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The Skins Flunk Economics

Spent a long night working on a story for Sunday's paper, and have interesting stuff to blog about tomorrow - someone remind me, please, by posting a comment saying "Andyman" - but wanted to get this up tonight. I had a copy of this article emailed to me from the American Enterprise Institute For Public Policy Research. The resident scholar there, Kevin A. Hassett, took an economist's eye to the NFL, and wrote an article comparing the Redskins and the Patriots.

Here is the full link:,pubID.25173/pub_detail.asp

And here are some excerpts from the article to get you going
"It is nearly impossible to derive surplus from the veteran free-agent market, since you are paying market wages. While injuries and emergencies might require some veteran signing, the draft is the only place to build a winning team.

So economics would predict that teams would uniformly put an enormous effort into perfecting their drafts, and avoid sinking excessive dollars into costly free agents. In fact, this model predicts very well the behavior of one team, the New England Patriots. Their head coach, Bill Belichick, who received his undergraduate degree in economics from Wesleyan University in Connecticut, has been an artist at squeezing value-added out of his draft picks, and has won three of the last five Super Bowls."

Later, he compared the Pats' approach to the Skins. He doesn't pull any punches:

"Belichick keeps winning because so many others in the league behave so strangely. Two economists, Cade Massey of Yale and Richard Thaler of the University of Chicago, studied years of draft history and found that teams make systematic errors that reflect a serious economic illiteracy. Coaches and general managers place too high a value on the top few picks, and too low a value on picks a bit further down.

The Washington Redskins are perhaps the leading exemplar of this tendency toward irrationality. Last spring, for example, the Redskins gave up key draft picks for high-priced veteran players. An especially silly trade gave the Jets three Redskins' picks: in the second and sixth rounds this year and in the second round next year. The trade left the Redskins with only one pick in the first three rounds this year.

To compound this error, the Redskins filled their roster with mediocre, high-priced veterans, dropping $35 million on safety Adam Archuleta, $32.5 million on defensive lineman Andre Carter, $31 million on wide receiver Antwaan Randle El, and $25 million on wide receiver Brandon Lloyd--none of whom has ever been in the Pro Bowl.

The problem for economics is that teams like the Redskins continue to exist, and are not driven out by competitive forces. They confound our ability to model for two reasons. First, it is impossible to conceive of what foolish thing the Redskins might do next. Second, their behavior can alter the decision framework for the fully rational teams. If the Redskins are going to bid up the prices of all wide receivers, for example, then a team like the Patriots has to adjust (as they did) and load up on cheaper pass-catching tight ends.

The Redskins are not driven out of business because there is a high demand for football in Washington, and the NFL has a monopoly. A wisely run team cannot enter Washington and compete for Redskins fans."

Quick Randoms: Have the Redskins LBs made a play of note all season? Marcus's fumble recovery Sunday doesn't really count, does it? Someone refresh my memory ... Caught some gossip show on VH1 while flipping channels and they were asking a "celebrity" - in this case the woman who "won" Flavor of Love - about 'ol Kid Bro Sweets. Guess there were some rumors out there that this female - Delisious (I think that's how she spells it) - left Flavor Flav for CP. When grilled about Portis, she said: "I don't know that man from a can of paint." Is that a real expression, or is this woman particularly gifted at turning a phrase?

By Jason La Canfora  |  November 22, 2006; 1:03 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Who They Are, And Where They Are Going
Next: In The Interest of Accuracy (My Last Blog About Ryan Clark and Dan Snyder)


This sounds scary - but how did it work for George Allen? What are the differences between now and then, in practice?

There was no true free agency then, no salary cap either, but he traded all kinds of picks for guys like Dave Butz (no Pro Bowls), John Riggins (no Pro Bowls then, I believe), Calvin Hill (past his prime, but still good), Billy Kilmer, etc. I know I'm not listing a host of other guys. His whole belief was in getting proven vets.

I'd like to see IF that can be measured against this era.

I still believe the Skins can make this work, but I'd rather see them build through the draft for some consistency among the players, et al.

Posted by: BulletsFan | November 22, 2006 1:46 AM | Report abuse

Jesus Christ. We've got nerds debating why we suck now. Even worse than that, we've got ECON nerds debating it!

I don't know how this franchise can sink lower than this. Can we just go back to reliving the good ol' days with "Theatre Vision" Jacoby and the "Grimm Reaper"? I'm never one to look to the past, but, honestly, this franchise's best days are back when I was 18, discovering girls, learning about tequila, discovering girls, failing out of class, and discovering girls.

I'm so close to being done with this, I can't even explain it.

It's a good thing this blog is as exciting as Wonkette, or I'd leave forever.

It should be noted that I am not deemed witty enough to get an account on Wonkette. It is easily the biggest disappointment of my life to now.

Posted by: P Diddy | November 22, 2006 3:22 AM | Report abuse


Ouch! Now we have economists saying how bad we stink. This is unbelievable!!! What really stinks is that Joe Gibbs and his staff,who work their guts out and are super smart,to give their overpaying fans the worst underachieving product the NFL has to offer.. Wait a minute, Arizona and the Raiders are in competition.. I won't insult those franchises....

You would think that Danny, who is a smart business man, would look at his business model and see that is has not worked since he purchased the franchise. Why not bring in a REAL GM, Lord knows he can afford it...

Did you see that presser Joe had on Monday?? My God the man has no clue what's going on!@#$%! I know where he wants to go and where he wants to be, BUT HE HAS NO CLUE HOW TO GET THERE!!!! He looks lost, confused, and has no clue how to get himself out of here. If he can not see that are defense flat out quit last week, he has lost ever ounce of respect from the fans and his competition. He has no clue as to what he is anymore. One thing he is not...... HEAD COACH!@#$%! His personnel decisions have cost this franchise at least 3 to 4 years of what should amount to super competition with Arizona and the Raiders for the top pick in the draft, unless he trades those picks as well as a few number two's. Joe, Danny, and Vinny have become the leagues B-tches!

Joe give up the GM gig and reduce the number of chiefs in your tee pee and go back to what got you into the Hall of Fame... COACHING!!

If you need advice on what to do to succeed in TODAY'S NFL look at what the successful franchises are now doing. Take a look at what Denver has done with your former draft picks, take a look at what the NY Jets are doing with your former draft picks, take a look at how the Steelers and Patriots have worked their deals..... You might learn something SUPER SMART!!!

Oh, this might not sell jerseys......

Posted by: 229 | November 22, 2006 6:16 AM | Report abuse

Andyman -- Can you say a Redskin plan on ES to make the lemmings happy?

Posted by: DB | November 22, 2006 7:13 AM | Report abuse

Gibbs is team President, I believe Cerrato is player personnel. Which basically means, Danny's lap dog/racquetball buddy/espn analyst needs to be fired.

Just look at how badly he and Snyder botched the 2000 draft and the restricted free agent episode of 2003. But as he told the fans bad in 2002 "Don't worry, we have a plan."

Posted by: Hire a GM | November 22, 2006 7:18 AM | Report abuse

OK that just made me sick. I am with P nerds clowning us now. Damn that is really bad. This off season no high price FA. Coach Joe needs to b**ch slap double g and tell him to put Rock in and throw his ego and system out the window.

Posted by: jm220 | November 22, 2006 7:49 AM | Report abuse

Macro and Micro
Econ meets Skins long term "plan"
Pay big but play small.

(5,000 geek words in 17 syllables! H-man is BACK!!!!)


Posted by: HaikuMan | November 22, 2006 7:58 AM | Report abuse

Check out the link. For those of you pessimists out there, this shows Gibbs "loyalty problem" has subsided at least somewhat: He is playing JC now despite....wait for it...a 0.05% chance of making the playoffs.

And here you negative-nellys kept complaining that Gibbs wouldn't make the switch until the Skins were commmmpletely out of it....


Posted by: HaikuMan | November 22, 2006 8:03 AM | Report abuse

I actually know Kevin Hassett pretty well (I book him for speaking engagements) but it surprises me that he knows anything about football. And what does he mean by a Jets trade? We traded with them years ago but I don't remember anything lately...unless you count Santana last year which was one of the few good things the Skins have done.

Posted by: Lisa | November 22, 2006 9:09 AM | Report abuse

It's interesting but hardly new. There is a rookie draft pool structure that keeps salaries artificially low in comparison to FA salaries. That's not to say that even FA's wages aren't artificially low anyway due to the cap. The thing about the Patriots getting pass-catching TE's, if true, is interesting.

What i'd like to find out is whether veteran FAs have a greater correlation to success than drafting rookies. That would be interesting.

Posted by: Skinz | November 22, 2006 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Great! Maybe the Danny can add a couple of Nobel Prize-winning economists to the coaching staff. And we won't even have to send compensatory picks to Stockholm! Heck, maybe one of 'em could play weakside LB...

Posted by: SF SkinsFan | November 22, 2006 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: Unsilent Majority | November 22, 2006 9:22 AM | Report abuse




Andyman knows all.

Posted by: Wes Mantooth | November 22, 2006 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Let's not nominate this kevin dude to be the billy bean of football just yet.

going to go read him now. I might be wrong, but I feel pretty confident that Lisa is right and there are some pretty big holes in his arguments . . .more to come after I've had a chance to have some coffee. . .

Posted by: skinsfan@8KaboveMSL | November 22, 2006 9:34 AM | Report abuse

This is great. Now we have economics professionals rubbing the Danny's nose in it. What a fool. If he's as smart as he thinks he is, he'll figure this out fast. If he's as smart as WE think he is, we're screwed for the long haul.

Posted by: tampadave | November 22, 2006 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Perfect. "Assistant Deputy Head Coach--Multivariate Regression Analysis"

Posted by: PMW | November 22, 2006 9:38 AM | Report abuse

one early exception to the argument...given that this is about economics, why are the Redskins the most valuable franchise in all of sports if all they do is screw up?

(Let's just stipulate that they haven't won and that we are all frustrated beyond belief, but that is just that)

Maybe someone with a marketing degree can explain this... P?

Posted by: skinsfan@8KaboveMSL | November 22, 2006 9:42 AM | Report abuse

skinsfan, $nyder's marketing 'genius' enabling the most valuable franchise is based on the local monopoly. No competition for local NFL expenditures, esp. the fan base willing to pay absurdly high prices for seats and parking (only the latter for training camp).

Posted by: dcsween | November 22, 2006 9:45 AM | Report abuse

"it is impossible to conceive of what foolish thing the Redskins might do next."

Has anyone ever said anything that is MORE true than this?

Posted by: Joe in Raleigh | November 22, 2006 9:46 AM | Report abuse

one early exception to the argument...given that this is about economics, why are the Redskins the most valuable franchise in all of sports if all they do is screw up?

(Let's just stipulate that they haven't won and that we are all frustrated beyond belief, but that is just that)

Maybe someone with a marketing degree can explain this... P?

As he says later in the article that's because there is a lot of demand for football in this area (we'll consume any crappy product they'll produce) and it's a monopoly (they're the only once to produce the crappy product)

Posted by: thor | November 22, 2006 9:46 AM | Report abuse

$nyder spits on the invisible hand of the market ... because the market itself rewards his merchandising. We consider ourselves Skins fans, which means he can consider us lemming stew (seasoned with a dash of John from Herdon's broken heart).

Posted by: dcsween | November 22, 2006 9:48 AM | Report abuse

I am probably the least knowledgeable person on this blog but the article makes total sense to me.
One argument against investing heavily in FA: you don't have to be a great team to go to playoffs. We did it last year with 10-6 record. This year even 9-7 may get you there. Which means you don't need to have an all pro ball team (FAs) to get there. all you need is a strong, above average team (Redskins 05).

Posted by: thor | November 22, 2006 9:54 AM | Report abuse

based on the local monopoly

Given that there's a competitor 45 minutes away, one could argue that it's actually not a monopoly. The Pats, on the other hand, are the only team in the Northeast.

We consider ourselves Skins fans

True, but I also consider myself a Caribou Coffee customer. However, if Starbucks dropped their prices and improved their offerings, I might switch my coffee allegiance.

Not saying that I'm quitting on the Redskins, but allegiances aren't set in stone.

Posted by: Joe in Raleigh | November 22, 2006 9:59 AM | Report abuse

The square root on "sucks" is REDSKINS!
Like others are saying, even economist nerds see our problems...what is the world coming to!
From my living room, without a calculator I could tell you after the preseason that Carter, Archuletta and Fouria are terrible and our linebackers as a group are mediocre and the second comings of Ryan Leaf and Heath Shuler could be superstars against our defense!
Brunell has taken enough of a beating, I'll hold back on him today.

Posted by: jt | November 22, 2006 10:02 AM | Report abuse

I think the Jets trade he refers to was when the Skins moved up to grab Rocky McIntosh in the second round.

Now that management has been proven to be poor both on the field of play and in the classroom... i will proceed to boo everyone but JC at the Panthers game on Sunday.

Posted by: Jack Kent Cooke | November 22, 2006 10:05 AM | Report abuse

It's an interesting article. But it seems too simple. He's comparing a team that builds through the draft and wins all the time, to a team that builds through FA and currently sucks. What about all the teams that build through the draft and still suck?

Consider the Lions, they don't trade away picks like idiots but... 2 wins. Houston is a better example, they've had a ton of picks due to expansion rules and yet... 3 wins.

Where does the econ professor on these teams failures? Haven't they maximized value by committing to the draft?

Posted by: Joe in Raleigh | November 22, 2006 10:08 AM | Report abuse


Nice piece... it's what we've been saying all along.

The blue print for success is there, but they are too stubborn and impatient to follow it. Disgusting.

Posted by: Ricky Bobby | November 22, 2006 10:09 AM | Report abuse

OK, lets quit whining and supply some "fixes"

This year:

- bench carter, holdman insert D. Evans, let old man Wynn get more snaps and get Rocky Mac and Posey in every chance. Let them learn Grilliams system now.

- Start Duckett, let Betts continue in the Kelvin Bryant role.

- More 2 TE sets less WRs

- Take the kid gloves off JC, let him play with the 700 pages and take his knocks now.


- Fire Cerrato. Gibbs moves upstairs and runs football operations. Hire a scouting guru to be Gibbs number 2.

- Pry Russ Grimm from Steelers for Headcoach. Great combination of tradition, with new ideas and who has apprenticed with a winning organization. He loves Gibbs and has similar general philosophies. Give him full coaching staff control. Youth in the coaching staff, and keeping the right old ones could be winning formula (ie keep bugal, Saunders and Blanche, can the rest)

- Figure out how to most efficiently cut losses in terms of cap issues and cut bait on the bloated players and contracts. Set up for future financial health.

- Adopt a true our players first approach and resign Betts and others. Begining courting S. Taylor now. As much as he has regressed this year, he is key and losing him to FA would be terrible mistake.

- Remember Plan B free agency? Thats the approach Skins should adopt, mine rosters for young, hungry, no-name undervalued players and give them fair but balanced contracts. This could also include some key "second chance" vets who we sign for league mins and incentive laden Troy Vincent.

- Chill on the "offseason" workout schedule, but beef up training camp.

- dial down the expectation hype and get humble. Become low expectation heroes...that was a hallmark of Gibbs Mach I.

Next season:

- Figure out what you want to do well, perfect it and keep adding new goals.

- Design systems that fit players strengths. Let Taylor ballhawk, get Moss down field, zone block for Portis, make teams fear the 8 yard out and in from cooley, feed Sellers raw meat, protect Rogers with more Zone D...etc.

- Dial back the Skins Media Empire garbage...lets fly under the radar a more 911 ceremonies, opening nights, Tomkat, overseas games, team sponsered "news"

Just some thoughts......

Posted by: Chris Larry | November 22, 2006 10:10 AM | Report abuse


For a number of reasons. 1. We are all incredibly gullible. 2. There's two different measures of "success" operating here; one is financial success, which the Redskins are very good at, and the other is on-field success, which the Redskins are very bad at.

One thing that Dan Snyder is very good at is packaging a disastrous product year-after-year but somehow putting on a "hope" ribbon that keeps us all coming back for more. The operating philosophy isn't even a "win now" one (or, if it is, they just suck at what they do) but rather "amaze them with bells and whistles".

This attitude truly started when we did away with Martyball, despite the fact that he turned a 1-5 team into an 8-8 team, winning 7 of his last 10 games. We had momentum going into 2002, team unity, a coaching philosophy that the players were buying into, and perhaps the potential for a great run in 2003. Instead we go on a downward spiral, winning 7 and then 5 games the next few years.

Dan Snyder masked this failure with the Steve Spurrier experiment which we all gobbled up (happy turkey day!) for no good reason. A proven coach who has turned a very bad team into a good one is replaced by a college coach with zero experience in the pros. All bells and whistles.

5-11 teams are hard to package well but Dan Snyder managed to do so anyways. He brought in DC's own sacred cow in Joe Gibbs, thus buying some more time for failing franchise. Once again we, as fans, jumped right back onto the bandwagon. It didn't hurt that Gibbs made some big offseason acquisitions, picking up Clinton Portis from Denver (who would eventually become our favorite trading partner; they must love us).

Problem was, Joe Gibbs hadn't coached in over a decade and this was still a 5 win team. Well, a 6 win team in 2004.

Then, without making any drastic personnel changes we went out and won 10 games, buying the Redskins franchise another few years of failure. But 10 wins and a postseason spot wasn't good enough, so we went out and spent a fortune on new coaches, new players (the wrong ones, as it turned out) just to watch a fairly pedestrian postseason team dissolve into a dismal one the following year. Now we're sitting at 3-7.

No doubt next year will bring a new round of Free Agency signings followed by the fans getting fired up once more. And then an unmitigated disaster of a year.

In any event, to resolve the discrepancy in the failure of this team as a contender with the unmitigated economic success this franchise has enjoyed, take a good long look at yourself in the mirror. Also remember that perhaps it's possible to succeed economically as a franchise in the NFL without having to produce anything more than false promises, pipe dreams, and paper champions. Delivering a product is secondary in the "win now" (but really never) environment we unfortunate many find ourselves in. But who is to blame?

Have a happy turkey day.

Posted by: Skin Patrol | November 22, 2006 10:13 AM | Report abuse


Great article. But, I think it's founded on the assumption that the owner's risk/return valuation of players is for the goal of winning the SUPER BOWL...Here in DC, we could give TWO BIG POOPS about the VLT!

Now, apply the inflating nature (thanks in part to the skins) of FA pricing to the sole goal of being the most profitable enterprise in professional sports...and the end result is a bit different. As I recall, the Redskins are one of the most profitable institutions in global sports. So all of these "silly trades" and compounding errors have done what? In the eyes of the bottom line, been perfectly successful.

This has been yelled about on this blog dozens of times. Gordon Gecko runs this thing like a business, not like a team. The organization is maligned from top to bottom. But who can blame them? I still tune in. I still buy tickets. The demand is there thanks to the fans. So how is Gordon going to know he should fix something until his wallet feels the pinch? He won't.

Did anyone watch the KU game last night? There big man looks like Liam Nealson! I was waiting for him to break out a light saber and go after Darth Maul for the whole game!


Posted by: Pub Golf | November 22, 2006 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, UK/UCLA game.

Posted by: Pub Golf | November 22, 2006 10:16 AM | Report abuse

While I am completely nauseated by the team's performance this season, I am not as ready to fire the Vinny Cerrato as everyone on this blog seems to be. He has actually done a pretty competent job scouting the collegiate ranks since he has been in Washington.

Chris Cooley was a sixth round pick and is one of the best red zone targets in the league. Kedrick Golston is a competent NFL defensive tackle, drafted late. Chris Samuels is a solid (but maybe slightly overrated) left tackle. There have been busts, like Carlos Rogers, but for the most part it the Redskins have drafted competently.

In my view, the free agents we signed are being misused by Coach Joe. Andre Carter should be moved to outside linebacker (so Warrick Holdman is on the bench), and Wynn should play Carter's vacated position. That shuffle cannot make the defense any worse - getting Holdman off the field is addition by subraction - and Wynn is better agains the run than Carter. Arch probably sucks but is still an upgrade over Vernon Fox (who?).

While the players are ultimately culpable for the poor performance this season, the coaching staff and schedule have had more to do with the failure. Three times this season, the Redskins have travelled to play teams that are .500 or better after AFTER THAT TEAM'S BYE WEEK. Just to give everyone some perspective, no other team in the NFC East has had to do that.

With another year under their belt and hopefully I quiet offseason, the coaching staff will figure this out and I think the Redskins can return to playoff contention next year.

Posted by: Vinny's Lawyer | November 22, 2006 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Chris Larry you are on point my friend. I agree with you 100%

Posted by: jm220 | November 22, 2006 10:17 AM | Report abuse

just admitted to myself that I am just nor going to get any real work done today, so here goes . . .

Facts from Forbes:

boston and DC markets ~same size.

Redskins spent $24M more in payroll than the NE patriots over the last 3 years however the Redskisns franchise is worth $247M more than the patsies, that's 21% more for those of you w/ calculators.

so all of this stuff that the patsies do better then the skins cost them ~8M less a year and still yields a valuation that isn't even close to the skins.

now if we could only win 1 more game . . .

Posted by: skinsfan@8KaboveMSL | November 22, 2006 10:24 AM | Report abuse


Perfect. Thank you. Now how in the hell are you going to tell Gecko he's failing miserably with that kind of money pouring in?

Short of a fan strike? Not possible.


Posted by: Pub Golf | November 22, 2006 10:31 AM | Report abuse

The major reasons the skins are the most valuable sports franchise in the US are these:

Largest stadium and franchise ownered:

Danny has added some seats but this existed prior to his ownership.

A large, loyal fan base in an affluent area:

Not Danny's doing.

Major Metropolitan area with plenty of corporations for sponsorship:

Not Danny's doing.

Playing in the NFC East against the most popular team in America and the most popular team in the largest city in the US:

Not Danny's doing.

Posted by: Skinz | November 22, 2006 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Haha, franchise owned. Not ownered.

Posted by: Skinz | November 22, 2006 10:33 AM | Report abuse

right on again joe, great point about the patsies being the exception. . .

maybe it is harder to keep together all those peeps that make the the draft so successful over the long run, hence why everyone else that tries to do the same thing is not getting the same results . . .

Posted by: skinsfan@8KaboveMSL | November 22, 2006 10:34 AM | Report abuse


Here is Qui-gon Jinn. He has a chin strap right now and it's perfect. I wonder who his paduan is???

Posted by: Pub Golf | November 22, 2006 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Joe in R, i dont agree. There are costs associated with becoming a Ravens fan that dont make switching to Starbucks the same. Travel time (especially from NoVa), buying new merchandise, losing a good seat in FedEx to get a bad one in B-more... the opportunity costs associated with going to startbucks are significantly less.

Posted by: Jack Kent Cooke | November 22, 2006 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Not really on topic, but does anyone know how long Cooley is under contract? This is his 3rd season, and he was a 3rd round draft pick. I can't imagine he signed anything more than a 4 year deal as a rookie.

Posted by: SBXLII | November 22, 2006 10:40 AM | Report abuse

skin patrol, good arguments.

Only one exception that folks pointed out very eloquently yesterday: intentionally putting out a flawed product that loses more than it wins is not consistent with making money in the long run.

Were mistakes made? Yes and in spades.

Was bringing Gibbs back a mistake? Can't say yes to that at this point.

If anything, Gibbs leaving suddenly and not having any successors in place has probably caused more harm to the franchise than the Danny and all of his mistakes.

let's not forget that he's not taking over George Allen's gang here and it's a long road back from all those years between the last superbowl win and where we are right now. . .

Posted by: skinsfan@8KaboveMSL | November 22, 2006 10:42 AM | Report abuse

>>>>>>>>>"Chris Cooley was a sixth round pick"

Posted by: Vinny's Lawyer | November 22, 2006 10:17 AM

not to be a stat nerd or anything, but pretty sure that is not correct....think they traded up and grabed him in the 2nd or 3rd round, but who is really counting at this point.

Posted by: TM | November 22, 2006 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Skin Patrol and Pub Golf (I playing pub golf!) hit the nail on the head. The 'Skins are executing a classic PR and marketing plan, with related and well-spaced out disclosure points that drive buzz and consequently sales. They've even tried to go after the season ticket aftermarket business (Stub Hub). As I've said before, "Mr." Snyder is very good at what he does: business and marketing. He is among the best, as witnessed by his success both in his pre-football empire and now with the valuation of the franchise.

It should be noted that the fans buy into this philosophy every year. That may change after this year. After all, if the 'Skins are hamstrung by the cap and can't execute on the free agent market (or if the free agent market itself is soft and not full of the marquee players the team is known to spend on), the opportunity for generating buzz will not be there and they'll have to find a different "hope ribbon" (as Skin Patrol so aptly described it).

I'll bet you dollars to donuts that in mid-February, we'll be hearing talk of Nate Clements (who???) as the second-coming of Darrell Green. He'll end up being the "hope ribbon", in much the same way that Antwaan Randel El was for the glaring weakness of last season.

Posted by: P Diddy | November 22, 2006 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Skins, you have made several good points. Danny made one good decision- invest in the Skins... and the business made money on its own.

Add the appreciation of the land value under FedEx (can you imagine how much that is worth now???) and he really didnt do that much.

Posted by: Jack Kent Cooke | November 22, 2006 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Joe in Raleigh:

"Not saying that I'm quitting on the Redskins, but allegiances aren't set in stone."

I'm from the Carolinas too. Before the Panthers showed up, the 'Skins were the favorite team around here. I have resisted becoming a Panther fan out of loyalty. But it gets harder and harder to ignore the problems with the 'Skins.

Posted by: disappointed | November 22, 2006 10:54 AM | Report abuse

I believe the biggest problem with the Redskins "Get Vets via Free Agency" approach is that it's not what they're doing at all. Instead of going after truly free agents, we keep making stupid or lousy trades or signing restricted free agents which cost us draft picks. Draft picks are a (relatively) cheap way of procuring talent for little cost. By continuously losing 2nd, 3rd and even 4th round draft picks, our only backups are cheapo scrubs and less talented players.

First thing to do that would immediately help our team: Lose the Broncos' phone number. No member of the front office should be allowed to talk to the Broncos regarding any trades.

Posted by: tallbear | November 22, 2006 10:55 AM | Report abuse

flaw in the econ geek's arguments:

- NE is the exception to the rule (thanks J in R)

- The "surplus" that owners are trying to achieve is solely derived from keeping players salaries low (see previous post for an illusttration of how there is little correlation between a low payroll and the value of the franchise)

- the answer is to allow for compeitition w/ the skins in the DC market (defining the market too narrowly, there is competition for the entertainment dollar in the DC area. after all the redskins are not the only potential source of entertainment and one could argue they are currently the source of frustration rather then enermainment)

looking forward to seeing what next year's "bow of hope" looks like . . .

gotta get back to the real world and send out a few e-mails so folks don't pick up on my blog addiction . . .

Posted by: skinsfan@8KaboveMSL | November 22, 2006 10:59 AM | Report abuse

BTW, for those wondering at what point will the emperor be proven to have no clothes, there's a great article on Zappos in Business 2.0 this month. Zappos basically takes the long-term view on everything. They have the best customer service of any Internet shopping site, they coddle and nurture every single customer, and they are honest with their customers.

The article goes on to state that their revenue is now somewhere around $600M, but they only recently turned a profit.

As a businessman, I would find this very difficult to swallow. Let me see: you've been in business for 6 years or so, and you've only now turned a profit? And your product is a Web site, not technology that you are perfecting and will one day license? Seems fishy to me.

So, on one hand I LOVE Zappos as a customer and pretty much always buy shoes from them. But on the other hand, how can they stay in business long-term if their performance continues to be so...average? In business, you need to strike that balance between ultimate customer service and ultimate monetization.

I think "Mr." Snyder would love to put a winning product on the field. I mean, who among us doesn't believe that a man with such a Napoleanic ego wouldn't LOVE to hoist that Lombardi Trophy? Heck, I bet if he ever does get to do so, his little head will explode. But by being so slavishly dedicated to the "big splash" and buzz generation, he has gotten himself, and the organization, out of balance.

Ultimately, this is what I believe is wrong with the 'Skins. You can get specific and tactical about Archuletta or Carter or Rogers. But think big picture and strategic first. I think they're out of whack there, and until they fix the philosophy of the organization, no amount of player noodling is going to help.

My two cents...and, as always, I feel compelled to caveat that by saying that I am obviously an outsider and really don't know squat about what's going on.

Posted by: P Diddy | November 22, 2006 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Cooley will be an unrestricted free agent after next season. I'm sure danny boy will give him the Ryan Clark treatment and tell him he'll never see a ton of money from the 'skins, then danny boy will sign Shannon Sharpe for $10 million guaranteed, sight unseen. after he signs, vinny will tell danny that sharpe's been retired for years.

Posted by: 4-12 | November 22, 2006 11:01 AM | Report abuse

kenny wright is the best example there is that 3/4/5 round picks are important. he basically took the place of numerous draft picks we traded away and needed to fill a need with a cheap free agent.....that kenny wright guy is one of the worst corners i have seen in a long time. unfortunately, the other is on the skins roster also, carlos rogers.....come to think of it, i'm not sure who is worse.

Posted by: TM | November 22, 2006 11:02 AM | Report abuse

"Lose the Broncos' phone number. No member of the front office should be allowed to talk to the Broncos regarding any trades."

I think Qwest actually offer a service that accomplishes that, now if I could only bribe one of my peeps that work over there to secretly get that done . . .

Posted by: skinsfan@8KaboveMSL | November 22, 2006 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Chris Cooley was a sixth round pick

Wrong. Drafted in the third round.

Chris Samuels is a solid (but maybe slightly overrated) left tackle.

More than slightly at this point. The whole O-line has been below average except for one game; go and watch someone like Denver run-block and you'll see just how far behind we are.

but for the most part it the Redskins have drafted competently.

Again, you seem to be smoking crack. As JLaC has pointed out, and many others, time and time again this organization has done poorly in the draft.

There is no excuse in the real world for not having a GM.

Posted by: Megskin | November 22, 2006 11:07 AM | Report abuse

JKC, all good points, but the start-up costs involved in switching don't make it a monopoly. Consider if you wanted to switch from blogging on a PC to blogging on a Mac. You'd have to get a new computer and new accessories and new software, but you could do it if you thought you could get more value out of it or if the costs were preferrable.

The build-through-the-draft model is the best, but there's more to it than that. You have to identify the right players, coach them well, game-plan, make adjustments. Oh, and it sure helps when you uncover one of the best QBs of our generation with a 6th round pick.

I actually think the Redskins have a lot of this in place. When we draft players, I think our success rate is on par with the rest of the league. We have great coaches, although they're frequently not on the same page. We have an owner that is willing to re-invest in the team.

My recipe for success:
(1) scrap the win-now free agency nonsense,
(2) maintain stability.

Posted by: Joe in Raleigh | November 22, 2006 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Sometimes late at night, I don't know wether I should be happy Megskin doesn't talk to me (per HAMMER above) or if my bar-self has transcended to this blog and all females ignore me until I hits the dance flo w/ Jaegar Bomb in to...


Posted by: Pub Golf | November 22, 2006 11:14 AM | Report abuse

J in R: amen to that!

Posted by: skinsfan@8KaboveMSL | November 22, 2006 11:14 AM | Report abuse

I don't know wether I should be happy Megskin doesn't talk to me (per HAMMER above)

Hunh? Did I miss something? I seriously don't get this post.

Posted by: Megskin | November 22, 2006 11:16 AM | Report abuse

I don't always agree with P Diddy, but I always like reading what you have to say. Very interesting take.

What did you think of Save the Cheerleader on Monday?

Posted by: Joe in Raleigh | November 22, 2006 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Until the CBA came through the skins were looking pretty tight against the CAP so Snyder spent his money on coaches. With the CAP being raised he was able to spend on players too. Since that didn't work and they're likely to be tight against the CAP agina, I'd like to see him put that kind of effort into player evaluation personnel. Lets see him steal the top talent evaluators from other teams and put his money into the draft. Maybe Gibbs could bring in Beathard or Casserly (I'm not a huge fan of either but they may be people who could fit into the current front office dynamic and they would be an upgrade over the status quo).

Posted by: skinswest | November 22, 2006 11:20 AM | Report abuse

I believe I was put on this Earth to save all cheerleaders.

From what I understand, the show-runners for "Heroes" have a definite plan for this season and next. Unlike "Lost", I'm told they are working towards a big payoff. If you're into the show, be patient.

I adore that show to death, so, yes, I loved Monday's episode.

Posted by: P Diddy | November 22, 2006 11:23 AM | Report abuse


"Only one exception that folks pointed out very eloquently yesterday: intentionally putting out a flawed product that loses more than it wins is not consistent with making money in the long run."

My only response is that I don't think Snyder has intentionally put a flawed product on the field. I think he either honestly believes these tactics will work (and is very bad at producing winning teams) or that he hopes they work but is largely ambivalent about it.

We can accept that he believes either yet still grant that he places a large premium on the perception of annual greatness with smoke and mirrors. Despite mounds of evidence to the contrary, he might honestly believe that the smoke and mirrors routine works while still beliving also that in order to make fans by tickets he has to produce the dazzle. Or he can be ambivalent about the strategy but understands as a business man that perception can drive ticket sales as well as an actual winning product.

In any event, perhaps the most discouraging fact about all of this is that Dan Snyder has enjoyed unprecedented success while simultaneously failing to produce a quality product. I wonder if there is even any incentive remaining for the business persons running this team to produce wins. If there isn't (and it appears there is not), then we could be a mediocre franchise indefinitely for over a billion good reasons.

Posted by: Skin Patrol | November 22, 2006 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Wow, talk about ignorance. Calling economists nerds takes some real doing after reading that Belichick, himself has a degree in economics. Only a fool would think that simply because someone is an economist their opinion about football is any less credible.

Posted by: Redskinrex | November 22, 2006 11:30 AM | Report abuse

SP: good points,

Issue is "consistently" producing a good product . . .I think we were all OK with that run and the playoffs last year, just would rather have seen that happen again this year . . .

now if we could just win one game . . .

Posted by: skinsfan@8KaboveMSL | November 22, 2006 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Vinny's Lawyer is actually a crackhead who stole a laptop.
Andre Carter is not fast anough to play Linebacker. You see how well his "speed" rushes have been getting to the quarterback.
Please refer to Dwight Freeney. He could move from end to LB, not Carter.

Posted by: gatorskinz2000 | November 22, 2006 11:38 AM | Report abuse


Bad arguments = less credible.

my dad was an economist so, nothing against those guys, just the ones that put out bad arguments for the sake of self promotion . . .he's probably been in DC too long . . .

Posted by: skinsfan@8KaboveMSL | November 22, 2006 11:38 AM | Report abuse

who's defense is more pathetic....wizards or redskins????????

Posted by: bangbros | November 22, 2006 11:40 AM | Report abuse

I agree. If football was a bargaining exchange between fans and franchises, and this franchise offered 10 wins and a postseason every year, I'd happily accept that deal.

The problem is, nothing this team does will ever be good enough on any given year to dissuade Dan Snyder from making drastic changes. It was Steve Spurrier when we were 8-8 under Martyball, and it was Saunders/Carter/Archuleta/ARE/Lloyd etc. after 10-6.

My biggest concern is that if your team generates its annual dazzle with the things it does from March to July then why should the powers that be concern themselves with improving the team from August to --god forbid on this team-- February?

Posted by: Skin Patrol | November 22, 2006 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Meh. There are a lot of teams who embrace the draft who are not exactly playoff contenders, either. These economists points are not mistaken, but they are at least a little overblown. The Skins approach to free agency is indeed unique, but there is no guarantee that if we had eschewed free agents and kept every draft pick we acquired in the late 90's/00's that we'd be playing in the SuperBowl. This article reminds me a lot JLC of your article extolling the value of the Cowboys 2004 draft picks and the gems they found on defense throughout--Great analysis, but show me one other team this decade that has had a similar draft. The unstated conclusion that the Skins should be drafting as well as the Cowboys did in ONE draft is at best unfair, and at least inaccurate. There are 30 other teams in this league, how many others did that well in that draft? Or, for that matter, how well do the other teams in this league stack up "economically" in the eyes of the AEI? And really, who cares?

Posted by: duck | November 22, 2006 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Building through free agency is clearly a less efficient means of building a team, financially speaking. BUT the Redskins (and a handful of other teams) can clearly afford to do so nearly without limit as long as they employ creative cap management (a point Hassett all but ignores). The main issue with the Redskins is not that they build expensively, it is rather that they don't even get a return on the premium they pay for free agents.

The reason you pay market rate for free agent signees is because you should, in theory, have far more certainty about the actual ability of the player to, well, play at an NFL level (and in your particular scheme, etc). The Redskins' signings for at least this past season haven't reflected that.

Draft picks are crap shoots; some first rounders are busts, a seventh rounder may win ROY. There is a high degree of unpredictability because the college game is so different from the pros (different competitive environment, far more inferior players, slightly different playbooks, etc). But free agents come with a longer track record, actual NFL game film (basically more, better data), with which to evaluate the player. A good team will take advantage of this information to increase the likelihood that the free agent player will be successful (relative to a draft pick), even if it has to pay more for that higher level of certainty.

In most people's opinions, though, the Redskins can't seem to take advantage of their ability to pay for more data on players. The real question for critical evaluation is whether the Redskins' recent history of free agent signings shows any higher rate of finding successful players than they (the Redskins) otherwise would have achieved through the draft. On this point, I am not sure one way or the other (people harp on the free agent busts, but there have been quite a few excellent signings. There have also been a seemingly endless stream of poor draft choices).

Basic point: if you can afford it, there is nothing inherently wrong with building a team through free agency. Just make sure you actually take advantage of the premium you pay for a free agent by actually realizing a higher success rate than you would by spinning the roulette wheel that is the NFL draft. If you don't (or can't), THEN you might as well save your cash and spin the wheel.

Posted by: Money is no object | November 22, 2006 11:49 AM | Report abuse

P Diddy: LOL, LOL, LOL to your first comment about the nerds (one of which also was probably Little Danny in the cafeteria with the rest of the pocket protector-wearing dweebs)!!!

Posted by: Green Baby G. | November 22, 2006 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Exactly. The economist is trying to get his name in print. It's not about analyzing one team, it's about analyzing all of the teams and then stack ranking. A real analysis would take 5-10 year trends into account as well, and a really real analysis would also chart that data alongside a similar analysis of the glory days (81-92) of the franchise.

I give the economist an "A" for creativity and a "D-" for useful analysis.

Posted by: P Diddy | November 22, 2006 11:52 AM | Report abuse

While the economist might have some valid points, calling the redskins names certainly doesn't make one think this guy is an impartial analyst. Also, it's pretty easy to develop theories after the fact. Sure the Pats have won 3 super bowl but that's not a feat that's not been achieved before.

Posted by: Bart | November 22, 2006 11:53 AM | Report abuse





Posted by: SallieMae | November 22, 2006 11:55 AM | Report abuse


Oh No - My turkey has not been basted in 2 hours ... YIKES .....

Posted by: SallieMae | November 22, 2006 11:55 AM | Report abuse

BTW, "I don't know him from a can of paint", is my new favorite expression. It replaces, "It's like trying to nail Jell-O to a tree."

Posted by: P Diddy | November 22, 2006 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Settle down, PG... settle down....

Posted by: Ricky Bobby | November 22, 2006 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Hmmm, Sallie, is that a euphemism for something?

Posted by: P Diddy | November 22, 2006 11:58 AM | Report abuse

there are 4 pemium positions on a football team QB,LT,DE,CB You have to have premium players at these positions.Redskins have 0 and thats where high draft picks come in.these are positions that you can not miss on if you want to be a Contender!

Posted by: Just a Thought | November 22, 2006 11:59 AM | Report abuse

So what's happened to the once mighty defense? Ah, you know, when things go bad, they go bad all over. How about the new QB, Jason Campbell? Decent stats: 196 yards, two TDs, no picks, against the league's No. 13 pass defense. Can't you find anything remotely exciting here? No. Next case.

I am totally done reading SI. How about the kid did well for his first start? Yet, he says nothing about LBM and how awful he looks. Or better yet how is ranked 31st in the league on 3rd down conversions. You want something to be happy about. Be happy that we don't have that over rated, average at best QB LBM.

Posted by: jm220 | November 22, 2006 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Heavy Metal Parking Lot.

Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse.


Posted by: OD | November 22, 2006 12:04 PM | Report abuse

President Bush just pardoned the National Turkey.

Looks like Cerrato is off the hook and free to go now.

Ha! I kill me.

Posted by: P Diddy | November 22, 2006 12:05 PM | Report abuse

I guess we completely removed the H-back from the playbook this year and made Cooley a traditional style tight end. As a result our running game has gone to crap and cooley's receiving stats have dropped. Interesting. Maybe we need to go back to using an H-back.

Posted by: Max | November 22, 2006 12:11 PM | Report abuse



P Diddy - you are on a roll today. As always I enjoy reading your posts.

euphemism - had to look up that word - too big for simple lil'ol me.

Main Entry: eu·phe·mism
Pronunciation: 'yü-f&-"mi-z&m
Function: noun
Etymology: Greek euphEmismos, from euphEmos auspicious, sounding good, from eu- + phEmE speech, from phanai to speak -- more at BAN
: the substitution of an agreeable or inoffensive expression for one that may offend or suggest something unpleasant; also : the expression so substituted
- eu·phe·mist /-mist/ noun
- eu·phe·mis·tic /"yü-f&-'mis-tik/ adjective
- eu·phe·mis·ti·cal·ly /-ti-k(&-)lE/ adverb

... and I still don't know what it means.


Posted by: SallieMae | November 22, 2006 12:13 PM | Report abuse

As much as I hate Tom Coughlin, check out this NYT article today and compare the way he answers questions about his team's problems to the way JG does it.

Posted by: Bethesda | November 22, 2006 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Gibbs is a euphemist at his press conferences. If he were a realist he would say, "The team sucks, and there is nothing we can do about, thanks for your support."

Posted by: Max | November 22, 2006 12:17 PM | Report abuse


I've gotsta go slave over a hot stove in preparation for tomorrow. If I start now I should have everything finished by 2 PM tomorrow.

The men on my side of the family never ever help saying, "Men provide - we are the hunters and providers, The Women cook and clean house."

So, call me niave, call me old fashion ... whatever ... but I enjoy cooking. It's the cleanup that sucks.

Wishing all of you, my fello lovely blogger lovelies, a Happy Thanksgiving. I loves you all!!


Posted by: SallieMae | November 22, 2006 12:21 PM | Report abuse

The problem to me seems to be that the FO has made this an either/or proposition. Free Agents and draft picks do not come in inverse proportions unless you want them to! Sign all the FA's you want, just stop trading the draft picks you already have! If nothing else sheer dumb luck should fill a few holes on the team with more players being brought in.

Posted by: cm202bc | November 22, 2006 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Phooey. Paralysis by analysis. The big prob is that we all saw the Second Coming of JG as at least equal to the Second Coming of JC. Now we know different: times, players, owners all change and JG can't. Sack him. Get a decent GM and someone to plan things in less than 700 pages.

Posted by: Fandance | November 22, 2006 12:29 PM | Report abuse

The Skins wouldn't know a smart personnel decision from a can of paint.

Posted by: The Prognosticator | November 22, 2006 12:32 PM | Report abuse

This blog just ate my life.

On this holiday I'm giving thanks for each and every one of you, especially J-La and HaikuMan. (Even you, trolls.)

I'm going to start brining my turkey in just a few hours. And that is not a euphemism, though it certainly should be.

Posted by: Nate in the PDX | November 22, 2006 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Sack him. Get a decent GM and someone to plan things in less than 700 pages.

So you're saying, continue to do what we do every several years. Fire everyone and start over. Again.

And if that doesn't work within 2-3 years, then what? Do it again? And again?

Here's an idea: don't sack anyone, learn from mistakes, try again next year.

Posted by: Joe in Raleigh | November 22, 2006 12:37 PM | Report abuse

post title should have read:

economist flunks economics . . .

Posted by: skinsfan@8KaboveMSL | November 22, 2006 12:41 PM | Report abuse

GatorSkins - Carter played some linebacker in SF which, last time I checked, was the last place he had any success as a pass rusher. How much worse would he be as an outside linebacker than Warrick Holdman?! The only time you'll see "speed" and "Holdman" in the same sentence is when one is marvelling at how fast he hit the ground after a pancake block. How fast is Greg Ellis? Is he as fast as Freeney? He made the switch (albiet w/ the hated Cowboys) and he seemed to be doing fine before he broke a limb last week ...

The right side of the Redskins defense SUCKS. Any change is better than status quo. But this coaching staff prefers "veterans" so it will continue to suck.

Posted by: Vinny's Pool Boy | November 22, 2006 12:42 PM | Report abuse

How come I'm the only one who's heard the "can of paint" thing before? Either I'm way ahead on this or I hang out with the wrong crowd...

Posted by: Posse Redux | November 22, 2006 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Can anyone tell me what draft picks we have left for the 2007 draft? I see the Skins adding L's like Oprah adds lbs, and my greatest fear is that we've already sold the circus and won't be able to add talent in the draft. That said, who would you suggest we draft? I agree, there are no quick fixes, but damn, who can at least help in the draft, because I haven't seen anyone do that in years. Wouldn't it be fun to see a guy actually perform as a rookie...sans gun charges?

Posted by: John - Denver (no, in Denver) | November 22, 2006 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Chris Larry
your suggestions were SUPER SMART!!! How would you like to be the GM and work SUPER HARD to save the skins from the 3 headed monster (Gibbs/Snyder/Vinny)

Posted by: King Kong | November 22, 2006 12:48 PM | Report abuse

I think there is a lot of wisdom in this article and hopefully it will make its way to the Skins policymakers. One problem with the theory is that it ignores the 53 man roster limit. If a team could stockpile and develop an unlimited number of players, then they could achieve the highest value by selecting fixed price draftees v. market price free agents but teams must attempt to balance value with probabilities of performance within the constraint of the roster limit. I agree that the Skins are doing a poor job of balancing due to the factors mentioned but it isn't totally foolish to buy some proven performance while spending more heavily on draft picks.

Posted by: JGG | November 22, 2006 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Is it possible that this whole FA vs Draft debate proves once more that everything is good in moderation?

Posted by: thor | November 22, 2006 12:57 PM | Report abuse

From top to bottom in the organization, I don't know if you can place the blame solely on one person, but I do know that the Redskins scouting philosophies are completely backwards. Time and time again, we have seen that what cannot be measured is more valuable than statistics, 40-yard dash times, and money. Players like Tom Brady and Marques Colston have that "it" factor that set them apart from their counterparts. The line between winning and losing in the NFL is so fine, that you could argue that last year's Redskins could have been in the same position as they are now, and it's players like Brady and Colston--who have that immeasurable "it" factor-- that push teams over the edge.

The NFL is a copycat league, and if I were the Redskins, I would start by looking at the New England Patriots as a way to run my team. By now it's like playing a broken record, but the Redskins have time and time again failed to see that sometimes less money equals more success because team chemistry, like that "it" factor, is immeasurable.

Posted by: Michael in MD | November 22, 2006 12:59 PM | Report abuse

I accept the job!

Posted by: Chris Larry | November 22, 2006 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Jason, Truly great work that you're doing.

As for the Wire, do you have HBO On Demand so that you are able to see the episodes a week early? If not, I highly recommend that you get it. The next episode is amazing. All sorts of set ups. BTW, now I really think that Omar and Michael will have a run in. It's cool how the ring is getting passed around the way that it is...

Posted by: bv26 | November 22, 2006 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Vinny's Pool,

You are correct. He did play some LB in SF... but apparently he didn't like it. And who wants to bet that Gibbs, Williams, and company promised him he wouldn't be switched to it.


I'm pretty sure we are going to have a 1st, 5th, 6th, and 7th. Having no mid round picks, which is where you build depth, is an embarrassment.

Posted by: Ricky Bobby | November 22, 2006 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Lemar Marshall made a nice safety tackle in the Dallas game...

Posted by: herb | November 22, 2006 2:24 PM | Report abuse

to Thor...... you hit the nail on the head with your last statement. We fans are the reason that the Skins are so valuable...... but the article is speaking to payroll vs. success rate (ie: won/loss record, playoffs, super bowls). It wasn't speaking to how profitable the Redskins are.... unless you measure profitability by Super Bowl wins.

In other words the economics of winning in the NFL

-- MM --

Posted by: Mucus Membrane | November 22, 2006 2:35 PM | Report abuse

can you sustain profitability by having a losing record year after year?

Posted by: thor | November 22, 2006 2:40 PM | Report abuse

As a former Econ major, I can tell you the theory will not hold true as there is no normalcy to draft pciks to establish value for the returns. this is an abstract intellectual way to point out how inept the Skins are compared to the Patriots. It could show show money loving dan snyder how he could make more if he altered his approach.

Posted by: RobGreg | November 22, 2006 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Reading this blog, it is clear that no one in this city of intellectual monsters has been to or passed an economics class. Economics is not about is a social science that attempts to explain people's actions. It is often used to explain a consumer's actions which is where it gets link to monetary results, but it can be used to explain all sorts of social phenomena. A simplistic goal of an economist would be to get the most with the least amount of inputs. That is why the Redskins are so maddening, they spend spend spend (their inputs) and get little in return on the field. I do not think there is a a direct connection with their on field performance and their box office success. After all they started their string of sellouts when they were down right horrible back in the 50's or 60's and have only 2 playoff teams in the last 15 years, yet they still sell out.

Posted by: George Mason School of Econ | November 22, 2006 2:54 PM | Report abuse


The "hammer" was in reference to your 11:07 post. When you slam/neg/correct someone or provide an offsetting opinion with higher level of insight, I refer to that as a HAMMER. Thus, I'm happy you do not HAMMER me, making me happy. Hopefully makes more sense.


Posted by: Pub Golf | November 22, 2006 3:13 PM | Report abuse

George Mason School of Econ, there are a ton of people on here and I'm sure many (if not most) have passed an Econ class. Hold your insults, please.

I appreciate your input, but the main criticism of his article is that he's comparing a very good team that operates one way to a bad team that operates differently and concluding that the way they operate is the reason for the success. It's a post-hoc fallacy; one doesn't necessarily follow the other.

The Patriots build through the draft and have been successful, but many other teams operate the same way and fail. This, like most things, can't be widdled down to ONE thing. Maximizing the value of the draft is one of many variables that go into making a perennial winner.

It also helps that they uncovered one of the greatest QBs of our generation in the 6th round. Of all the considerations, a little luck goes a long way as well.

Posted by: Joe in Raleigh | November 22, 2006 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Draft is always going to be a luck game.
FA is based on potential and PREVIOUS outcome. But when things don't mix well they just don't turn out.

Stats are one thing but if players don't play together and don't execute what they "believe" they can do/be then the numbers on paper don't work out.

All that is left is to play out the season and get some love of the for the game back. JC gives this team a lift, hopefully they can do something about it.

Posted by: pennywheels | November 22, 2006 3:31 PM | Report abuse

to Thor...... you would think not..... but we've been to the playoffs twice in the last 14 years and the Skins are the most profitable team in the NFL.

to George Mason school of Econ........ don't pass judgement on people based on the specialization of their education..... i have an engineering degree and avoided economics like the plauge in college. Didn't take one single econ class...... to me, physics was way more interesting (and required).

-- MM --

Posted by: Mucus Membrane | November 22, 2006 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Economic analysis can pay off. There are ways to look at value. For example, 6th round picks are easy to get, cheap to sign and expected to get cut. Once in a while, Tom Brady shows up. Joe Montana was 3rd round. Judging talent is something that most teams struggle with. Using econ analysis can point teams towards higher likelihood of success decisions. But more importantly, it can steer folks away from disasters. In the offseason, the Skins moves looked smart. Needed a speed pass rusher, got one. Needed depth at LB, drafted one. Felt weakest part of secondary was SS, got one. Needed WR to compliment Moss, got 2. In practice, disaster.

Posted by: AL | November 22, 2006 3:34 PM | Report abuse

This may sound like I'm sticking up for the current regime, but this Kevin Hassett guys is a complete toolbox. He is leaving out the fact that making smart choices at the end of the draft is REALLY hard. It takes skill and clearly this front office doesn't have that - so there probably just as well of signing free agents who have at least had some track record in the NFL.

Nobody's going to argue that the Patriots' and Eagles' approaches don't work - it's just that there are plenty of other teams who follow similar build-through-the-draft strategies and still suck just as bad as the Redskins. The difference is having a good front office that can actually evaluate talent on their own team, on other teams, and in the draft.

Posted by: peterlandler | November 22, 2006 3:47 PM | Report abuse

I think one thing that the economists missed is that measured financially the Redskins are virtually unmatched by any other sports franchise. They just don't translate financial success into game success. I don't see anything indicating that fans will quit paying for a substandard product in the near future, so what real motivation does the Danny have to change methods or people? If the money started drying up, I bet a lot would change, and RIGHT NOW.

Posted by: tide | November 22, 2006 4:26 PM | Report abuse


no argument on definition of economics. argument is regarding how to define what "most" we are trying to acheive. Is it wins or is it profitability and, consequently, valuation?

The bigger question was posed yesterday and it relates to whether or not the two are realted int he long run. So, please take some of your spare time and do some regressions and let us know what you think about this one. Because I'm afraid most of us don't even remember how to spell, much less interpret the results of a regression . . .

Posted by: skinsfan@8KaboveMSL | November 22, 2006 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm, as one person said that Denver has so many of the Skins draft picks and considering that I now live out west, maybe I should start rooting for the Denver Brownskins.

Posted by: charlie | November 22, 2006 7:46 PM | Report abuse

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