By Miguel Gonzalez
Time to watch the Super Bowl and… it’s the same teams again, isn’t it?
After the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs on Jan. 15, the conference championship matchups were set with familiar teams: the Steelers vs. the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons vs. the Green Bay Packers.
The Patriots will be competing in the AFC championship for its sixth consecutive time.
The last time the Patriots did not get this far was in 2011 when the team was defeated by the New York Jets in the divisional round. The Packers have competed in the playoffs annually since 2009.
Meanwhile, the Falcons are attempting to reach to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1999. Clearly, there is not much parity in the NFL.
Fans are most likely to see Tom Brady in the AFC championship. Occasionally, there will be one-hit-wonder teams, such as the Carolina Panthers in 2016 or the Baltimore Ravens in 2012. Otherwise, the contenders have been predictable.
However, the predictability is worse in the NBA.
Lebron James has always led the Miami Heat or Cleveland Cavaliers to the NBA finals every year since 2011. Western conference teams like the San Antonio Spurs and the Golden State Warriors have dominated the league in recent memory.
On the other hand, teams such as the Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets, New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers and Sacramento Kings have not been relevant for years.
It is difficult for these teams to compete against phenomenal players such as Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. Hopefully Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo can ignite competition in the future, though.
There is a high likelihood that there will be a second rematch between the Cavaliers and the Warriors this year.
Both teams are currently on top of their conference standings. Since the 2016 NBA Finals, the Warriors added Durant to its starting lineup, while the Cavaliers recently signed Kyle Korver.
A model example for parity in a professional sports league is MLB.
Last October, fans were delighted as the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians fought hard to erase their historic championship droughts. Moreover, the 2015 World Series featured the Kansas City Royals winning its first championship since 1985 against the resurgent New York Mets.
As a New York Yankees fan, I love watching so many different teams produce magical moments, such as David Freese’s home run in Game 6 of the 2011 World Series. I can’t really predict who will compete in the 2017 World Series, but I hope it will be as exciting as last year’s.
While I was not there to witness the Yankees dynasty of the late 1990s, watching baseball would not be fun if the eventual winner was predetermined.
Another league that is unpredictable is the NHL.
Since 2010, teams like the Philadelphia Flyers, Vancouver Canucks, New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning have competed in the Stanley Cup finals. Three teams have always emerged victorious since then — with the exception to the Boston Bruins in 2011 — the Pittsburgh Penguins, Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks. The last time these three teams did not win was when the Detriot Red wings won in 2008. I am not suggesting that the NBA and NFL should be more like MLB or NHL, but it would be more fascinating to see a greater variety of teams duking it out in the playoffs instead of being able to predict the champions from the start.