Although no team would likely ever admit to purposely tanking games, it's clear that a few teams are hoping to end up with the worst record in the league in order to draft Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck.
Luck, a junior at Stanford, isn't guaranteed to enter the NFL Draft this April, but that hasn't stopped most from assuming that Luck will forgo his final year of eligibly and become the No. 1 pick. Luck is a Heisman Trophy candidate and considered to be the most polished quarterback to enter the NFL in years.
So who are the leading candidates to win the Suck for Luck sweepstakes? IBTimes takes a look and determines whether the team would draft Luck if it gets the No. 1 pick.
1) Indianapolis Colts (0-6)
The Colts are the early frontrunners to land Andrew Luck with Peyton Manning likely sidelined for the entire season with a neck injury. Some could question why the Colts would draft Luck when they already have Manning, but all one has to do is look at the Packers success with Aaron Rodgers to understand the logic. The Packers drafted Rodgers in the first round when the team still had Brett Favre as the quarterback. Rodgers served his time behind Favre -- picking up some techniques from a likely Hall of Famer -- before eventually being named the starter and setting the NFL on fire.
If the Colts believe Luck is as good as everyone thinks he is, it'd make sense to pair him behind Manning for a few years before eventually turning the reins over to him when Manning retires. Sports Illustrated's Andy Glockner wisely compared it to the Tim Duncan situation in San Antonio when the Spurs won the lottery and paired Duncan with David Robinson for a few years.
2) Miami Dolphins (0-4)
The Miami Dolphins are probably the most desperate team in the NFL for a star quarterback. Since Dan Marino retired in 2000, the Dolphins have gone through a who's who of mediocre quarterbacks and desperately could use a franchise quarterback like Luck could be. After an injury to Chad Henne, who has been a bit of a disappointment in Miami, the Dolphins have turned to Matt Moore to guide them in the Suck for Luck campaign for the remainder of the season.
The one downfall in the team's chances is that coach Tony Sparano knows that his job is likely on the line this season, which could lead to a few wins at the end of the season if the team rallies around him. But the Dolphins do have a fairly difficult schedule the rest of the season -- including two games each versus the Jets and Bills -- meaning they should be in the running for the No. 1 pick up until the very end. There's also no doubt that the Dolphins would take Luck if they get the first pick.
3) St. Louis Rams (0-5)
The Rams are one of the main contenders in the Luck bowl, but there are some questions whether they would be interested in the Stanford star. The Rams have invested a lot of money in 2008 No. 1 pick Sam Bradford and could trade the pick to help add some additional talent around Bradford.
The Rams have been fairly pitiful this season, but one has to remember this is a team that many pegged to win the NFC West headed into the season. The Rams could use a young running back to play behind Steven Jackson and some wide receivers to surround Bradford with -- particularly some downfield threats.
It's going to be hard for anyone to pass up on taking a franchise quarterback like Luck, but the Rams might be one of the few teams that would. Plus there is enough talent on this team that the Rams should win a few games down the stretch to knock themselves out of contention for the No. 1 pick.
4) Minnesota Vikings (1-5)
The Vikings are one of the most interesting teams to think about with Luck. The Vikings currently start Donovan McNabb, who has struggled at times this season, while rookie quarterback Christian Ponder is seen as the heir apparent for the team.
The Vikings took Ponder in the first round of this past April's draft -- indicating a fairly big investment in the former Florida State quarterback -- but would that stop them from taking Luck? It's hard to imagine that the Vikings would pass up Luck given how unproven Ponder is, but it would be a tough decision for the organization to make.
The team's interest in Luck could depend on how much faith the team has in Ponder, especially if coach Leslie Frazier eventually gives him the start over McNabb at some point this season. But should the Vikings end up as the winners of this year's first pick, my gut tells me that the take Luck and deal with the Ponder situation later.
5) Carolina Panthers (1-5)
The Panthers have played fairly well this season, but have struggled to finish games and dropped to last place in the ultra-competitive NFC South division with a 1-5 record. But the team has shown way more life this year under rookie Cam Newton and look like a team that could get significantly better over time as Newton becomes more and more comfortable in the pocket.
There are very few teams that would pass on Luck, but the Panthers are likely one. They just invested a No. 1 pick in Newton this past draft and the move is already paying off for the team. The wins might not be there yet, but Newton has energized a slumping fan base and looks to be a franchise quarterback for a long time to come.
Similar to the Rams, the Panthers could use the pick to help provide some more offensive options for Newton and/or shore up a defense that has struggled without the injured Jon Beason.
Other possible options:
Arizona Cardinal (1-5)
Just invested a lot of money in quarterback Kevin Kolb, but it hasn't worked out exactly as expected.
Denver Broncos (1-4)
The team seems content right now to go forth with the Tim Tebow era.
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-5)
Coach Jack Del Rio has given rookie Blaine Gabbert the keys to the offense.
Seattle Seahawks (2-3)
The Seahawks could definitely use Luck, but that win against the Giants could doom their chances to win Luck.
Want to reach this writer? You can email John Talty at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @jtalty.