The Parity is Parody
The Football in the National Football League could be a whole lot better.
Have you taken a look at the NFL Standings Recently. They’re a freaking mess,
Seriously, here’s a screen cap of the NFL playoff standings as of right now.
Four weeks to go, and only FOUR teams have been eliminated. Only one game in the standings separate the AFC’s #6 seed from their #13 seed. The second worst team in the NFC, the Bears, are only two games out of a playoff spot.
This is what parity looks like in the stat sheet.
What you’ve been seeing on the field is what parity looks like on the field. The first 14 weeks have been a cornucopia of generally bad football. Sure, some of the games have been close. But that doesn’t mean they’ve been good.
Take for example the Ravens game against the Browns on Sunday. I wrote the Ravens off for dead early on in that game because they were playing absolutely miserable. Plus Lamar Jackson was out of the game. The Ravens managed to storm their way back and had an opportunity to win the game with under a minute to go. But the Ravens only had a chance because the Browns flailed in the second half, including the world’s play by an NFL onsides kick “hands” team.
You know how hard it is to not get overly excited about that kind of play while in the postpartum wing of a hospital with your one-day old child in the room?
But even that game was blown by the Ravens late because of a failed two-point conversion that Mark Andrews dropped.
This game was merely a microcosm of some of the awful, bowling shoe ugly games that have been on TV all season long. And that’s what parity looks like on the field.
This, of course, is exactly what the NFL wants. And it’s part of the socialist business model that the NFL employs;
Team participate in revenue sharing of common leaguewide revenue streams that evens the attempts to even the playing field among teams; and,
Uses the salary cap to force player movement and to keep teams from dominating through the free market.
Socialist tactics of course a common place in the NFL business plan. But this, of course has created the problems that the NFL has now.
Because teams can’t just keep all of their players once they get a good core, there is a constant shuffling and cycling of “middle class” players around the league. Guys price themselves out of markets because teams can no longer afford to keep them around.
Because of the salary cap, the most important guy in the front office is a cap guru. You see, the salary cap is a byzantine system with so many rules and loopholes that it takes an expert to keep anything straight and to find cost savings where you need it. Cap gurus are basically accountants and the salary cap is the U.S. tax code. That speaks volumes.
It doesn’t always work out the way the NFL wants it to. The Patriots have been good for so long because they have a good coach and a good system in place. Guy want to play there, even if they ultimately don’t stay too long because Bill Belichick and company churn their roster frequently. It’s no coincidence that certain teams like the Patriots, Ravens, Steelers, and Packers stay routinely competitive.
But it also leads to the ugly displays of football you see out on the field. Between guys moving back and forth due to free agency/waivers/trades/etc. and the issues with COVID that have hit teams this year, there is no consistency, no continuity with teams. That leads to teams not having the right chemistry or having inferior players out on the field than their preferred lineup.
But let’s face it, having 28 teams in the playoff race with four weeks to go is exactly what the NFL wants, regardless of the quality of the product. They want more people watching games, higher ratings, and more merchandise dollars being spent on branded gear. This is especially true considering how much the NFL is making on their next TV rights deal, which is north of $10 billion per year. The league wants to make sure that their TV rights owners are made whole with high ratings involving as many games with playoff implications as late into the season as possible.
Though I wish we could focus on getting a better NFL product, I guess that league-imposed parity is here to stay. Unfortunately, such parity makes a parody of the entire affair.