With the NFL season four months away and the NFL Draft still a month away, there is time to think about other topics around the league. One thing that has come to mind is the idea of what the NFL could do to realign their divisions. It isn’t something that is on the front burner but in this age of player safety and wanting to make travel as easy as possible, there is always the idea of moving some teams around.
There will always be teams that have to travel long distances no matter what like Seattle. However, there is no reason why the idea of having some fun with realignment wouldn’t hurt at this point of the offseason. The schedule would remain at 16 games but with this twist. The first place team in each division plays the other seven divisional winners the following season along with a rotation of playing the other three teams in a certain division and the normal home-and-home against the other three teams in their own division.
Here is how the newest realigned divisions would look like with the 32 teams in place right now. This doesn’t include the idea of teams moving or the league adding any teams and would eliminate the AFC and NFC with just eight standard divisions. The eight division winners would make the playoffs with six wild card teams since the NFL is heading towards 14 playoff teams anyway.
West: Seattle, Oakland, San Francisco, San Diego
Southwest: Arizona, Denver, Dallas, Houston
Southeast: New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Miami, Jacksonville
Mideast: Kansas City, St. Louis, Tennessee, Atlanta
North: Minnesota, Green Bay, Chicago, Indianapolis
Midwest: Detroit, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Pittsburgh
East: New England, NY Giants, NY Jets, Buffalo
South: Carolina, Baltimore, Washington, Philadelphia
There are some odd ones out there like Carolina in the South with three teams close to each other along with Atlanta in the Mideast with Kansas City and St. Louis. Those kinds of things are going to happen with realignment unfortunately. It is just something to think about as a conversation starter with the NFL offseason about to heat up again.
A sample schedule for the Super Bowl champion Seahawks would have the team playing their six divisional games along with games against Denver, New Orleans, Kansas City, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, New England and Carolina as each would have won their division using the team’s 2013 records and the other three teams in the Southwest Division. It would definitely bring a new dynamic to the game.