The Breakdown: Parity or clarity
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Summit County, Colorado
Can a rolling team gather Moss? I guess so, but the question people seem to be asking most is whether any team that has a chance to win this year should pick him up. I’d say anyone not wanting Randy Moss, one of the top-three receivers of all time, would be crazy – even with the “baggage” everyone likes to talk about.
And it’s not like Moss once had to go to rehab for drug addiction and has allegations of sexual harassment against him, you know, like his now former QB Brett Favre.
Anyway, I’m not all that interested in where he ends up, because neither the Bears nor the Broncos are likely to even consider plucking Moss off waivers, which means that it A) won’t affect my favorite team, and B) won’t affect the favorite team of most people reading this.
But, Moss catching on with a top team or a borderline contender does have ramifications across the sport – and also happens to show one aspect of the National Football League that bothers me.
(Note: Another annoying thing is when people refer to the NFL as the “National Football League.” I’m not really sure why I just did, but it was pretty obnoxious, right?)
You see, Moss signing with one of these top-tier squads could make the difference between the team winning a Super Bowl or sitting at home in January with the Cleveland Browns and JaMarcus Russell. In a league where it seems nearly every team is just an Al Pacino in “Any Given Sunday” speech away from making a run at a title, one player can make all the difference. Really, one simple play in one win or loss can make all the difference.
There’s such a fine line in the NFL between success and failure, which as a fan of a so-so team, can be exhilarating. For instance, the Bears haven’t won a title in my lifetime, and the only shot they had was negated before the game even started simply because Rex Grossman was under center.
But at the start of every season, almost every team – sorry, Cleveland, not you – has a shot at doing something. It doesn’t even matter if they’re good or not. Look at the Rams this year, or Oakland. Both teams were doormats last year, and after barely upgrading their rosters to more of an entry-way rug level, they are suddenly in the running for division titles.
Why? Because the league is as unpredictable as Manny Ramirez during pregnancy. Mainly, it’s because of parity. You know, that little word NFL owners clamor about because it allows them to be misers with every little penny while their fans fork over $175 to sit in the 20th row because their team has a “shot” at doing something – just like every other team in the league.
While a league with parity allows teams to make drastic jumps up the standings (and colossal slides down), it also depletes the product, and it takes some of the fun out of it for fans. Look at how many teams make the Super Bowl one year and don’t even make the playoffs the next.
In the majority of sports, we know who the good teams are, we know who the true contenders are. And when you’re team gets to that level, it’s nice to know there’s some sort of staying power.
And, on the other side, when your team is staggering below the upper echelon, it can make it even more exciting when it pulls off an upset or makes strides to move out of the gutter. It’s also nice to know that, after years of working to get where they are, those teams have a shot at staying there.
While the NFL gives us parity, we lose any sense of clarity on what the league is like. Sometimes, that can seem good, but in the long run, it’s better to know what we’re getting.
I mean, Randy Moss will always be Randy Moss, all 6-foot-4, mouth-yapping, touchdown-catching inch of him. Deciding whether to take him should be easy.
Figuring out where he takes you is a whole different story.
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