So looking at the calendar, it truly is time to start to panic…football season is almost over. As lame as some of the games can be (yes, I had to pick Oakland versus Cleveland today), it’s still better than anything else out there! Well, unless collective bargaining is over and salary caps have ended then we lose that element that makes this team sport work better than any other out there: Parity. Even with parity, we have had a season where the most teams were scoreless for the longest time ever (and strangely, perhaps even finally a perfect team to break the record.)
But I can only hope that the weekly updates and pleas for ticket sales in so many markets to avoid blackouts (can you imagine a blackout in San Diego this of all seasons?) is helping push the case that parity, while painful, is the best thing for the league. Let me take you through the results of parity for what has been considered the most talented team in the NFL for years: the San Diego Chargers.
First, please note, there is no Super Bowl trophy in San Diego. We went once. I’ve blocked it out of my head. As exciting as it was to beat the Steelers at home in 1995 to get there, the following game was absent any resemblance of the same team, undone by the newness of the trip. So we’re hungry. But we’ve had a near perfect season and lost a coach because of it. So we’re hungry but we’ve been burned.
Parity for the Chargers has meant a running game in Atlanta (Michael Turner), a devout San Diegan in New England enemy territory(Junior Seau), and an MVP-candidate in New Orleans (Drew Brees). Parity almost cost us the future Hall-of-Famer with the single season rushing touchdown and single season points records (Thank goodness LT wanted a home more than a huge paycheck!)
If there’s a lesson in here, it’s that teams built within the parity system can still be dominate for years and years (New England) but teams that were horrible for years and years can also come back (Cincinnati & New Orleans). Parity works in the NFL because the money is shared, there is a limit, and free agency lets players drive their own choices. It just works, people. So get back in there and get ‘er done.
Enough of the soap box and I will refrain from gloating as my Chargers clinched a first-round bye in the playoffs: we’ve been here before and need to keep focused. Instead, I’ll cop to having my worst week ever in picks (8-8 and I struggled to get that!) and endeavor to make it better this week. Admittedly, a first game rout doesn’t hurt :p
- Not-so-Hot-lanta over Blue Buffalo
- Ravens Nevermore over Rusty Steelers
- Brave Bengals over Headless Chiefs
- Ground Browns over Grade-A less Raiders
- A-Rod Packers versus Simpering Seahawks
- Wild Tuna Dolphins over Tex’Last Texans
- Not-So Giants over Carolina Basted Panthers
- Jack Be Nimble Jags over Looking Mighty Aged Patriots
- New Era Orleans over Bucs in Bags
- Crazy Cardinals over Stupified Rams
- 14 karat Niners over Lowly Lions (with just a bit of glimmer)
- Philadelphia has the Freedom to be Consistently Inconsistent versus Denver Debacle
- There can be only 1 Manning-led Colts versus J-E-T-S for Next season
- Cowboy Up versus Skinned Management Office
- Sherlock sez Minnesota may be fraying but he deduces that Chicago hasn’t a bear of a chance to do a thing about it. Wouldn’t be surprised if this is the last of Lovey in Soldier field. It just never quite made any sense. Minnesota 17 Chicago 7.
Enjoy your Holiday Sunday!