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I thought this was a really interesting way to look at free agency in the NFL from Grantlant:

The bigger problem is the idea that upgrading at that position, or in that facet of the game, requires a team to throw money at acquiring a talented player, even if it means that the team overspends in the process. Teams approach the problem of having below-average output at a position by saying, “We need to upgrade to something better here, even if it costs us too much.” Instead, they should approach it from the equally compelling, alternative viewpoint of, “We’re already so bad here that we can’t be much worse next season, so upgrading to a superior player is incredibly easy!” Rather than seeing the free-agent pool as being full of players who would provide superior production to the guys on your roster, bad organizations insist on picking one player from that pool and spending more money than they should to obtain an upgrade they can get from just about anyone.

I know you’re not all football fans, but it’s an interesting way to think about how business is run generally (I’m sure there’s a behavioral economics fallacy for this).

March 19, 2012 // This post is about: , , ,


  • Ric Kallaher says:

    Dan Snyder, owner of the Redskins, vs Bily Beane’s Moneyball. Snyder’s approach continues to amaze in terms of the money wasted. Yet football is almost a hobby it seems to some of the owners as it has an almost “too big an audience to fail” aura. Somehow though I suppose that out there somewhere the “throw money at it” attitude indeed thrives as the first option for businesses as well.

  • Josh Weiss says:

    I would think, in part, that this is related to the availability bias – i.e., being overly impressed with a player (in this case) who has demonstrated their ability on another team in the recent past with big impressive highlights that really stick out in a GM’s mind. The risk is that that player may be a product of his situation on his current team (i.e., a receiver who has a great QB or running game). This kinda reminds me of the bias pointed out in Moneyball (i.e., falling in love with a player based on characteristics we can see / feel rather than stats). It’s also worth noting that some teams favor players for their buzz value as much as for their ability.

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