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Monday, December 8, 2008

Are the Rams the worst team in football? Let the NFL NIT decide.

Posted By on Mon, Dec 8, 2008 at 11:58 AM

"Oh God," the bartender at Nadine's Gin Joint muttered yesterday afternoon. "It's time for the Rams again."

Then the boys in blue and gold promptly met everyone in the bar's lowest expectations, getting stomped 34-10 by Arizona, the unlikeliest of NFC West champions.

Talk eventually turned to the same pitiful banter that has accompanied the past half dozen Rams pity parties: What draft pick will they get and who should they take with it? Are they worse than Detroit or some of those other cellar dwellers? Should Haslett keep his job? What are the karmic implications of a St. Louis team losing to the Cardinals with former Rams MVP and Super Bowl hero Kurt Warner at the helm?

It's those first two questions that really get everyone going. The Rams are probably worse than everyone except Detroit. But if the season ended right today, the 1-11 Bengals would likely have the second overall pick. The Seahawks, Rams, and Chiefs are all a lousy 2-11 but who is actually less talented?

Of course, the head-to-head matchup between Seattle and St. Louis in the coming weekend will decide who's the worst in the worthless NFC West, but wouldn't it be entertaining if the rest of the league's terrible teams actually had to battle for the bottom?

Imagine an NFL NIT, a post-season tournament that features six or seven of the most pathetic teams in professional football. Like the NIT decides the 65th best team in college hoops, the NFL NIT could crown the 32nd best team in the NFL and decide who gets the first overall pick in the draft.

This year's field would include Detroit, Kansas City, Cincinnati, Seattle, and St. Louis. A play-in game between Cleveland and Oakland decides the sixth and final spot.

The team that manages to lose three in a row takes home the trophy, which would look just like the Super Bowl trophy but with a big piece of poo at the top instead of a football.

The games would be played on Monday nights during the first three rounds of the real playoffs. Since some of the teams have already been tanking for the final few weeks, they will have perfected their technique for those final, must-lose games.

Bring back Dennis Miller and let him and Tony Kornheiser mock every player and play. Eric Dickerson, comes out of retirement (and a coma) to be the sideline reporter.

Not only would this comedy of errors make for quality entertainment, it could answer some important questions in terms of personnel and front office decisions. Think about it: if the Rams lost to the Lions in anti-Championship game, could Haslett really keep the head-coaching job for next year? And how does Marc Bulger, Haslett's QB of the future, not walk away with the Least Valuable Player trophy after a few more three-interception performances?

Granted, at this point the fans of these NFL NIT teams probably just want this miserable season to end. But, as the old saying goes, misery loves company and this idea would certainly bring out the best in the worst.

--Keegan Hamilton

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