The NFL’s website really is a model in what a modern sports league should offer its fans and among the many handy features is a playoff picture that shows exactly what the situation would be if the season ended now.
I have to wonder about American sports fans sometimes. On Sunday, the New York Jets blew a 16-point lead to trail 27-23 with less than a minute to go and their fans flooded out of the stadium. It was a remarkable lack of faith in a team which had shown in the previous two weeks that it can win late, with victories in overtime.
Flicking through the television channels in Budapest, Hungary, last week, it took just five clicks before I stumbled across live coverage of the Minnesota Vikings playing the New England Patriots.
I keep hearing the same phrase over and over again when it comes to the NFL. From pundits both paid and voluntary, the same mantra is repeated: “The NFL is a passing league”. In other words, the key to success in the league is having an elite quarterback and a top quality receiver corps, who can rack up the yardage. “Establishing the run” still gets trotted out on a Sunday morning as a key tactic but week after week, the numbers show record-breaking pass yardage.
The NFL prides itself on ‘parity’, on the competitive balance between different clubs being close, ensuring that games are tightly-fought contests and that as many teams as possible start the season with some sort of chance of making the Super Bowl.