By Drew Markol, TSN Contributor - Archive - Email
Nobody asked me, but...
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Have you seen the price of authentic sports apparel these days?

I sure have and unless that Mega Millions ticket comes through pretty soon, I'll be out on the street with just my new Los Angeles Kings sweater.

The problem? Simply put, it's parity.

When you do your best to be a front runner, you don't need what we have now. You need, and your wallet needs, dynasties. Teams that win championships year after year, so you don't have to keep getting new stuff.

Let me explain.

If you wanted to stay on the cutting edge of sports fashion, there's no better way to do it then to celebrate each new champion by displaying their jersey.

They look cool and may even convince people that you were a fan of that team before they became really good (well, that actually won't happen, but you can hope).

The point is, be it free agency, complacency, or just bad luck, seeing pro teams even go back-to-back has gone away with the dodo. Parity stinks.

Let's just take a look at what its cost me over the last 10 years to have the jersey of every team in the four major sports - football, baseball, basketball and hockey - on my back shortly after they won a title.

We'll start with football.

Of all the sports, football has been one of the kindest to my 401(k) and the college fund for my kids.

Over the last 10 years, only seven teams have won the Super Bowl.

The New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots have each, thankfully, won two each. Each time they did, they saved me 200 smackers. Those wins by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Indianapolis Colts, Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints stung.

Total pro football cost to my wallet in the last decade: $1,400.

Now, let's see the damage baseball has done.

Over the last decade, we've had only two teams - the St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Red Sox - win two World Series (sorry, Yankees fans, it's been only one ring for the Bronx Bombers in our timeframe).

Because of this, I've taken a $1,600 hit thanks to America's pastime. Things do get a little better when it comes to the NBA.

Parity has taken a bit of a holiday in pro hoops and I'm more than grateful.

In the last 10 seasons alone, we've seen the San Antonio Spurs win three championships, the Miami Heat win two and the Los Angeles Lakers win two.

This has been a wonderful thing.

Because of the success of the teams listed above, I've "only" dropped $1,200 on slick new NBA threads.

The real problem as far as my sports wardrobe is concerned? Ice hockey.

Of the last 10 Stanley Cup presentations, nine have gone to different teams.

Only the Detroit Red Wings (thank you) were kind enough to have won twice.

To the New Jersey Devils, Tampa Bay Lightning, Carolina Hurricanes, Anaheim Ducks, Pittsburgh Penguins, Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins and Los Angeles Kings, thank you very little.

NHL damage? A cool $1,800 in official sweaters.

The grand total for the past 10 years? $6,000.

Holy smokes, I had no idea it was that much (luckily, my wife, too, has no idea it's been that much, either).

Now, if the Kings, Heat, Cardinals and Giants can string together a nice little run of championships, I'll be able to give you the shirt off my back.

If not, could somebody lend me $200?

(OK, OK, I'll end the charade here. No, I didn't really spend six grand on jerseys. I may have thought about it, but I didn't do it. I was just trying to show how parity can be costly and dynasties, especially if they're your team, can be both fun and relatively inexpensive).

Drew Markol has been a sportswriter and columnist for several newspapers in the Philadelphia area for more than 25 years.

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