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Has Parity Really Worked In The NFL?

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Old 12-12-2007, 01:41 PM   #1
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Has Parity Really Worked In The NFL?

I really don't know where I'm going with this thread other than what the title simply states; Has parity really worked in the NFL, but more importantly is it good for the NFL? I guess what brought on this question in the first place is the Bobby Petrino departure. I don't know how this really ties in, but somehow I think it's related to or in some fashion contributed to the lack of true parity in the NFL. I'll get back to Petrino in a minute.

First of all, say what you will but most of the NFL is mediocre right now. While I do believe there is a fine line between a winning and losing record, most teams in the NFL right now just aren't all that good. From the coaching to the quarterbacking down to the waterboy, most of the league has been wildly erratic, in my opinion. Through 13 weeks of play this season, 18 of the 32 NFL teams currently have losing records. As it currently stands, 8-8 could conceivably get you into the playoffs. Now correct me if I'm wrong here, but is this what Paul Tagliabue had in mind?

When I was growing up as a kid, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Oakland Raiders dominated the decade of the 70s. The Dolphins had some good runs too. During the decade of the 80s, the Washington Redskins and the San Francisco 49ers took home five Super Bowls between them. Fast foward to the the 90s and 2000s, and it's been the Dallas Cowboys and the New England Patriots that have taken home most of the hardware, respectively. The common theme with all of these winning franchises was they usually had the same head coach year in and year out.

Now that we're in the era of free agency and the salary cap, I think it's situations like these, where a team plucks a coach from the collegiate ranks in hopes of returning to instant glory, that further contribute to the mediocrity that already exists in the NFL. Seems like reverse parity if you ask me.

In the grand scheme of things Petrino's name won't even be talked about this time next year, but has the NFL created such a "win now" culture that they've shot themselves in the foot? Don't get me wrong, business has never been better in the NFL and it's probably only going to get better. But It seems like that the good teams are still usually good and the bad teams are still consistently bad.

No matter what you're still going to have dynasties and you're still going to have perennial losers, and mostly everyone else in the middle. I guess the more things change, the more they really stay the same.
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Old 12-12-2007, 01:55 PM   #2
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Re: Has Parity Really Worked In The NFL?

I think the NFL likes the fact that so many teams are still alive for the playoffs this late in the season. The longer that drags out the better as more fans will stay interested.

I also think the NFL loves those 'worst to first' scenarios where a team comes out of nowhere and free agency allows that to happen.

More than anything I think what watered down the playoffs a bit was when they added the extra wild card team. That's what has allowed the 9-7 and 8-8 possibilities. Before the extra wild card a 10 win season wasn't even a guarantee to get you in.
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Old 12-12-2007, 02:01 PM   #3
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Re: Has Parity Really Worked In The NFL?

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Originally Posted by Mattyk72 View Post
I think the NFL likes the fact that so many teams are still alive for the playoffs this late in the season. The longer that drags out the better as more fans will stay interested.

I also think the NFL loves those 'worst to first' scenarios where a team comes out of nowhere and free agency allows that to happen.

More than anything I think what watered down the playoffs a bit was when they added the extra wild card team. That's what has allowed the 9-7 and 8-8 possibilities. Before the extra wild card a 10 win season wasn't even a guarantee to get you in.
Yeah, I guess that's all a good thing. Well it is a good thing. But it just seems like the end result is still the same. The good teams still end up on top most of the time.
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Old 12-12-2007, 02:03 PM   #4
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Re: Has Parity Really Worked In The NFL?

I think the idea is that there should be a good deal of change each year in the NFL. I'm not sure why you're saying the same teams are always bad, 12th. The Lions have been the most atrocious NFL team for a long time, and they're in the thick of the playoff hunt. Whisenhunt has the Cards fighting for a spot. Last year the Saints jump up out of absolutely nowhere and go to the playoffs. This year the Bears were coming off a super bowl appearance, and now suck balls. At the same time, the Pack were coming off mediocre season after mediocre season, and now look great. The Eagles, a model of consistency for so long, now don't look so hot.

There's plenty of parity. But if you've got a Tom Brady or a Peyton Manning, no wonder you're consistently winning. That's the name of the game, find yourself a franchise, HOF type QB and build the rest of the team around them. That's the key to long term success. If guys like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning can't be consistent winners, then that's a league I don't want any part of.
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Old 12-12-2007, 02:10 PM   #5
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Re: Has Parity Really Worked In The NFL?

It's not about parity as much as it is that the 16 game season lends itself to potentially fluky results. Teams can stay bad for a long time on virtue of a few critical plays. Then the same team can get really really good one year, and fall off the map the next.
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Old 12-12-2007, 02:15 PM   #6
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Re: Has Parity Really Worked In The NFL?

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I think the idea is that there should be a good deal of change each year in the NFL. I'm not sure why you're saying the same teams are always bad, 12th. The Lions have been the most atrocious NFL team for a long time, and they're in the thick of the playoff hunt. Whisenhunt has the Cards fighting for a spot. Last year the Saints jump up out of absolutely nowhere and go to the playoffs. This year the Bears were coming off a super bowl appearance, and now suck balls. At the same time, the Pack were coming off mediocre season after mediocre season, and now look great. The Eagles, a model of consistency for so long, now don't look so hot.

There's plenty of parity. But if you've got a Tom Brady or a Peyton Manning, no wonder you're consistently winning. That's the name of the game, find yourself a franchise, HOF type QB and build the rest of the team around them. That's the key to long term success. If guys like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning can't be consistent winners, then that's a league I don't want any part of.
Just to add, the NFL is definitely a QB driven league. The old cliche might be defense wins championships, but the reality doesn't seem to agree with that. I'll admit, I'm stealing this from Mike Greenberg this morning, I thought he made this great point.

Look at the 2 most dominant defenses from the modern era. The '85 Bears and the '00 Ravens. How many Super Bowls did they win combined? Two.

Now look at how many Super Bowls were won by teams led by the likes of Bradshaw, Aikman, Montana, and now Brady. Too many to even count on two hands.

QBs win championships in this league. It's no coincidence that when you have a team that juggles QB's year in and year out you're typically talking about a bad team.
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Old 12-12-2007, 02:20 PM   #7
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Re: Has Parity Really Worked In The NFL?

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Originally Posted by Mattyk72 View Post
Just to add, the NFL is definitely a QB driven league. The old cliche might be defense wins championships, but the reality doesn't seem to agree with that. I'll admit, I'm stealing this from Mike Greenberg this morning, I thought he made this great point.

Look at the 2 most dominant defenses from the modern era. The '85 Bears and the '00 Ravens. How many Super Bowls did they win combined? Two.

Now look at how many Super Bowls were won by teams led by the likes of Bradshaw, Aikman, Montana, and now Brady. Too many to even count on two hands.

QBs win championships in this league. It's no coincidence that when you have a team that juggles QB's year in and year out you're typically talking about a bad team.
This point further amplifies Joe Gibbs' Super Bowl championships winning with three different Qbs.
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Old 12-12-2007, 02:27 PM   #8
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Re: Has Parity Really Worked In The NFL?

Do we really know whether teams are worse than they used to be or are other factors invovled? For instance I often wonder if rules changes have made it so difficult on on defenses that they simply look bad because it is so stacked against them. I think it is extremely hard to compare quality of play from one season to another because of all the variables. My guess is that if there was a quantitative way to compare quality of play from one season to the next that we'd realize that fundamentals are less developed but athleticism is far superior than even 10 years ago. I'd also guess that the increase in athleticism more than makes up for the fundamentals lapse. Of course everything is relative so all that athleticism should balance out accros the league and then it all comes back to fundametals. Which is maybe why it seems that the play is so mediocre now. I don't know. My head hurts now.
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Old 12-12-2007, 02:28 PM   #9
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Re: Has Parity Really Worked In The NFL?

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This point further amplifies Joe Gibbs' Super Bowl championships winning with three different Qbs.
You know, that's a mark that may never be topped.

3 SB wins in 10 years with 3 different QB's. It's really quite remarkable when you think about it.

Parcells came close though. If the Patriots could have beat the Packers he would have had 3.
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Old 12-12-2007, 02:54 PM   #10
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Re: Has Parity Really Worked In The NFL?

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Originally Posted by Mattyk72 View Post
Look at the 2 most dominant defenses from the modern era. The '85 Bears and the '00 Ravens. How many Super Bowls did they win combined? Two.
We know who to thank in the '85 Bears case. That Bears team was still great for a few more years, but Gibbs and co. knocked them out of the playoffs back-to-back years at Soldier Field.
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Old 12-12-2007, 02:59 PM   #11
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Re: Has Parity Really Worked In The NFL?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattyk72 View Post
Just to add, the NFL is definitely a QB driven league. The old cliche might be defense wins championships, but the reality doesn't seem to agree with that. I'll admit, I'm stealing this from Mike Greenberg this morning, I thought he made this great point.

Look at the 2 most dominant defenses from the modern era. The '85 Bears and the '00 Ravens. How many Super Bowls did they win combined? Two.

Now look at how many Super Bowls were won by teams led by the likes of Bradshaw, Aikman, Montana, and now Brady. Too many to even count on two hands.

QBs win championships in this league. It's no coincidence that when you have a team that juggles QB's year in and year out you're typically talking about a bad team.
I wonder how many of these great QB's had very stable and consistent o-lines? I know Aikmen had a some great linemen protecting him and opening up holes for Emmitt. Same with Young/Montanna. Gibbs' Hogs are the very definition of successful teams that were heavily dependent on offensive line cohesion, talent and stability.
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Old 12-12-2007, 03:00 PM   #12
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Re: Has Parity Really Worked In The NFL?

As for the parity, I think it's a good thing overall, although I do kind of miss the olden days. When a team like Arizona went into SF to play the Niners, their chances of winning the game were practically nil. If they didn't get totally blown out it was a minor miracle. Now it's more of a "any given sunday" mentality.

I think they've reached a good medium. You still have a few dynasty-like teams, but for everyone else each year brings promise.
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Old 12-12-2007, 03:01 PM   #13
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Re: Has Parity Really Worked In The NFL?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattyk72 View Post
Just to add, the NFL is definitely a QB driven league. The old cliche might be defense wins championships, but the reality doesn't seem to agree with that. I'll admit, I'm stealing this from Mike Greenberg this morning, I thought he made this great point.

Look at the 2 most dominant defenses from the modern era. The '85 Bears and the '00 Ravens. How many Super Bowls did they win combined? Two.

Now look at how many Super Bowls were won by teams led by the likes of Bradshaw, Aikman, Montana, and now Brady. Too many to even count on two hands.

QBs win championships in this league. It's no coincidence that when you have a team that juggles QB's year in and year out you're typically talking about a bad team.
I agree its a QB driven league and by virtue of that fact the NFL is a passing game. There is so much talk about running the ball (and a team has to be able to do it) but in today's game its passing that wins.
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Old 12-12-2007, 03:10 PM   #14
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Re: Has Parity Really Worked In The NFL?

I personally think parity has worked great. you have the teams that virtually had no shot in the 70's, 80's and a certain degree in the 90's. these teams now have the financial resources to get players in free agency to compete with the high income teams. Those teams that would not pack the stands and make millions over millions now have butts in the seat and want to build new stadiums, go and get to free agents. I think the reason you see all these teams so close in records is directly related to parity and I think its great for football. "any given sunday" has new meaning. before if the 80's skins or 49ers went up against one of the pats, cards or who ever the lower tear teams were, you knew it wasn't going to be much of a game. Now, you never know. nothing is taken for granted, no win is guaranteed.

love it - great for NFL.
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Old 12-12-2007, 03:15 PM   #15
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Re: Has Parity Really Worked In The NFL?

Okay, well here's my question stated differently and perhaps better. Has the influx of college coaches helped parity in the NFL at all or has it been a non-factor?
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