Handicapping football would become a bit more difficult if players were paid on the basis of how well their team performed. Statistics would still be important, but a handicapper would also have to take into consideration the difference in player motivation before making his picks.
It could make watching football much more exciting if each player’s salary or compensation was tied to the performance of the team and not just individual statistics. While you would like to think that all players always try their best, you might see a wide receiver make a better effort to throw a block down field so his teammate could gain a few more yards. Players might not take a play off every now and then and you can be sure the whole team would be into the game.
If the NFL were to switch to a more team oriented system of compensation, salaries could not be based entirely on whether your team won or lost a game. An all or nothing payment based solely on performance would hardly be fair. Players who happened to be on bad teams would be unduly penalized for being on the roster of a bad team.
One way to address this issue is to give everyone a base salary for each game. Base salaries would be higher for certain players like a star quarterback or defensive end. The base salary should be generous but not outrageous. No player would get a $10,000,000 base salary, but a few might get a $1,000,000 base salary.
Owners and the Player’s Union would have to come to an agreement on the extra compensation for a team winning a game. For instance, you could have each team put up $2,000,000 per game that would go into a pool. Then, the winner of the game would receive $4,000,000 that would be divided up among the players and the coaches. There could be some formula that would increase the share for key players. A third string linebacker who only plays two downs might not get the same share as the quarterback.
Although there will still be a number of games where the teams are so unevenly matched that one team is more likely to lose than the other, there will be others where a play or two will determine the winner. If the NFL is about parity, this would be a great way to show if there really is parity.
At the NFL level, there is only a slight difference in talent between the best teams and those that are just below those elite teams. Every year you will have a few teams that might only win three or four games and those players and coaches will not earn as much money as the teams with winning records. No one said that everyone will earn the same. It is more about motivating individuals to sacrifice for the sake of the team.
It is unlikely that such an idea would ever take place at the NFL level because there is just too much money at stake. In a league where so many players jump up and do a dance for making a routine tackle, it seems that there is still more of a “look at me” attitude than a “look at us” attitude.
Instituting a team-based salary structure would put some of the fire and enthusiasm back into the game. For the fans, it might be more enjoyable to watch a game where every play counts.