The League

Peter Schaffer
NFL Agent

Peter Schaffer

Agent and professor of sports law

NFL's David and Goliath

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The universe must be titled on its axis. The Cincinnati Bengals have the second record in the AFC. Star players are moving to Cincinnati as a way of resurrecting their careers and the Bengals are playing primetime games. What's next, the Washington Generals defeating the Harlem Globetrotters, ABC TV televising the Men's collegiate Lacrosse championships in primetime?

Yes, it is true, and that the Bengals are successful, have not only righted the ship but have a sincere chance of winning the Super Bowl this year. The reality is that the NFL is set up for competitive success regardless of a team's pedigree or market size. This fact alone makes the NFL unique in professional sports and enhances its image as the premier league in the world.

Success and failure in the National Football League changes each year as quickly as fall turns into winter at Lambeau field. Turnarounds in both direction are as common as the name Johnson on the Bengals roster. A few solid years of quality drafting combined with proper salary cap management and astute acquisitions of free agents blended in with a stable and smart coaching staff and a team can be playing in February.

The NFL is set up for parity from a financial standpoint (see salary cap and revenue sharing) and a football standpoint (see the draft and waiver system). The NFL is the only major professional sports league where legitimately every team can sell their fan base on a chance of success and playoffs each off-season.

A byproduct of this approach is the excitement of witnessing smaller market teams such as Pittsburgh (reigning NFL champs), Minnesota, Indy, New Orleans, and yes even Cincy (collectively 39-6 or .867 at the moment) successfully compete against market share Goliath's such as New York, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington (collectively 25-27 or .480 at present)...you may want to check my math! It's refreshing to observe pure competition isn't it?

These success stories give hope to all fans of all teams and keep the interest level in the league at an all time high. Hollywood movies of the David versus Goliath genre are historically financial successes and the same is true in the NFL. The fact that the Bengals have combined their small market approach with the inclusion of some players with alleged checkered pasts makes the success only that much more interesting, compelling and endearing.

As opposed to vilifying the Bengals for turning the corner this year they should be commended and hopefully emulated by other teams. No doubt next year we will be talking about the Rams, Lions or Bucs as the next Bengals. The world must definitely be tilted on its Axis, so look out! The next thing you know we will have a Super Bowl in London.

By Peter Schaffer  |  November 18, 2009; 2:05 PM ET  | Category:  Cincinnati Bengals , Indianapolis Colts , Peter Schaffer Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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