We all know that the NFL has made its billions on the basic premise that every year offers a new chance at greatness for all. Parity is the term du jour.
2010 is proving to be no different. The 2009 AFC divisional winners — New England, Cincinnati, Indianpolis and San Diego — had a combined record of 47-17 last year. Those same four teams are currently on pace for a record of 34-30 this season. And that is being generous with the Chargers giving them the benefit of the second-half doubt by giving them an 8-8 pace as opposed to a 7-9 pace (they are currently 4-5).
Conversely, the current division leaders using correct tie-breakers — New York, Baltimore, Tennessee and Kansas City — were a combined 30-34 last season. Those same four are on pace for a combined record of 44-20 this season.
Yes, San Diego will probably surge in the second half. No, I do no think the Chiefs will finish 10-6 as their current pace indicates. But the numbers still do not lie.
The NFC is even worse. Last year's division winners — New Orleans, Arizona, Minnesota and Dallas — were a combined 46-18 last fall. Those same four teams are on pace for a combined 25-39 (giving the Saints the benefit of the second-half doubt at 5-2 rather than 4-3). New Orleans is the only '09 divison winner from the NFC on pace for even a winning record this year.
On th flip side, the current divisional leaders in the NFC according to accurate tie-breakers — Green Bay, New York, St. Louis and Atlanta — were a combined 29-35 last season. They are on pace for a combined record of 43-21 in 2010.
It all comes back to the word 'parity' again. It's what the TV networks want. It's what the fans want. It's what most of the owners want — except maybe Jerry Jones, John Mara/Steve Tisch, Dan Synder and a few other big business owners.
My advice? Sit back and enjoy another up-and-down, back-and-forth, topsy-turvy, completely unpredictable season of football.Or just watch the Cleveland Browns every week — a team that beat the Patriots and Saints by a combined 33 points but lost to the Bucs and Chiefs by scoring a total of 28 points.