The Miami Dolphins and Cleveland Browns have been in the news a lot recently after Brian Flores filed a lawsuit against the NFL. The former Dolphins head coach made allegations of hiring malpractice and requests to throw games intentionally. Hue Jackson, a former Browns head coach, made similar accusations before recanting.
Dolphins safety Jason McCourty played for the Browns when Jackson was there and suggests there was actually some truth to those claims.
Jason McCourty believes the Browns wanted to lose games in 2017
The 2017 Cleveland Browns were one of the worst teams in NFL history. The team finished the season with an abysmal 0-16 record under then-head coach Hue Jackson.
Jackson didn’t last much longer, as the front office fired him in the middle of the 2018 season. The current Grambling State head coach recently took to Twitter to suggest that Browns owner Jimmy Haslam III incentivized him to lose games.
According to Pro Football Talk, Jackson has since walked back those statements. However, Miami Dolphins defensive back Jason McCourty had some strong opinions on what happened in Cleveland.
“I was in Cleveland in 2017,” McCourty said on Double Coverage with the McCourty Twins. “There’s no way we were trying to win. It was very obvious. That is no surprise to anyone. You don’t need me to corroborate the story and say, ‘We were tanking, we were trying to lose.’ Duh.”
The Super Bowl champion believes a team has to try really hard to go winless in 16 games.
“I said this when I got to New England. You realize winning in the NFL is not easy,” he added. “So you don’t want to take it for granted, you celebrate your wins. But the year I spent in Cleveland also taught me winning ain’t this hard either. You don’t just go 1-31. It’s not that hard to figure out on the other end of it.”
The Dolphins and Browns are under fire after recent allegations
Brian Flores’ lawsuit against the NFL contains multiple layers. On the one hand, the former Dolphins headman accused several teams of unfair hiring practices. He and his lawyers released text messages allegedly from New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. The texts suggested the New York Giants decided to hire Brian Daboll as their new head coach before even interviewing Flores. That’s just one example.
On the other side of the coin, Flores alleged that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross offered him $100,000 for every loss during the 2019 season. He claims Ross planned to tank for the No. 1 overall pick. The owner has adamantly refuted the accusations.
Hue Jackson’s claims seemed to piggyback off Flores’ lawsuit. Even though he clarified his comments, there’s still a cloud of doubt surrounding the entire situation.
The racial disparity in leadership positions has long been a significant issue that commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL owners must continue to address. Now, tanking will be a hot topic all offseason as well.
Should the NFL switch to a draft lottery like the NBA?
Jason McCourty’s revelation about his time with the Cleveland Browns is not too shocking. While owners won’t admit it, some teams without realistic playoff hopes could consider cruising to the finish line. The surprising part was that McCourty had no problem outing his former team.
If the allegations against the Browns and Miami Dolphins are true, that’s a horrible look for the NFL. Players and head coaches make too much money for losing to be the end goal. The competition committee could be taking a closer look at this issue in the offseason.
So what’s the solution? There’s not an easy fix to the problem. However, it could be time for the league to consider changing how it determines the draft order.
The NBA utilizes a lottery system, where each of the teams that miss the playoffs get entered into a lottery. The drawing determines the first four picks, and the rest of the teams would pick in inverse order of the regular-season standings.
Surely, NFL owners might not like the idea, but it would be a positive step toward maintaining the integrity of the game.