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Bob Dole
12-07-2005, 06:01 AM
By Dick Scanlon
The Ledger

Whatever happened to parity? It's a word we don't hear much anymore, and for a good reason -- nobody has seen it this year.

I, for one, miss it a lot.

This is the NFL's least parityridden season in a long time. We have the Indianapolis Colts threatening to go through the whole season without losing a game.

On the other hand we have a cast of woeful teams (Houston, San Francisco, Green Bay, Tennessee, Detroit, the New York Jets and now Philadelphia) with little hope of winning a game unless it is played against one of the other woeful teams.

The NFL, remember, is supposed to be the league designed to keep everybody in the playoff chase for as long as possible, to keep everyone near .500. A world in which every team finishes 8-8 is supposed to be NFL parityce.

Know how many teams have a 6-6 record right now? One. Washington. And only eight others are 7-5 or 5-7.

There is a good chance an 11-5 team will fail to make the playoffs this season. That's enough disparity for despair.

The gap between the best and the rest is just as large in college football, where Southern Cal and Texas are so far ahead of the rest of the pack that it makes the BCS look like a system that actually works. In this particular season, the BCS came out smelling like a Rose Bowl.

The reason, of course, is that there are two great teams, not one or three or four. Everybody else got beat, and nobody else can make even a feeble claim that they belong in the national championship game. Here's how large the gap is -- Texas has scored 611 points and USC 600; no other team has even scored 500 points.

Sports columns blasting the BCS are as conspicuously absent at this time of the year as parity itself. I, for one, don't miss them a lot.

But I do miss those weekends full of upsets.

Every NFL season in recent memory has had a weekend or two, maybe even three, that makes no sense at all, where four or five underdogs win and the home field turns into a disadvantage.

A real parity party.

It hasn't happened this year. The last two weekends have had only two upsets each. That includes Kansas City being a onepoint underdog at home against Denver, a point spread based on the dubious premise that Priest Holmes' absence makes a big difference to the Chiefs' offense.

I can think of only one good explanation for NFL parity going the way of the dinosaur. By eliminating the fifth-place schedule, the NFL can no longer create the illusion of parity by giving weak teams a huge advantage.

This is the fourth season the league has gone without fifthplace teams, however, and the first time there has been such a paucity of parity.

Maybe it will all even out next year or next week, but I doubt it. The good teams keep beating the bad teams and it's getting a little tedious. We need more mediocrity.

Source (http://www.theledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051207/NEWS/512070377/1002/SPORTS)

cdcox
12-07-2005, 02:04 PM
Interesting topic that deserves some discussion.

I think this has more to do with how teams are managing the salary cap than the 4 team divisions. The current trend is to keep your competitive team together as long as possible for that one extra shot at the title. Sell your future for today. That artificially makes some teams better than the cap should allow in exchange for being worse than the cap should allow later. San Fran, GB, the Titans, Oakland, Miami and maybe Phil are examples of teams that stayed together just a little too long or are suffering from past pushing of the cap envelope. When you add these team to your historically inept franchices (New Orleans, Detroit, Arizona, the new Browns (?), Houston (seem to have regressed when they should have been getting better)) and teams decimated by injury Jets, Phili (at least part of their problem) and all of the sudden, half the league is terrible. On the other side of the coin you have your perinially strong teams (Pitt, Denver, NE), teams benefiting from an infusion of young talent (Bengals, SD, Dallas, Jacksonville), and teams pushing their cap futures for present glory (KC, Indy, Seattle) and you get a bi-polar distribution of teams, similar to what you had in the 1970's, but cycling faster between being good and bad.

You have to admire teams like Pittsburgh and Denver that have been consistently competitive for very long periods of time by dumping over-valued players, consistently developing talent through the draft, and in Denver's case, cheating, to remain on top.

I like this version of the NFL because you get to see really good teams slug it out, rather than some 0.500 teams trade wins every few weeks. It will be interesting to see if the non-parity is a long term trend or if it is a one-year thing.

PunkinDrublic
12-07-2005, 02:07 PM
I think parody is alive and well in the NFC. It's just that the top teams in the AFC are so head and shoulders better than the NFC.

Bugeater
12-07-2005, 02:27 PM
The salary cap was created to prevent franchises from "buying" championship teams, and instead requiring them to build them. A certain degree of parity is just a by-product of that, because it makes it harder to keep great teams together. Teams will have some great years, but eventually will be picked apart by free-agency. It doesn't prevent dynasties, which the Pats have proven, it just makes it harder than writing a bunch of big checks.

Mile High Mania
12-07-2005, 02:37 PM
I think parity exists. Sure, Indy could go undefeated, but that doesn't mean parity isn't present. Look at the Bears and all the new faces that could advance this season.

Look at the powerhouses that have been thumped by injuries. Hell, KC could still advance. :)

chiefsfaninNC
12-07-2005, 02:45 PM
I don't think Indy is head and shoulders above everyone else. Looking at their schedule before the season began I said the NFL gave them homefield advantage. Cincy and JAX are in the same boat. In order to bring parity the NFL needs to re-look at the inter-conference matchups.

cdcox
12-07-2005, 03:00 PM
I don't think Indy is head and shoulders above everyone else. Looking at their schedule before the season began I said the NFL gave them homefield advantage. Cincy and JAX are in the same boat. In order to bring parity the NFL needs to re-look at the inter-conference matchups.

They are set by a fixed schedule. Each division plays all the teams in one of the divisions in the opposing conference each year. Its a fixed rotation:

for the AFC West the rotation is:

2003: NFC North
2004: NFC South
2005: NFC East
2006: NFC West

Rinse, repeat.

Every other division has a similar schedule. What could be more fair than that?

morphius
12-07-2005, 03:04 PM
I think parity exists. Sure, Indy could go undefeated, but that doesn't mean parity isn't present. Look at the Bears and all the new faces that could advance this season.

Look at the powerhouses that have been thumped by injuries. Hell, KC could still advance. :)
I was thinking along the same lines, there are a couple playoff teams from last year, one superbowl team that will not make the playoffs and the other is limping it. Just looking at this year you may not call it parity, but if you look at this year and last year it is hard to say it doesn't exsist.

Ebolapox
12-07-2005, 03:07 PM
OMGZZZZZzZz, the Gopher, mr, yes that's MISTER Scanlon (to you) wrote this article!!!1111oneoneoneelevenbbqsauce!!

-EB-

Baby Lee
12-07-2005, 03:09 PM
I'd say it's actually hyperparity. The rules are so equal, and so equally enforced, that each injury and each lucky bounce of the ball is compounded.. Think of it like a flood plain. There's only a couple inches' difference between high and dry and submerged for miles.

Ebolapox
12-07-2005, 03:11 PM
'dick scanlon'--heh heh

-EB-

jidar
12-07-2005, 03:16 PM
No seriously, is that him? lol

Ebolapox
12-07-2005, 03:20 PM
eh, it's either him or that big dude from blues traveler

-EB-

kaplin42
12-07-2005, 03:26 PM
what im wondering is what they are gonna do about the NFC vs AFC in talent. The AFC on a whole is better than the NFC. And what happens when the day comes that an 11 - 5 or a 12 - 4 team from the AFC doesnt get in the playoffs, but an 8 - 8 team from the NFC does?


Edit: Apparently simple addition is beyond my mental prowess

chiefsfaninNC
12-07-2005, 03:35 PM
They are set by a fixed schedule. Each division plays all the teams in one of the divisions in the opposing conference each year. Its a fixed rotation:

for the AFC West the rotation is:

2003: NFC North
2004: NFC South
2005: NFC East
2006: NFC West

Rinse, repeat.

Every other division has a similar schedule. What could be more fair than that?


What I meant was the NFL should do away with it. Give each team more in conference games. More head to head matchups. For example say KC finishes 12-4 and Indy finishes the year 13-3 but don't play each other. Indy plays the NFC North which is weak and wins all four games. KC plays NFC east which is strong and loses 2. KC loses homefield but has the better team due to playing tougher NFC. Keep it in conference.

cdcox
12-07-2005, 03:36 PM
what im wondering is what they are gonna do about the NFC vs AFC in talent. The AFC on a whole is better than the NFC. And what happens when the day comes that an 11 - 5 or a 12 - 6 team from the AFC doesnt get in the playoffs, but an 8 - 8 team from the NFC does?

Same thing that happened when the NFC won 13 straight Super Bowls from 1985 to 1997. It eventually evens out and turns the other way.

cdcox
12-07-2005, 03:43 PM
What I meant was the NFL should do away with it. Give each team more in conference games. More head to head matchups. For example say KC finishes 12-4 and Indy finishes the year 13-3 but don't play each other. Indy plays the NFC North which is weak and wins all four games. KC plays NFC east which is strong and loses 2. KC loses homefield but has the better team due to playing tougher NFC. Keep it in conference.

Stuff happens. Am I willing to sacrifice all interleague play just because KC got juked out of a #6 seed one year? No way, not even close. I don't think a 6th seed has never advanced to the SB. It wouldn't be that big of an injustice. We knew what the rules were going in, and maybe we just aren't good enough according to those rules. You have to take the long view of what is best for the sport.

morphius
12-07-2005, 03:49 PM
What I meant was the NFL should do away with it. Give each team more in conference games. More head to head matchups. For example say KC finishes 12-4 and Indy finishes the year 13-3 but don't play each other. Indy plays the NFC North which is weak and wins all four games. KC plays NFC east which is strong and loses 2. KC loses homefield but has the better team due to playing tougher NFC. Keep it in conference.
I actually really like the current system, sure some years your team loses out by lossing to some better teams then some others have to face. But in a lot of cases the weak teams that really help are the ones that a team gets to face twice, a lot of the other things even out. Plus things change as a season goes along, Philly at the beginning of the year was a contender, now it is a shell. Opposite for MN. There is no good way to really even things out, but I wouldn't want to give up games against the NFC.