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saint5221 12-16-2003 08:21 AM

False playoff hopes are product of parity
 
http://www.nola.com/saints/t-p/index...9613130250.xml


False playoff hopes are product of parity

Tuesday December 16, 2003
John DeShazier


This, we've been led to believe, is what passes as excitement, NFL-style.

With two regular-season games left, more teams are statistically in the playoff hunt than not -- half of the 16 franchises in the AFC and nine of 16 in the NFC.

Two 8-6 teams are tied for division leads in each conference -- Cincinnati and Baltimore in the AFC North, Green Bay and Minnesota in the NFC North -- and two teams that are 7-7 (Tampa Bay and the Saints in the NFC) still are talking playoffs, though each needs the equivalent of a miracle to win a wild-card spot.

And I can't help wondering how good this really is for NFL fans.

There's enough mediocrity to keep hope alive into mid-December in most cities, enough so-so teams that few franchises believe they aren't on the right path. Seven NFC teams and four AFC clubs have records between 8-6 and 6-8.

Teams in such situations might be inclined to favor the minor-tweak approach in the offseason, believing a tuneup is all that's needed to make things run smoothly. And fans are sold on it because their teams were this close to sneaking into the playoffs, were right in the middle of the race until the last few weeks of the season.

True, at least Saints, Buccaneers, Dolphins fans, among others, still have something to talk about. At least the season isn't officially dead, even though it appears to have gone cold and the pulse is weak and fading.

Players, too, continue to milk it for all it's worth, maintaining the statistical right to talk postseason. And owners have to love it because playoff talk means continued interest, which means filled seats and stadiums.

But the whole reward-for-mediocrity process -- or, worse, the ability and willingness to capitalize off it financially -- produces a queasy feeling. And the feeling is the same whether the league is spelled NFL, NBA or NHL, outfits who allow in so many playoff teams that being average is bound to pay off eventually, given the abundance of franchises and the spread of quality players.

As much as anything, expansion in franchises and playoff formats seems to have fostered a willingness to accept average or worse, to "wait till next year" because the team was only a game or two out of the playoffs, to not demand significant change because a tweak here and there should do fine, especially if a couple of players identified as problems have been run off.

If the Saints somehow make the playoffs -- and given their lack of consistency and the obstacles, don't bet on it -- does anyone really believe the team will make as many changes as it could, and probably should?

Or is there as much, if not more, of a chance that team officials might begin to believe that getting in is proof that things are going right, that the players who look ineffective now might appear a little more attractive through postseason-colored glasses?

That is what parity does. It tricks teams and fans into believing the situation is better than it is, because almost everybody else is flopping around in the same puddle of mediocrity.

That's excitement, NFL-style.

Don't you just love it?

John DeShazier can be reached at jdeshazier@timespicayune.com or (504) 826-3410.

Danno 12-16-2003 08:41 AM

False playoff hopes are product of parity
 
This guy is a boobonic moron.
He starts off with an unfounded biased assumtion...
This, we\'ve been led to believe, is what passes as excitement, NFL-style.
IT IS EXCITING MORON!!!!
Parity is the best thing to happen to the NFL ever.
Does this idiot think its better that the same 4 teams go to the championship every year while there are 28 teams that have no hope to, or ever will.
Yea lets go back to the days of the 49ers and Cowboys winning it all every year.
That was lots of fun! Like a wood-rasp up the rectum.
Most fans stop watching after week 9.
This ass sees the NFL wholey as a league of mediocre teams.
Most of us see it as a league of extremely competitive teams.
Look at the turnover of division champions.
Any given year if the chemistry is right, a team can go all the way.

PARITY = COMETITIVENESS
COMETITIVENESS = EXCITEMENT
EXCITMENT = INTEREST
INTEREST = FANS

I HATE this guys attitude and I hope he fades into oblivion.
He\'s an LP in a CD world.



SaintFan23 12-16-2003 10:09 AM

False playoff hopes are product of parity
 
I have noticed he has taken a rather pessimistic view of this team. Granted, his articles are opinion based, I think it is absurd that the T-P would let one of its own writers blast the hometown team in such a fashion. It\'s one thing if an \"expert\" at ESPN.com does it. But here? I hardy think it is necessary. And I agree with the statement that the NFL is exciting right now. Seriously, who wants to see one team completely dominating every year? That\'s why college football is so exciting right now (except for the BCS, but thats a different issue altogether). I refuse to read this guy\'s columns anymore. He may as well move out of the city, because now, and especially after last week\'s article, he seems to be ashamed to live in New Orleans.

BillyC 12-16-2003 01:10 PM

False playoff hopes are product of parity
 
I think John DeShazier wants Haslett and no telling who else gone in the offseason and he\'s cleverly using the \"parity\" arguement to get his message out. He does speak some truth. But, overall, he is off with his assessment. That\'s what happens when someone can\'t come up with valid reasons for their arguement. They try to justify their positions anyway they can. This board has gotten me all to familar with that concept. He kinda sounds like WhoDat -- ;)

Parity has eliminated having dominant teams for extended periods of time. How can this possibly be negitive? Teams can no longer \"buy\" championships. Which is basically what they were doing. Sure, they had to have good drafts and coaches, but many teams could not compete and were left at the bottom of the league, year after year.

At least now, every team has a legitimate chance at reaching post season every year. Again, how can that be negitive? Ever year truely is a \"new\" year. What happend last year has little to do with this year. Every fan should go into the new year believing that his team has a very good chance at reaching the playoffs. Even the lowly Bengal fans. I bet if you did a survey that 90% of fans would disagree with John DeShazier. But, Mr. DeSazier really isn\'t concerned with \"parity\", he\'s concerned with Haslett having an excuse to return to the Saints next year,




lynwood 12-16-2003 01:20 PM

False playoff hopes are product of parity
 
Has anyone e-mailed the guy with their opinion on his article? I was about to this morning but Danno says it best.


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