stake in all 30 NBA teams. After succesfully winning over players on rookie scale contracts (first few years), superstars who would stand to make more money in a more value-based salary system, and players with existing big contracts, assured that their money would still be guruanteed, the players narrowly approve of the proposition, which delivers the players the 51% of gross revenues that was their rejected opening offer with the owners.

  • The Solution: Bain’s research has identified several potential ways to increase revenue, primarily through helping more teams be competive, sell more tickets, increasing the value of merchandise and TV contracts through this increased overall excitement league wide.

    • Players will now be given only 1-year contracts, with salary proportionally determined out of total league revenues by a formula that factors in the player’s marketing power, on-court statistical advanced metrics, and subjective evaluations from various parts of NBA clubs. This solves the profitibility problem of huge guaranteed contracts on team competitiveness.

      • The league minimum is now $100,000 regardless of experience, a prestige, 6-digit figure that should still more than motivate veterans to do whatever it takes to get in the league–if they want paid more, they must get minutes and better metrics

    • The salary cap will now be a hard(er) cap. Superstars will be forcibly spread evenly throughout the league through this mechanism, increasing popularity for individual squads.

      • Recognizing that certain markets are more profitable than others, profit-making markets are allowed to go over the cap to re-sign all of last year’s players, but then cannot make any trades except for those that shed payroll, may not draft any players, nor can they even pick up new players in free agency unless a player on the current roster retires or is placed on injured reserve.

    • To avoid conflicts of interest in resting players and making players overly tired, but in order to avoid subtracting home games from teams’ payrolls, the league will be realigned into 3 conferences and 6 divisions that are closely geographically related. All teams will play each non-conference team twice, and fill the rest of the games in their schedule with conference games.

    • To discourage tanking, all 15 non-playoff teams will be entered into a single-elimination tournament with a neutral site final four to generate excitement and entertainment, with the winner entering the playoffs as the 16th playoff team.

    • Bain believes the playoffs begin to become “capivating” most often in the Conference Finals round, as often 2-3 of the conference semi-final sereis are subpar. Thus, playoff caliber teams will all be entered in one large pool per conference, with 7 losses (the equivalent of 3 first round + 4 conference semi-final losses) eliminating a team from contention from the playoffs. Now every win that even non-contenders have can become a “spoiler” loss for a contender. The final four surviving teams move on to the semi-final round. In order to keep top teams from resting starters late in this round, any team which had 3 or more losses less than its opponent in the opening playoff pool will be granted a 2-2-3 home court advantage in the semi-final round.

    • Game 1 of the Finals will now be at a neutral site in a Super Bowl-like event. The team with a better record still has a slight home court advantage in getting to host Game 7 (as well as 2 and 3). Losing game 1 will put the worse record team at a large disadvantage, potentially down 3-0 before getting a home game, but they could also be in a position to win 3 home games in a row and take the series before the home team gets a chance to play more home games than them if they take the neutral Game 1, and if they can gain a split plus a neutral game 1 win now only need to win 2 of 3 at home.

  • The Rules

    • For the first 4 years of Bain’s ownership, the league year will begin with buyout payments on all guruanteed money owed players which pre-dates Bain’s involvement with the NBA being deducted from the players’ total revenue cut

      • In 2011-12, 40% of all guruanteed salary for all years, including all salary for 2011-12, will be paid out

      • In 2012-13, 30% “ “

      • In 2013-14, 20% “ “

      • In 2014-15, 10%, the rest of all pre-Bain guranteed money, will be paid out

    • In addition to the guranteed salary being deducted from the total available for this year’s salaries, $55 Million will be deducted from the total available to cover:

      • Playoff Bonuses ($22 Million in total, paid equally to all 15 players on the active roster depending on finish)

      • Supplemental Roster Freeze ($30 million, or $1 million per team, released gradually to the teams as the year goes along to cover injury and skill replacement players)

      • Rookie Pay ($3 million, or the league minimum for each player)

    • Once all these deductions have taken place, we now know the total player salary to be assigned at the beginning of this year. Now its time to determine the players eligible to receive a piece of the pie:

      • All players to appear in any games are rated by the following formula

        • Fans (10%)

          • Jersey Sales, 5%

          • All-Star Voting, 5%

        • Injury (5%)

          • Games Played/82

        • Human Evaluation (35%) [Fantasy Game Stand-In]

          • NBA Expert Panel (20%) [ESPN NBARank]

          • GM Survey (5%), [Simmons Trade Value]

          • Head Scout Survey (5%) [NBA 2k]

          • Head Coach Survey (5%) [Subjective]

        • Advanced Metrics (50%)

          • Win Shares/48 Minutes (20%)

          • PER (15%)

          • Offensive Rating (10%)

          • Defensive Rating (5%)

      • Each individual rating is determined by the players % proportion of the NBA total. The composite rating is determined according to the percentages above. Once the ratings are finished, only the top 450 players are eligible for the salary. The totals are reapportioned to equal 100%.

      • After this is all done, the players adjusted % value ranking (to a player universe of 450 players instead of however many actually appeared last season) is used to determine the player’s salary for this year.

    • The ratings and next year salaries are determined the day after the leagues fiscal year report is released (July 2). Player salary is capped only by the regular salary cap minus the $1.4 million needed to field a team of 14 other minimum salary players. Any money taken from over the individual salary cap in this manner is reapportioned evenly to all players due for salaries between $125,000 and $199,999 to a maximum of $200,000 annually, then to players making between 200,001 and 299,999 and so forth until fully spent

    • Next, teams have 3 days to determine which players they will keep for next season at the new salary, the aforementioned profit-market-team vs. loss-market-team rules applying.

    • Any money that goes over the total cap +$300k per over-the-cap team for IR replacement players by profit-making teams seeking to re-sign players until they go over the cap is deducted evenly from the salary cap of all finanical loss-bearing teams.If this adjusted cap changes any team’s status to over the cap, the amount they’d be over the cap minus the league minimum needed to fill their roster is deducted proportionally from remaining nonprofit teams under the cap’s cap.

    • Now that the official #s are released, teams have an idea what the draft order will be. The draft takes place the first saturday after July 5

    • On Saturday morning of the draft, all teams receive the $100k in cap money frozen agains the draft

    • Next, the draft takes place

      • All players not drafted in the top 14 receive the league minimum salary

      • All non-playoff teams are organized in order of the team with the most available cap space first (with cap holds to get the roster to 15 players of the league minium of $100k enforced)

      • The team with the most cap space must choose a player with the #1 overall pick.

        • Player salary is 90% of the previous pick or all the team’s available cap space

      • Once the 14 non-playoff selections are completed, the draft moves to a regional format, with the order of player bid decided by a mix of draft experts and total nomination preference votes from the 16 playoff teams, though any team may bid.

        • Nominated players are proceeded through by the order of these teams’ nomination combined with the expert panel’s evaluations based both on skill and potential. Players whom know team picks up become free agents

        • The first player selected in the regional round receives 50% of the last lottery player selected’s salary or the team’s available cap space less filling all roster slots, whichever is lower. Subsequent players receive 90% of the last player’s salary down to the minimum,

        • First the home pool is determined. All (if any) NBA teams in the player’s high school senior city get first dibs

          • The order of teams selecting within that pool is determined by

            • (1) Team with least amount of draft selections thus far (not counting lottery selections)

            • (2) then, if still tied, team with the most cap space

          • If all teams in the home pool decline the player, the scope of the players draft position widens

            • Local: Within the same state as the high school senior city and college (both considered at same time)

            • Regional: Within the college home state’s NBA division

            • Super Regional: Within the college home state’s NBA conference

            • All-NBA teams now entered into the pool of least draft selections then most cap space

        • The draft concludes after 50 total selections, all non-lottery contracts non-guaranteed until camp

    • The day after the draft, free agency begins

      • Compensation is pre-determined by the pre-season salary determination, but players may sign with whomever they wish

    • All contracts not already guruanteed by a lottery draft choice or player re-signing become fully guruanteed upon the end of training camp and the selection of beginning of the year 10 man rosters

    • Players may be traded as long as neither team goes over the cap as a result of the transaction

    • Draft picks cannot be traded

    • The $300k IR reserve cannot be accessed unless to replace a player placed on IR for the duration of the season. It can only be spent in $100k increments until March 1, when teams who have not placed any players on IR can now spend up to $200k on one player, saving $100k for a second IR event. However, IR money can be combined with supplemental salary cap money, then further combined with regular salary cap money if either are available. Profit-market teams over the cap may only spend $100k on an IR-replacement player. When they do so, $50,000 is payed out of the owners’ pocket books and the other $50,000 is paid out of an equal proportion of non-profit markets still under the cap, and removed from their cap.

    • Once teams submit their post-camp rosters guranteeing 15 players’ salaries, $200k of their $700k supplemental cap is unfrozen in case day-to-day or skill replacements are required in the month of November. At the first of each month, an additional $100k is unfrozen.This money can be combined with money under the regular cap to sign players

    • Beginning with November 1, unsigned players whose numbers call for them to make more than the league minimum are reduced to 75% of the previous salary at the 1st of each month, fully guruanteed. If such a player is relased, they keep the entirety of the previous money and if re-signed gain an additional $100k minimum salary. All players not signed at any point in the season are reduced to the league minimum salary as of March 1. Since players are paid the full amount of their salary, not a pro-rated amount, players given high salaries by the ratings that teams don’t want to pick up are not overly punished; they will still get their pay if someone eventually picks them up.

The first three rounds of the NCAA Tournament are always magical. This year, Florida Gulf Coast and LaSalle capitvated us as super-low seeds going on a dream run to the Sweet 16. But what of the regular season, as entertaining as it has ever been, but in a generation raised on the NCAA Tournament, is also a season as ignored as its ever been. My alternative format for the college basketball postseason makes sure that teams are actually rewarded for going through the long haul of a conference championship. The conference tournament and non-conference schedule must keep their relevance however. I believe that I’ve found the answer, and I’m on my third season of beta testing the formula.’s wonderful simulator was employed to work out the brackets.

Teams are broken up into brackets based on their regular season finish. The dual bracket gives several smaller schools who pull off winning both their regular season and conference tournament the chance to play in a winnable first round game. It also gurantees an easier route for the top-ranked team to win its regular season and tournament conference title, this year, that’s Louisville. The Cards road to the final four includes teams that were 11,14,2, and then not even in the field for their fourth game, much easier than the hellish Midwest Regional they were “rewarded” with in our present version of the tournament. Bucknell scores a win over Akron before succuming to Louisivlle. Memphis and New Mexico are rewarded for their hard regular season with each other, much easier than their real life paths. Miami is also rewarded for their dual championships.

The bracket you see at the bottom represents the replacement for the NIT and all other tournaments. Instead of wasting away their time dreaming about next year, these teams can play for local glory and a glimmer of hope to play themselves back into the bracket itself. Its modeled after local high school sectionals, so that teams can host games on their home floors and travel by bus, controlling costs. After a gruelling 5 games in 6 day stretch, 32 sectional champions and eventually 8 regional champions can celebrate season-salvaging local championships, with the aforementioned regional champs moving on to the tournament’s second weekend. These regional champions are seeded for the Bracket (called “regionals” in real life), with real life tourney team Temple the favorite to move on to win the “general bracket” title and earn the right to face the Dual Bracket champion for a Final Four slot.

The next bracket is for teams who won their regular season conference title but failed to win their tournament title.* This gives the big programs like Georgetown and Florida an easier brackets and lets smaller programs like Western Illinois play their way into the field of 64 instead of being locked out to the NIT. In the simulation, Denver, not seen in this year’s tournament pulls off a stunner over top-seeded Kansas, an upset probably on par with Florida Gulf Coast’s real life takedown of Georgetown, or at least Harvard’s 3-14 victory. Marquette beats Kansas State to score one for the committee’s seeding over my NCS formula, while Georgetown was rewarded for their Big East success with an easier path than facing that dangerous FGCU team they did in real life.

*The reason Kansas is here is that the No.1 seeds, except for in the dual bracket, are exempt from this rule to keep them spread out across brackets.

The next bracket is the tourney bracket, a slight reward for the conference tournament champions in that they bypass the long-shot route of the General Bracket (sectionals), and avoid the super-tough at large bracket. Both this bracket and the Season champs must be filled to 24 teams so that host sites have the # of games to be played guranteed, thus at large teams fill out this bracket to 24, alternating with the At Large bracket on placement. These tourney teams who get hot at the right time are forced to play a bit tougher route to the title, which is probably a bit more fair. Amazingly, whatifsports simulators saw Florida Gulf Coast repeat its real life form of a stunning upset, and Gonzaga repeat a stunning loss. Ole Miss won another 5-12 matchup, while the chalk seeds rolled, despite another epic Duke-Butler battle (my NCS rankings were lower on the Bulldogs than the committee’s ).

The At Large Bracket gives At Large teams a slightly easier road than going through the General Bracket, but not by much in a brutal 4-game path to the Final Four against top 30 caliber opponents. By chance, the Big Ten gets grouped here, a downside of the arrangement since No.1 seed Indiana is moved here as the weakest of the 4 No.1s. Next year, my big formula tweak will be to seperate evenly by conference at large teams shipped to other brackets (mainly the Tournament, but also in some years the Season) and kept at the At Large instead of alternating, which led to this overloading of Big Ten squads in the At LArge Bracket. If I had used that method this year, 1-2 of the four Sweet 16 Big Ten squads would be over in the Tournament bracket with Big Ten Tourney champion Ohio State (again, because the Tournament Bracket needs at large teams to fill it to 24 teams).

Next week, we’ll see how the Final Four unfolds as I go into greater detail on what the television viewing experience would look like in this revised format.

The NFL, SuperSeason Edition: The NFC SuperSeason

After winning 7 in a row after an 0-3 start to capture the NFC East, RG III and the Redskins struggled mightily against the NFL’s best in the NFC Champions Group.

NFC Champions Group

4-2 Green Bay
4-2 San Francisco
3-3 Atlanta
1-5 Washington

RG III and company couldn’t hack it, only beating Atlanta at home in the rugged competition of 3 of the NFL’s 4 best regular season squads. Atlanta fought to even records with all three teams, and thus all 3 other squads will stay “up” in the Primary Group for the playoffs

NFC Secondary Group

6-0 Seattle
5-1 Chicago
4-2 Minnesota
3-3 New York Giants, HTH over St. Louis
3-3 St. Louis
2-4 Dallas
1-5 Carolina
0-6 Tampa Bay

Carolina and Tampa Bay expose the weakness of the NFC South in struggling in Secondary group play. Dallas starts 2-1 but loses its last 3. Seattle’s 6-0 campaign forcefully stakes thier claim to be the one team that joins the Primary Group in the playoffs.

NFC Tertiary Group

4-2 Arizona
4-2 New Orleans
2-4 Philadelphia
2-4 Detroit

Arizona and New Orleans surprised by moving up to the next group, though no one went 6-0 so they’ll be staying in the tertiary. Philly and Detroit both lost their week 18 matchups, ending their seasons and sending them down to the Draft Group.

The NFL, Super Season Edition: The Super Season: The AFC

Ryan Tannehill and Miami benefit the most in the AFC from the change in system.

Following a 10-game competition to determine division champions and the secondary and tertiary groups, the NFL now moves on to a 6-game SuperSeason to determine the all-important groups for the 28-team playoffs. The goal is to keep as many teams alive here as possible but to preclude the embarrassment of the worst team in the league like the 2011 Colts winning their last two games and snatching a playoff bid, so the bottom two teams in the Tertiary Group are eliminated from the playoff chase and placed in a group to earn extra draft picks. My methodology for this section was to use actual results where possible. In the primary and tertiary group, teams play twice, so if an actual result would be reversed by changing the home team (a 6 point swing by Vegas standards) I went ahead and recorded that as the score. If it would not, I re-simulated the game on WhatIfSports to at least give the other squad a fighting chance in the replay.

AFC Champions GROUP

Denver 5-1 (overall record tiebreaker over Houston)

Houston 5-1

New England 1-5 (overall record tiebreaker over Baltimore)

Baltimore 1-5

Denver and Houston clean up in the simulations, and fairly, New England and Baltimore appeared weaker sisters through much of the regular season. Any team not at least .500 moves down to the Secondary Group


5-1 Miami
4-2 Pittsburgh (SuperSeason head-to-head tiebreaker over NYJ, Cincy)
4-2 New York Jets (Superseason head-to-head tiebreaker over Cincy)
4-2 Cincinnati
3-3 San Diego
2-4 Indianapolis
1-5 Jacksonville (SS HTH tiebreaker over KC)
1-5 Kansas City

The sims get interesting in the AFC secondary group, as a solid Dolphins squad benefits from escaping the AFC East and from some scheduling quirks like hosting Indianapolis, which swings that close game in Miami’s favor. Pittsburgh does not play Cincinnati, so their victory over the Jets and the Jets win over cincy determines the order among 4-2 squads and puts Pittsburgh in position to move up to the Primary Group in the playoffs unless an undefeated team in the tertiary group qualifies to leapfrog them. Indianapolis, Jacksonville, and Kansas City finish below .500 and are in danger of moving down to the tertiary group.


Because they face an easier schedule, the tertiary group has especially tough record requirements. Only an undefeated tertiary group squad may leap straight into the primary group for the playoffs, and they may only leapfrog if there is an available spot in the Primary group due to their being enough primary squad slots available. Primary group squads must finish below .500, or 2-4, 1-5, or 0-6 to slide down to the secondary group. Secondary group squads finishing 6-0 or 5-1 then get first dibs on all Primary group slots, then Tertiary groups who finish 6-0 may grab a slot. 5-1 and 4-2 Tertiary squads may not move higher than the secondary group, and 3-3 and worse squads must stay in the tertiary group no matter what. Those 6-0, 5-1, and 4-2 squads may only move up to the primary or tertiary group if there are appropriate below .500 squads in both the above groups to replace.

5-1 Cleveland
4-2 Buffalo
3-3 Tennessee
0-6 Oakland

Cleveland and Buffalo showcase the talent on their rosters by beating up on truly hapless Tennessee and Oakland, with a close loss in Buffalo costing Cleveland a dream trip all the way to the top. As it stands, both are able to graduate to the secondary group, forcing Jacksonville and Kansas City down to the tertiary. Tennessee’s 3-3 record is a hard fall all the way out of the playoffs, as they and Oakland fall to the Draft Group.