Every Game Matters - One of the big problems with baseball, basketball, and hockey is that their seasons are way too long and (for basketball and hockey) so many teams make the playoffs. These factors make the regular season near pointless and also brutal to watch. College football, college basketball, and the NFL all experience sustained excitement because what you do in week one affects the playoffs and the championship. Every game matters, and so the whole season is exciting. This makes the NFL great.
Competitive Balance - In baseball, a few teams can outspend all the other teams. The big market teams like the Yankees and Red Sox can all but sew up playoff spots before the season even starts while teams like the Royals or the Twins are all but mathematically eliminated from spring ball. Revenue sharing and the salary cap have helped to keep the playing field even in the NFL. The Daniel Snyders and Jerry Joneses of the league cannot simply spend the small market teams like Green Bay or Pittsburgh or Jacksonville out of the picture. This means that every team has some semblance of a shot every year. What could be more exciting?
And now, the collective bargaining agreement has expired. We are on pace for a uncapped 2007 and free agency hell in 2008. (Did you know that if the CBA is not renewed, there will be no draft in 2008?) The league needs to be wise enough to not greedily destroy one of the key factors in its success.
Every game. Every team. Keep it that way!
Tagged - Football