The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Junior G Wade Taylor IV (4) covers his face after a missed point during Texas A&Ms game against Arkansas on Feb. 20, 2024 at Reed Arena. (Jaime Rowe/The Battalion)
When it rains, it pours
February 24, 2024
Ali Camarillo (2) waiting to see if he got the out during Texas A&Ms game against UIW on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024 at Olsen Field. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
Four for four
February 20, 2024
Dr. Weston Porter (top left) and researchers from the breast cancer lab. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Weston Porter)
New A&M research initiative provides cutting-edge cancer treatments
J.M. Wise, News Reporter • April 8, 2024

It has been 20 months since Michelle Pozzi, Ph.D, of Texas A&M’s Biochemistry and Biophysics department was diagnosed with cancer. However,...

Light Middleweight boxers Francis Cristal and Frank Chiu throw crosses during Farmers Fight Night on Thursday, April 4th, 2024, at Reed Arena.
‘One day there’s going to be a ring in the middle of Kyle Field’
Zoe May, Editor in Chief • April 11, 2024

“Throw the 1, follow with the 2!” “Keep your hands up!” “Tie him up!” It was the sixth fight of the night. The crowd was either...

Students, residents commemorates Eid Al-Fitr
Lasan Ukwatta Liyanage, Life & Arts Writer • April 11, 2024

This year's Eid Al-Fitr celebration, hosted by Texas A&M’s Muslim Student Association, or MSA, drew over 1,500 attendees on Wednesday,...

Student housing located right outside off campus boundaries on George Bush Drive. 
Guest Commentary: An open letter to City Hall
Ben Crockett, Guest Contributor • April 11, 2024

City Council, As representatives of the Texas Aggie Classes of 2024, 2025, 2026 and 2027, we write to you today to urge a reconsideration...

Parity rules hinder long-term success of professional football

They say that variety is the spice of life. If this is true, no professional sports league is spicier than the NFL. Where else can a former grocery store bag boy like Kurt Warner or a murder trial defendant like Ray Lewis go from complete obscurity to Super Bowl MVP stardom?
Nowhere but the NFL. Two key rule changes instituted in the 1990s mean that, like Warner and Lewis, teams now are rising from obscurity only to end up there again, and, as a result, many sportswriters and football purists are longing for the past days of the NFL dynasty.
Roughly 10 years ago, the powers that be in the NFL instituted some rulebook changes under the title of “parity.” Fans of the game are familiar with these changes – the salary cap, that limits the amount of money a tea can spend on its talent, and the scheduling rules which pit the previous season’s winning teams against their fellow winners.
Ideally, these changes serve as a means of challenging the strong teams and strengthening the weak. But, in reality, they make it harder for teams to afford to keep their best players and punish teams for winning games by way of harder schedules.
In all the fuss to keep things evenly matched, the long-term effects to the game were not considered fully, and, as a result, the NFL has become the crapshoot that it is today.
Juggernaut dynasties and feather-in-hat coaching legends are relics of a former era. In today’s NFL, last year’s cellar dweller can become this year’s one-hit wonder and then possibly return to the cellar again.
Consider the St. Louis Rams, which went from last place in their division to become the Super Bowl champions. But in their 1999-2000 Super Bowl-winning season, only one of it 16 regular-season games was played against an opponent with a winning record because the Rams had a weak showing the year before. And though they won the Super Bowl that year, the same changes that helped them win may ultimately have been the beginning of their demise. The Rams did not even make a Super Bowl appearance the following season.
And St. Louis is, by no means, the only team to feel the effects of parity. The NFL’s push for mediocrity has hit every team in the league. In fact, every NFL team but four has made a playoff appearance in the past five seasons, yet only one team, the Denver Broncos, has won the big game more than once in that same span. As one sportswriter put it, “nobody is truly awful… and for sure nobody is truly good.”
Whether parity – the NFL’s version of communism – is actually hurting the game or not is still a hot topic, but no one is denying the change. If television ratings are any indication of how the viewing public is taking to parity, then nobody seems to like it. The NFL’s television ratings have been on a steady decline.
Perhaps this should not come as a surprise to anyone. When compared to other sports’ ratings-grabbing championship games, fans seem to prefer the allure of dynasties. This is true in the NBA where the two-time champion Lakers are a shoe-in to make it three and all of America seems to be behind them. The same goes for Major League Baseball, in which the New York Yankees are favored to win the World Series year in and year out.
Football, in its purist form, is meant to be played without restrictions like the salary cap and scheduling rules. NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue can either consider rethinking parity or continue to watch his once dominant league’s TV ratings continue to decline.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Battalion

Your donation will support the student journalists of Texas A&M University - College Station. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Battalion

Comments (0)

All The Battalion Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *