Re: Bad year in NFL
I agree and if you notice more teams are grabbing the Steelers philosophy. I know Holmgren and Fisher and even Billick. are great coaches. But i believe that fact that the Steelers stuck with Cower and until he won a Superbowl may extend their coaching careers with their teams. There are a few other teams that I would say their organizations do a great job two are the Packers and the Bears.
As for parity its not only due to free agency its also due to the fact that athletes are conditioned at and earlier age and with technology are even better conditioned each year. Athletes are no longer separated just because they are bigger or stronger. Now its because of mental sharpness, defensive and offensive awareness and special talent. There are tones of players in the NFL that are Devin Hester's size and have his speed. The only thing that separates them is his vision and talent. But that only comes along once in a while. Strength and speed are very close in todays NFL thats is also why parity is increasing.
If you randomly picked 20 starting offensive linemen they would all bench-press around 25-30 times, all run a 4.8 to 5.4 sec 40, all would be in the hight range of 6'3" to 6'7", and all would weigh 330 to 360. The only thing that separates them is God given talent. I do love the parity it creates more fans and causes the NFL as a whole to be more entertaining. But the basic play has definitely tapered off.