Posted on: April 10, 2010 4:16 pm

Best NFL division since realignment?

Okay, it's time for me to get back to "repeating" topics issues... I know that people hate "spam" (or even the appearance of spam), so when I hit repeating topics it gets annoying.. so instead, just write it in the blog and then point people to the blog posting.  Makes more sense right?

So one of the latest topics has been... what has been the best division in the NFL?    So I figured that since the realignment, we have to take the modern layout of the NFL... so in the past 8 years, who is the best?   Let's take al look...

Now as for how you rate divisions, you have to look at a few factors.  YOu could include wins and losses, but then every division is going to hit a snag, as every team could be hit/hurt by the 6 internal conference games... plus with certain teams ending up dominating their division, they only match up with certain teams repeatedly  (see NE - Indy).

So obviously the first criteria is super Bowl wins...

Super Bowl Wins:       
1          NFC-South, AFC South,  AFC-North:    2
4         NFC-East,  AFC-East                        1
6         AFC-West, NFC-North, NFC-West:     0

So at first glance, the super bowl wins we hav a tie for 1st.   Until you remember we're talking about divisions and not teams.
Super Bowl Winning Teams:
1          NFC-South:                                                     2
2          AFC-East, AFC-North, NFC-East, AFC-South        1
6          AFC-West, NFC-North, NFC-West:                      0

Now let's go to the 2nd level:   Super Bowl Vists.    Yes, there will be some overlap (You have to visit the SB to win it, right?)
1         NFC-South,  AFC-East                                        3
3         NFC-East, AFC-South,  AFC-North, NFC-West:      2
7         AFC-North,  AFC-West                                        1

So if you look at things so far:     The NFC-South holds an edge over the AFC-east by a "point" in the rankings

NFC-South (3),  AFC-East(4), AFC-North(6) AFC-South(6),   NFC-East(9),  NFC-West(15), NFC-North(19), AFC-West(19)

Now much like the SB, let's see how many different teams we've had go to the Super Bowl.
1        NFC-S:                                                      3
2        NFC-East, NFC-West:                                  2
4        AFC-East, AFC-South, AFC-North               
          NFC-North, AFC-West:                                1

Hm... changes thinks up a bit.   Note that of the AFc-East 3 SB visits, they've all been by one team....

NFC-South(4), AFC-East(8), AFC-north(10), AFC-South(10), NFC-East(11), NFC-West(19), NFC-North(23), AFC-West(23)

So after looking at the Super Bowl situations, we'll say that division wise, the NFC-SOuth is currently the best.  But let's just be certain by checking what I consider the final key that makes the difference, as I see it.. The Conference Championship Game.   Now you may ask why don't you include the playoffs overall?    Outside of the #5 or #6 team, every division is guaranteed one team in the playoffs, no matter how good/bad they are overall, which could skew a balanced look at "all" divisions (the NFC-West for instance, usually sent a bad team to the playoffs, while a wildcard from another division had a better record.)

If the #5 or #6 team can get that far in the playoffs, then they'll earn their shot at the Championship game.   (This is probably your strongest argument against these rankings.. but they're my rankings so .. NYAH!  *hehe*)

Championship Game Wins have obviously been decided by the Super Bowl appearances.. hey, you had to win the championship game to get to the Super Bowl, so actually we can jump that category and go straight to championship game appearances...

1        NFC-South                                                6
2        AFC-East, NFC-East:                                  5
4        AFC-North, AFC-South:                              4
6       NFC-North, AFC-West:                               3
8        NFC-West                                                 2

So again, the NFC-South division has the most championship game appearances....

NFC-South(5), AFC-East(10), NFC-East(13), AFC-North(14), AFC-SOuth(14), NFC-West(27), NFC-North(29), AFC-West(29)

SO the NFC-SOuth has had more visits to the NFC-Championship game than any other division.   But let's just keep up with the criteria and make sure the stats aren't skewed toward one team:

Number of teams that have gone to the Championship Game:
1          NFC-South                                             4  (the only division to send every team to the NFCCG at least once)
2          NFC-North, AFC-West:                            3
4         NFC-East, AFC-East, AFC-South
7          NFC-West,AFC-North                              2

So our grand totals:

NFC-South (6), AFC-East(14), NFC-East(14), AFC-North(16), AFC-SOuth(16), NFC-North(31), AFC-West(31), NFC-West(34)

Now i'll admit these are just down and dirty numbers.  For instance the NFC-N and AFC-W get a better grade than the NFC-West, only because they have more teams get to the Championship Games, even though the NFC-West has sent more teams to the Super Bowl.    In other words, with the limited data, the NFC-West is more likely to win the NFC-Championship game if they get there, but the NFC-North and  AFC-West sent more teams to their respective championship games.

So there you have it...   While New England and Pittsburgh for instance is obviously heads and shoulders above the rest of the league, they need teams from within their own division to step up and add to their numbers to help give them some improvement division-wise.


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com