Going For It: The Rise of All-In Football Trades

Omar Zahran
8 min readNov 11, 2022

An active trade deadline and off-season have created a new world of possibilities and unpredictability that is a win for football fans

Being a basketball and football fan is sometimes an exercise in contradictions. Football, the ultimate team sport, often requires elite coaching and strength at multiple positions. In basketball, however, we have a sport that is defined by superstars and their ability to do things that most players simply cannot. As a result of this, historically the trade deadline in both sports have been vastly different.

In the NBA, trade deadline day is an event where general managers are making deals to either bolster their chances of competing in the playoffs or to prepare for the future by offloading expensive players in return for young talent and/or player compensation. In the NFL, this has never been the case as the trade deadline is usually a quiet story that passes without much fanfare. This has changed this year, with a record number of players traded leading up to the deadline. Why has this happened? The NFL has increasingly become a what have you done for me lately league, where the talent you can get today will far outweigh the talent that may be coming next year. In short, NFL teams are getting aggressive and making moves to win now. This is a shift that is ultimately great for the game.

Win Now, Worry About the Rest Later

The NFL is a league that prides itself on parity, where a team can go from worst to first in their division in a year. This is shown by the sheer number of franchises that have made Super Bowl appearances since the year 2000. Since the start of the 21st century, 20 different NFL franchises have made the Super Bowl accounting for over 60% of the league’s clubs. This happened despite the prolonged success of the New England Patriots dynasty in that period.

The focus on parity has meant that many teams can approach their seasons with a “why not us” approach. This lends itself to going after big-name impact players that can lead to more wins on Sundays. Traditionally, this has been done through the free…