A metaphoric rock, with a note attached, was lobbed--again metaphorically--through my front window claiming VFTD is biased in favoring the PSP. (The claim was in the note, not the rock.) It suggested that even if I criticized everybody I still liked the PSP best. (boo hoo, boo hoo) And went further to suggest I was helping in holding the NPPL down when I should acknowledge the inevitability of the 7-man future 'cus the numbers were (are) going up, attesting to the health & vitality of 7-man whereas the PSP is the league in decline. (That's the short version. The actual missive was mostly text speak and half-formed thoughts and if there was an ap for it I'm sure it would have had tear stains on it.)
As to the charges: yes, I prefer xball--even the watered down version we're currently playing. Yes, I criticize everybody, mostly, and mostly they all deserve it--at least when I do it. No, I'm not holding anybody down. For example, in Chicago VFTD had nothing to do with the shortage of refs, the placement of the fields, the bikini contest, the delay in posting scores or players (kinda, sorta, not really) headbutting one another.
Now that my crimes have been dealt with let's get to the interesting stuff. Is national 7-man on the rise and is the PSP in decline? Maybe, but probably not & yes. But of course the numbers game is dependent on which set of numbers one chooses to examine. If, for example, all the national 7-man results were included in the data set the current state of the NPPL would look bleak indeed compared to the peak years--much worse in fact than the PSP. But since this is a new NPPL (3.0) we're only looking at the numbers generated by this version of the league and even then it's hardly robust or indicative of growth. In 2009, the USPL year, the league averaged 64 teams an event not counting the Pros. [As stakeholders in the ownership of the league I'm considering their contributions as operating funds & investment as opposed to income generated by paying/participating teams. And while the same isn't true in the PSP as a matter of numbers I left the PSP pro teams out of the numbers as well.] In 2010 that average went up to 66 teams per event. [Participation totals in the NPPL 3.0 were calculated from info available at the NPPL website, npplnetwork website & Warpig via schedules, prelim scores and rankings. All PSP numbers came from APPA.] Through two events so far in 2011 the NPPL average is 85 teams. That number is however, somewhat misleading as it is skewed by the league's best attended event, HB, and only one other event. Further suggesting the numbers will even out over the season is that while the HB turnout was up slightly (less than 10) the Chicago turnout was on par with past second events. If DC is consistent with past DC turnouts then the reasonable expectation is that 2011 will look very much like '09 & '10 before it. And in the present economic environment there are worse things than stability and/or consistency--assuming the league isn't operating in the red.
If we were to look at the entirety of the PSP's numbers we would discover, in the old NPPL prior to the separation, a rising trend from the late 90's that peaked, in real numbers, at the last 10-man led World Cup. With the transition to Xball numbers dipped and then began to rise again until the economic downturn which saw participation numbers begin to decline again. Over the last three (2 and a half) seasons the PSP saw a precipitous drop between 2009 and 2010. In 2009 the average turnout was 193 teams per event. [Let's backtrack for a moment into 2008. It was the last year with 5 events and the average was 185 teams per event counting all five. If the fourth event is removed from the calculation the number jumps to 201. A case can thus be made that '09 saw an improvement over '08 or at worst a modest decline. It might be enlightening to review the changes made between the '08 & '09 seasons as in the first case the league temporarily reversed the decline and the second case suffered a significant loss. Just a thought.] In 2010 the PSP's average was 142. So far in 2011 it's 130. As the 2011 numbers were likely somewhat misleading in the NPPL's case they are also probably misleading here as well. The reason is that in direct comparison of event to event from last year to this both of this year's PSP events are up (slightly) over last year's individual event numbers. Remember, the PSP numbers don't include pro turnout to keep the comparisons equal even though the PSP pro teams do add to the league's revenues.
Do you buy the numbers? It's clear to me the NPPL turnout isn't going anywhere in any significant way despite the incomplete '11 numbers. And only time will tell if the PSP's decline is stabilizing. In raw numbers the PSP still holds better than a 2 to 1 advantage in participation over the NPPL. So there you have it: another case of poor old Baca holding an MLP series down. Strong like bull.