The NFL Loves Parity and You Should Too

The NFL deserves it’s “America’s Game” moniker. Wild Card Weekend was full of action.  Three of the four games were decided by three points or less. The NFL’s drive for parity is responsible for this high quality entertainment. Many have pondered and lambasted the league’s transparent aim at equal footing. This weekend’s playoff games and a wealth of recent history attest that the NFL’s “.500 Function” is the way to go.  

Call the San Diego Chargers “cheerleaders” for NFL parity. Five weeks ago the Bolts were 5-7, closer to mediocre than the Lombardi trophy. The Chargers ended up with everything to play for, and now have an elusive playoff win under their belt. The New York Giants have twice taken near .500 seasons onto a Super Bowl run, the Pittsburgh Steelers did it, and the Cowboys have been a game away from the playoffs three seasons in a row.  The ever-optimistic, Dallas Cowboys Owner/GM, Jerry Jones sees this as the blessing it should be. 
 
“When you’re sitting here seeing the teams that are about where we are at 50/50 in that range and you see the teams that right today could easily be the world champions that have records like that, then you realize how competitive it is,” Jones recently told The Fan in Dallas. Fans may label Jones’ opinion as a crutch, but every year a team like San Diego proves that you’re never out of it.  Unless of course you’re 2-14.  Then you get Teddy Bridgewater.

Sunday was a perfect example of parity as a virtue. Regardless of record, almost every matchup was ultra-competitive.  There was a time when Wild Card Weekend was far from wild.  Now, we see calls for restructuring and pure record seating. If parity produces this type of playoff atmosphere, do you want to see disparity?

The greatest example of parity performance is through the lens of the Super Bowl. There’s a reason that Super Bowl commercials and half time shows gained notoriety.  For years, the bells and whistles were shinier than the pony. Eight out of the past ten Super Bowls have boast final scores within the ten point range. Every finish seems like a story book ending for one team, and a heartbreaker for the other. Most casual fans don’t have a team in the game.  Yet, every year it’s hard to pick a favorite, because each team shows promise.  

Dominance has its place. The Seattle Seahawks may be the most exciting team to watch in decades.  It would be thrilling to watch them win it all.  But won’t it be more fun to see another team take them down to the wire? The NFL gets plenty wrong, and to their credit, the league usually owns up.  Moreover, the NFL has earned its high ticket prices, black-out black-mail, and non-guaranteed contracts. All is forgiven, as long as it’s not boring.  Until then, keep it up Mr. Goodell and Co.  

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Thanks again for reading

Jake Springer
Awesome Sports Logos Columnist