When the NFL added two divisions — and weakened the AFC West

Discussion in 'Tennessee Titans and NFL Talk' started by Pro Football Talk, May 22, 2014.

  1. Pro Football Talk

    Pro Football Talk Titans News


    Thirteen years ago Thursday, NFL owners unanimously approved multiple changes to the league’s divisional structure, a move made logical with the addition of a 32nd team — the Houston Texans — on tap for 2002.

    Among other changes, a South division was added to each conference, and teams were shuffled about to make eight four-team divisions. The Central divisions were rebranded as North divisions, with the southern most members of the old Central (Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, Tennessee) all moving to the South pods.

    Yes, younger football fans, there was a time when it was just, well, accepted that Tampa Bay played in a division with Chicago, Detroit, Minnesota and Green Bay. That was the deal. The Buccaneers wore orange, the Lions wore Honolulu blue, and the green carpet-like substance was AstroTurf.

    Anyways, in all of the divisional realignment to begin this century, only one team — Seattle — changed conferences, moving from the AFC West to the NFC West.

    To this point, the Seahawks’ move has strengthened the NFC West and weakened the AFC West. Since 2002, the Seahawks have made the postseason eight times, winning nine playoff games. In that same span, the AFC West’s members (Denver, Kansas City, Oakland, San Diego) have combined to win 10 postseason games. Moreover, the AFC West is the only division not to produce a Super Bowl winner since the 2002 realignment.

    For those nostalgic about the NFL’s six-division days of yore, below is a listing of the divisions in 2001 — and the subsequent moves made to realign them.


    Old divisions:

    Eastern: New England, Miami, N.Y. Jets, Indianapolis, Buffalo.

    Central: Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Cleveland, Tennessee, Jacksonville, Cincinnati.

    Western: Oakland, Seattle, Denver, Kansas City, San Diego.

    Realignment outcomes:

    Indianapolis shifted from the AFC East to the AFC South.

    Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Pittsburgh became members of the AFC North.

    Houston, upon beginning play in 2002, became a member of the AFC South.

    Jacksonville shifted from the AFC Central to the AFC South.

    Tennessee shifted from the AFC Central to the AFC South.

    Seattle moved from the AFC West to the NFC West.


    Old divisions:

    Eastern: Philadelphia, Washington, N.Y. Giants, Arizona, Dallas.

    Central: Chicago, Green Bay, Tampa Bay, Minnesota, Detroit.

    Western: St. Louis, San Francisco, New Orleans, Atlanta, Carolina.

    Realignment outcomes:

    Arizona moved from the NFC East to the NFC West.

    Tampa Bay moved from the NFC Central to the NFC South.

    Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay and Minnesota formed the NFC North.

    New Orleans, Carolina and Atlanta moved from the NFC West to the NFC South.

  2. RockyTop Fox

    RockyTop Fox Offensive Coordinator

    Thanks for the history lesson Gramps.
  3. The Hammer

    The Hammer Problematic AF

    Those old divisions were so ridiculous. They were made fun of so bad. Phoenix (What they were called back then) in the East, Atlanta and Carolina in the West.
  4. GoT

    GoT Strength and Honor Tip Jar Donor

    off the top of my head is a bad one that is left but there is zero chance of a correction

    Dallas in the NFCE

    they will stay there no matter what
  5. Fry

    Fry Welcome to the land of tomorrow!

    AFC Central was awesome. Too bad we lost all those rivalry games with the Ravens and Steelers.

    **** the Texans.
    • High Five High Five x 6
  6. 615nick

    615nick Starter

    I like the way it is now, mainly because there are the same amount of.teams in each division. But I wonder what the plan is when the expand the field again.
  7. GTFO my pancakz

    GTFO my pancakz S.D.M.F.

    The league should be left alone. Expanding will only hurt the quality.
    • High Five High Five x 1
  8. 615nick

    615nick Starter

    But I think it's inevitable. They will expand the league, to either more cities in the us or into foreign countries. They might even start up a d-league, who knows. american football generates a lot of money and there is a lot of money still not tapped into.

    People said the same thing about expansion years ago, now it's all quieted down. The same would.happen if they expanded again. There are a lot of good football players out there that end up selling cars or whatever. They could find a place for them and in time nobody would notice any kind of drop off in quality.
  9. TitansWrath

    TitansWrath Pro Bowler


    The shortage of QB is the bottleneck. Expansion would create an nba like situatuion where you either have a stud, or are irrelevant.

    If they changed the rules back to make defense and running more viable means of winning, maybe.
    • High Five High Five x 2
  10. GTFO my pancakz

    GTFO my pancakz S.D.M.F.

    I know. Money always seems to find a way of destroying everything. Everything is exploited.
    • High Five High Five x 1
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