American football fans will soon bid goodbye to the 2023 NFL season following the conclusion of the Super Bowl LVII in Arizona in mid-February. It has, once again, been an incredibly exciting spectacle that has continued to deliver upsets.
Further proof of the unpredictable nature of this NFL season can be found in the latest Super Bowl betting odds when you consider that there is nothing between the teams in terms of prices. Indeed, with the most fancied team the Philadelphia Eagles at +250 and the ‘outsider’, San Francisco 49ers, at +300 to lift the Vince Lombardi trophy, you can all of a sudden get a better appreciation of how little there is to separate the remaining franchises left in the competition. As touched on, this has been the theme of the season and overall, is a testament to the NFL’s rules and regulations which ensure every season is a tightly contested affair that often produces a different winner.
At least, when the Los Angeles Rams won the 2022 Super Bowl in the final two minutes of the game, they became the eighth different franchise in the last 10 years to win American football’s most prestigious prize.
Essentially, this type of extraordinary return on different champions every season is something that fellow sporting leagues around the world could only dream of happening. In particular, the NFL’s success in making the playing field level for all of their franchises should be something that the English Premier League is looking at closely. This is especially the case if you consider for a second, that over the last 20 seasons in England’s top flight, there have only been six different winners.
Money, money money
Those numbers suggest that there is a closed shop at the top of the Premier League, but concerningly, what they don’t reveal is that Manchester City has won four out of the last five Premier League seasons. In other words, the Premier League’s becoming even more one-sided. In part, this is due to the league’s biggest clubs becoming state-owned which, in reality, gives them spending powers that other teams will only ever be able to dream of.
Indeed, with money no longer a factor for clubs at the top, the gulf in class between them and the rest of the league has grown exponentially wider. In many respects, it is a league made up of haves and have-nots.
The NFL’s winning formula
Crucially, this is not a problem in the NFL as there is a salary cap in place which means franchises can’t blow the opposition out of the water by buying success. Additionally, no money technically changes hands when a player is traded to another team, although draft picks and contracts are used as capital.
This type of recruitment structure may prompt Premier League fans to ask how leagues are won if spending power is taken away. The answer would be that it does come down to having talented players and picking well in the draft but significantly, there is a stronger focus on coaching and tactics.
The results are there for everyone to see as the NFL continues to write scripts no one has read before while the Premier League seemingly serves up the same show every year.