I heard ESPN’s Colin Cowherd make the argument that dynasties are better than parity in sports leagues. He stated that dynasties are more interesting because the dynasty team can be portrayed in the role of the villain, which makes the matchup of the team facing the dynasty more compelling. This argument has some validity to it however, it’s a flawed argument. The NFL proves that dynasties are not necessary to provide compelling matchups. Cowherd argued that the NFL does have dynasties, and pointed to the Patriots, Steelers, Giants and a few other teams.
But those teams aren’t dynasties, they are just better run organizations with franchise QB’s. Take Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, and Eli Manning out of the equation and those teams probably don’t have any of the Super Bowl victories they have achieved recently. Even with the best run franchises in the NFL, any of the other teams still have a legitimate shot at winning a championship. The same cannot be said for the NBA or MLB, and that is the crux of this debate.
I know exactly why Colin Cowherd likes dynasties. Because the mere mention of the Lakers and the Yankees drives up his ratings. He knows the hatred of those teams amongst fans sends them into a frenzy, which is a good thing for sports talk radio hosts and the media. However, the existence of dynasties does no good for the average fan and is only worth while for fans of the dynasty itself.
Cowherd used the NHL as an example of how parity doesn’t help the popularity of the league. But I debunked this issue previously by pointing out in a previous post that the NHL’s popularity has a peak, not because of the lack of a dynasty, but because of three reasons. 1. The lack of racial diversity amongst its players. 2. Artificial Athleticism – a game played on ice is the equivalent of basketball players putting springs on their sneakers. 3. Hockey is still a sport that embraces thuggery. And even though the NHL has tried to move away from it, the image of players fighting still remains, making it hard to garner more mainstream acceptance.
Now let’s make a comparison of which fans are better off. The NFL’s Green Bay Packer‘s or the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks? The answer is simple, the Packers fans. The Bucks have absolutely no shot at winning an NBA Title, while the Packers have won a Super Bowl recently and are contenders to win more, and in a small market none the less. The Packers fans have the hope of winning to look forward to, what do the Buck’s fans have to look forward to? Rooting against the Lakers or the Heat, or whatever villainous dynasty the NBA tries to create?
Parity may not be a good thing for the sports media, but it’s a great thing for the fans. So instead of LeBron James winning six championships with the Heat, I’d rather see six different teams win them. As for the Lakers, the NFL doesn’t even need a team in Los Angeles, let alone a dynasty there. And regardless of which team wins the NBA Finals, many will come away from it declaring that a new dynasty is born.
Every once in a blue moon, I like to read my favorite books over again knowing how the story ends, because some times the story is just that good. But as good as it is I don’t want to read that book all the time, because I’d much rather experience a brand new adventure. The one where I don’t know the outcome. The one that has the surprise ending. Of course a good villain is a great thing to have in every good story, but the story gets old when the same hero wins all the time.
Yes the New York Giants have won multiple Super Bowls recently, but the way the Giants season was going this time, no one would have guessed they would have been the eventual champion. But that’s part of what made their ultimate victory special. The unpredictability of it. Unpredictable is rarely a word that you can associate with the NBA. Nobody really knows who’s going to win the Super Bowl next year. But the NBA? Heat or Thunder anyone?
- Are NFL Dynasties Possible Anymore? (ninersnation.com)
- Spontaneous Combustion: The NBA should have a Final Four instead of a series. (fanonfiresportswire.com)