Thursday, January 25, 2007

What's so bad about parity?

TMQ clears up a lot of myths about parity in the NFL.

The sports media needs to fill air time and column inches. There is no easier (i.e. cheaper) way to do so than to manufacture an ersatz controversy and then beat it to death. The need for a play off in college football is one tried and true subject. Moaning about NFL parity is another.

I like the current NFL system. Most fans do, too, given that pro football is the most popular sport in the country.

The great thing about the NFL is that most fans get to watch their team play a meaningful game most weeks of the season. Moreover, most teams have a legitimate shot of winning each week. Very few teams are out of the playoff hunt at the midpoint of the season. Few games are gimmes.

Steelers fans know this from both sides. We went from 6-10 to 15-1 and an AFC Championship game. Then we fell back to 7-5 before going on an 8-0 run that culminated in a SuperBowl win. We followed that up with an 8-8 season.

As much as 8-8 hurt, Steelers fans can look forward to 2007. So can almost every other team. Contrast that with the lot of a Pirates fan. Fourteen straight losing seasons. No dreams of the playoffs after July 4th. Eventually, no reason to be a fan at all.

Why would the NFL want to emulate that?

One argument the yakkers and scribblers cough up is that fan interest is increased when there is a big bad dynasty to root against. How they reconcile that "thought" with the current popularity of the NFL is not clear.

One thing i've noticed about the yappers who yap about how much people loooove to root against dynasties like the Yankees: very few of them actually root against the Yankees (unless it is to roof for their evil twin in Boston.)

What most big time sports pundits hate about the NFL and parity is that the New York teams don't rule the roost as they do in baseball. Kansas City can do as well as NYC. And that just kills them.

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