If you frequent MSM sites, as I do myself, you've probably heard an earful lately about the lack of parity in the league, which is supposedly growing. I'm not sure that the disparity in the league is any worse now than in the recent past, but I have spent some time recently wondering about what causes this lack of parity. I think a decent measure of the overall success of a franchise can be seen graphically in these charts that represent the ESPN's power rankings of a team over the last 8 years. Granting a margin of inaccuracy arising from bias, on a macro level the chart shows, I think, the relative strength of a franchise. The broncos have only been ranked below #20 a handful of times (and a lot of those times were towards the beginning of a season, which represents the influence of negative hype more than anything). Anyway, this places us among the elite in the league, and looking at all teams one does see some definite disparity. There are only maybe 6 or 7 teams who consistently have good ratings over the past few years. I think that some of this disparity is due to the rarity of competent top-level management (owners and GMs). However, I have been wondering how much of the problem is due to the way that players' rights organizations have affected the draft and free agency. I kind of wanted to write a longer post about this, but I am not that familiar with how the draft and free agency works. By my understanding, though, they are the two tools by which a franchise is supposed to be able to maintain parity with the league. It seems to me, though, that the expense of both contribute to the difficulty of a struggling team in building up a stable of talent. For instance, the worse a team does, the more it spends on its draft picks in a given round, while its income will also generally be lower. Barring apt scouting, this could cause disparity to spiral out of control. If you have any thoughts on this subject, perhaps you could contribute to a discussion here.