Realigning the NFL Divisions

A recent article written by Michael Blood of the Associated Press infused my imagination with thoughts of realigning the divisions in the NFL. The article is based around how the new Los Angeles stadium could cause a need to realign the divisions. But why wait until the stadium is built?

Here is how the current landscape of the NFL looks:

AFC N AFC S AFC E AFC W  NFC N NFC S NFC E NFC W
BAL HOU BUF DEN CHI ATL DAL ARI
CIN IND MIA KC DET CAR NYG SF
CLE JAX NE OAK GB NO PHI SEA
PIT TEN NYJ SD MIN TB WAS STL

Not bad, NFL, but I do have a few gripes about the way the league is structured. Yes, I am aware that when the AFC and NFC Central Divisions were done away with that the league wanted to preserve rivalries (for the history of the sport and the dollars of the bank), but it’s time to start anew.

I did my best not to tamper with too many teams but there was some major movement in the AFC. Here is what I came up with:

AFC N AFC S AFC E AFC W  NFC N NFC S NFC E NFC W
CIN HOU BAL DEN CHI ATL DAL** ARI
CLE JAX BUF KC DET CAR** NYG OAK*
IND MIA NYJ SD* GB NO PHI SF
NE TEN PIT SEA MIN TB WAS STL*

* The two teams slotted to share the stadium in Los Angeles would be in separate divisions. Here the Chargers and Raiders share the stadium.

** I do not know how I overcame the temptation to switch the Carolina Panthers and Dallas Cowboys. It must have been Jerry Jones’ Jedi mind tricks again.

As you can see, the major movement takes place in the AFC, with the Colts and Patriots moving to the AFC North, the Dolphins moving to the AFC South, the Ravens and Steelers moving to the AFC East, and the Raiders moving to the NFC. Yes, we see you Seattle.

Think of if the divisions were actual entities and they all had a fantasy draft picking the teams that they felt had the most talent and upside. Until then, here is my suggestion for how to make the divisions make more sense geographically while preserving, and potentially adding, rivalries.
God bless.

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