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MLB, not NFL, king of competitive balance

If you know me, you had to know this blog attack was coming.

All it took was one barrage from the NFL parity-propaganda machine, and I had no choice.

So the NFL has had at least five new teams make the playoffs in 14 straight years, huh?

Well, that's a wonderful thing. And we're all so darned proud of them. But I'm now required by my DNA to report:

This does not prove they're the kings of competitive balance.

If you have a sneaky feeling I'm about to compare the NFL to Major League Baseball on that front, hey, you know me too well.

That's exactly where this is heading.

Let's start by reminding you that 50 percent more teams make the playoffs in football than make it in baseball (12, versus eight). So this deck is already stacked.

And one more thing: It's amazing how competitively balanced you can make yourself look if you start letting sub-.500 teams into your playoff party.

OK, now that we've got that out of the way, a few facts you should know:

• Seven of the 12 teams that made the NFL playoffs this year also got to the playoffs last year. That's 58 percent of the field. Last time more than half of baseball's playoff teams repeated? All the way back in 2005.

• And one of those five new NFL playoff juggernauts this year was a team with a 7-9 record (i.e., the Seahawks). Let the record show that in baseball, a sport that has been through 106 postseasons, no team with a losing record has ever been allowed to play a postseason game.

• Over the last five postseasons, only 15 of baseball's 40 playoff teams repeated. That's 37.5 percent. In the NFL, 29 of the 60 playoff teams repeated. That's 48.3 percent.

• Want to take this back farther? Let's go back to 2004, the year baseball's current revenue-sharing system began to seriously kick in. Over the last seven postseasons, just 25 of 56 playoff teams repeated in MLB. That's 44.6 percent. In the NFL, 41 of 84 repeated. That's 48.8 percent.

• Or we could go back through the entire wild-card era, even though baseball was working on a totally different economic model for half of that period. Over the last 15 postseasons, 61 of baseball's 120 playoff teams repeated. That's 50.8 percent. And how does that compare with the NFL, through this stretch it's touting so ecstatically? Exactly half (90 of 180) of the NFL playoff teams repeated during that same period. In other words, it's almost identical.

So where exactly is the evidence of that vaunted NFL superiority in this department? I'm having trouble locating it. I guess I'll just have to start looking harder, huh?