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Geographical realignment would improve NFL

By Anthony Bialy on April 23, 2007 04:05 AM

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I'm over Vince Lombardi giving the AFC grief after Super Bowl I. We've had 40 Super Bowls since then, and that's plenty of time to drop the bitterness, just as those in NFC markets shouldn't be upset about that hippie punk Joe Namath and his victory over the old school. It's time to officially declare the anciently pointless conference rivalry over, most of all so we can rid ourselves of one relic of the rift that's approaching 50 years old: geographically illogical conferences.

 

The current conference divide is basically based on whether teams were in the established or rebel group, a holdover from the Eisenhower administration. It would be much more sensible to abolish a split based on who was in what now-superseded league and instead arrange teams based on the logical approach of looking at a map and seeing what cities should be grouped together.

 

Of course, how's this for honesty, any realignment will have the drawback of ending some traditional rivalries. But the benefit would be that we could establish newer and hopefully fiercer rivalries in its place. Once the adjustment is overcome, teams facing new, closer twice-a-year opponents will make the game more enjoyable for the fans and ferocious for the players involved.

 

Staying in the current divisional setup is like remaining in a relationship with someone you don't adore: It may be functional on a certain hollow level, and it may be what you're used to, but you'd be better served by looking for someone better, even if it means a temporary awkward transition.

 

For example, it means Buffalo and Miami won't be division enemies anymore, a pairing which evokes the natural contempt between dissimilar cities. However, the Bills will be playing teams from localities closer to home while the Dolphins can look forward to rivalries with the other two Florida teams. The New York City and Bay Area teams, respectively, will each battle twice a year instead of maybe once every four years, and other franchises that are within a full tank of gas from each other will play home and away games annually.

 

We can't continue to have the league's placement of teams jury-rigged around the Cowboys and Redskins getting to play each other two times a season. Besides, fans of those teams will soon have the Texans and Ravens, respectively, to hate.

 

So, here are two new alignments to consider. There are a lot of ways to go with resetting the teams, and any plan to regionalize divisions and thereby create enmity between neighbors will make the NFL better.

Alignment One:

 

Eastern Conference

Northeast Division

New England Patriots

New York Jets

New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles

 

Southeast Division

Baltimore Ravens

Washington Redskins

Carolina Panthers

Atlanta Falcons

 

Gulf Division

Jacksonville Jaguars

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Miami Dolphins

New Orleans Saints

 

Erie Division

Buffalo Bills

Pittsburgh Steelers

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

 

Western Conference

Midwest Division

Cincinnati Bengals

Indianapolis Colts

Tennessee Titans

St. Louis Rams

 

Central Division

Minnesota Vikings

Green Bay Packers

Chicago Bears

Kansas City Chiefs

 

Southern Division

Houston Texans

Dallas Cowboys

Arizona Cardinals

San Diego Chargers

 

Northwest Division

Denver Broncos

San Francisco 49ers

Oakland Raiders

Seattle Seahawks

 

 

Alignment Two:

 

Eastern Conference

Northeast Division

New England Patriots

Buffalo Bills

New York Jets

New York Giants

 

Atlantic Division

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

Baltimore Ravens

Washington Redskins

 

Southeast Division

Atlanta Falcons

Jacksonville Jaguars

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Miami Dolphins

 

Central Division

Indianapolis Colts

Cincinnati Bengals

Tennessee Titans

Carolina Panthers

 

Western Conference

Northern Division

Green Bay Packers

Chicago Bears

Detroit Lions

Cleveland Browns

 

Southern Division

New Orleans Saints

Houston Texans

Dallas Cowboys

Arizona Cardinals

 

Midwest Division

Minnesota Vikings

St. Louis Rams

Kansas City Chiefs

Denver Broncos

 

Pacific Division

San Diego Chargers

San Francisco 49ers

Oakland Raiders

Seattle Seahawks

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  • 4 weeks later...
Geographical realignment would improve NFL

By Anthony Bialy on April 23, 2007 04:05 AM

Permalink | Comments (12) | Email This Article | RSS

 

I'm over Vince Lombardi giving the AFC grief after Super Bowl I. We've had 40 Super Bowls since then, and that's plenty of time to drop the bitterness, just as those in NFC markets shouldn't be upset about that hippie punk Joe Namath and his victory over the old school. It's time to officially declare the anciently pointless conference rivalry over, most of all so we can rid ourselves of one relic of the rift that's approaching 50 years old: geographically illogical conferences.

 

The current conference divide is basically based on whether teams were in the established or rebel group, a holdover from the Eisenhower administration. It would be much more sensible to abolish a split based on who was in what now-superseded league and instead arrange teams based on the logical approach of looking at a map and seeing what cities should be grouped together.

 

Of course, how's this for honesty, any realignment will have the drawback of ending some traditional rivalries. But the benefit would be that we could establish newer and hopefully fiercer rivalries in its place. Once the adjustment is overcome, teams facing new, closer twice-a-year opponents will make the game more enjoyable for the fans and ferocious for the players involved.

 

Staying in the current divisional setup is like remaining in a relationship with someone you don't adore: It may be functional on a certain hollow level, and it may be what you're used to, but you'd be better served by looking for someone better, even if it means a temporary awkward transition.

 

For example, it means Buffalo and Miami won't be division enemies anymore, a pairing which evokes the natural contempt between dissimilar cities. However, the Bills will be playing teams from localities closer to home while the Dolphins can look forward to rivalries with the other two Florida teams. The New York City and Bay Area teams, respectively, will each battle twice a year instead of maybe once every four years, and other franchises that are within a full tank of gas from each other will play home and away games annually.

 

We can't continue to have the league's placement of teams jury-rigged around the Cowboys and Redskins getting to play each other two times a season. Besides, fans of those teams will soon have the Texans and Ravens, respectively, to hate.

 

So, here are two new alignments to consider. There are a lot of ways to go with resetting the teams, and any plan to regionalize divisions and thereby create enmity between neighbors will make the NFL better.

Alignment One:

 

Eastern Conference

Northeast Division

New England Patriots

New York Jets

New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles

 

Southeast Division

Baltimore Ravens

Washington Redskins

Carolina Panthers

Atlanta Falcons

 

Gulf Division

Jacksonville Jaguars

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Miami Dolphins

New Orleans Saints

 

Erie Division

Buffalo Bills

Pittsburgh Steelers

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

 

Western Conference

Midwest Division

Cincinnati Bengals

Indianapolis Colts

Tennessee Titans

St. Louis Rams

 

Central Division

Minnesota Vikings

Green Bay Packers

Chicago Bears

Kansas City Chiefs

 

Southern Division

Houston Texans

Dallas Cowboys

Arizona Cardinals

San Diego Chargers

 

Northwest Division

Denver Broncos

San Francisco 49ers

Oakland Raiders

Seattle Seahawks

Alignment Two:

 

Eastern Conference

Northeast Division

New England Patriots

Buffalo Bills

New York Jets

New York Giants

 

Atlantic Division

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

Baltimore Ravens

Washington Redskins

 

Southeast Division

Atlanta Falcons

Jacksonville Jaguars

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Miami Dolphins

 

Central Division

Indianapolis Colts

Cincinnati Bengals

Tennessee Titans

Carolina Panthers

 

Western Conference

Northern Division

Green Bay Packers

Chicago Bears

Detroit Lions

Cleveland Browns

 

Southern Division

New Orleans Saints

Houston Texans

Dallas Cowboys

Arizona Cardinals

 

Midwest Division

Minnesota Vikings

St. Louis Rams

Kansas City Chiefs

Denver Broncos

 

Pacific Division

San Diego Chargers

San Francisco 49ers

Oakland Raiders

Seattle Seahawks

 

It never did make sense that the Dallas Cowboys played in the East.

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