This past March, billionaire Warren Buffett offered $1 billion to anyone who could accurately predict each NCAA basketball tournament game. Statistically, you have a one-in-9.2 quintillion chance of correctly guessing each game in the bracket, so it’s no surprise that the grand prize was unable to be claimed. Tonight, another sporting event that is nearly impossible to predict takes place in New York City – the NFL Draft.
The draft has become a sporting spectacle, with some calling it the “Super Bowl” of the offseason. With all its hype and media coverage, there is no questioning that the NFL Draft’s popularity is at an all-time high. But the most intriguing aspect of the draft is trying to predict where players will be selected and which teams will be choosing them. Throw in teams moving up and down in the draft as a result of draft-day trades and you have another sporting event that is nearly impossible to forecast. Like the NCAA tournament, it would be fun to see the likes of Buffett or Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert put up money to have fans attempt to predict the first round.
With so many unknowns in the draft, choosing each pick in the first round correctly is virtually impossible; so the person who would be offering the contest wouldn’t be in danger of coughing up the money. The contest would be a fun way for people to follow along with the draft, while competing with their friends and the country. These days ESPN doesn’t need help obtaining viewership during the draft, but incorporating a nationwide challenge would keep NFL fans occupied throughout Thursday’s coverage. There are smaller-scale ways to attempt to predict the draft, but to have something nationwide would entice even the non-football fan to play along in the hopes of taking home a large sum of money.
As far as rules for the contest, it would be simple: place the correct team and draftee in the appropriate draft slot. Much like the NCAA tournament, extra points could be given to those who accurately predict a team’s choice if that choice is out of the given order of the draft. The easiest way of totaling the score would be as follows:
— One-point: Choosing the appropriate team in the draft slot
— Two-points: Choosing the appropriate player in the correct slot
— Three-points: Choosing the appropriate team/player in draft slot
— Six-points (2x multiplier): Choosing the appropriate team/player in a spot even after a trade is performed
This is the simplest way of scoring the draft contest; more rules could be implemented, but this is a start.
Speculation and rumors about teams and players in the draft is already crazy, but adding a contest that could potentially pay out a billion dollars would create a frenzy much like the NCAA tournament. The NFL Draft moves at a slow pace, but you can enjoy the coverage/downtime with anticipation of hitting a “three-pointer” with the next draft pick, taking you a step closer to the billion. Hopefully, NFL fans will see someone step up and present the funds for the contest in 2015.