seasonand nike huarache női , some insist, the best football weekend of the entire year. The NFL Draft is the league's Fountain of Youth, offering the hope, or possibly the illusion, of renewal to fans of all 32 teams. Over two days and more than a dozen broadcast hours, ESPN commentators will fire off a barrage of stats, trivia, analyses, insights and, of course, perennial bromides. Trying to pick the No. 1 clich is every bit as much of a crapshoot as the draft itself, but you can seldom go wrong guessing "parity."
After all, parity has been the watchword of the NFL for more than a decade. Parity is supposed to be the inevitable result of three driving forces in the league: the salary cap, which has made it difficult for top teams to retain all their talent; the college draft, which gives higher picks and thus, presumably, better talent to the weaker teams; and the "balanced" schedule, which assures that teams in the same division compete against mostly the same opponents. Look at how well it worked last season. Of the dozen playoff teams, four had won their division the previous year. But an equal numberAtlanta, Baltimore, Miami, Philadelphiahad finished the 2007 season in last place.
Still, parity, at least the NFL's special claim to it, is hardly unique to pro football. After all nike huarache fehér , Major League Baseball, with its mammoth disparities in team payrolls, can make an as-good if not better claim to parity. Since the year 2000, for example, the NFL has seen 13 different teams (or 40.6 percent of its teams) reach the Super Bowl, with two winning multiple championships (the New England Patriots with three titles and the Pittsburgh Steelers with two). Over that same period, Major League Baseball has seen 14 teams (or 46.7 percent) reach the World Series with only one, the Boston Red Sox, winning two championships.
Perhaps those forces working toward parity in the NFL need to be reexamined. Indeed, the conventional wisdom on the draft has already shifted radically. Because the very top draft picks command obscenely high salaries for unproven talent, they are not considered quite as desirable as they once were and, in fact, can be burdensome on the salary cap. Low first-round picks or second- and third-round picks may turn out to deliver as much talent or, if not, at least more bang for the buck.
Consider this year's lesson in draft and salary-cap management from the Patriots, the premier franchise of the decade. Pats fans were disappointed when the Pats traded quarterback Matt Cassel and linebacker Mike Vrabel to the Kansas City Chiefs yet came away with only a second-round pick. But the deal also allowed New England to lop almost $20 million off its salary-cap number. Had the team acquired the Chiefs' first pick, the third selection in the draft, much of the cap savings would wind up being spent on one untested rookie. Sure, you may snare a Matt Ryan with that pick, as the Atlanta Falcons did last year. But for every Ryan-like success story, there's a bust (or two or three) like quarterback Vince Young, taken by Tennessee with the third pick two years earlier.
Instead, New England used the savings to sign a host of proven veterans at much lower prices, including a former All-Pro running back (Fred Taylor); a speedy receiver with almost 11,000 career yards in receptions (Joey Galloway) nike huarache fekete , a solid pair of cornerbacks (Shawn Springs, Leigh Bodden), and veteran backups at linebacker and tight end (