With revenue sharing, a salary cap, and a draft where teams select in inverse order of their finish the previous seasons, no team in theory will have a significant advantage over another in the NFL.
But the NFL, like all sports, is a zero-sum game. One team has to win, another team has to lose. Unlike baseball where the teams with the deepest wallets can purchase the best talent available on the market, to succeed in the NFL you must get a majority of your draft picks right, sign the right free agents, and be sure to lock up your homegrown superstars in order to contend.
Hiring the right head coach and drafting the right quarterback are also important. As is stability, since odds are high-caliber free agents will be more likely to go to stable teams.
This slideshow is dedicated to the 10 teams in the NFL that over the last few years have failed to do these things.
Stupidity is the one thing that separates the NFL haves from the NFL have-nots. These teams have been the NFL have-nots and will continue to be unless they undergo change.
You'll notice some of the teams on the list actually have had recent playoff appearances or are doing well so far this year. You will also notice that some teams that are doing poorly aren't on the list (i.e., Indianapolis). But bad luck can change from one year to the next, which is why I left some poorly-performing teams off the list.
But stupidity will hinder your franchise until you remove that element.
Even though Seattle won their game against the Giants on Sunday, that's a very obvious facemask.
Since Pete Carroll took over the Seahawks prior to the 2010 season, the 'Hawks have been a fall upward team.
Last season, Seattle managed to go 7-9. In a decent division, this usually means third or fourth place.
In the NFC West, it means you get to host the 12-4 defending Super Bowl champions and then manage to beat them.
Fall upward indeed. This is more on the NFL for their own stupidity in this issue, but teams shouldn't be rewarded based off geography.
The New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers played in tougher divisions and would've been more likely to defeat Chicago in the divisional round, yet they were sitting at home watching a 7-9 team with home-field advantage beat a banged up Saints team that likely goes 16-0 if they're in the NFC West last season.
But back to the Seahawks themselves, who had something to build on: a decent quarterback who might be long in the tooth but can still produce.
Keyword is had, that decent quarterback is now in Tennessee, not only mentoring the next Titans quarterback, but also tied for first in their division.
So enter Tarvaris Jackson. Question: who in their right mind tells Matt Hasselbeck, who last season threw for 3,000 yards "hey man, thanks for the 3,000 yard season and the division title, but we're going to go with a guy who hasn't been a starting quarterback in two years?"
A stupid team, that's who.
Funny thing is, the Seahawks, at 2-3, still have somewhat of a shot at winning the NFC West this season.
Hopefully, the 49ers can continue on the run they're on, that way we not only would no longer see stupidity get rewarded, but also so that we can see an NFC West champion with at least 10 wins.
It's tempting to say the Bengals aren't stupid since they're off to a 3-2 start and because it was only two years ago that they won their division (no small feat when it includes Pittsburgh, who was in between Super Bowl runs, and Baltimore, in the midst of a three-year playoff streak).
But even idiots' luck out sometimes. Considering the ineptitude of the Bengals organization, I'd actually say they've lucked out.
This season, they lucked out based off the fact that Carson Palmer doesn't want to play for them. If you saw him last year, you'd know this is welcome news.
Then they had a good draft. Now that's not luck, that's one step on the road to leaving the NFL's Special Needs class.
But what they haven't been able to do in a while is string together good draft classes in a row.
Now last season was the height of Bengals stupidity in bringing in T.O. to go with Ochocinco. Considering that Anquan Boldin and Brandon Marshall were also available, that was stupid.
Now both are gone, and I'll reiterate this: they're 3-2.
Maybe the next time someone makes a list like this the Bengals won't be included. But for now I need to see more than just five games and one decent draft class before I cannot include them.
Another fine example of a team that has managed to fail upward.
First off, is there a dumber owner than Daniel Snyder?
Secondly, stability is a main factor in NFL success. The Redskins have been one of the least stable teams in the NFL.
Somewhere between the dumber-than-rocks owner and instability, they've managed to put together a good football team that might very well win the NFC East.
Maybe I'm the dumb one, and maybe Rex Grossman was correct all along when he made his bold prediction during the preseason.
Every once in a while you come across a team whose ownership and front office seems to do everything right, but then the on-the-field results make them look foolish.
These teams are never terrible, it just seems like they're stuck in neutral, good enough to take seriously when you play them, but never good enough to put the fear of God into you.
In baseball, the best example I could come up with would be the 2007-2009 Chicago Cubs. Good teams, put together very well, two of those years made the playoffs.
But silly gaffes on the field during the wrong time made it all for naught (which lead to Jim Hendry being fired because he started tinkering too much with the team, which led to the Milton Bradley signing).
In basketball, you could easily make the case for the Atlanta Hawks. It feels like since the Dominique Wilkins era, they're good for anywhere between 50-55 wins and an elimination in the second round. They might win a game and will wind up being within five points in the last two minutes of each second-round game they're in, but you know they're going to find a way to screw it up.
Much like with my Cubs example, this stupidity seemed to transfer to the front office in the form of Joe Johnson's contract, otherwise known as the very reason why the NBA is locked out right now (a third-tier player getting paid like a superstar).
In the NFL, the Houston Texans hold that mantle. Sure, they could make the playoffs this season, but if you're a wild-card team coming into Houston to play them wild-card weekend, are you really worried about them?
Sunday saw a shining example of on-the-field stupidity. On the final play of the game, quarterback Matt Schaub dropped back to pass and saw no one open. He then scrambled to his left, still no one was open, but there was nothing but green between him and the end zone.
Schaub instead attempted this pathetic lob that was intercepted by Michael Huff, thereby sealing the victory for the Raiders.
By the way, another sign of a dumb team is when you lose even if you statistically dominate a team. Not just have a couple more total yards than the other team, but when you have so many more yards than your opponent but enough that the score should read somewhere along the lines of "38-10" with you having the 38.
Houston lost 25-20, yet out-gained the Raiders 473-278.
Now that's what you call stupidity.
As far as stupidity goes, this team has reeked of it since Kurt Warner turned in his cleats for capezios last year.
Arizona gave up a ransom (Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a 2012 second-round pick) to Philadelphia in exchange for Kevin Kolb. I'm always weary when teams give up way too much for someone that the other team doesn't really have an interest in holding onto anyways.
Then they give Kolb a six-year, $65 million contract.
Yes, really smart, $65 million for someone who going into the season had a career record of 3-4.
Say, you know what the Vikings could've done in 2009 and 2010 as an alternative to kissing Brett Favre's hindquarters?
If you said actually work to develop a quarterback, you're absolutely correct.
In fact, the 2010 draft should still have the Vikings kicking themselves.
They had the chance to draft Colt McCoy, which would've gone two ways: if Brett would've retired because of it, then Tarvaris Jackson could go 0-3 and McCoy could come in and realize "hey, Adrian Petersen is my running back" and he'd be able to learn while playing.
Or Brett doesn't retire, and Colt gets to learn what to do (and based off of Favre's 2010, what not to do, which I'm sure includes texting inappropriate pictures) from one of the greatest quarterbacks who's ever lived.
But no, likely out of fear of hurting Brett's ego, the Vikings instead go on to draft Toby Gerhart, who was great in college but currently has 380 yards on 89 carries.
Now McNabb is stinking up the joint (sorry, dome), and the Vikings are far from a Super Bowl contender, Ponder-ing (stupid pun) when they'll contend again.
This could've all been avoided, though. And Colt has looked pretty good so far this season.
I feel that this entry is a short one begging only one question:
How do you have top three picks in three consecutive drafts and still manage to suck?
No really, I want to know. That's Matt Millen-esque work right there.
The beginning of this was the firing of Mike Shanahan.
This led to gainfully employing Josh McDaniels for a year and a half. In that time span, he managed to tick off the future of the franchise who was coming off of a career season (Jay Cutler, see, I don't hate him, I think the Broncos were stupid for trading him) by entertaining the offer of trading for a quarterback who right now looks more like a system quarterback than anything because he managed to have a great season with on one of the smartest teams in the NFL (Matt Cassel).
This would later lead to drafting Tim Tebow, and the circus (or is it revival meeting, sorry all I know is both involve tents) that surrounds him day in and day out.
They could've avoided any controversy by trading Orton, but they held on to him and asked too much for him. I'm sure he'll do wonders for them the rest of the season sitting on the bench.
By the way, this season he was worth a third-round pick. Next season Denver will cut him and get nothing in return for Orton. Savvy move, Broncos.
Here's a team who has held onto their head coach about three years too long, doesn't spend money to keep players, and doesn't do a great job drafting them, either.
On top of that, they cut their starting quarterback six days before the start of the season, which is beyond stupid, its the r-word.
But then again, I feel like I've seen this movie before.
Wait I have, but it was about baseball and starred Charlie Sheen.
The only explanation I could think of for why the Jaguars, who remember last season were a hair away from winning their division, suck this year is because they want to move to Los Angeles.
Connect the dots: on August 9, the City of Los Angeles voted 12-0 on a nonbinding agreement with AEG (Anschultz Entertainment Group, who also developed the Staples Center) to build a new NFL stadium. The Jaguars would benefit the most from moving to Los Angeles (and are the team that should in all likelihood).
So after that, they cut David Garrard a few games before the season begins, then you take one look at this team and realize that they really aren't that good.
The plot of Major League was the owner of the Cleveland Indians wanted to move the team to Miami, who had already approved a stadium deal for her, so she packed the roster with the worst players imaginable.
Of course it backfired on her, most likely because she had a starting pitcher that was, duh, winning. Jacksonville has no such luck.
But Los Angeles might wind up with a little bit of Luck.
Let's sing along to some new words of an old favorite.
Miami has the Dolphins, the dumbest football team
We fail to get the ball in the goal like no one's ever seen
Not in the air, nor on the ground, we're never in control
And when you say Miami, you miss the Orange Bowl
Cause we're the, Miami Dolphins
Miami Dolphins far from number one
Yes we're the, Miami Dolphins
Miami Dolphins far from number one
Miami has the Dolphins, barely a football team
The only ones who think they have a shot are paid by the team
No QB's drafted in the first round since 1983
And when you say Miami, NFL free agents want to flee
Cause we're the, Miami Dolphins
So far away from number one
Yes we're the, Miami Dolphins
Guaranteed to screw up and win three games so Indianapolis can pick number one!
I watch this team week in and week out. They are the definition of NFL stupidity.
But Jeff Ireland, if it makes you feel better, just remember, Matt Millen works for ESPN now, as does Parcells, who you know took his ball and went home when he realized he failed yet gets none of the abuse that Nick Saban does (I'll defend Saban for the first time, well, ever: he at least left the Dolphins with something, it was Cam Cameron's crew that traded most of that something, but there was at least something there, whereas Parcells left the cupboards bare save for two very good young offensive lineman, Cameron Wake, Vontae Davis, Daniel Thomas, Brandon Marshall, and a bunch of guys cut by the Cowboys). So maybe, Jeff, you can get a job there.
Because we sure as heck don't want you or your boy Sparano down here anymore.
Dumbest football team in the NFL? Not even close.
Thomas Galicia is a Miami Dolphins Featured Columnist who also writes about music, movies, the Miami Heat whenever this stupid NBA lockout ends (and he's praying it's soon), the Chicago Cubs and the WWE. He also knows that most of you will disagree with him on this subject. That's what the comments are for, tell him he's wrong, or if you agree with him, tell him he's right. Then visit www.thomasgalicia.com and follow him on twitter, @thomasgalicia.