I admit I haven’t been following the NFL for a while, but what the *&$# with North and South divisions? Since when is there an NFC east, west, north and south?

When did this start? FTR I tried a google search but couldn’t find anything informative.

So, no more wild cards, right?

Last year was the first year of it. And now there’s the four division winners and two wild cards.

THe search term you needed was “NFL division realignment.” Wa-la

Thanks fellas, and thanks for the link paperbackwriter.

I confess I don’t know much about how they used to figure out the schedule, but the new scheme looks pretty cool.

You play home and away against each of the other 3 teams in your conference + division.

Each year all the teams in your division go up against (1) all the teams from another division from your conference (which division it is rotates every year), and (2) all the teams from another division from the other conference.

And you play the corresponding team from another division in your conference: i.e. the team that was 1st place in NFC West will play a pair of games with the 1st place from NFC North.

Actually, I guess this is more properly an IMHO, but I think it would be cooler if these pair of games were played against your opposite number in the other conference: NFC West #1 plays AFC West #1. I think it would play up the regional rivalry a little more.

This works a lot better than the previous system where they didn’t have the same number of teams in each division, so that each team can have the same number of division and non-division games. They tried to maintain some traditional rivalries, and solved (most) geographic idiosyncacies, like Arizona is no longer in the NFC East. It also created what could be some really good rivalries, like Carolina and Tampa Bay, plus Tennessee and Indianapolis.

Wa-la? Please, paperbackwriter, tell me that was intentional and that you don’t actually think that voila is spelled that way (especially if you are a writer!).

The new schedule system also no longer creates the incredibly easy schedule that fifth place teams used to get.

Ask the St. Louis Rams about that. They used that schedule as a springboard to getting to the Super Bowl.

Not that they didn’t deserve to win the Super Bowl, it’s just that they had a deceivingly good regular season record.

There’s always the fear with various scheduling arrangements that someone will “sneak into the championship.” This is also an argument against diluting the playoff system (as all pro leagues have done, some to a ridiculous extent (hello, NBA, NHL, as well as NCAA) by expanding playoff slots to generate more high-ratings playoff games, even at the expense of teams with sub-.500 records, or 60% of the league, getting into the post-season).

However . . . for all the problems caused by letting weak teams skate into the playoffs, at least in the NFL it appears that the really weak teams don’t get that far even if they do sneak into the postseason, and class eventually (more or less) outs. Only four (still true?) wild card teams have ever won their conference in 30 years, and only the 1980 Raiders have done both that and win the Super Bowl.

The 2000 Baltimore Ravens were a wild card team.

My recall was even worse than I thought after reading BobT’s correction.

Thank God the Bucs don’t have to play the Packers twice anym… ummm, I mean, being in the NFC South makes much more sense than the Central, you know, with Tampa being almost as southerly a team as you’ll find…

Yes, it was intentional. That was a bit of humor on my part. But, just to make up for it, viola! :cool: