Winless Sixers force Papa John's to change pizza promotion

Ball Don't Lie

The Philadelphia 76ers are currently courting historical futility. The team's 0-11 start has put them just seven games behind the 2009-10 New Jersey Nets' record for the worst start in NBA history. Given the team's performance so far — an average margin of loss of 16.4 points — no upcoming game looks there for the taking. It's anyone's guess as to when the Sixers will actually end up in the win column.

Now that such a normal NBA goal has been turned into lofty ambition, the team and one of its corporate partners have decided to redefine success. Prior to this season, the Sixers announced a partnership with local Papa John's franchises to offer fans 50 percent off online orders the day following victories. Because the Sixers haven't won a game, Papa John's apparently feels like they're not getting a lot of value from their promotion. So the team now must score 90 points, no matter the result, for fans to get their discount. Check out the photo via Crossing Broad (via Deadspin):

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John Schnatter demands excellence (via Crossing Broad).
John Schnatter demands excellence (via Crossing Broad).

Sixers fans now have a much better chance at getting that much-coveted papajohns.com discount. The team is averaging just 88.6 points per game, worst in the league, but they have scored 90 points in five games and come within three points of the mark on three more occasions. If we opted to define a Sixers win as scoring 90 points, then their 5-6 record with three narrow losses would be good enough for the eighth-best record in the East and hope for a playoff berth. Instead, it will just allow fans to order cheaper Papa John's pizza, which might be the life equivalent of finishing in this terrible conference's final playoff spot.

It's worth noting that the change in this promotion says more about Papa John's than the Sixers. While I'm sure these businesses and their employees have plenty of interest in seeing the Sixers win games on both a professional and personal level, the real issue here isn't the Sixers' performance as much as a company's desire to get the most out of a partnership. Plenty of teams institute promotions that don't require a team to win. If Papa John's and the Sixers had used a point threshold in the initial rules, it would've been a big deal. Frankly, I'm a little baffled why both parties didn't realize that the team wasn't set to win many games. It's not as if the tanking-friendly front office had designs on ending up in the East's upper half.

Whatever the case, it's nice to see that Philadelphia-area Papa John's customers will have a chance to save some money. I just hope they're not planning their diets around the performance of the Sixers.

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Eric Freeman is a writer for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at efreeman_ysports@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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