Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

11 Nov 2009

The lack of parity and the salary cap

I don't know if any has brought this up before, but I haven't seen it. Forgive me if this is a repeat discussion.

It's been noted that the longer we have a salary cap in the NFL, the less parity there is. The salary cap was supposed to perpetuate parity because each team would have the same amount of money to spend.

However, I've been thinking that the current salary cap system may have instead caused the decline in parity. My reasoning is that it has added another 'skill' that NFL teams must master in order to be competitive. It's a skill that some teams are good at, but one that some teams are better at. The more of these 'skills' that NFL teams must be good at, the fewer teams there are that will actually be good at all of the skills, and the more teams that will be deficient in at least some of the skills and so are unable to compete.

For instance, say that half the teams are good at talent evaluation and half are not. If that is the only criteria required, then half the teams will be pretty good and half not so good. Now lets add managing the cap and say that half the teams are good at that and half are not. Assuming and even distribution, now you'll have a quarter of teams being are very good (good at talent evaluation, good at cap management), half of the teams being middling (good at only either talent evaluation or cap management), and half the teams being very bad (bad at both talent evaluation and cap management). The league in the second situation would likely seem to have less parity because the extremes are more pronounced.

What do you think?

Posted by: RMGreen on 11 Nov 2009

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