You might recall that a couple weeks ago, before the Bears lost the face of the franchise and picked up a black unicorn, we were getting ready to re-align the NFL, primarily for the pure giggles of it.
Well we're back, and it's important to keep in mind: we're keeping the current NFL structure, current division names, current scheduling structure, and everything. We're trying to facilitate travel time, energy, and costs. Additionally, we'd like to build up some of the rivalries that should exist, but don't, as well as find a way to even up some divisions that have been historically dominated by one team. Yes, some teams will jump conference, and some fans won't like that. The goal isn't to make them happy short term, the goal is to extend the life of the NFL.
More: Re-aligning the NFL: NFC and AFC West
|Current Lineup||New Lineup|
|NO Saints||NO Saints|
|TB Buccaneers||TB Buccaneers|
|Carolina Panthers||Jacksonville Jaguars|
|Atlanta Falcons||Miami Dolphins|
Out with the old: Really, the NFC South wasn't set up too terribly from a logistics standpoint. Everyone was somewhat generally in the same area, and the region name made sense, to a large extent, to the location of the teams.
However, that would be boring, so we've narrowed down that travel even further. So we kicked the Panthers and Falcons out, as they are the most northernly of the NFC South teams.
In with the new: All three Florida teams in one division? Balderdash! This feels like natural rivalries that should be happening, but aren't. What team wouldn't want to be able to claim the state of Florida as their stomping ground? This keeps all of these teams around the gulf, for the most part, but they still will clearly see the other teams in the league, so they aren't becoming too entrenched in that area. It also give the Dolphins and Jacksonville the chance to breathe a little bit after being in divisions that were dominated by other teams for the last ten years.
|Current Lineup||New Lineup|
|Indianapolis Colts||Indianapolis Colts|
|Houston Texans||Kansas City Chiefs|
|Tennessee Titans||Tennessee Titans|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||St. Louis Rams|
Out with the old: So the AFC South had a bit of an odd name, as Indy isn't particularly south in the grand scheme of things. Tennessee was getting there, and Houston and Jacksonville are clearly in the south. Last time, we pulled the Texans out and put them in the NFC West, to foster some of that Texas heat. You just read about pulling Jacksonville out.
So what better thing to do with those teams that aren't that far in the south...and add some more teams that aren't really in the south.
In with the new: In the last article, we kicked Kansas City out of the West, because they were a hindrance to the divisions out there. Adding them into this division with Indy, St. Louis, and Tennessee will help them establish a rivalry with St. Louis for the state of Missouri, as well as keep them from traveling to the west coast all the time.
Also, St. Louis clearly shouldn't have been a part of the West, and now they aren't. This new look AFC South covers the heart of middle america, from the edge of the plains to the eastern time zone. Yeah, the argument can be made that they aren't the south, but, in the end, this is the kind of division that could really turn some heads.