For years, the NFL has been the champion of competitive balance.
" Commissioner Pete Rozelle created the Competition Committee in 1968, two years after the announcement that the NFL and the AFL would merge before the 1970 season. It replaced the Rules Committee, which was formed in 1932 to help develop the professional game’s playing rules as it moved away from the college rulebook, which was used in the league’s earliest days."
The committee has the responsibility of reviewing a survey 32 NFL clubs fill out, answering questions about player protection, officiating, competitive balance and technology.
" After the combine, the committee reconvenes to review video, draft rule proposals and positions, discuss proposals submitted by clubs and prepare its report of supporting statistics for the membership to discuss and vote on at the league’s annual meeting. "
The owners vote on proposed rule changes, etc.. and it must garner 75% (24 clubs) acceptance to pass. So even if 8 teams reject it, it still becomes rule. And over time, the rules in place and those added seem to have tried to restore or maintain competitive balance in the NFL (draft rules, salary cap, etc...).
What got me to revisit this, was a comment made by BOTT in the NFL ratings thread; about the number of mediocre teams. It resonated with me to a degree, so I looked into it some. What I found was surprising... (yet maybe not so much either).
Unlike any other year in memory, there are currently 8 NFL clubs that have yet to win a game. They are 0 - 2 (of which our Colts happens to be one). There is one club, that is 0 - 3!! That is, 28% or the NFL teams have yet to win a game. More than 1/4th, nearly 1/3rd !!. By the same token, there are 7 teams with 2 - 0 records. 22%, or nearly 1/4th the teams. And the rest crammed in the middle. What is scary, there could be potentially 8 teams standing at 0 - 3 after this weeks games (not likely, but still possible). At least the Colts - Browns game will have one club at 1 - 2 while the other goes to 0 - 3. I think I saw a stat where an 0 - 2 team has about a 10% chance of making the playoffs. An 0 - 3 team has about 1%. This tells me about 1/4 of the league is nearly out of the playoff hunt already only 2 games in to the 16 game season.
I cannot remember a time where there were so many teams grouped at the bottom of the barrel. I guess I am still not sure what this imbalance in competition will do to game attendance, TV viewership, and potentially, advertisement dollars... etc...
I guess we will have to see how this plays out, and is 2017 an outlier, or a new trend?