"Tank for Tua."
"Suck for the Duck."
They are catchy sayings that happen to rhyme, but they are also the mindsets of many fanbases in the early part of the 2019 NFL season. Tanking—an effort to lose as many games as possible to secure a high draft choice with which to take a quarterback—is the word in places like Miami, Cincinnati and maybe even Tampa as fans and media personalities tire of poor play under center. But the thing about tanking is you still have to get the picks right. And that's where it gets difficult.
The Cleveland Browns tried tanking and won a single game in two seasons. That led to executive vice president Sashi Brown and head coach Hue Jackson being fired, largely because the two passed on chances to draft quarterbacks Carson Wentz, Mitchell Trubisky, Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson while trading down to acquire more draft capital.
Tanking didn't save those jobs, but it did help general manager John Dorsey, who took over for Brown, build a Browns roster that looks competitive (if you ignore the Week 1 throttling at the hands of the Tennessee Titans).
Other teams have tried to lose, just maybe not so obviously. The 2017 New York Jets wanted to lose to secure a quarterback, but the front office also made trades to obtain enough draft picks to move up to select a passer if needed (they ended up trading up to the third pick before selecting Sam Darnold). The Philadelphia Eagles made similar moves to climb the board to draft Wentz in 2016.
Not only is it hard to lose enough to guarantee a top pick, but it's also hard to hit in the NFL draft. And that's where critics of tanking come into play. The Miami Dolphins might be trying to lose enough games to earn the top pick, and they've traded away assets in Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills to add more draft capital.