This past week, the boys and I discovered a feature in Madden 08 that allows me to see my proposed divisional alignment for the NFL in “action”.
Using the “Franchise” feature, you can actually realign the divisions however you want to. I saw my golden opportunity to watch an NFL season unfold with rivalries like Buffalo-Cleveland, Buffalo-Pittsburgh, Baltimore-Washington, KC-St. Louis, and even Dallas-Houston.
Why wouldn’t divisions comprised of teams from cities that are actually in the same general region make more sense that a division where Miami and Buffalo are rivals, or the Dallas Cowboys play in the East, or St. Louis, Phoenix, and Seattle are all play each other twice?
I actually wrote a letter to Paul Tagliabue back when the league added Jacksonville and Carolina, suggesting to him that the old AFL and NFL allegiances were not as important as a division alignment that made geographical sense – and would create different (maybe better?) rivalries.
My favorite division is the Great Lakes division (or, I nick-named it the “Bus League”) which is home to Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit and Pittsburgh. Those cities are all really close to each other, meaning fans from every team could travel to all the away games! There is a sense of rivalry already on the rare occasions that Buffalo plays Cleveland… I’d imagine it would be the same if you throw Detroit in the mix, too.
Just for fun, here’s the list of what my NFL would look like with the current 32 teams in the league. Maybe some day we’ll get there…
Northeast: Chicago, New England (Boston), NY Giants, NY Jets
Coastal: Baltimore, Carolina, Philadelphia, Washington
Southeast: Atlanta, Jacksonville, Miami, Tampa Bay
Great Lakes (Midwest): Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit, Pittsburgh
Heartland (Midwest): Cincinnati, Indianapolis, New Orleans, Tennessee
South: Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, St. Louis
North: Denver, Green Bay, Minnesota, Seattle
West Coast: Arizona, Oakland, San Diego, San Francisco