Since the NFL seems dead set on expanding and making the league more global, I thought I would give my take on how to do it right. I think that, for a long time now, the league has needed to redo their divisions and leagues. It’s not like baseball in which there is a DH and non-DH league which you could not mess with. Any of the 32 teams could be NFC teams or AFC teams. They are all NFL now, there is no chance of the two leagues splitting up. My suggestion would be to expand out to 36 teams, adding teams in Mexico City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles (because they’re already building a new stadium there), and London (since this is the direction it’s all going.)
See Divisions at Bottom
I know that some teams (Dallas and Kansas City for sure) will ultimately be quite upset about some of the decisions made here because of rivalries lost, but some things had to be done. You will see that I try to address these as best I can.
There are now 9 teams per division, so each team could play 2 games a season against each division foe and have a 16 games schedule. If that is the case, the way I would remedy the rivals situation would be to (in the final week of the season) each team play a rival (it could be different each year, for example: Dallas could play Washington and NY Giants in alternating seasons.) Another option would be to play two rival games per year. This would be a 17 or 18-game schedule, but I think that the NFL will be expanding schedules sometime in the near future anyway. Football is the shortest season out of every professional sport in any case, and they play way less games.
The other option would be to play each team in your division once, play every team in one other division each year, with those games rotating year in and year out, once every three years (at home once, then away the next time.) I would add a similar “rival game” in the last game of the year in that case, to make it an 18-game schedule once again. (I like even numbers.)
I would say that the top three teams in each division make the playoffs, thus leaving 12 playoff teams; however, that would take away from the wild card concept. It might be more practical to let the top 2 teams in each division into the playoffs; and then allow the wild card to come down to the best 4 teams in the entire league that aren’t already in the top two in their division.
I do not know if the players’ association would go for it, but with such an expansive expansion (11% of the league as new teams) I would love to see all the players go into a draft. That wouldn’t happen, however, so I wouldn’t mind seeing the four expansion teams going through the same process as the other expansion teams, but then giving those 4 teams first shot at all the free agents (say, a week to discuss deals with them before any other team is allowed to make contact.)
My New Divisions
Las Vegas _____
Los Angeles _____
Mexico City _____
New York Jets