Impacting the Game? How Locker Room Behavior Could Change Outcome of Dolphins Season

This story has been everywhere lately: one NFL lineman walks off the team because he feels he’s being harassed by other players, another is suspended by the team indefinitely for his alleged bullying behavior.

Today, teammates of accused intimidator Richie Incognito swear the offensive lineman is NOT a racist . . . despite a leaked voice-mail message prominently featuring him dropping the N-word along with other abusive language. You can’t listen to it and not be disgusted. So what does that say about the culture of the NFL? Meanwhile the alleged victim, Jonathan Martin has checked into hospital for treatment of emotional stress. It’s a confusing story, and hard to tell who to believe at this point . . . which is why the NFL is investigating.

But it does leave a glaring question: what impact will this have on the Dolphins as a team, and more importantly what impact does it have on odds makers trying to predict the outcome of the game? (You can get the latest sports betting information here and check out the current football lines.) The guys in Vegas can factor in weather conditions, injuries and the latest lineup changes. But something like this? We’ve been covering the bad things athletes do for more than 13 years and can’t recall a similar situation in the middle of a season.

Not to diminish the personal tragedy, but does anyone thing the Miami coaches had a plan in place to deal with not one but two missing offensive lineman? Or do you think their opponents, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, had watched film of QB Ryan Tannahill with an eye on who would get suspended? No, they didn’t. Not to mention all the scrutiny and focus it’s taking away from practice and other player prep.

But that’s what BadJocks readers already understand: the culture that claims to bring players together can, and often does, pull them apart.  Hazing, in any form, is mostly superstition: there is no evidence that abusing your teammates has any positive impact on the team’s won/lost record. There is also no proof it helps anyone’s individual effort (a note to fantasy football players out there). It does, however, impact the bottom line, as fans (long time and bandwagon jumpers) distance themselves from unsavory behavior, even if it is condoned with NFL locker rooms.

Odds are, we will seem an negative impact come Monday night, on what appeared to be a promising season for the Dolphins.