Parity in the NFL
As we close out Week 6 in the NFL with a real heart-stopper of a game between the Titans and Colts on primetime, there is at least one thing to look forward to. Or should I say, many things…
Parity in the League this year is the best it’s been in a while, and unless you’re a Niners, Browns, or Giants fan, there’s reason for hope. The robotic Patriots sit, though 4-2, in a precarious position after a non-Belichickian start to the season. The other half of last year’s Super Bowl, the Falcons, seems lost without Kyle Shanahan or Vic Beasley. Even the Packers have lost dear old Aaron Rodgers (oh and Zeke finally got suspended). The Chiefs dropped to the Steelers, becoming the last team in the League to lose its first game, and many are saying the Eagles (?) are now the best team in the NFL after their win over Carolina.
Though all these losses (and near losses to teams so far below you your team couldn’t comprehend putting out an effort in the second half) have definitely leveled the playing field, a void has been left by all these backup quarterback-field goal shenanigans; the superteam(s)
Now we may all say we are repulsed by the idea of a “superteam”, having had our fill already with the Warriors and Cavs romping through the rest of the NBA like clockwork every year. But doesn’t it feel good to have someone to root for? For almost two-thirds of us, the season will end in Week 17. By the time we’ve made it to the conference championships (when the playoffs actually start mattering), there are only four teams left (meaning there’s only a 12.5 percent chance that you happen to be a loyal fan of one them). Not only do these gangbusters give us a clear-cut champion by season’s end, but they provide storylines throughout the year that we can engross ourselves in when our team is somehow already mathematically eliminated. When debating “Who’s the best team in the AFC/NFC?” in previous years, people could give straightforward answers and wholeheartedly support that team for the remainder of the season. Now, no team has firmly rooted itself at the top of the pecking order, and even analysts are having a tough time discerning the great from the good (from the horrible).
However we should revel in this grand land of equal stand(ing). Football has begun its slow (or possibly rapid) descent into nothingness, and now politics have divided the fans of a glorious game. The amount of decent teams out there is great, as it gives power to the little guy and de-authoritizes the big man (like any good revolution). More and more fans can now watch their team and actually care, a new and possibly surprising feeling for some (I’m looking at you AFC East fans, plus Jags and Rams).
To end on a somber note, there is a downside for all these close games; the losers. Many teams that felt secure going into this year now find themselves on some shaky footing, and the fact that they could be indiscernible (or even worse) from teams they are supposed to be better than by record is an insult (I’m looking at you Patriots, Raiders, Bengals, Ravens, AFC South, Cowboys, Giants, Seahawks, Falcons, and Bucs). You’ll notice that the number of jilted teams is much longer than those enjoying unprecedented success. As those upstarts put together above-average seasons, their victories must come at the hands of somebody, like all those teams mentioned in the second list. Well you know what they say; “what goes us must come down…”