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Parity: Why Every Team in the NFL Is Now Flawed

The National Football League for years has been making itself deliberately mediocre. There was a philosophy born under Commissioner Paul Tagliabue known as “Parity;” the primary components of which was there should be no dynasties. Rather, teams should be able to quickly build themselves into contention through free-agency and the draft.

Last season, the graphic below was posted on Reddit by user danchan22. It clearly illustrates the circular progression of Parity as shown with head-to-head wins.

It looks confusing at first, but it is actually quite simple. Start at the top with at the logo of the Atlanta Falcons. Reading clockwise, the chart tells you the Falcons beat the Buccaneers 27-21. Continuing clockwise, the Buccaneers defeated the Browns 17-14. Continue around the circle until it leads you back to the Steelers beating the Falcons 15-9.

What is being graphically demonstrated here is that while the era of the dynasty has not disappeared (the 49ers from 1981 to 1996 and the Patriots from 2001-2008 for example), the era of the “complete team” is clearly dead.

The aforementioned 49ers may very well be the last “complete team” the NFL has seen. Championships team all used to have the full package. Look at the Steelers teams of the 70’s…first-rate ownership, management, and coaching, hall-of-famers at quarterback, wide receiver, running back, offensive line, and scattered throughout a defense which would cause your liver bleed just by saying its name. The Walsh-Seifert 49ers can say the same, despite the fact their defense tended to be overshadowed by the star power on offense.

There isn’t one team in this league today that you will say this about in 30 years.  Look at last years Super Bowl contestants –  The Packers’ running game disappeared with Ahman Green, and the Steelers offensive line couldn’t block a hat.  Go through all 32 NFL squads, and tell me which one doesn’t sport a major flaw…

  • Arizona Cardinals – no defense, unproven quarterback, weak offensive line, and one the worst owners in all of sports
  • Atlanta Falcons – talent-wise, this might be the closest thing to a “complete” team out there, but this team has a crushing lack of leadership and will never win until that is addressed
  • Baltimore Ravens – nearly as close to “complete” as the Falcons, but old and oft-injured at too many key positions
  • Buffalo Bills – have simply too many C-list players across the board
  • Carolina Panthers – an inept defense and a rookie quarterback who is going to lead the league in interceptions
  • Chicago Bears – what may very well be the worst offensive line in the league
  • Cincinnati Bengals – the classic example of what happens when you have bad ownership and management that can’t recognize talent
  • Cleveland Browns – weak in the secondary and linebacking corps, quarterback and coaching staff are unknowns
  • Dallas Cowboys – offensive line sucks, rookie coach, inconsistent defense, and the drama that always surrounds Jerry Jones
  • Denver Broncos – a fan base that thinks Tim Tebow is a starting quarterback in the NFL,  the complete absence of talent on the offense with far too few exceptions, and a similar problem on defense
  • Detroit Lions – still cleaning up the legacy of Matt Millen, which as deep of a hole that is, this team could be as close to “complete” sooner than people think, provided their idiot owner stays “hands-off”
  • Green Bay Packers – a vastly over-rated defense and a nearly absent running game
  • Houston Texans – get rid of Gary Kubiak and add a dominating offensive lineman
  • Indianapolis Colts – start with accepting the Peyton Manning era is over – burn the wreckage to the ground and start over
  • Jacksonville Jaguars – build a dominant running game around Maurice Jones-Drew and hope for the best – losing Jack Del Rio also wouldn’t be a bad idea
  • Kansas City Chiefs – this team has far too much talent to be this bad – that usually spells a coaching issue
  • Miami Dolphins – what happens when you have a decade of instability in the front office – find a leader who will commit to moving the franchise in a specific direction and stick to it
  • Minnesota Vikings – change absolutely everything except Adrian Peterson – start with ending the parade of washed-up quarterbacks
  • New England Patriots – complete absence of a defense
  • New Orleans Saints – defensive secondary needs help and the offensive line can’t support a running game
  • New York Giants – an offensive line that looks like a retirement home and a defense that looked pretty good in 2008 – too bad this is 2011
  • New York Jets – its time for Mark Sanchez to prove he’s a big time quarterback, which may be tough behind a C+ at-best offensive line
  • Oakland Raiders – Two words: Al Davis
  • Philadelphia Eagles – terrible offensive line and a tiny quarterback who gets hurt a lot
  • Pittsburgh Steelers – an offensive line nearly as bad as the Bears
  • San Diego Chargers – show this coaching staff a picture of Vince Lombardi, and they will say “Who’s that?”
  • San Francisco 49’ers – Buffalo by the Bay…just not enough talent, but that’s only for now…
  • Seattle Seahawks – write this down and remember it…Pete Carroll will never win in the NFL
  • St. Louis Rams – the 49’ers of the Midwest…just not enough talent, but that may not change under the current ownership
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers – anybody who would own Manchester United can’t be good for an American sport
  • Tennessee Titans – Bud Adams never gets credit for what a crazy old man he is largely because he is overshadowed by Al Davis and Jerry Jones
  • Washington Redskins – Dan Snyder and the Shanahans give Washington as much chance of victory as Herman Goerhing did for the Luftwaffe

What it all comes down to is now being a “great” team is not about being complete.  A “bad” team simply has more weakness than it can manage, a “good” team has manageable weaknesses, and a “great” team has manageable weaknesses which are overshadowed by its strengths.

Screw “parity.” I’d rather have a handful of truly great, truly complete teams to either love or hate rather than 28 fair-to-middlin’ squads and four crappy ones.

About J-Dub

What your view of sports would be if you had too many concussions

17 comments on “Parity: Why Every Team in the NFL Is Now Flawed

  1. sportsattitudes
    September 29, 2011

    Oooh…for the Eagles, can I add the fact the linebackers draw numbers out of a helmet to decide who will line up where each week?

    Like

    • JW
      September 29, 2011

      As long a s you mention that Casey Matthews is nowhere near as good as his brother…at least not yet.

      Like

  2. sportsattitudes
    September 29, 2011

    Done. Casey Matthews is nowhere near as good as his brother. (I don’t think he will be either…)

    Like

  3. Very right about the Giants. The retirement home is more like a veterans’ home.

    Meehan

    Like

  4. But yes, free agency has made sure that there won’t be any long term dynasty. I dont count the last time the Patriots or Steelers won multiple

    Meehan

    Like

    • JW
      September 29, 2011

      You have to count the Patriots – that was a team of the same major factors (coach, QB, key players for the most part)..

      But I will agree those types of teams will become far fewer.

      Like

  5. chappy81
    September 29, 2011

    Interesting, I guess that’s why I like basketball more. You know who the super powers are haha…

    Like

    • JW
      September 29, 2011

      Yeah, I’m planning on becoming a big fan of the Guangzhou Golden Bulls.

      Like

      • chappy81
        September 30, 2011

        I’m more of a Shanxi Zhongyu Brave Dragons fan. I guess because they had Marbury for a bit!

        Like

      • JW
        September 30, 2011

        First of all, that name gives me a hankerin’ for my favorite local belly-buster Chinese buffet. Secondly, having lived in Minnesota through the Starbury era, that just makes my eyes bleed.

        Like

  6. tophatal
    September 29, 2011

    JW

    I concur with your assessment of the Glazers and Man Utd !

    I think in large part also the talent coming out at the college level has diminished and at the same time simply now look at the coaches in the NFL . If you were an owner much less a general manager which coach would you want to be leading your franchise in that aspect ?

    tophatal ………..

    Like

    • JW
      September 29, 2011

      American owners are only investing in British football clubs because they are appreciating in value. The trouble is the are infecting the EPL with their incompetence (i.e., Tom Hicks and Liverpool).

      I completely disagree that the talent in players has diminished, but I will wholeheartedly support the assertion that the talent level in coaching has plunged into an abyss. I would be hard-pressed to name 5 NFL coaches or 25 NCAA D-1 coaches I think are worth their weight in Spam.

      Like

  7. tophatal
    September 29, 2011

    JW

    Well to be sure Tom Hicks doesn’t possess the “Midas Touch ” . Everything he’s touched sporting wise over the past decade has turned to mush . Were it not for new owners then the likes of the Rangers , Dallas Stars and Liverpool FC would now be bankrupt . Man U still has a mounting debt of over $1.1 billion . Sooner or later the banks are going to call the Glazers’ bluff !

    These so called American owners within the EPL couldn’t decipher a balance sheet from a sheet of toilet paper with fecal matter daubed all over it ! Never mind the mess that there now is within the NBA and MLB and the owners there !

    Stern is now walking a tight-rope and he’s about to fall off it . The owners are not going to remain quite for much longer . If Jordan can come out and be openly critical of the negotiating process having been fined ___ by David Stern then you know he’s (Jordan ) not the only NBA team owner who actually feels that way.

    The talent within the college ranks has diminished as too has the alleged coaching prowess . But it all comes down to how the players apply themselves and how the coaches themselves are able to communicate with the players. I mean in all honesty were you the Seahawks’ owner would you have hired Pete Carroll and now be paying him $7 million a year . Last season was something of an aberration for the organization with the fact that they made the playoffs with such a lousy record .

    tophatal ……………

    Like

  8. ChrisHumpherys (@SportsChump)
    September 29, 2011

    I just wanna know how long it actually took Danchan22 to put that together.

    Like

    • JW
      September 29, 2011

      Tracking down all the scores alone must have taken hours…

      Like

  9. Pingback: What We Learned From This Weekend in Football 10/9/2011 « Dubsism

  10. Pingback: Guest Column: Jim Rockford on Why Roger Goodell is a Stalinist Hypocrite « Dubsism

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