Draft blunder is a term most commonly used in association with a phenomenon that occurs in the four major sports leagues of North America: the
NFL, NHL, NBAand MLB. These four sports leagues represent the sports of American Football, Ice Hockey, Basketballand Baseball, respectively.
The specific phenomenon in question surrounds the draft which each league annually holds to systematically enter young athletes into the league. These athletes are usually in the 17 year old to 23 year old age group, most commonly coming from major college sports; they also come from major junior leagues as well as foreign professional leagues, and on occasion directly from the high school sports level.
The term "draft blunder" is used when a clearly superior and exemplary athlete is for some inexplicable and apparently illogical reason passed over in the draft in favor of an inferior, unfit or mutually mismatching athlete. The idea has been further divided into two subheadings: the "obvious draft blunder" and the "draft blunder in retrospect". The "obvious draft blunder" occurs when the passed-over athlete in question was by all accounts clearly superior, exemplary, accomplished and worthy at the time the draft took place. The "draft blunder in retrospect" occurs when the passed-over athlete was not necessarily outstanding in comparison to his peers at the time of the draft.
Further associated with the "obvious draft blunder" has been the observation that the franchise performing the draft blunder has very often suffered (whether at the playing level, financially, with fan support, or any combination thereof) for years or even decades after the apparently egregious error; these failures have been noteworthy due to their occurrence for these franchises in a statistically imbalanced quantity; the failures have consistently included:1) Failure to field a team with a consistent winning record2) Derision by fans of the management; unforgiving fans3) Failure to win a championship for inexplicable reasons4) Constant turnover, due to mediocre playing capacity, at the specific playing position at which the clearly superior athlete would have been playing.5) Failure to attract well-performing players, or signing previously well-performing players from other teams who subsequently underperform after joining their new team.6) Lack of fan support and inability to sell out home games
In common North American sports culture, the above failures have colloquially been sourced to "bad
karma", "haplessness", "bad vibrations or energy", a " hex", a " curse", "sucks", and "management perpetually engaging in obstinate follies", all of which allegedly stem from the initial draft blunder.
Examples of draft blunders
1. The most famous draft blunder in sports history occurred in the
1984 NBA Draftwhen Michael Jordanwas passed over at the #2 pick by the Portland Trail Blazersin favor of Sam Bowie. Jordan, a clearly exemplary athlete at the time of the draft, would go on to become, by a majority consensus, the "greatest basketball player of all time."
2. Another incident considered to be a blunder occurred during the
2006 NFL Draftand was executed by the Houston Texans. Vince Young, who had just won a National Championship with the Texas Longhornsand Heisman Trophywinner Reggie Bushwere both available. The Houston Texans themselves were besieged by underperformance on offense. The Texans skipped both Young and Bush and selected Defensive end Mario Williams. Young was chosen by the Tennessee Titansand went on to becoming the starting quarterback, winning NFL Rookie of the Yearhonors and a Pro Bowlberth. In 2007, Young struggled slightly, throwing only 9 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. Williams however finished third in sacks with 14 [http://www.nfl.com/stats/categorystats?tabSeq=0&statisticCategory=SACKS&conference=null&season=2007&seasonType=REG] , only 1.5 behind league leader Jared Allen.
Psychology of draft blunderers
To date, there has never been any substantial psychological research done on the apparently deviant psychology of those performing draft blunders. It has been speculated by psychologists, however, that those individuals engaging in obviously illogical behavior in reality subconsciously know that their behavior is illogical, but due to an intense inner need for attention, stemming from a desperate longing to feel loved, engage in behavior which they know will attract to them a lot of attention. This in turn is thought to alleviate their inner grief at not feeling worthy.
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