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Mathletics by Wayne L. Winston

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WHICH LEAGUE HAS GREATER PARITY,THE NFL OR THE NBA?

Sports fans love the NFL because it seems like there is always a surprise team that wins the Super Bowl or challenges for the championship. For example, who expected Tampa Bay to win the Super Bowl in 2002? NBA fans complain the same teams (such as Detroit and San Antonio) are always on top. It is easy to show that the NFL does indeed exhibit more parity and unexpected team performances than does the NBA.

If a league has a great deal of parity you would expect it to be difficult to predict a team's performance based on their previous year's performance. That is, teams that do poorly one season should have a good shot at being above average the following season, and vice versa. If a league ...

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