The Cleveland Browns would do well to push for an NFL re-alignment
It’s the dawn of a new season and another opportunity to point out that the NFL alignment makes no sense. If you look at the NFL and its divisions, you’ll notice that they’re supposed to be regional, but oftentimes contain teams that aren’t from the area.
You have two conferences, the AFC and NFC, and both conferences have a North, East, South, and West division. Frankly, the only teams that are actually in the right conferences are the Western-based divisions, but even then you could maximize traveling better.
Why are the Miami Dolphins in the East but the Indianapolis Colts are in the South? i know it’s done to keep “rivalries” in place, but that’s a silly and superficial reason for the NFL to do anything. It’s not like you see the NBA forcing the Lakers and Celtics to share a division. The NBA is smart enough to know that rivalries work best when they’re rarely visited.
So how should the league look?
North: Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Indianapolis Colts, Cincinnati Bengals
East: Baltimore Ravens, New York Jets, New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills
South: Miami Dolphins, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennesse Titans, Houston Texans
West: Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers, Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs
North: Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Detroit Lions, Chicago Bears
East: New York Giants, Washington Commanders, Philadelphia Eagles, Carolina Panthers
South: Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
West: Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Rams, Arizona Cardinals
Breaking up some of the rivalries would actually make them more important when they happen
Now some people will get mad because you’re ending the Cowboys’ feud with the East and the Ravens’ feud with the North, but the shakeup could be good for the game. Making the times the Ravens and Browns clash matter even more.
Yet, what if we got a bit crazier with the divisional re-alignment and focused more on the geographical re-alignment? I’d want to create eight distinct divisions based on proximity and closeness over anything else.
First, we’d have the Pacific Division; that’s pretty easy. Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles Rams, and the Las Angeles Chargers.
Then we’d have the North, Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay Packers, Detroit Lions, and Chicago Bears. So nothing really changes there.
Then we’d have the Midwest Division or Ohio Valley; Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals, and the Indianapolis Colts.
Then we’d have the North East Division; with the New England Patriots, New York Jets, New York Giants, and the Buffalo Bills.
Then we’d have the Atlantic Coastal Division; Philadelphia Eagles, Baltimore Ravens, Washington Commanders, and Carolina Panthers.
Up next is the South East Division; the Atlanta Falcons, Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The hardest division to fit is the Gulf Division; with the Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans, New Orlean Saints, and the Tennessee Titans (who sadly don’t fit anywhere)
The last is the Rocky Mountain Division; with the Las Vegas Raiders, the Arizona Cardinals, the Denver Broncos, and the Kansas City Chiefs.
You’d do away with the AFC/NFC conferences and make it West vs. East, making the West the Pacific Division, the Rocky Mountain Division, The Gulf Division, and the North, while the East would be the Midwest Division, the North East, the Gulf Division and the South East Division.
This would freshen up matchups, cut down on travel time, and create new points of entry for fans to get into the game. It worked for the NHL, so why not give it a go?
Plus, it’d be nice to not have to deal with the Steelers, Ravens, and Bengals six times a year; right?