After four weeks of the NFL season, who would have ever thought the Kansas City Chiefs, who had won 10 games total in the last three seasons, would be the last remaining undefeated team in the NFL? Over at least the past decade, there have been numerous teams that made the Super Bowl one season and then missed the playoffs the following year--The Steelers were the most recent example of that last year--but then again, here they are again this season as a powerhouse. The Super-Saints have not looked so "Super" this season, nor have many people's favorites, the Minnesota Vikings, Dallas Cowboys, or Green Bay Packers,who have each been far from it. How about the Colts, who have won 12 games or more in each of the past 7 seasons--they are 2-2 and just lost to one of the supposed bottom-tiered teams, the Jaguars. Furthermore, the St. Louis Rams, who went 1-15 last season, and really were even worse than their record indicated, are leading their division with a 2-2 record this season. Compare that to the Miami Dolphins of a few years back who also went 1-15, but then turned it around and went 11-5 and won the AFC East the following season, only to miss the playoffs last year.
That's the NFL for you. It is the most balanced and unpredictable sport when compared to the other top American sports of baseball and basketball. In baseball, you know the Yankees are going to make the playoffs every year and be the favorites to win the World Series. Essentially the same teams make the playoffs every year in baseball. Similarly, basketball has been top heavy for quite some time, as the Lakers have won 5 Championships in the last 11 years(which is great by me ) and the Spurs have won 4 Championships in the last 12 years. Now, after LeBron James led the way by his "decision" to join up with a "Super team" in Miami, other star players are trying to follow suit. Within two years, the NBA will have about 4 super teams and 26 teams just trying to make it through the season without losing millions of dollars, while holding no chance of even competing.
That's the good thing about the NFL. Any team can win from year to year and game to game. That is a fact that keeps fans in all 32 NFL cities interested every season.
I would say the NHL has a pretty good balance especially since the lockout years ago. The salary cap has played a big role in the way business is conducted. Granted, you are going to have you good teams like the Red Wings, Devils, but look at how many different teams have won the Stanley Cup over the years. The NHL would love for Toronto to become competitive again and they will. The Leafs are loaded with cash. But yes, the NFL is full of parity. I am shocked to Kansas City off to the start they have this season. It is hard to say if they will sustain it. Look at Denver, they were 6-0 and ended up going 8-8 or my wife's team, the Titans, 0-6 and finished 7-9. Salary caps do bring competitive balance to the leagues.
I do agree entirely with all of your points. I don't know much about hockey but the one thing I do know is that it is extremely unpredictable once the playoffs begin. The only reason I did not bring up the salary cap in sports is because the NBA has a salary cap (although teams can go over it and pay luxury tax) and it is still a top heavy league. Many people however, like sports when there are just a few dominant teams. I guess that is how rivalries are born and how they thrive. If I had to say, the NFL and NHL are easily the two most balanced sports.
As for the Chiefs, I do not think they will sustain what they have done. I think it is a nice story but I think the Chargers will ultimately overtake them in that division. I just think it is nice that their fans have something to be excited about throughout the season due to the parity in the league.
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