A pre-Super Bowl article published in the Wall Street Journal labels the personnel spending and business model of the Seattle Seahawks, the National Football Conference representative to Super Bowl XL, as "extraordinary." Much to the surprise of the author, "they plucked their entire defense from the discount bins" and still made it to the Super Bowl (Walker 2006). Seattle spent far less on its defense in comparison not only to their Super Bowl opponents, the Pittsburgh Steelers, but compared to every single other NFL team. They valued "underpriced or underappreciated players who were as long on character and potential as they were short on intimidating size and athleticism" (Walker 2006). The success of this previously underemployed and ineffective method confounded many familiar with the game. The consensus among scholars of the game was the old adage that "defense wins championships" but Seattle had intentionally bought its defense at the Dollar General. This paper analyzes the heart of this issue: can a team really influence its success based on how it allocates its salary to its players? Is there a "natural" allocation strategy inherent to the NFL and its teams that yields a successful team? In short, does spending more money to upgrade the talent of certain positions yield more team success?
Haugen '06, John, "Team Success and Personnel Allocation under the National Football League Salary Cap" (2006). Honors Projects. Paper 27.