The question of whether or not parity is good for the NFL has been a hot debate over the last couple of years. Many people still wish for the days of the dynasty. I am here to not only say that I feel parity is good for the NFL, I believe it would be good for all pro sports.
First, let's talk about how parity happens. Now I understand that parity isn't exactly something that you can manufacture. But one of the reasons that every single team has a shot at going to the big show in the NFL every year is because the NFL does not have guaranteed contracts. The only money that is guaranteed in the NFL is the signing bonus, and most teams spread the signing bonus out over the life of the contract so that if they do lose a player to injury, trade or otherwise, they are only responsible for what is left on that player's signing bonus. Since the contracts are not guaranteed, like in other sports, it's much easier to release players. The long-term commitment that you make to a player isn't necessarily as long-term as it may seem. Because of all of this contracts tend to be shorter in terms, and, generally, have a year or two at the end that are optional. All of this put together means that big name players, like a Terrell Owens, can move around the league more easily, and because of a salary cap and other things the NFL has put into place in order to protect the competitive nature of the league, the money isn't going to be much greater from one team to another, and so, players tend to gravitate toward teams that have the greatest chance of winning in the very short term.
So why is this a good thing?
First of all, it's great for the fans. In August of every year almost every fan in the entire league believes that their team has a shot to go at least to the playoffs, and maybe the Super Bowl. And none of them are wrong. Every team does have a shot because the system that is in place makes everybody truly even on opening day, unlike the NBA or MLB, each of which generally have one or two very clear favorites to win the title, and this almost always comes to fruition throughout the season.
Second, it's good for the teams. It means that every year, every team has a shot to rebuild into a championship caliber team that will be a serious force within three years. I've believed for many years that in the NFL you have a three year window to win. You have (1)your rebuilding year, (2)your figuring out your identity year, and (3)your year when it all comes together and you take a shot. If it doesn't pan out after the third year you go back to the drawing board.
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