If you live under a rock, you are probably the only person who did not hear about the massive player movement in the NBA. LeBron James is a Laker, Boogie Cousins is a Warrior, and my Knicks are still below average. Yet, all of this NBA hype clears up one truth. For the entire myriad of NFL flaws, it reigns supreme as the premier American sport. As a result, the NBA free agency period actually benefits the Oakland Raiders and the NFL.
Regular Season Meaning
Now, the NBA regular season means nothing. Eighty-two chances for the networks and media to tell people that every game counts. Meanwhile, the Raiders play sixteen meaningful games over a four-month season. For every future Lakers/Kings Tuesday night snore fest, the Chiefs and Raiders see each other twice. Both games matter and each could define a destiny. ESPN will tell you that the Blazers/Jazz counts for something. On the other hand, when the Raiders finish 2017 within the division, each snap, pass, and tackle resonates. Advantage: NFL
In the NBA, sixteen teams battle for the title. If we are honest, three or four have a slight-to-outstanding shot of hoisting the trophy. Conversely, the NFL takes twelve teams, in a one game scenario. Mix in inclement weather and that is a recipe for success. During the NBA playoffs, teams languish in meaningless opening rounds that draw yawns and eye rolls. Yet, Wild Card Weekends gives football fans the chance to see their team advance. Bluntly put, the NBA season is too long. Eighty-two regular and another 15-20 playoff contests wear fans out.
For the most part, NFL franchises employ many of the same players for a considerable stretch. Trades occur, but usually involve spare parts. In the offseason, the free agency period heats up and quickly dissipates. Under all of that, elite talent stays put. Tom Brady will stay a Patriot and Derek Carr will remain with the Raiders.
When Marcus Allen left the Raiders for the Chiefs, a pall descended upon Oakland. The outrage of seeing the greatest running back in franchise history suit up for a hated rival appeared unfathomable. Now, NBA players link up to win titles. When was the last NFL Dream Team? Remember the Philadelphia Eagles went wild in free agency, signing Vince Young, Nnamdi Asomugha, and Jason Babin. In addition, they traded for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Media swarmed to that team. Vince Young proclaimed them a “Dream Team” Well, they woke up early and collected an 8-8 record.
Truthfully, the Raiders tried to create super teams during the last years of Al Davis. From Javon Walker to Gibril Wilson, Oakland failed to cultivate a strong core group and supplement with free agent talent. While many may not agree with Jon Gruden’s recent approach to team assembly, the Raiders spent frugally on various players.
In reality, fans all want to make a splash in every sport. Yet, fans of the Oakland Raiders know better than most that the NBA model does not work in football.