Does parity still exist in the NFL? By Mike Batista 10/16/15Even though the NFL preaches parity, there seems to be an elite group of teams that make the playoffs almost every year and a group of teams that don't. Cary Edmondson/USA TODAY SportsThe NFL is down to five perfect teams after the Falcons’ loss to the Saints Thursday night, but entering Week 6 the league had a record six undefeated teams.Aside from the Falcons (5-1), the Patriots (4-0), Bengals (5-0), Broncos (5-0), Packers (5-0) and Panthers (4-0) all came out of the first five weeks unblemished.Except for the Falcons and maybe the Panthers and Bengals, there are no surprises among that group. The Patriots, Packers and Broncos routinely play deep into January. It makes it hard not to wonder if parity still exists in the NFL.Part of the NFL’s appeal has been its worst-to-first potential. The competitive balance in this salary cap league theoretically makes it possible for all 32 teams to win the Super Bowl every year, like the 1999 Rams (4-12 the previous year) and the 2001 Patriots (5-11 the previous year).Those rags-to-riches stories, however, seem to be a thing of the past. Eight teams haven’t made the playoffs in the last five years, and eight teams have made it only once. That means half of the NFL’s 32 teams haven’t made the playoffs more than once in the last five years.On the other side of the coin, the Patriots and Packers both have made the playoffs in each of the last five years. The Ravens, Bengals, Seahawks, Broncos and Saints all have made the playoffs four times in the last five years.There seems to be a class of haves and have-nots developing in the NFL.In Major League Baseball, meanwhile, only the Cardinals have made the playoffs in each of the last five years and only the Tigers have made it in four of the last five. Of the 30 MLB teams, eight have not made the playoffs in the last five years. It’s theoretically harder to make the playoffs in baseball because even with the additional wild-card team that was instituted in 2012, it’s still 10 of the 30 teams that make the postseason. That’s one-third. In the NFL, 12 of the 32 teams make it. That’s more than a third.This means that the NFL hasn’t had much more parity than Major League Baseball, an outfit with supposedly a huge gulf between big-market and small-market teams.The Mets (79-83 last year), are in the National League Championship Series. The Royals have made it to the American League Championship Series for two straight years after having just one winning season from 1995 to 2012. The Astros made the American League Division Series after going 70-92 last year and 51-111 two years ago.The NFL, meanwhile, is turning into a league of superpowers who have reserved spots in the playoffs every year. In that sense, it seems that parity was at its peak during the days when the Rams and Patriots made their meteoric rises.That doesn’t mean that parity in the NFL is dead, however. A look at the standings this season suggests it could be slowly regenerating.Not much was expected from the Giants (3-2) this season, and they currently lead the NFC East. The division was supposed to be a two-horse race between the Cowboys (2-3) and Eagles (2-3).The Jets (3-1) are the top team not named Patriots in the AFC East. The Falcons are coming off a 6-10 season and a 4-12 season before that while the mighty Seahawks are 2-3.So while there is an elite class in the NFL that’s difficult to infiltrate, there is room for the upwardly mobile. There still is some parity in the league.link
When the lowly Bucs beat the Saints who turn around and beat the hell out of the all world Falcons, parity reigns supreme!!
It is a good point.However, to be fair, i believe the falcons can, and probably will, fall apart. Might have started already.Then again, these are two large market teams. They might have a fair shake with eachother ref-wise.It's when you have a team like the bucs, playing someone like the pats, where parity might be questioned.Sometimes i wonder if thats even right, let alone the idea the refs could be influanced by the masses. Maybe the nfl wants parity, but the refs are to scared to dole it out?Hate has a good point, but these two teams should be on equal "political" footing, so I'm not so sure its parity really.
Most of those teams that have enjoyed consistent playoff success are those with great to elite quarterback play. Once upon a time ago you could build your team in different ways and be successful. But more and more it's moving towards either you have a great QB or you're never going to see the deep end of the playoffs. The parity will only even out when we see the eventual retirement of the Mannings, Brady, Rodgers, etc, and even then it'll only be a shift in power. The League favors the passing game and teams that can do it consistently. Plain and simple.