I was particularly interested in reading the “Freakonomics” blog as I’ve been a big fan of both of the books. One post that stood out to me was the Football Freakonomics entry, which featured the results of the first annual “Dough Bowl”–a complete roster of the top performing players who earn far less than their counterparts. The criteria included: base-salary, cap-hit, number of seasons played in the NFL, and whether or not they made it to the Pro Bowl.
Based on this criteria, the Baltimore Raven’s runningback, Ray Rice, was named MVB (Most Valuable Bargain), who earned a base salary of $600,000 and gained 2,068 yards from scrimmage. Looking through some of the comments, this title contains a level of subjectivity (I’m not a football know-it-all by any means so please excuse me if I get any of the lingo wrong), and there was a wide variety of players who were equally worthy to earn the title, and many more who were overlooked and not included in the roster. One reader, RGJ, commented, “I think it would be interesting to go by positions and calculate the production per dollar, rushing yds, TDs, etc .” which I agree would result in a more objective-based winner and perhaps a better indicator of performance.
I commented on this blog post by posing the question “of the players included on the roster above, how many of them are up for new contracts this year and does this have any affect on player performance?” Huge salaries seem to play a major role in professional athlete motivation and leaves fans questioning their idols’ passion and love of the game. I found an article that analyzed three different NFL players’ performance in the years after their contracts were extending, and basically the conclusion realized was that it is common for players to see a slight dip in performance the year succeeding a contract-extension, “usually because of complacency and lack of motivation” but that ultimately the teams will receive their money’s worth. It would be interesting to include a “years remaining in current contract” criterion to the Dough Bowl roster and see if that has any impact on the selections made.