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Is Parity dead in the NFL? Patriots still in an elite club

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It's funny.  Sometimes stories and ideas are abundant.  During the season, there's no lack for things to write about.  Game wrapups,  upcoming matchups, Q&A's with other bloggers.  It's a wealth of information right at the fingertips.  The long drought that is the off-season is a pain in the butt from a writer's perspective.  So isn't a bye week.  I'm not complaining, mind you, it gives one a little bit of a break.

As I said above, sometimes ideas are abundant and flow easily.  Other times, they're sitting in the back of my mind,  waiting for something to push them forward.  So is the case with my thoughts on the NFL's parity issues.  I've been thinking about this for a few weeks, specifically after 2 Patriot blowouts in a row.  Outside of the boys from Foxborough, we have 3 undefeated teams (Colts, Broncos, Saints) and 3 winless teams (Titans, BuccaneersRams).  Weird.

This idea of parity was pushed forward, as it often is, by our very own Marima's daily links, specifically a story by SI.com's Kerry J. Byrne.  I found this to be an excellent piece of writing that asked as many questions as it answered.  At the very least, Kerry provided some interesting facts and a few alarming (but good for us) statements:

The fact of the matter in today's NFL is that four teams -- all in the AFC -- have held an iron grip over the NFL for more than a decade. Denver, Indy, New England and Pittsburgh can be counted on year after year -- with the occasional exception here and there -- to stand among the very best teams in the league.

Those four have won 11 of the past 14 AFC titles. They've won six of the past eight Super Bowls and eight of the past 12. Over the past 15 years, the AFC's Big Four have filled 19 of 30 spots in the AFC title game.


The Patriots, of course, are two years removed from the first 16-0 season in history, they won a record 34 games over two seasons earlier this decade (2003-04), they need one postseason victory to set a record for most in a decade (15) and they've set every win streak in history this decade, regular season (21), postseason (10) and combined (21). Brady, meanwhile, has won a record 78.5 percent of every game he's started (106-29) in his career. Again, all facts that should, on their face, prove that concepts such as "parity" are dead.
What does Byrne offer as reasoning for this disparity in parity?  Something we've all known all along: great organizations beget great teams.

Here's one guess why: the NFL, with so many players and so many coaches and so much turnover and so many moving parts, is all about management. And, right now, management has never been more important.

Humans are not equal in talent, whether they're in the front office, on the sidelines or in the huddle, and the notion that a few rules will "level the playing field" is being mocked openly on the field right now.


Teams don't sustain changes like that unless they have great ownership,  a great front office, and great coaching.  The Patriots, like the other 3 mentioned above, have all that and can weather the storm of changes without too much disruption.  Hopefully,  the league doesn't try to somehow handicap or punish teams who have built these great organizations, but who knows.

I guess the question is should they mess with it to create parity?