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Why the end of the NFL season is better than the end of the MLB season for bad teams

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The Bengals local neighbor, the Cincinnati Reds, are having a lousy season. Unlike the NFL, there is little incentive to root for your team to tank when they have nothing to play for.

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Many fans of the Cincinnati Bengals fans are also fans of the Cincinnati baseball team, the Cincinnati Reds. And anybody who has followed the Reds this year knows they are having a lousy season.

In the NFL, if your team is having a horrible season, you still have something to root for at the tail end of the season. You can root for your team to finish just as bad as they have played throughout the season, in hopes of getting a very high draft pick – ideally the No. 1 overall pick.

That is why, at the end of the season, you have fans rooting for their teams to "Suck for Luck", so they could finish with the worst record in the NFL and therefore secure the top overall pick with which to draft someone like... Andrew Luck.

More recently, Cleveland Browns fans are rooting for their team to "Fail for Cardale" (Jones). Although one week into the NFL season is generally a bit premature for a fanbase to start rooting for their team to fail. But, it is the Browns, and expectations typically aren’t exactly consistent with a record that would land them in playoff contention.

The NFL draft generates a lot of excitement, and fans recognize many first round picks such as Matthew Stafford, Sam Bradford, Cam Newton, Andrew Luck, or Jadaveon Clowney can make a huge difference by joining an NFL team. Barring injury, the NFL top picks typically play right away for their NFL teams. There is a reason for fans to get excited for their teams to tank at the end of the year when they are out of contention.

Unfortunately for Reds’ fans, this is where the NFL and MLB diverge.

In baseball, there is little extra incentive for fans to root for their teams to tank at the end of the season. Consider that the most recent first round picks in the MLB draft were Dansby Swanson, Brady Aiken, and Mark Appel. Who? Exactly! These names are not nearly as recognizable as their NFL counterparts, because very few baseball fans follow the MLB draft.

The Cincinnati Reds are currently 61-84, which is good enough for fourth overall pick. The Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves have the top two spots (actually bottom spots) all but locked up, with 90 losses each.

The Colorado Rockies, Reds, Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland Raiders and Miami Marlins are all in contention for the third overall pick. Each has over 80 losses, and under 65 wins.

The Reds are currently only 0.5 games out of the third pick, but also only 2.0 games from falling to the seventh pick.

If you are a Reds fan, it’s not too late to get excited for them. Root for your Reds team to tank over the final week or two, so they can secure that third overall pick – and if all goes well, maybe they can make a push for that top overall pick.

Instead of a catchy "Suck for Luck", the Reds fans can hope to "Suck for some highly regarded prospect who most people have never heard of and won’t see in a Reds’ uniform anytime too soon."