NFL Parity or Parody?November 3rd, 2009 by Lee Eldridge
Just a few years ago the experts endlessly discussed how parity in the NFL was diluting football, and how we would never have dynasties again. We would end up with a bunch of teams in the middle of the pack winning between six and ten games. What happened?
We are basically halfway through the 2009 season. Teams have played seven or eight games depending on whether or not they’ve had their bye week. And we have nine teams with two or fewer victories. And four teams with either one or no losses on their records.
I would say that with the New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts, Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles, we have quite a few teams that have enjoyed continued and significant success this decade. Since 2000, the Patriots have won three and appeared in a fourth Super Bowl, the Steelers have won two, and the Colts have won one. Even the New York Giants have appeared in two Super Bowls, winning one. The Eagles may have appeared in only one Super Bowl losing to the Patriots, but they appeared in four straight NFC Championship Games. This doesn’t happen by accident. These are well run franchises with a lot of stability within the organizations.
What do we see among the bottom feeders? A lack of stability. Turnover among their general managers and coaching staffs. Changes in philosophy and personnel. Poor drafting. Poor player development. Reaches in free agency. And continued losing.
Here’s a quick look at the nine teams with the worst records in the NFL.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers are winless with a record of 0-7.
Detroit Lions are 1-7 with their only win coming against the Washington Redskins, who are 2-5.
St. Louis Rams are 1-7 with their only win coming against the Lions.
Cleveland Browns are 1-7 with a win against the Buffalo Bills, who are 3-5.
Tennessee Titans are 1-6 with a win against the Jacksonville Jaguars, who are 3-4.
Kansas City Chiefs are 1-6 with a win against the Redskins.
Oakland Raiders are 2-6, with wins against the Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles, who are 5-2.
Seattle Seahawks are 2-5 with wins against the Rams and the Jaguars.
Washington Redskins are 2-5 with wins against the Rams and the Bucs.
These nine teams have combined for only one win against a team with a winning record, and that was the Raiders over the Eagles, a game the Eagles should never have lost. And the majority of the wins from these nine teams have actually come against each other.
Other than the Tennessee Titans, I think it’s pretty easy to see some pattens here. You have first year head coaches pretty much across the board. I believe that only Eric Mangini with the Browns has ever been a head coach before. And it’s not like he had a lot of success in his last job with the Jets.
What do these teams need to do? The fans won’t like it, but they need to show some patience. And when you see teams like the Falcons and the Dolphins turn their teams around quickly, it breeds impatience. But they’re the exception, not the rule. Good teams are built over the long haul by stable franchises with clear visions for their futures.