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Look: USFL Just Changed Its Draft Rules Mid-Season To Prevent Tanking

A low, wide-camera shot of a USFL game in Birmingham.

BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA - APRIL 17: General view of the action between the Philadelphia Stars and the New Orleans Breakers in the second quarter of the game at Protective Stadium on April 17, 2022 in Birmingham, Alabama. (Photo by Rob Carr/USFL/Getty Images)

In a way, the NFL encourages struggling teams to tank. It ensures those tanking teams receive top draft picks which, hopefully, help balance the league. 

The USFL, on the other hand, is working hard to ensure tanking is a thing of the past. It just implemented a new rule - in the middle of the season - to prevent tanking. 

Now, the two worst teams in the USFL will play each other at the end of the season. The game's winner will get the first pick in the draft. 

It's an interesting new wrinkle that encourages winning. 

“We’ve got an unusual situation in our final week of the regular season in the USFL," said USFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Daryl Johnston, via Pro Football Talk. "The 1-8 Michigan Panthers are playing the 1-8 Pittsburgh Maulers. Under normal circumstances, the loser of this game would be awarded the first draft pick in the upcoming draft. But we’re going to change the rules right here, so this weekend whoever wins the game actually gets not only the first pick in the 2023 draft but the first pick in every round of the 2023 draft,” Johnston said. “Making sure there’s no shenanigans going on.”

Later this week, the 1-8 Michigan Panthers will battle the 1-8 Pittsburgh Maulers. The game's winner will receiver every first pick of every round in the upcoming USFL Draft. 

Perhaps the NFL should look into a similar strategy to prevent tanking.