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NFL closer than ever to achieving competitive balance

Andrew Buller-Russ
NFL
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL is always striving to maintain competitive balance between its 32 franchises. This season, more than ever, they’re achieving their goals. As NFL Network’s James Palmer astutely points out, 27 of the 32 franchises are all technically still alive in their quest for the postseason.

With only the Texans, Jaguars, Jets, Lions, and Bears mathematically eliminated from playoff contention having 27 teams still clinging on for life ties for the most teams in contention with just three games left to play. The only other times came in 1995 and 2004.

For the league and its fans, this is absolutely a good thing. More teams in contention until as long as can possibly be simply keeps more eyes tuned in to the games on Sunday. That means more content, more TV shows, more everything. Including their big moneymaker, the betting industry.

Sure, you could make a case some teams aren’t true contenders at this stage, but the fact remains, no one truly knows anything even with just three games left to play in the regular season. While times have been rough lately, fans in New York will never forget the time the Giants got on a hot streak after slipping into the Wild Card round and going on to win a Super Bowl in 2007.

Or even last year. Many quickly forget how the Tampa Bay Buccaneers became the first to enter the playoffs as a Wild Card team and win the Super Bowl since the Green Bay Packers did so in 2010.

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Although some may not like it, it’s hard to argue. Few want to see the same powerhouse teams play the Super Bowl, or even Conference Championship each year. The NFL is better when more fanbases can get involved and actually hold out hope for the playoffs, or even something greater, something with a gleam.