NFL, MLB, and the Parity Myth



This is the reason so many experts and fans give for the NFL’s popularity versus that of America’s original pastime – Major League Baseball.

However, the numbers are a lot closer then the pundits ever admit. Let’s take a close look at them, and start with the good clean year of 2000.          

In baseball, eight out of 30 teams make the playoffs. Since 2000, only five franchises (17%) have not participated in baseball’s postseason: the Nationals, Pirates, Blue Jays, Royals, and Orioles.

There have been 9 different World Series champs in 12 years, and 15 different teams have taken part in the Fall Classic over that same period.

In the NFL, 12 out of 32 teams make the playoffs every year. All but one franchise has done so since 2000 (the Buffalo Bills).

However, there are four NFL teams (12.5%) that have not made it to the last eight: the Bills, Browns, Bengals, and Lions.

The Super Bowl has had only eight different winners over this 12-year period, and 15 different teams that have taken part in the Big Game. Thus, there has been more parity in baseball championship games than football.

Then there is the “Yankees make the playoffs every year” argument, which is true. Eleven of the last 12 years, the Bronx Bombers have made it. The Cardinals are next with eight.

In the NFL, four teams have made the playoffs eight or more times since 2000: the Colts (10), Eagles (10), Patriots (9), and Packers (8).

Around this time every year, we hear how the Pirates, Royals, and Nationals (among others) have no shot to win due to the big market teams dominating in baseball, and how parity in football makes the league more competitive.

Maybe all those pundits and talking heads should give Bills owner Ralph Wilson a call. Or the fans of the Cleveland Browns.

Photo courtesy of


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16 Responses to “NFL, MLB, and the Parity Myth”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    So baseball since 2000, 17 percent of teams have not made the playoffs. In football since 2000, 3.1 percent have not made the playoffs. That would argue more parity in the NFL. What was your point again? There is no such thing as a small market NFL team anymore, just poorly ran franchises. Buffalo can blame Rob Johnson, JP Lohsman, Drew Bledsoe, Trent Edwards, it’s GM, scouting department and owner for is post 2000 failures. Post 2000 Browns qb’s include Tim Couch, Playoff Kelly Holcomb, Charlie Fry, Derrick Anderson, Colt McCoy. There are baseball teams that have No chance to win the World Series due to money, the same cannot be said in football.

  2. JM Says:

    My point is football as 4 more playoff spots each season and if you take the final 8 the same is number that make the playoffs in the MLB the numbers are closer. And my main point is more teams have won the World Series then have won the Super Bowl and is that not the goal to the win the title.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    He must know you.

  4. JM Says:

    Either way thanks for reading,

  5. Anonymous Says:

    3.1 percent vs 17 percent. Since 2000
    12.5 percent vs 23.3 percent last 8 years.
    Baseball has less parity than football, by far.

  6. JM Says:

    12 teams makes the playoffs in football 8 in baseball

    take the final 8 in football your a lot closer

    plus 9 different Champs is better than 8 different Champs but you dont seem to get that. I guess you satisfied with just making the playoffs.

  7. JM Says:

    Plus the Lions and Texans just made it this year for the first time since 2000,

  8. JM Says:

    I am going to throw my editor under the bus I I let him pic the picture, though I do like it.

  9. Mojah Fukweh Says:

    I like the picture too. And I have to say, it takes a real brave man to anonymously call someone dumb over the internet.

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