As I am due for a sports topic, I figured today was as good a day as any. So, here goes.
It is my opinion that the NFL needs to find a way to completely, and properly, realign the entire league. I know this sounds sacreligious, because people don’t want to break up divisional rivalries that have been going on for years, but how can you rationalize the Dallas Cowboys being in the NFC East, or the Colts being in the AFC South? Furthermore, it is my contention that no 2 teams from the same state should be in the same division, unless there are more than 2 teams from that state. i.e. Florida and California. The only unique decision I had to make on realignment was keeping Kansas City and Saint Louis in the West and putting Dallas in the South, with Houston. The reason this is a little unique is because Dallas and Houston are both further West than Saint Louis and Kansas City. This has to be done because next to the West, the South is the region with the second least amount of teams to pick from.
I tried as hard as I could to keep current divisions as intact as possible. However, I did not let long standing rivalries dictate anything. If the Cowboys can leave the NFC East, than the Lions can leave the NFC North. With that said, here is a current map of the locations and divisions of the entire NFL.
Now, you get a clear view of how out of place Dallas and Indianapolis are, but you can also see that Miami looks out of place, too. As does Baltimore. You can also make an argument that Buffalo belongs in the AFC North. In the end, both the AFC and NFC West remain untouched. 4 of the remaining 6 divisions have only 1 change. It is the AFC East and North that have the biggest alterations, as I have 2 teams from the AFC North moving to the AFC East. Additionally, to keep with my philosophy that 2 teams from the same state should be in the same division, but different conferences, I had to have 1 team from Ohio go to the NFC. That meant moving a team from the black and blue division to the AFC. I felt that Detroit was the low man on the totem pole in that division, so they were the one to go. So, this is how I think it should look.
EAST. NORTH. SOUTH. WEST
NYJ. IND. MIA. OAK
PIT. CIN. JAX. S.D.
BAL. DET. TEN. DEN
N.E. BUF. HOU. K.C.
EAST. NORTH. SOUTH. WEST
NYG. MIN. T.B. S.F.
PHI. CLE ATL SEA
WAS. CHI. N.O. ARI
CAR. G.B. DAL. STL
This format allows a rivalry like the Steelers and the Ravens to remain intact, while simultaneously putting them in the East, just like their natural local rivals in the NFC, Philly and Washington. If you use your minds eye to look at the map above with these changes in mind, you will see no overlapping of colors.
I know that this will never happen, but it should. The NFL could use some new rivalries. Having lived in Dallas for 4 years I can attest to the fact that the Cowboys and Saints would be an awesome rivalry. The AFC East would be the best division in football. Carolina would benefit, financially, playing against the big markets of the Northeast. All in all, I just think it would be a nice shake up for a very successful league that is only in the headlines for safety and lawsuits right now. If it happens, just remember where you heard it first. ;-)