The term “superteam” is well-known in the NBA. It defines teams with two or more elite-level players. Superteams have been almost exclusive to the NBA, but that could change after the Los Angeles Rams won Super Bowl 56.
Will Superteams work in the NFL?
Before elaborating on why superteams could be a new trend in the NFL, let’s look at the history of them. In 2010, sports were forever changed when LeBron James starred in “The Decision.”
James decided to play for the Miami Heat and teamed with future Hall of Famers Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Critics had mixed feelings on Miami’s superteam. Would it ruin the sport? What does this mean for the NBA going forward? Well, since then the NBA has essentially been a competition of who can amass the best superteam.
Whether superteams have become detrimental to the NBA is a matter of opinion, but it only continues to grow. Superteams could now be introduced into the NFL.
The idea of superteams in the NFL seems unlikely. This is due to a much larger roster in comparison to the NBA, and some say football is too much of a team sport for superteams.
Logically, it makes sense. Usually, one player cannot single-handedly win a football game; it is far more likely in basketball.
Football is fundamentally a team sport that requires all 11 players on the field to work together. An offense is nothing without an offensive line blocking, a quarterback can only do so much with poor receivers, and a defensive line’s pressure is all for not with a bad secondary.
Troy Aikman, the Hall of Fame, three-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, gave his opinion on superteams in the NFL when the Rams were slumping during the NFL regular season.
Troy Aikman tells @dfwticket that the all-star teams like the #Rams never work in the NFL. Says it starts to unravel, as it is for the Rams. Says he doesn’t know if they’re going to be able to pull it together.
— Mark Lane (@therealmarklane) November 30, 2021
However, the Rams won the Super Bowl by building their team in a superteam fashion, isn’t that proof it can work?
The Rams’ Road to a Super Bowl is What a Superteam Would Do
How are the Rams remotely close to a superteam? The unique characteristic of this Rams team is how the squad was built. In the last 10+ years, most superteams in the NBA are built from massive trades or free-agent signings.
Teams commit to winning now and trade future assets for star players or collect them in the offseason during the free-agent market. In addition, many players force their way out of situations they do not want to be in and flock to a championship destination.
The 2021-22 Rams check all of these boxes.
- First, the Rams traded two first-round picks and a fourth-round pick for Jalen Ramsey — who has been the league’s best corner — in 2019.
- Then, Los Angeles upgraded their quarterback. Jared Goff already took the Rams to the Super Bowl once in Super Bowl 53 and had a massive long-term contract in LA. Yet, the Rams shipped Goff, two first-rounders, and a third-rounder for Matthew Stafford early in the 2021 offseason.
- During the offseason, the Rams also strengthened an already strong running back room consisting of Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson. They traded for Sony Michel, giving up a 2022 sixth-rounder and 2023 fourth-rounder.
- Superteams also frequently make massive moves around the trade deadline to upgrade as much as possible.
- The Rams did this, too. by trading a second-rounder and third-rounder for Von Miller in November of 2021.
- Plus, they added Odell Beckham Jr., who was unhappy in Cleveland and forced his way out looking for a potential championship-winning team.
Los Angeles is the embodiment of committing to winning now. The Rams invested so much in the 2021-22 season that it became an immediate win a Super Bowl-or-bust season. Ryan Clark of ESPN discussed why.
Their future could be bleak with multiple players hitting free agency and others retiring. Also, they have only three picks in this year’s draft, a fifth-rounder and two seventh-rounders.
This makes the fifth consecutive season for LA without a first-round draft pick.
For the 2023 NFL draft, the Rams have no first-rounder yet again and have five picks.
Once again, sacrificing most of your valuable picks is another identifier of a superteam. The Rams found success with this strategy, but what does this mean for the NFL going forward?
Will Superteams Become a Regularity in the NFL?
Superteams in the NFL are never going to be as common as they are in the NBA. Larger roster sizes and the issue of having enough money due to the salary cap will limit superteams in football.
In today’s day and age, professional athletes have far more power than ever. Beckham would not have had the power to force his way out of Cleveland 10 years ago.
Naturally, some players are going to chase Super Bowls and join championship favorites. This alone will make superteams far more probable. After the Bucs won Super Bowl 55, many players took large pay cuts to have a chance to win another Super Bowl with Tom Brady.
Chasing titles is not frowned upon as it used to be, so more players will chase them.
There are several teams that could follow the Rams’ script.
For example, wherever Aaron Rodgers goes – if he leaves Green Bay – could ignite another superteam in the making.
Rodgers has been vocal that he wants to contend now, stating, “I don’t want to be a part of a rebuild if I’m going to keep playing.”
If Rodgers decides to play again and were to finish his career on a different team, his new squad could follow the superteam outline.
Denver is one of the favorites for Rodgers’ next team at +300, but the Broncos would need to make more moves to contend as Rodgers wants. The Broncos could make substantial trades to notably improve.
Furthermore, other big-market teams in the NFL have the tools to follow what the Rams did.
The Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Chargers have an abundance of talent but have not competed at the level they desire. Who knows what team in the NFL would be willing to go all-out like the Rams? The point is there are always big-market teams that have the assets to build a team as Los Angeles did this season.
Time will only tell if the Rams have truly created a superteam trend in the NFL.