We talk a lot in the current sports landscape about the NFL and its ever-growing popularity. The days of baseball being the national pastime in America are long gone. The ratings for regular season NFL games are consistently higher than ratings for playoff baseball.
To understand why, we have to look no further than our own New York Jets.
What makes the NFL great is parity. The hard salary cap has given the NFL and its teams an equal playing field. No matter what your team did the year before, you have something to hope for in the new season. Your team has a chance, and that is what makes the NFL exciting.
The 2012 ended the season without a lot of hope. They were 6-10, and set to lose a lot of their current players. The Jets had quarterback problems, at first and second string. They were lacking depth at the skilled positions, and they were lacking speed on the defensive side of the football.
And to go along with that, the Jets had barely any money to spend to fix these problems. So, everyone said that the Jets would be the worst team in football. “They have no chance”. They all said we will be battling for the first pick in the 2014 NFL draft. Everyone was ready to write the Jets off for the year of 2013.
But, they forgot why the NFL is great. Parity.
Instead of resting on their laurels, the Jets, led by new general manager John Idzik, made moves within the resources they had. They acquired Chris Ivory. They turned Darrelle Revis into Sheldon Richardson via trade. They found a quarterback via the draft. They brought in Willie Colon to fill a hole on the offensive line.
Their pieces on defense got better. Mo Wilkerson is all world. Damon Harrison became a dominant nose tackle. Demario Davis started to turn into the leader he needs to be from the linebacker spot. After being released and resigned, Calvin Pace has found the fountain of youth. Their talented place kicker got even better.
And they came together as a team, in an “us against the world” mentality.
Along the way, they won games against Drew Brees, Tom Brady, and Matt Ryan. Who would have expected that in the beginning of the year?
Nobody. However, the chances were always there. There always is the possibility in the NFL. Why? Because of the parity that makes the league great.
And our Jets are a prime example.