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Dynasty or Parity?


SabresRule7361

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One of the great debates of sports is whether people prefer dynasties or parity.

What do you guys prefer?

The case for dynasties

Gives everyone else a dominant team to shoot for- someone everyone's gunning for The idea of David vs. Goliath. Let's face it- would the Pistons 2004 title have been quite the same had it been against Minnesota instead of the Lakers?

It's sometimes good to see greatness on a regular and consistent basis- again, legendary teams that are remembered for eons (Islanders/Oilers, Lakers/Celtics)

The case against dynasties

Sometimes, there is such a thing as being too dominant. Watching college hoops in the late 1960s to the mid 1970s couldn't have been easy. It had a feel of 'Why bother watching these games and getting hopeful for our team? We all know UCLA will win the whole thing."

When one team wins all the time, it can get tiresome for those that aren't fans of that team. When the Showtime Lakers made 9 out of 11 NBA Finals from 1980-1991, it was not easy to be a fan of other NBA Western Conference teams. Let's face it- you'd think people would have gotten tired of them by the end of the decade, but apparently nobody ever got tired of Magic every single June.

The case for parity Everybody would have an equal chance at winning- hope springs eternal. Like hockey. The gap between the haves and have-nots would not be quite as steep- the gap between the Kings and other teams doesn't feel as wide as the Oilers vs. other West teams in the 80s

The case against parity Too many different champions means you don't see consistent greatness (example- from 1979-1987, there were 9 different World Series champions), and everything feels like a spin of the wheel, like "Rent-a-championship."

Sometimes, parity means too much mediocrity can be rewarded (i.e. when two 8-8 NFC teams won playoff game in 2004-05, or the run of 9-7 and 10-6 SB Champs)

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Depends. Is the dynasty a team I dislike? If so, parity. Is the dynasty a team I like? Then dynasty. Is the dynasty a team I'm neutral towards? I don't care, though I suppose I would get tired of it after a while.

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I like a dynasty and parity. I like knowing any team can win it (theoretically) but I also like to see teams rise above it and dominate for years to the point where beating them is a huge accomplishment.

But if I was forced to pick one, I like dynasties.

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No league has parity, not even the mighty NFL.

It depends what you mean by "parity".

If you mean "every team has an equal chance to win every game", then no. Not possible.

But if you mean "every team has an equal chance to become great, based solely on their own merits" then yes. The NFL does. The Browns aren't bad because they're in a small market having to compete against teams with payrolls many times theirs. The Browns aren't bad because they lose their homegrown talent to higher-spending teams. The Browns are bad because they make bad choices.

That's what parity means to me. I think it works in the NFL, and I wish it could be exported to other leagues.

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When you hail from Minnesota, you have to prefer parity...particularly, the parity referred to by Gothamite...every team having a nearly equal chance to build a winner over the next several years. Parity keeps you hopeful (Vikings, someday? Maybe.). When you are free agent cryptonite because of whether, losing tradition, smaller payroll, etc., you like a league like the NFL where change in who is contending happens quickly.

I also like seeing new teams win. The 02 Angels. The 05 Sox. The Buccaneers. The Saints (Though that one kinda hurts :) ). It's fun seeing long-suffering fan bases celebrate. I have no beef with the Spurs. In fact, I kinda like 'em. But seeing them win is no longer as interesting to me as it used to be.

Now there is no question that dynasty is better for the health of a sport. People like to have things they can count on...The only complaint (aside from over-exposure) I really ever hear about the NFL is from fans missing the days that the 49ers were always in it and won every so often. Or the Cowboys. The leagues don't need the Lakers/Yankees/Cowboys to win it all every year, but they probably do benefit from having them in the hunt every year. I am certain the Heat are a much better TV draw than even a surprise run by the Knicks would have been. Not only do dynasties have national (bandwagon-driven) followings, but people tuning it to cheer against them.

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The case against parity Too many different champions means you don't see consistent greatness (example- from 1979-1987, there were 9 different World Series champions), and everything feels like a spin of the wheel, like "Rent-a-championship."

Sometimes, parity means too much mediocrity can be rewarded (i.e. when two 8-8 NFC teams won playoff game in 2004-05, or the run of 9-7 and 10-6 SB Champs)

I only have a comment on these two things.

1. Not only were there 9 teams to win the Series in 9 years, but if you extend that to 1990, you have 11 teams in 12 years and the repeat (the 1981 and 1988 Dodgers) were two quite different teams. My earliest memories are 1981 or so...so I grew up during that very bizarre era thinking it was normal. I really don't see it as "rent-a-championship". What I more see it as is that nobody was really "buying a string of division titles." I suspect payrolls had much less deviation at that time. I enjoyed seeing different teams win every year (not to mention teams like the Brewers and Padres getting to the series along with small market KC and Minnesota). Even if some people would have preferred seeing a more perennial contender, I don't know that the 1980s was a result of anything "bad." It was an aberration.

2. Rewarding of mediocrity is a different kind of parity vs. the above example. 1980s MLB with only four playoff teams did not have that problem at all (the 1987 Twins probably being the exception thanks to unusually unbalanced AL divisions). While I definitely prefer a system that allows the possibility of any team to build a contender, I think that's "big picture" parity...i.e., in five years, the Vikings, if they are smart, may be a legitimate contender. There is no way that's happening to the Timberwolves. This kind of parity is the opposite (sort of) of "dynasty."

Too many playoff teams leads to a different kind of parity...one that allows for middle-of-the-pack teams to get into the playoffs and perhaps make a run. I definitely do not prefer this...I prefer a good "long-haul" regular season be rewarded. This parity, not really the opposite of "dynasty", of course, keeps more fan-bases watching during the regular season, which probably serves the leagues well.

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Dynasties suck when it's teams I dislike (LA Kings, Red Sox, Patriots, Alouettes) and parity sucks when it's crappy, unlikeable teams who barely made the playoffs winning (Carolina Hurricanes, 2012 Kings).

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Now there is no question that dynasty is better for the health of a sport. People like to have things they can count on...The only complaint (aside from over-exposure) I really ever hear about the NFL is from fans missing the days that the 49ers were always in it and won every so often. Or the Cowboys. The leagues don't need the Lakers/Yankees/Cowboys to win it all every year, but they probably do benefit from having them in the hunt every year.

I'm not sure I understand that complaint. We do have teams that "always in it and (win) every so often". They just aren't the same teams as the 1980s. The Packers, Steelers and Patriots spring to mind. They might have a down year, but keep coming back. Because they're smart and make good choices.

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Now there is no question that dynasty is better for the health of a sport. People like to have things they can count on...The only complaint (aside from over-exposure) I really ever hear about the NFL is from fans missing the days that the 49ers were always in it and won every so often. Or the Cowboys. The leagues don't need the Lakers/Yankees/Cowboys to win it all every year, but they probably do benefit from having them in the hunt every year.

I'm not sure I understand that complaint. We do have teams that "always in it and (win) every so often". They just aren't the same teams as the 1980s. The Packers, Steelers and Patriots spring to mind. They might have a down year, but keep coming back. Because they're smart and make good choices.

It may be an older complaint...but I used to hear people talking about how much they "missed" having the 49ers, who won four Super Bowls in the 1980s and were close several other times, followed by the early 1990s Cowboys. For a stretch there it was almost always Niners, Cowboys, Washington, Giants. But come to think of it (as time flies for an oldtster) I may have been hearing that about when the Bucs won their Super Bowl, i.e., between the Cowboys and the Patriots. It's less of a, um, "problem", now. I guess that parody (Rams-Ravens-1st Patriots-Bucs) was pretty short-lived.

Looking at the list of Winners, though, it's odd that despite the quick turnarounds of some teams (e.g., AZ Cards), there are not that many isolated Super Bowl Winners. But there probably are no 49ers now...the Packers have one Super Bowl in recent years and two for the Steelers. I guess you could say New England, they are always a factor (with the same Coach/QB the entire time) and have three...had they won the two over the Giants, then everyone would be saying "70s Steelers, 80s Niners, and 2000s Pats."

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Ice_Cap nailed it on the head. It all depends on how you look at that team.

That can be a factor. I certainly hated watching the Lakers win three straight more than I do seeing the Spurs keep coming back. And if, for example, the Twins someday won four World Series in six years or something (I can't type that with a straight face), I'd love it.

But "in general" (regardless of team) I prefer parity...I prefer success be "spread around".

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Ice_Cap nailed it on the head. It all depends on how you look at that team.

That can be a factor. I certainly hated watching the Lakers win three straight more than I do seeing the Spurs keep coming back. And if, for example, the Twins someday won four World Series in six years or something (I can't type that with a straight face), I'd love it.

But "in general" (regardless of team) I prefer parity...I prefer success be "spread around".

I hated the Laker three-peat as well, but I never felt that they were invincible. I felt that they benefitted from a weak Eastern Conference and a heartless Western Conference.

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Ice_Cap nailed it on the head. It all depends on how you look at that team.

That can be a factor. I certainly hated watching the Lakers win three straight more than I do seeing the Spurs keep coming back. And if, for example, the Twins someday won four World Series in six years or something (I can't type that with a straight face), I'd love it.

But "in general" (regardless of team) I prefer parity...I prefer success be "spread around".

I hated the Laker three-peat as well, but I never felt that they were invincible. I felt that they benefitted from a weak Eastern Conference and a heartless Western Conference.

The West was IMHO more "heartless" in the 80s outside of Houston. It was virtually impossible for other West teams to realistically believe in the Finals because of those Lakers.

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Dynasties. Dynastic teams getting beaten in big games is one of the greatest things in all of sports, plus it unites several different unrelated fan bases in hatred of the dynastic team.

I'm in agreement with this. I like dynasties that could lose. The Patriots were a dynasty, but were never invincible. The only time they seemed to be (2007), they lost. In 2010, part of the outcry against the Heat was that they had stacked the deck to the point that other teams could not compete. They've been 2-2 in the Finals since then, and have only seemed invincible during the 27-game streak.

It's fun to root against dynasties. Even if they win out in the end, I think there's something to be said for witnessing sports history.

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The problem with lack of parity isn't when the same few teams dominate year after year, but at the other end of the league, when you have the same few teams never having any realistic shot at a championship. Dynasties may be good for the health of a league, but a more or less permanent underclass of perennial also-rans is quite the opposite.

The NBA has been slowly drifting in that direction for several years now. Basically, if your team is located in a northern market not named New York, Chicago or Boston, it might as well be in Siberia. Very little recent success (except for the Pacers, and even that's been limited to the regular season), the cities are relatively small and unglamorous, and what player in his right mind would want to spend his winters there? No wonder teams like the Wolves and Bucks are little more than stepping-stone clubs for rookies and rising stars (and the reason why I can only SMH at the hype surrounding the Cavs' draft), and places where veterans' careers go to die.

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