Commentary

The NFL's playoff parity

Parity has become a mixed bag in the NFL -- except when the playoffs come around

Updated: December 17, 2009, 3:11 PM ET
By Aaron Schatz | Football Outsiders

I have exciting news for Tim Keown. It turns out parity in the NFL still exists. You just have to wait until January to see it in action. And if you don't believe me, just ask anyone with an "18-1" T-shirt. Once upon a time, the teams with the most wins from September to December generally went on to win the Super Bowl. Sure, you had the occasional wild-card surprise like the 1979 Rams or the 1985 Patriots, but any team without 12 wins was usually dispatched before the conference championships. In 1984 through 2004, 13 of 21 Super Bowl champions had a record of at least 13-3. Only two teams won it all with more than four losses: the 2001 Patriots and the 1988 49ers.