The National Football League is a marvel in it’s operation. Profit sharing, a tradition of competent business leadership, a dedication to embracing new technology, and a heavily buttressed construct of free agency and union-ownership relations have created a magnificent machine. It is designed to make money, continually expand the fan base and put the best possible product on the field. I love it as both a sports geek and a business geek.
With any great and complicated system, from the NFL to Starcraft, there are exploits. Little wrinkles within the rules that allow for someone to cheat within the confines of the code. It’s like loading 4 Revised Edition Millstones into your Magic: The Gathering deck and grinding away your opponents’ card count until he (or she… in theory) loses by default. Nothing wrong with it, legally, but certainly a “slap your forehead for being a victim to it” move. These exploits are cruel and unfortunate when you are on the wrong end, but absolutely hilarious to watch. Particularly when they are done without apology.
In the NFL, my absolute favorite hack is something called The Poison Pill. It is a delightful little fold that can allow a franchise to pick up a restricted free agent by making his current team unable to match the contract. Allow me to explain how it works.