Parity in the NFL

I sometimes wonder it editors read the stories they publish. I sometimes wonder if writers even think for a few minutes about the data they use when they write their stories. This morning I was greeted with the headline*:

Five of the six NFC playoff clubs from a year ago are under .500. Parity reigns, proving the adage any team can beat any other…..ON ANY GIVEN SUNDAY”

Further on in the article I read:

The league has long taken pride in its ability to reshuffle the deck each year, mixing up the standings

I could go about trying to compute the probability of the split with five of the six teams having a losing records through the first three games. That would not be an easy task and would necessitate using a number of assumptions that could be easily criticized.

That is not necessary, the problem with their concussions becomes apparent a few paragraphs later. There we learn that all six of the playoff teams from the AFC have winning records through the first three games of the season.

Oops. Whatever we learned about year to year parity in the NFL has been turned on it’s head. Now it looks, based on the AFC games, like nothing has changes from one year to the next.

Somehow the writer and the editor did not recognize that what they thought they could show using the NFC data was directly contradicted by the AFC data.

*Note that once again the Washington Post has elected to confuse everyone by using one title for their print edition and an entirely different title for their online edition of the same article.

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