Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Which major American professional sport has the most parity?

In recent years, the National Hockey League has been extremely competitive. It seems as if the separation between the elite teams and the teams that don't make the playoffs is minuscule.

Let's look at the matchups in the championships for the last 10 years in the four major professional sports in the United States of America. How many different teams have been represented in the championship game or series in each league, and where does the parity of the NHL rank?

Below are the results of each championship of the respective leagues in the past ten years. Let's see how each league faired.


2001-2002- New England Patriots defeated St. Louis Rams
2002-2003- Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated Oakland Raiders
2003-2004- New England Patriots defeated Carolina Panthers
2004-2005- New England Patriots defeated Philadelphia Eagles
2005-2006- Pittsburgh Steelers defeated Seattle Seahawks
2006-2007- Indianapolis Colts defeated Chicago Bears
2007-2008- New York Giants defeated New England Patriots
2008-2009- Pittsburgh Steelers defeated Arizona Cardinals
2009-2010- New Orleans Saints defeated Indianapolis Colts
2010-2011- Green Bay Packers defeated Pittsburgh Steelers

2001-2002- Los Angeles Lakers defeated New Jersey Nets
2002-2003- San Antonio Spurs defeated New Jersey Nets
2003-2004- Detroit Pistons defeated Los Angeles Lakers
2004-2005- San Antonio Spurs defeated Detroit Pistons
2005-2006- Miami Heat defeated Dallas Mavericks
2006-2007- San Antonio Spurs defeated Cleveland Cavaliers
2007-2008- Boston Celtics defeated Los Angeles Lakers
2008-2009- Los Angeles Lakers defeated Orlando Magic
2009-2010- Los Angeles Lakers defeated Boston Celtics
2010-2011- Dallas Mavericks defeated Miami Heat

2001- Arizona Diamondbacks defeated New York Yankees
2002- Anaheim Angels defeated San Francisco Giants
2003- Florida Marlins defeated New York Yankees
2004- Boston Red Sox defeated St. Louis Cardinals
2005- Chicago White Sox defeated Houston Astros
2006- St. Louis Cardinals defeated Detroit Tigers
2007- Boston Red Sox defeated Colorado Rockies
2008- Philadelphia Phillies defeated Tampa Bay Rays
2009- New York Yankees defeated Philadelphia Phillies
2010- San Francisco Giants defeated Texas Rangers

2001-2002- Detroit Red Wings defeated Carolina Hurricanes
2002-2003- New Jersey Devils defeated Anaheim Mighty Ducks
2003-2004- Tampa Bay Lightning defeated Calgary Hurricanes
2004-2005- Lockout
2005-2006- Carolina Hurricanes defeated Edmonton Oilers
2006-2007- Anaheim Ducks defeated Ottawa Senators
2007-2008- Detroit Red Wings defeated Pittsburgh Penguins
2008-2009- Pittsburgh Penguins defeated Detroit Red Wings
2009-2010- Chicago Blackhawks defeated Philadelphia Flyers
2010-2011- Boston Bruins defeated Vancouver Canucks

The NFL has had 14 different teams in the Super Bowl over the last ten years, but only seven different champions. During the past 10 years, 29 of the 32 teams in the NFL have made the playoffs(Buffalo, Detroit and Houston have not).

Basketball has been very predictable, with only nine different teams reaching the NBA Finals in the past 10 years. Only six different teams have won at least one championship in that time. All 30 teams have made the playoffs in the NBA in the past 10 years.

In Major League Baseball, 14 different teams have reached the World Series in the past 10 years. There have been nine different World Series champions in that span of time. Only 25 out of 30 teams have made the playoffs in the past 10 years in the MLB.

The NHL has had 13 different teams represented in the Stanley Cup Finals during the past 10 years(including the lockout year where no season was played), and have had eight different Stanley Cup champions. In the past 10 years, 29 out of 30 NHL teams have made the playoffs. The only franchise that hasn't made the playoffs in the past 10 years is the Florida Panthers.

So which league has the most parity? Which league is it that has the best chance to see different teams win each year?

Taking into account that the NHL had one season that was locked out, I'll say the NHL is by a slim margin. There's no team that can really buy enough talent for a championship. It's all about developing the players, and acquiring the right players at the right time.

What do you think? Do you agree that the NHL has the most parity out of the four major American sports?

1 comment:

  1. The number of teams making the playoffs is kind of apples-and-oranges--baseball shouldn't be viewed as having "less parity" for only having 8 playoff teams instead of 12 or 16. Other than that, it makes sense.