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A reimagining of NFL Divisions beginning at the merger
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Fighting Muskie Online
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A reimagining of NFL Divisions beginning at the merger
Let’s pretend for a moment that when The Baltimore Colts agree to go over to the newly formed AFC they do so on the condition that they they stay with the other two old NFL teams, Cleveland and Pittsburgh. Cleveland agreed to come over with the caveat they’d be with the new Cincinnati team. So the Divisions look like this:

AFC East: Boston, NYJ, Buffalo, Miami
AFC Central: Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Cincinnati
AFC West: Houston, Kansas City, Denver, Oakland, San Diego

NFC East: NYG, Philadelphia, Washington, Dallas
NFC Central: Detroit, Chicago, Green Bay, Minnesota, St Louis
NFC West: Atlanta, New Orleans, Los Angeles, San Francisco

I made another tweak in putting St Louis (Cardinals) with the other Midwest teams.

When Seattle and Tampa Bay enter the league, the AFC already had 5 teams in the West so Seattle must join the NFC West. Tampa Bay joins Miami in the AFC East.

In the 80s when the Colts relocate the AFC Central actually gets a little tighter geographically. But the Cardinals’ move makes them a geographic outlier.

In the 90s It doesn’t make sense to add a 3rd FL team to the AFC, so Jacksonville joins the NFC East while Carolina joins the AFC Central.

AFC East: New England, Buffalo, NYJ, Miami, Tampa Bay
AFC Central: Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Carolina
AFC West: Houston, Kansas City, Denver, Oakland, San Diego

NFC East: NYG, Philadelphia, Washington, Dallas, Jacksonville
NFC Central: Detroit, Chicago, Green Bay, Minnesota, Arizona
NFC West: Atlanta, New Orleans, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle

Fast forward to the move to 32 and you get a present NFL of:

AFC East: New England, Buffalo, NYJ, Baltimore
AFC North: Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Indianapolis
AFC South: Tampa Bay, Tennessee, Houston, Miami
AFC West: Kansas City, Denver, Oakland/LV, SD/LAC

NFC East: same as now
NFC North: same as now
NFC South: Jacksonville, Atlanta, New Orleans, Carolina
NFC West: St Louis/LA Rams, Seattle, Arizona, San Francisco (so same as now)

It’s Carolina, not Seattle, that makes the AFC to NFC switch to accommodate the new Houston Texans. Tampa and Miami go as a pair to the new AFC South to go with the Tenn/Houston rivalry. Subsequently, Baltimore squeezes into a geographically friendly East.
06-26-2021 10:28 PM
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Nerdlinger Offline
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Post: #2
RE: A reimagining of NFL Divisions beginning at the merger
I came up with my own post-merger reimagining of NFL divisions a while back that I don't think I've shared here. In this scenario, the merged league opts to adhere more strictly to geography rather than to retain the traditional AFC/NFC split, although they retain the AFC name for the eastern conference and the NFC name for the western.

1970

AFC
North: Boston, Buffalo, NY Giants, NY Jets, Philadelphia
South: Atlanta, Baltimore, Miami, Washington
West: Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Pittsburgh

NFC
North: Chicago, Green Bay, Kansas City, Minnesota, St. Louis
South: Dallas, Denver, Houston, New Orleans
West: Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego, San Francisco

1971: Boston Patriots become New England Patriots
1976: expansion Seattle Seahawks join NFC West; expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers join AFC South
1982: Oakland Raiders become Los Angeles Raiders
1984: Baltimore Colts become Indianapolis Colts and move to AFC West
1988: St. Louis Cardinals become Phoenix Cardinals and move to NFC South
1994: Phoenix Cardinals become Arizona Cardinals
1995: Arizona Cardinals move to NFC West; expansion Carolina Panthers and Jacksonville Jaguars join AFC South; Indianapolis Colts move to NFC North; Los Angeles Raiders become Oakland Raiders; Los Angeles Rams become St. Louis Rams and move to NFC South; Washington Redskins move to AFC West

1995

AFC
North: Buffalo, New England, NY Giants, NY Jets, Philadelphia
South: Atlanta, Carolina, Jacksonville, Miami, Tampa Bay
West: Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Washington

NFC
North: Chicago, Green Bay, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Minnesota
South: Dallas, Denver, Houston, New Orleans, St. Louis
West: Arizona, Oakland, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle

1996: expansion Baltimore Ravens join AFC West; Cleveland Browns suspended from league for attempting to move to Baltimore
1997: Houston Oilers become Tennessee Oilers
1999: Cleveland Browns rejoin AFC West; Tennessee Oilers become Tennessee Titans
2002: AFC East created with Baltimore, Carolina, Philadelphia, and Washington; NFC East created with Dallas, Houston (expansion), New Orleans, and Tennessee; Arizona Cardinals and Kansas City Chiefs move to NFC South
2016: St. Louis Rams become Los Angeles Rams
2017: San Diego Chargers become Los Angeles Chargers
2020: Los Angeles Rams move to NFC West; Oakland Raiders become Las Vegas Raiders and move to NFC South

2020

AFC
East: Baltimore, Carolina, Philadelphia, Washington
North: Buffalo, New England, NY Giants, NY Jets
South: Atlanta, Jacksonville, Miami, Tampa Bay
West: Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Pittsburgh

NFC
East: Dallas, Houston, New Orleans, Tennessee
North: Chicago, Green Bay, Indianapolis, Minnesota
South: Arizona, Denver, Kansas City, Las Vegas
West: LA Chargers, LA Rams, San Francisco, Seattle
(This post was last modified: 06-29-2021 11:12 PM by Nerdlinger.)
06-29-2021 06:07 PM
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GoodOwl Offline
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Post: #3
RE: A reimagining of NFL Divisions beginning at the merger
Many Americans have subsequently come up with their own post-merger, post-woke reimagining of NFL divisions a while back that I don't think I've shared here. In this scenario, no one even is watching the NFL any more. See: NFL rating continue to drop towards eventual oblivion.

Here's the divisions:
AFC Left: ________________
AFC Nutso: _______________
AFC Trans: ________________
AFC: Gone South:_____________

NFC Far Left:________________
NFC Fruits:________________
NFC Non-specialified genders:____
NFC Neil Youngs:______________
06-29-2021 10:35 PM
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Nerdlinger Offline
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Post: #4
RE: A reimagining of NFL Divisions beginning at the merger
(06-29-2021 10:35 PM)GoodOwl Wrote:  [unsolicited politics]

I'm no mod, but I'm sure a mod would delete this post and tell you to post your politics in the "No Spin Room" (if you must post them anywhere).
06-30-2021 10:44 AM
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Fighting Muskie Online
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RE: A reimagining of NFL Divisions beginning at the merger
I think they made the right move by keeping the AFL and NFL together. I just think it would have made more sense to keep the 3 crossovers and the AFL’s newest team in a division together.
07-01-2021 02:54 PM
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Nerdlinger Offline
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Post: #6
RE: A reimagining of NFL Divisions beginning at the merger
(07-01-2021 02:54 PM)Fighting Muskie Wrote:  I think they made the right move by keeping the AFL and NFL together. I just think it would have made more sense to keep the 3 crossovers and the AFL’s newest team in a division together.

I dunno. I used to be more of a traditionalist, but I've increasingly leaned toward geographic alignments over time. Think of how many nearby teams in the NFL and MLB, many in the same metro area or city, don't play each other often simply because they're in different leagues/conferences. So many natural rivalries stunted.
(This post was last modified: 07-01-2021 07:30 PM by Nerdlinger.)
07-01-2021 07:29 PM
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Fighting Muskie Online
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Post: #7
RE: A reimagining of NFL Divisions beginning at the merger
The NFL is built well to go to a 4 Division set up that more closely resembles NCAA conferences:

NFL West: Seattle, SF, LA Rams, LA Chargers, LV, Denver, Arizona, KC
NFL North: Minnesota, GB, Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Pittsburgh
NFL East: NE, Buffalo, NY Jets, NY Giants, Philadelphia, Washington, Baltimore, Dallas
NFL South: Carolina, Atlanta, TB, Jacksonville, Miami, Tenn, NO, Houston
07-02-2021 09:01 AM
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Post: #8
RE: A reimagining of NFL Divisions beginning at the merger
(07-02-2021 09:01 AM)Fighting Muskie Wrote:  The NFL is built well to go to a 4 Division set up that more closely resembles NCAA conferences:

NFL West: Seattle, SF, LA Rams, LA Chargers, LV, Denver, Arizona, KC
NFL North: Minnesota, GB, Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Pittsburgh
NFL East: NE, Buffalo, NY Jets, NY Giants, Philadelphia, Washington, Baltimore, Dallas
NFL South: Carolina, Atlanta, TB, Jacksonville, Miami, Tenn, NO, Houston

I get moving Baltimore from North to East and Indianapolis from South to North, but instead of moving Miami from East to South, I'd definitely move Dallas and finally put them somewhere sensible.
07-02-2021 01:12 PM
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schmolik Online
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Post: #9
RE: A reimagining of NFL Divisions beginning at the merger
(07-02-2021 01:12 PM)Nerdlinger Wrote:  
(07-02-2021 09:01 AM)Fighting Muskie Wrote:  The NFL is built well to go to a 4 Division set up that more closely resembles NCAA conferences:

NFL West: Seattle, SF, LA Rams, LA Chargers, LV, Denver, Arizona, KC
NFL North: Minnesota, GB, Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Pittsburgh
NFL East: NE, Buffalo, NY Jets, NY Giants, Philadelphia, Washington, Baltimore, Dallas
NFL South: Carolina, Atlanta, TB, Jacksonville, Miami, Tenn, NO, Houston

I get moving Baltimore from North to East and Indianapolis from South to North, but instead of moving Miami from East to South, I'd definitely move Dallas and finally put them somewhere sensible.

In 2021 the rivalry that the Dallas Cowboys have with the Philadelphia Eagles and the Washington Football Team is so popular and bitter that I as an Eagle fan wouldn't want the Cowboys out of the NFC East despite the geographical inconvenience of the Eagles are guaranteed a trip west of the Mississippi every year as opposed to teams in the NFC North, South, and AFC East and North. But back when the NFL initially created the divisions (1970), putting Dallas in the NFC "East" made no sense at all. I wasn't born yet but I would think having the Eagles and Steelers in the same division would have made a ton of sense and I could only imagine the Eagles and Steelers being rivals today with the same intensity the Eagles and Cowboys are. There was no reason why the Steelers should have been moved over to the AFC. Move other teams over. Steelers/Browns better than Steelers/Eagles? Then keep the Browns in the NFC as well.
07-05-2021 09:30 AM
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Post: #10
RE: A reimagining of NFL Divisions beginning at the merger
Maybe with the Redskins name officially retired the NFL could just retire the team and its records and just say the new team starting forward in 2021 is a new team just like the Texans are not the same as the Houston Oilers. Then the NFL can switch conferences with the new Washington team and the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pittsburgh and Philadelphia can be in the same division (in fact, the Steelers would be with the Eagles and the Cowboys).

New Realignment:
NFC East: Eagles, Cowboys, Giants, Steelers*
NFC North, South, West unchanged

AFC East: Patriots, Jets, Ravens, Washington (All four teams along I-95, Baltimore-Washington rivalry can start)
AFC North: Bengals, Browns, Bills, Colts
AFC South: Dolphins, Jaguars, Titans, Texans (All four teams in the South, both AFC Florida teams)
AFC West unchanged

We trade Pittsburgh with Cleveland, Cincinnati and Washington with New York, Philadelphia, Dallas for Pittsburgh with Philadelphia and Dallas and Baltimore/Washington. The AFC shuffling gives us Baltimore-Washington and Baltimore-Jets (the 1969 Super Bowl matchup).
07-22-2021 06:14 PM
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