The “We’re One Player Away from the Super Bowl” Fallacy, Or, Why Demarcus Ware Won’t Help Denver Win the Super Bowl

Being a New York Giants fan during NFL free agency stinks…Or does it?

They never sign anyone high profile, and they always seem to lose fan favorites over the years: Steve Smith (the other one), Kevin Boss, Ahmad Bradshaw, now Justin Tuck (though losing Linval Joseph actually hurts more).

And then you see other teams sign the big names with the flashy stats. And some teams go out of their way to pay a lot of money (i.e. Denver with DeMarcus Ware), or throw away draft picks, because “We’re one player away from the Super Bowl!!!!” Your 2011 Atlanta Falcons come on down!

That year, the Falcons traded five (five!) draft picks to the Cleveland Browns in order to take Julio Jones because, you know, they were only one player away from the Super Bowl. Not only did the Falcons not make it to the Super Bowl that year, they totally bottomed out as one of the worst teams in the league last season.

The NFL just doesn’t hinge on one player at one position. There are way too many variables: the performance of the other positions, strength of schedule and injuries.

The slow upward trend of increasing injuries, makes depth more important than having a star player backed-up by scrubs. For example, having a secondary which would grade out from top to bottom as a B+ is more valuable than having one A+ corner and the rest Cs and Ds. Because in one instant, you can lose that A+ corner. It’s just not wise football to bank on one player (Your Washington Redskins since drafting RG3 come on down!!!).

So will DeMarcus Ware help Denver win the Super Bowl? He might. If he doesn’t get injured, and if the other positions on the Broncos play up to their potential, and if his contract doesn’t hamper them from improving other areas, and if another team doesn’t improve more this offseason, and if they get some lucky breaks.

But yea, sure, he’ll probably put them over the top.

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