NFC South A "Quarterbacks" Division

In this PFT story on the Panthers requesting additional game footage on Cam Newton from Blinn College, there's a note on the bottom I'd like to share:

Fueling our own belief that the Panthers will be inclined to take Newton is the fact that G.M. Marty Hurney, who joined PFT Live on Friday, realizes that the NFC South contains three very strong quarterbacks in Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, and Josh Freeman. When Hurney was talking about what he calls a “quarterbacks division,” I got a very strong sense that the Panthers believe that, in order to be competitive, they need a franchise quarterback of their own.

Now, let's ignore the fact that every division in the NFL is actually a "quarterbacks division", since that's the most important position on the field. But let's try and come up with a name for each division based upon the most talented foursome at one spot in their division. I'll start -- the NFC West is a kickers division.

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68 comments, Last at 26 Apr 2011, 10:35pm

1 Re: NFC South A "Quarterbacks" Division

A few years ago the NFC East would have been the Coaches division, with Coughlin, Parcells, Gibbs, and Reid.

Now it's maybe a pass rusher division, with Trent Cole, DeMarcus Ware, Brian Orakpo, and Justin Tuck.

The NFC east could also be the fan's division, I suppose, as it probably has the largest cumulative fanbase in the NFL (edging out the NFC North, due to Detroit).

6 Re: NFC South A "Quarterbacks" Division

Good call. Pass rusher division was what came to mind first here as well. Maybe turning into a receivers division though with Jackson/Maclin, Nicks/Smith, Austin/Bryant, and, well, Armstrong looked good at times. Tight ends are pretty good across the board, too, with Witten, Cooley, Celek, and Boss.

10 Re: NFC South A "Quarterbacks" Division

Considering the Lions 55 year streak of futility, their fanbase has a die-hard nature rivaled only perhaps by the baseball Cubs. The Lions still sell a majority of their tickets, get decent ratings, and have never been at threat of moving. It's perhaps the most patient fanbase in football, and every fan of a conceivably fair-weather nature was trimmed a decade ago. Other franchises should be so lucky. LA won't even support a winner.

2 AFC North

I defy anyone to come up with an apt "XXX Division" title for a division that contains the Steelers and Ravens, and also the Bengals and Browns.

8 Re: AFC North

In reply to by djanyreason

Which one else could be the Linebacker Division? Even the Bengals have good ones nowadays, and whomever the Browns do or do not have (I cannot name a single one), the Steelers and Ravens can make up for it.

14 Re: AFC North

In reply to by bengt (not verified)

Yeah, the Browns hurts you there, because of the atrocity that is their LB corps. Scott Fujita as 3-4 edge rusher and Nick Gocong as ILB are not exactly sterling credentials.

21 Re: AFC North

In reply to by bengt (not verified)

Who are the Bengals good linebackers again? Maualuga, who had a disappointing second year? Rivers who has been a bust. Old ass Dhani Jones and his bow ties?

30 Re: AFC North

In reply to by Bobby Wommack (not verified)

I was thinking of Maualuga and Rivers.
Players who, in your opinion, 'had a disappointing second year' or 'have been a bust', at least in relation to their high draft position, can nevertheless be good. Everything is relative.

44 Re: AFC North

In reply to by bengt (not verified)

So the Not That Bad Linebacker Division?

15 Re: AFC North

In reply to by djanyreason

Assuming the Browns draft AJ Green, it could be a WR division.

42 Re: AFC North

In reply to by djanyreason

Pretty sure that division has had more arrests than any other?

53 Re: AFC North

In reply to by djanyreason

Is there anything, positive for that matter, that would fit the browies?

58 Re: AFC North

In reply to by Theo

That offensive line is pretty beastly. 4th in power success, lowest percentage of stuffs in the league, helped Peyton Hillis play like an All Pro. Joe Thomas, in particular, is awesome. If there were a great big fantasy draft of every player in the NFL, Thomas would likely be a top 10 pick.

Also, Cribbs had a down year, but you still have to think he's one of the top return guys in the league. It really comes down to him or Hester, imo.

56 Re: AFC North

In reply to by djanyreason

Each team has a decent RB: Mendenhall, Rice, Hillis, Benson.
Or how about centers: Pouncey and Birk have made Pro Bowls. Mack was a 1st rounder, and Cook is at least above average.

65 Re: AFC North

In reply to by rk (not verified)

The only problem with RBs is that, as discussed below, while they are undoubtedly very good they're not as good as the AFC South's.

3 NFC North

NFC North is tough. There's Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, but not much else. There's Adrian Peterson at running back, but not much else. Due to the Bears and the Vikings, offensive line won't be an option. Due to the Lions and the Bears, cornerback won't be an option. The best you can do is have three of the four teams well-represented, although that's the case with NFC South "quarterback division."

For my money, NFC North is the defensive tackle position (MIN K. Williams, DET Suh, GB Raji) although there are arguments to be made for linebacker (GB Matthews, CHI Urlacher/Briggs, MIN Greenway) and returner (CHI Hester, MIN Harvin, DET Logan).

36 Re: NFC North

In reply to by Birdman (not verified)

How about the Black and Blue Division? An oldie, but still a goodie.

57 Re: NFC North

In reply to by Marko

I still like the "Norris Division."

60 Re: NFC North

In reply to by Michael (not verified)

Why referencing hockey makes sense for the NFC North, I have no idea. I hate Chris Berman for doing that. No, we don't care about the CFL, and no, we don't want hockey mixed up in our football. Thanks.

Black & Blue feels right; GB, Chicago, Minnesota and Detroit have all been defined by strong defenses with below-average to good offenses at times. Well, okay, Detroit's been defined by futility.

If you want to go with what you need to compete in a given division, for the North you need weather beaters. You need players who can play in the elements, particularly if you're Chicago or GB. That might mean strong RB play, or it might mean strong QB arms, or whatever - but that's what it takes.

61 Re: NFC North

In reply to by Kal

Why referencing hockey makes sense for the NFC North, I have no idea.

A couple reasons:

1. The Norris Division also had teams in Detroit, Chicago, and Minnesota (also Toronto and St. Louis).

2. The NFC North teams are all former NFC Central teams, and both the NFC Central and the Norris were considered the weak divisions in the 1980's, when Berman popularized the comparison.

62 Re: NFC North

In reply to by Kal

I always considered that to be one of Bermans more clever nicknames. It's not quite "The Bay of Pigs," but it's close. Besides, I'd MUCH rather have him dropping hockey references than baseball or soccer.

4 AFC South

Running Backs Division

Three of top backs in the league last year. Arian Foster, MJD, Chris Johnson. Texans also have 2010 speed score winner Ben Tate coming back next year.

Ironically, the Colts have dominated this division for years and it has been at least five years by my reckoning since they have had even a decent running attack.

The other name would be the offensive division since the defenses of the Texans and Jags are offensive.

9 Re: AFC South

In reply to by battlered90 (not verified)

Agreed. While the Texans and Jags are the worst by far, all 4 secondaries seem week to me

22 Re: AFC South

In reply to by jbrown (not verified)

That's it: AFC South: No Pass Defense Division. Colts best at #13 last year. Jags, Titans, and Texans all in bottom 5.

33 Re: AFC South

In reply to by graywh

Why not just the RB division? 4 teams, and 3 of the top 4 RBs in the league. What other division is even in the running for "RB division"?

54 Re: AFC South

In reply to by tuluse

The North's running backs are very good, but definitely not as good as the South's. The East certainly has a lot of running backs, but Ronnie Brown is the only one who could plausibly be called elite, and that requires a great big flashing "when healthy" caveat.

59 Re: AFC South

In reply to by Mr Shush

LdT just had a resurgence which is what made me think of them.

64 Re: AFC South

In reply to by tuluse

He was properly healthy for the first time in a while and had a notable comeback season, but he was still a good committee back (a species with which the AFC East is stuffed to the gills) rather than the dominating feature back of old.

20 Re: AFC South

In reply to by battlered90 (not verified)

Joe Addai is very decent. I don't think there is much if anything to argue about about that; he's good at all the basic RB skills (pass pro, finishing play action, receiving), and has so-so burst and tries to fall forward.

He's not a great running back, but he's a perfect role player for the Colts. You can't call this a running division with the pass happy Colts and Texans, though.

39 Re: AFC South

In reply to by commissionerleaf

Texans have the league leading rusher last year BTW. This is where you say yeah but still.

5 Re: NFC South A "Quarterbacks" Division

I'd say that the NFC North right now would be the D-Line Division. With lines headed by Kevin Williams, BJ Raji, Ndomukong Suh, and Julius Peppers, those are some large and talented men to be staring across the pigskin at you, Mr. QB.

If Stafford stays healthy and the Vikings ever draft a good one, it could be an even better QB division than the NFC South - four young and talented tossers could make for a very competitive division.

7 AFC South

Running backs in Arian Foster, MJD & Chris Johnson. The Colts make this division tough to peg. Cheap, disposable LB'ers maybe? Bad safeties?

12 Re: NFC South A "Quarterbacks" Division

AFC South should be Single Running Back division
AFC West should be Two-Headed Monster division (Charles/Jones, McFadden/Bush, Tolbert/Mathews)

13 Re: NFC South A "Quarterbacks" Division

AFC East: Shenanigans division? There's the Jets punter, the Wildcat and Belichik's bold decision-making. Also, the Bills are a shenanigan in and of themselves.

40 Re: NFC South A "Quarterbacks" Division

I was going to say the AFC East could be the "Chip on my shoulder" Division, as every team seems to feel like the world is against them and has a siege mentality to get them to win. But then I remembered that the Bills don't seem to care about winning.

Here's my very poor attempts:

AFC East - The Dirty/Lying Staff division (Spygate, the Jets Special Team Coach, Stephen Ross, Buddy Nix [who admittedly says that everything he says about the draft is a lie, which makes him seem quite nice])

AFC North - The Dirty Players Division

AFC South - The Blue Division (every team has at least some blue on their uniform. Shut up teal.)

AFC West - The Possibly Insane Owners/Staff Division (AJ Smith, Todd Haley, Al make this. It would work better if McDaniels was still there)

NFC East - The Dull Colour Schemes Division. Green, Blue, Red and White.

NFC North - The Old Fashioned Uniforms Division (all have uniforms which have hardly been updated at all since about the 70s or 80s [I think]).

NFC South - The Sunshine Division (for some reason when I picture these teams playing its always sunny. Even for the Saints, indoors).

NFC West - The Airmiles Division.

19 Re: NFC South A "Quarterbacks" Division

AFC West would probably have to be a WR1 division. Vincent Jackson, Dwayne Bowe, and Brandon Lloyd.

Sadly, there doesn't appear to be another position where three teams have good starters. Quarterback might be the second choice: There's one fantastic QB, two average ones, and a below-average one. (That's if we count Orton as the Broncos' QB.)

Note: Other people would probably want to pick CB1, with Flowers, Bailey, and Routt.

51 Re: NFC South A "Quarterbacks" Division

The fact that the AFC West is now the "Punter Division" makes me wistfully long for a return to 2002, when LaDainian Tomlinson had nearly 2200 yards from scrimmage and 15 TDs... and still had the worst season of any starting RB in the division (Tomlinson averaged "only" 4.5 ypc, while Portis had 1900 YFS, 17 TDs, and an amazing 5.5 ypc average, Garner had 1900 YFS, 11 TDs, 5.3 yards per carry, and ranked in the top 3 in both rushing and receiving DYAR, and Priest Holmes led the league in YFS, scoring, and rushing DYAR, while finishing second in receiving DYAR).

That's probably the most dominant one division has been at one position in NFL history. Ricky Williams had a huge year, too, but 4 of the top 5 players at RB that year were in the AFC West.

52 Re: NFC South A "Quarterbacks" Division

Although, if "Punters Division" gets too depressing, we could always fall back on the "Rivalries Division" thing. The AFC West represents the four teams who have been in the same division for the longest time. All four teams were founding members of the AFL's West division in 1960 (although the KC Chiefs were the Dallas Texans at the time, and the Chargers were in LA), and that same foursome has been playing divisional games continuously ever since. The Vikings didn't join the Bears/Lions/Packers/Vikings foursome until one year later, in 1961 (and even then, they were just 4 members of a 7-team division). The Dolphins joined the Bills/Dolphins/Jets/Patriots quartet in 1965, the Giants joined the Cowboys/Eagles/Giants/Redskins foursome in 1970, and all of the other divisions are hodgepodges with very short histories (the current AFC North foursome has been playing each other since 1999, although the whole Ravens/Browns dynamic makes for an interesting history, while the AFC South, NFC West, and NFC South didn't form until the last conference realignment in 2002).

26 Re: NFC South A "Quarterbacks" Division

As a Saints fan, I HAVE TO defend the name for the division. *If* the Panthers take a QB, *and* have him start, Drew Brees would be the lowest drafted QB in the division. But my worry is this--say Newton or Gabbert ends up playing great--do you realize that in 4 or 5 years, Brees could be the WORST! QB in the division!!! (Admittedly, this is a shaky scenario. But the Panthers have a reasonably good team with a Grand-Canyon-sized hole of suckitude at QB. Average QB play would make them a 6-10 or 7-9 team. Considering that the Falcons won 13, the Saints 11, and the Bucs 10 last year, a rebound by the Panthers would make this the toughest or 2nd toughest in football.)

29 Re: NFC South A "Quarterbacks" Division

I think you can make a reasonable argument that the NFC South is the best "three out of four" QB division in the league at this point. As for "if you take a QB and he's great", you can also theorize that Cutler plays well, Matthew Stafford stops hurting himself at every step, and the Vikings draft Jake Locker and he turns into the synthesis of Manning and Brady, finally resolving that conflict once and for all.

Assuming Freeman plays vaguely as well as he did late last year (and as an admitted Bucs and/or Freeman fanboy, I think he will), he, Ryan, and Brees are really an impressive run of QBs. That being said, I'm not sure how else you'd name the NFC South after players, as there's no other vaguely impressive position across the division. I guess if you take last year's Roddy White, Colston from a few years ago, Steve Smith from a few before that, and hopefully Mike Williams next year, it's the WR Division.

32 Re: NFC South A "Quarterbacks" Division

Arguably it could be the offensive line division. The Saints and the Falcons have pretty good lines, the Panthers line was destroying people in the running game the last time it was healthy. I haven't really seen enough of the Bucs to talk about theirs though.

Also, every team but the Bucs has good (if injury prone) running backs.

The Bucs are just the black sheep of this division ;).

37 Re: NFC South A "Quarterbacks" Division

The NFC West is hard to do. Lots of divisions have three teams with good players at one position and one team with nothing, but the West is the reverse, they have about one team per position with a good player.

I like RB for the AFC South, although Arians Foster might be a one year wonder.

I like wide receiver better than d-line for the NFC North. I don't like lumping DE's and DT's together, which is what you have to do to argue that. Greg Jennings, Calvin Johnson, and Sydney Rice (or Percy Harvin since Rice wasn't around last year) all had great seasons recently, and the Bears even have a great player who is also coincidentally a wide receiver in Devin Hester.

38 Re: NFC South A "Quarterbacks" Division

No, wait, I've got one: 'The Division with Arizona, St Louis, Seattle and San Fransisco In'.

Or: 'The Division Where Most of the Cities Start with an S'? Or, even better, 'The Division with the Most Coherence in initial Letter of City.'

I'm on a roll.

41 Re: NFC South A "Quarterbacks" Division

Oooh, the NFC West could be "The Successful division". 3 of the 4 teams have been in the Superbowl in the last 10 years (only the NFC South can also say that) and the team that hasn't (49ers) have won 5 of them (is it 5?) (whereas the NFC South's other team is the Falcons).

The AFC South could be the Expansion/Relocation Division, as all teams are relatively recently expansion teams or relocations (this might be stretching it - when did the Colts move?)

47 Re: NFC South A "Quarterbacks" Division

Kind of cherry picking. That says more that the division hasn't had one dominant team in the last ten years than that the division is really good, since every division gets a guaranteed playoff birth, and one in you only need one lucky streak to make the SB.

The NFCW has been represented in the SB 3 times in 10 years.

Here are the other division:

AFCE: 4 (New England all four times)
AFCS: 2 (Indy both times)
AFCN: 3 (Pittsburgh all three times)

No AFC division has had multiple teams in a division represent in the SB recently because three teams (Indy, NE, and Pittsburgh) have dominated the decade.

Whereas the NFC hasn't had a single team have multiple SB appearances. That doesn't mean that the NFC is better than the AFC, although to use your logic it would.

46 Re: NFC South A "Quarterbacks" Division

Seriously, though, AFCE is a really tough division to do for real.

Coach: One good, one loud, two meh
QB: 1 good, 1 Sanchize, and...chopped liver?
RB: Some good ones, but unfortunately, they both play for Miami
OLine: NE and NYJ both have really good ones, but the other two...
TE: Nope.
WR: Doesn't quite fit
DLine: Buffalo has to go and screw this one up
LB: Not remarkable
CB: Maybe...but again, Buffalo is the problem
S: Miami screws this one up, I think.

48 Re: NFC South A "Quarterbacks" Division

NFC North is the pass rushing division (not DE).
Matthews + Peppers + Allen + Suh is better than Cole + Umeniora + Ware + Orakpo IMHO.

50 Re: NFC South A "Quarterbacks" Division

When Stafford suffers a dislocated hip in week 2 and they coax #4 out of retirement, the NFC North will become the Brett Favre DIvision.

- Alvaro

68 Re: NFC South A "Quarterbacks" Division

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