The 2010 NFL season is officially underway, and today we are debating about which NFL storyline will be the most important to follow this year.
So, let me send this message loud and clear to the entire NFL organization: I don’t want to hear about contracts, collective bargaining, a player lockout, health care concerns, or any of that other garbage! I don’t want to hear players whining, and I don’t want to hear owners whining.
The NFL is in the business of entertainment, and I want to be entertained!
That is why the story to watch in the NFL for the 2010 season is the very reason that you watch the NFL EVERY season. It is the reason that the NFL reigns supreme as the sport of choice among spectators in America (despite the impending possibility of a lockout), and it is the reason that 2010 is shaping up to be one of the most exciting seasons that the NFL has ever seen..
True, the term “parity” will likely not come up as a story line at all this season, but it will be the cause for almost all of them.
Last season the New Orleans Saints became the poster team for parity. Coming off of a 2008 season where the team finished dead last in the NFC South, only to turn around and win the Super Bowl one season later, demonstrates parity well.
Here is another interesting fact. In the last ten years, 14 different teams have played in the Super Bowl. Going back further, over the last 15 seasons, 19 different teams have played in the Super Bowl. That means that 60 percent of the teams in the league today have won at least one conference championship since 1995.
Admittedly, this is not a newly discovered phenomenon. Fans have known for many years now that the NFL is the one league where overnight success can be obtained. And if week one of the 2010 season is any indication, the excitement shows no indication of ending any time soon.
Here we are, only one week into the NFL season, and the league has already been tossed upside down:
- The Indianapolis Colts sit in last place as the lone winless team in the AFC South.
- The Seattle Seahawks and Washington Redskins both won impressive victories over the teams that were SUPPOSED to be division champions.
- The supposed offensive juggernaut Cincinnati Bengals were EMBARRASSED by a New England Patriots team that entered the season with some of the lowest expectations in years.
- The St. Louis Rams and Detroit Lions both appear to be improved teams s both fell just one possession shy of starting the season off at 1-0.
- Last, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are undefeated.
The aforementioned storylines make up only a fraction of the intrigue and excitement that surrounds the NFL every season. From week to week fans NEVER know what to expect, and that is why people flock – by the millions – to NFL games, nationwide.
Who would have thought that the Redskins, Bears, Buccaneers, Seahawks, Texans, and Jaguars would be sitting undefeated, while the Colts, Bengals, Eagles, 49ers, Cowboys, Falcons, and Vikings sat winless?
And before you start yelling, “The season is only one week old” and, “Teams like the Buccaneers should not get TOO excited”… consider that out of the 16 teams in 2009 that won in week one, TEN ended up reaching the playoffs. By default, only two of the week one losers (out of 16 total teams) started off the season at 0-1 and still went on to reach the playoffs (the Arizona Cardinals and Cincinnati Bengals).
Obviously, the playoffs are not decided by week one performance alone, but it most certainly helps to set the tone for what may be coming over the course of the season.
Adding to that element of parity is the fact that week 17 matchups this season are all intra-division games. With division matchups scheduled to close out the season, every single game played becomes a meaningful one, and the playoff races will run all the way down to the wire.
Surprises await around every corner in 2010.
You don’t know what to watch for, which makes the entire season worth watching. This season, more than any other, will be impossible to predict and sensational to watch. There will be teams that show amazing improvement, matched only by the shocking disappointment of other teams. Thanks to parity, each NFL season is a mystery. And each one is worth watching.