NFL in Los Angeles Realignment

Rumors are that if the Chargers and Raiders both moved to Los Angeles that one of them would have to change conferences and divisions. This makes a lot of sense. Any easy plan would be to flip the Seahawks (who were once an AFC team), Rams, 49ers or Cardinals to the AFC for one of the LA teams. Flipping the 49ers to the AFC for the Chargers creates the opportunity for the Niners to play the Raiders twice a year. But there is no fun in something that simple when the divisions already have geographical problems, so let’s flip it all on it’s head.

Denotes team changed divisions
Denotes team changed conferences

AFC East

  • New England
  • New York Jets
  • Buffalo Bills
  • Baltimore Ravens

Not a ton to change here. Miami is out (more on them later) and Baltimore is added. This is just first example of something that makes a lot more geographic sense. Sure Baltimore could supposedly have a rivalry with the Browns, but technically neither team has existed together for very long. Things only get crazier from here.

NFC East

  • New York Giants
  • Philadelphia Eagles
  • Washington Redskins
  • Carolina Panthers

Dallas was kept in the NFC East all those years just for the rivalry factor. This made little geographic sense, and I am sure it will offend some old-time fans, but that’s life. Fans will get over it just like they get over everything else. Carolina makes a lot more sense in this group than Dallas, that seems pretty obvious.

AFC South

  • Miami
  • Jacksonville
  • Tampa Bay
  • Atlanta Falcons

With one of the LA teams moving to the NFC, it meant that someone had to move to the AFC too. I ended swapping two teams from each conference. This is one of the most changed divisions in this plan. Two teams move from the NFC South to the AFC version, and Miami slides over from the AFC East. This makes a ton of sense, putting all three Florida teams in the same division and creating natural rivalry in the state. Atlanta has been in the NFC forever, but keeping them with Tampa Bay makes some sense.

NFC Central (formerly South)

  • New Orleans
  • St. Louis
  • Minnesota
  • Dallas

This is as crazy as things get. First off the division has been renamed from South to Central thanks to the addition of Minnesota. These cities are all relatively close to each other north/south-wise, and they are the NFC teams that make the least sense other places. Dallas doesn’t need to be kept with their rivalries, and based on recent history they might fare better in this division.

NFC North

  • Detroit
  • Indianapolis
  • Chicago
  • Green Bay

This division remains mostly intact. I am sure as a Bears fan I will sound like a homer, so I am open to changing whatever. Detroit could make sense somewhere else. Moving Indianapolis doesn’t seem that controversial. Tennessee was the only team in the AFC South they were close to, and I never saw that being much of a rivalry.

AFC North

  • Cincinnati
  • Cleveland
  • Pittsburgh
  • Tennessee

Some would say that historically Tennessee is a “southern” state, but geographically they didn’t make sense with Houston and Jacksonville. Baltimore has the ties to this division from the Cleveland days, but we are killing tradition all over the place.

AFC West

  • Kansas City
  • Denver
  • Houston
  • Los Angeles Chargers

Moving the Raiders out means that someone has to come in. Houston is the western most team not in a western division. It makes sense to add them, particularly since they are a newer franchise.

NFC West

  • San Francisco
  • Seattle
  • Arizona
  • Los Angeles Raiders

As I said earlier, moving the Raiders makes a little sense so that the Bay Area Raider fans can see their team close to home once per year, and the ones that are mad can have a rivalry with their former team.

This is all pretty radical. I doubt the Roger Goodell NFL is going to do anything this crazy. Most likely it will be far less radical and the teams that move will get well compensated. A simple swap of, ironically, the Rams with one of the Los Angeles teams seems most likely.