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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Jacksonville, Carolina Turn NFL Parity to Parody

WASHINGTON -- Go Jacksonville. Go Carolina.

I am rooting for the Expansion Bowl.

Just two years in the league and Jacksonville and Carolina are already in their conference finals. Isn't this a bit quick? What did the official expansion kit come with, yeast?

All the major sports have had multiple expansions, and no expansion teams ever shot to the top of the standings like these two. In their second season most expansion teams are still so far under water they go to camp wearing snorkels. Expansion is simply not supposed to be such a piece of cake.

Parity, Tags. Pete said, "parity," not "parody." What happened to paying your dues? Or were the dues waived with the initiation fee?

This is incredible. In five or six years Jacksonville and Carolina will be rebuilding!

The keys to Carolina's and Jacksonville's flourishing are: 1) double the amount of draft picks as everybody else and 2) free agency. In past expansions, before free agency, a team had no way to acquire talented players except through the draft. So they'd languish at the bottom of the standings for years. But Jacksonville and Carolina could target the players they wanted, and go get them.

Anybody who says Jacksonville and Carolina had no inherent advantage is simply crazy. They had a clean financial slate and complete access to young talent and old talent. Thirty-five years worth of expansions in pro sports -- expansions out the gazoo -- and no teams ever had this kind of success in their second season. That's merely a coincidence? That's because Carolina and Jacksonville have the best owners, who hired the best coaches and the best general managers in the history of western civilization? Grow up.

Honestly, what is going on in the NFL?

Q: What do Steve Young, John Elway, Jim Kelly and Troy Aikman have in common?

A: They're all going to the Hall of Fame -- and none of them will get a sniff of this year's Super Bowl.

Maybe this isn't the Apocalypse. Maybe Dallas will be back next year. Maybe a search party can locate Pittsburgh's defense by then. And maybe they'll locate Denver's too -- since Elway can't bring you back if he doesn't get the ball. Maybe with all the money the 49ers spend on coaching consultants, they can spend some on a running back so Steve Young doesn't have to hit the beach like the Marines at Iwo Jima.

Or maybe it's a whole new ball game in the NFL. Five years ago, Green Bay was coming off a 4-12 season. Four years ago, New England was coming off 2-14. Three years ago Jacksonville and Carolina had their noses pressed up against the windowpane of pro football. Maybe something is happening here, and you don't know what it is, do you, Jerry Jones?