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What would be the NFL equivalent of the Miami Heat?

Posted by Doug on July 12, 2010

LeBron James's decision to leave Cleveland for Miami was... Well, I don't know what it was exactly, but there are certainly a lot of interesting elements to it. If you have something you'd like to get off your chest regarding LeBron and his decision, I'd invite you to discuss it in the comments to Neil's post at the basketball-reference blog, where all viewpoints are represented and discussed in a mostly-very-thoughtful manner befitting the sports-reference community.

But I want to go in a different direction.

To me, the most interesting aspect of The New NBA is this: exactly how good will the Miami Heat be for the next few years? My understanding is that they're going to roll with two of the best three or five players in the NBA, another top-20 player, and nine scrubs to be named later. Since that's never happened before, it's not clear how it will actually work. I like it when things that have never happened before happen in the sports world, because it gives us a chance to add to what we know about the way things work. Neil reviewed the literature on the topic at the basketball-ref blog if you want to check that out, but let's use this post to instead speculate on the meaningless-but-fun topic of what a Miami Heat-like distribution of talent would look like in the NFL.

The simplest way to look at it would be something like: 25% of the Heat's roster is superstars, so an NFL equivalent would have 11 or 12 all-pros. I realize that basketball and football are very different, but let's just go with that for now.

Let's give The South Beach Talents the following roster to start with, and declare that they must fill the rest of their roster with minimum-salary players.

Peyton Manning
Chris Johnson
Andre Johnson
Ryan Clady
Joe Thomas
Jason Witten

Jared Allen
Haloti Ngata
Patrick Willis
Jon Beason
Darelle Revis
Ed Reed

Question 1: do you consider that team analagous to the Heat?

Question 2: how would that team do?

[Again, I'd ask you to please confine your LeBron-specific rants to the comments of Neil's post or some other appropriate forum.]