Over the last few years the NFL has been praised because of the parity throughout the league and has been labeled a model for every other professional league in terms of how competitive it is. Well, I believe we are seeing the true nature of that parity rear its ugly head this season, especially in the NFC. The Seattle Seahawks are 8-6 and lead their division and have lost their last two games to the 6-8 49ers and the 4-10 Cardinals. Chicago, the supposedly best team in the conference, gave up 31 points to the Tampa Bay Bucs and their 3rd string QB, Tim Rattay! This isn’t limited to the NFC however. The Patriots got shut out by the Dolphins, who then got shut out by the Bills, and the Colts have the worst run defense in the league. The Chargers are a good team. Their two losses were by a combined 6 points, 3 in each. However, Philip Rivers has never played in a playoff game before and until he has been tested in that arena you can’t make any assumptions about that team. The fact is that there isn’t a team in the league without at least one major flaw. So what has parity given us? I say a watered down league where on Any Given Sunday you can see a couple of mediocre teams fight it out. Is that what we really want?
Everyone always says that MLB should follow the NFL’s suit. Why? MLB has proven that the system in place works pretty good. The Yankees and Red Sox outspend everyone by a ton and neither has won a chan’ship the last two years. The Yankees couldn’t get out of the first round and the Sox finished 3rd in the division! You have The Royals giving 55 million to Gil Meche this off season proving a “small market team” has the dough to hang with the big boys, their owners are just too greedy to spend the money their fans deserve, well at least they used to be. Maybe there are a few teams in baseball that are in the hunt every year, but I’d rather see two teams that are stacked with great players duke it out, rather than two average teams from a “balanced” market. I could watch a Yankees/Red Sox series every year, not because I am a Yankee fan, but because I am a baseball fan and no other series I have ever seen between any two teams has been as fierce and full of memorable moments as those series. I want the best against the best. Not the pretty ok’s against the pretty ok’s.
One more take. Jeff Bagwell retired from MLB this week and already the questions of whether or not he is Hall of Fame worthy have begun to be thrown around. With all due respect to Mr. Bagwell, are we crazy?! Bagwell won one MVP and one gold glove at first base. He never won a World Series and wasn’t able to play in the one he made it to two years ago. The guy was a good player and a very good power hitter, but Hall of Fame? In my opinion, the criteria for getting in any Hall of Fame, not just MLB’s, has become far too lax recently. I don’t believe you can just look at numbers. Again, with all due respect, but Tiki Barber in the football Hall of Fame?! And I’m a Giants fan, but please! We are all so anxious to see “the greatest ever” at anything that we pump athletes up to incredible stature before they have ever done a thing. Can you say Tony Romo? Hall of Fames should be left for the best of the best, not just the best or pretty good for four or five years. Can an athlete even have a successful career anymore without getting into a Hall?