Dallas, Texas is not an eastern city.
Geographically speaking, the great state of Texas is located in the south, right? And because Texas is so freakin’ big, it also pushes into the west as well. Texas is synonymous with the wild west. Now, in turn, Dallas, being a city in Texas, would be a southern or at least a western city, right? I mean, if we want to get technical, splitting the United states in to regions, Texas is in the Southwest region. This geography lesson leads me to 2 questions: 1-What are the Dallas Cowboys doing in the NFC East? 2-Am I the only one who cares?
The answer to question 2 is: Probably. The answer to question 1 is: It’s weeks to the OTA’s and I’m bored and there actually is a reason the Cowboys are in the East.
Of the major sports leagues, the alignment of the MLB and NBA conferences and divisions seem to match up pretty well geographically. The NFL has a few teams out of place and the NHL is a complete mess (geographically anyway). Since I’m not concerned with Hockey, lets take a closer look at the NFL alignment.
We always just accepted the fact that the Dallas Cowboys played in the Eastern division, and we still do for the most part. But what would the league look like with a little re-aligning? Where would the Dallas Cowboys fit best? The NFL had a couple chances to put each team where it belonged, first when it merged with the AFL and then when the league expanded and created 4 divisions in each conference. The current team alignment looks like this:
East: Dallas Cowboys – Philidephia Eagles – Washington Redskins – New York Giants
South: New Orleans Saints – Atlanta Falcons – Carolina Panthers – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
West: San Francisco 49ers – Arizona Cardinals – Seattle Seahawks – St Louis Rams
North: Green Bay Packers – Detroit Lions – Chicago Bears – Minnesota Vikings
East: New England Patriots – New York Jets – Miami Dolphins – Buffalo Bills
South: Houston Texans – Tennessee Titans – Jacksonville Jaguars – Indianapolis Colts
West: Denver Broncos – San Diego Chargers – Oakland Raiders – Kansas City Chiefs
North: Baltimore Ravens – Pittsburgh Steelers – Cincinnati Bengals – Cleveland Browns
The 3 teams that stand out the most as not belonging in their divisions geographically are the Miami Dolphins, the St Louis Rams and the Dallas Cowboys. Clearly, it would make more sense to put the Miami Dolphins in the AFC South and the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC West, but where do the St Louis Rams fit? As a matter of fact, while I’m at it, the Indianapolis Colts should not be in the South while the Baltimore Ravens should be in the East.
The AFC would actually be in geographic alignment if we moved 3 teams: The Colts to the AFC North – Ravens to the AFC East – Dolphins to the AFC South. This would not only make more sense, but would be cheaper to travel within the divisions.
The NFC is not as easy, even though only 2 teams are out of geographic alignment, the Dallas Cowboys and the St Louis Rams, the Rams don’t clearly fit. If you put the Rams in the NFC South, where they belong geographically, the divisions are lopsided. It is kind of fitting that the Rams don’t fit because they started out in Cleveland, then went to Los Angeles before ending up in St Louis. The only re-alignment that makes sense would be to put the Rams in the NFC East and our Dallas Cowboys in the NFC West, where the Cowboys would be re-united with the Cardinals, formerly of St Louis and the NFC East. (which also made no sense).
So why are the Cowboys in the NFC East anyway? We have to go back to what the NFL divisions looked like back in 1967. The Dallas Cowboys were still in the same division as the Washington Redskins and the Philadelphia Eagles but instead of the New York Giants, it was the New Orleans Saints and the division was called the Capital division. Oddly, that made more sense, because they didn’t associate the division with a geographic region. The AFL made more sense as well, because they only had a West division and an East division and the Miami Dolphins were, in that format, an East coast team. (The AFL West never changed, even after the merger, its the same ‘west’ and same 4 teams – the NFC North has always had the same 4 teams as well only changing from ‘Central’ to ‘North’). When the NFL and AFL merged it looks like they got rid of what was the ‘Century’ division altogether and sent 2 of those 4 teams (Giants and Cardinals) to the ‘Capital’ division and changed the name to the ‘East’, then sent the other 2 teams (Steelers and Browns) to the AFC. Next, they moved the New Orleans Saints from the newly named NFC ‘East’ to the NFC ‘West’ where they stayed until the next re-alignment when they were moved to their proper geographic division, the NFC ‘South’. Follow?
The argument can be made that the NFL was trying to keep old rivalries in tacked, and that does have some merit. But once the changes start to occur, new rivalries are formed and old rivalry games need only be put on the schedule. Problems solved, travel money saved, if only the NFL had consulted me.
The NFL did not ask me my opinion, and our Dallas Cowboys remain in the NFC East. Besides, if the Cowboys were in the West, we would have to play the San Francisco 49ers twice a year and then possibly in the playoffs. I don’t think Tony Romo has enough ribs to go around for that scenario.
One more re-alignment I’d like to suggest – can I get some support to move the Philadelphia Eagles to the Canadian Football League?