|If the NFL expanded to 8 more teams, of course|
L.A. would get at least one of those teams.
If I expanded the NFL to eight more teams, who would I pick?
First off, let me just say that I'm not unsatisfied with the 32-team member league at all. I like the setup of the 32 teams in eight 4-team divisions. I love the schedule and the whole deal.
But, ya know, let's just say that it was going to happen. And you can't just add two or four teams, right? I wouldn't like the 1980s way of having two four team divisions while the other four had five teams. Let all the divisions have five teams.
So who would I pick to make a 40-team league? If any league could pull it off, it would be the NFL. Oh, and I may go a bit out there with my new league.
Now, how do I do this? In adding eight teams, should I make two new divisions of four teams? Or should I add a fifth team to each division. I'd rather do the latter, but it may be tough to do since I'm going a bit wild with some of my franchised cities. Also, I'm going to go on the naive premise that no one is relocating. I know that Los Angeles is trying to lure the Rams, Raiders or Chargers back to town but for this exercise, none of that is happening.
First, the cities I'd want to see teams in.
-LOS ANGELES: LA is going to get a team if the NFL has to buy the team themselves and run it. It will happen one way or another.
-LONDON: The NFL also seems hellbent on placing a team in London as well. I've been a bit torn on this since I'm not sure if London would truly support a team that was there all the time. These few games they get a season are event games that see people from all over Europe attending. Would that last with a permanent team? Which leads me to add ...
-FRANKFORT: If you are going to put one team in Europe, I think you should put a second team over there as well. Why Frankfort? Well, when NFL Europe was a thing, Germany really supported American Football. The Frankfort Galaxy drew very well and the league ended up with teams in Berlin, Cologne, Dusseldorf and Hamburg.
-SAN ANTONIO: San Antonio did a great job hosting the Saints during Hurricane Katrina, Texas is a football crazy state and they've long been the bridesmaid while other franchises use them as leverage for a new stadium.
-PORTLAND: Portland is a great town and certainly has the wherewithal to support an NFL team.
-TORONTO: If we were going to have some international flavor, Toronto deserves a team. They've hosted Bills games for a while now, football is popular in Canada and we Americans are used to having Toronto in our sports leagues (see: Maple Leafs, Blue Jays, Raptors).
-SALT LAKE CITY: I think this one is a no-brainer. Utah has been a great NBA area and football would seem to work just as well. Like I've always said, the NFL isn't like other sports where it is impossible to get free agents to go to smaller or less desirable markets.
-OKLAHOMA CITY: Same as SLC. The NBA has shown that this is a great sports town and they could certainly support an NFL franchise.
So there are my 8 teams. Cities like Mexico City, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Omaha and Boise just missed out. Again, I know this is quite a unique list, but I like it if the NFL really wanted to go large.
So how would the divisional makeup shake out? Well, I'm going for adding a fifth team to each division. I only moved one franchise out of their current division (the St. Louis Rams move from the NFC West to the NFC North).
NFC EAST: Dallas, Frankfort, NY Giants, Philadelphia, Washington
NFC SOUTH: Atlanta, Carolina, New Orleans, San Antonio, Tampa Bay
NFC NORTH: Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay, Minnesota, St. Louis
NFC WEST: Arizona, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Seattle
AFC EAST: Buffalo, London, Miami, New England, NY Jets
AFC SOUTH: Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Oklahoma City, Tennessee
AFC NORTH: Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Toronto
AFC WEST: Denver, Kansas City, Oakland, Portland, San Diego
I put the new Los Angeles team in the NFC for three main reasons. One, LA was more of an NFC city with the Rams being there longer than the Raiders ever were. Two, the AFC West already have two California teams while the NFC West had just one. Three, the Chargers are already in SoCal so I'd like to put the LA team in the other conference.
As for the two European teams, I would have rather stuck them in the same division. The AFC East was the one I really wanted to put them in, possibly moving the Dolphins to the South. I also thought about moving the Colts back to the AFC East and having the two European teams in the AFC South. But, I don't like the fact that it would force three teams to have to make two trips across the Atlantic every season while other teams won't have to at all. So, we'll split them up into the two conferences.
Both East divisions work well. The NFC East is filled with the wealthiest teams in the NFL and can deal with the logistics of playing across the pond each season. The AFC East isn't that bad off either.
Portland goes to the AFC West as the NFC side already has Seattle (though I wouldn't be opposed to Seattle heading back to the AFC West and Portland joining the NFC). Still, I'm not trying to move franchises across conferences. I will move St. Louis to the NFC North, however, due to having to place Salt Lake City in a western division, it was a move I had to make. That put Toronto in the AFC North.
San Antonio and Oklahoma City could be interchangeable. I put San Antonio in the NFC South due to the fact that the AFC South already had a team in Texas and the fact that OKC is sort of in a better geographic footprint in the AFC South.
So how would scheduling work? Well there is a variety of ways to do this.
First off is the one that is non-negotiable. Everyone will play two games against each team in their division. That makes for eight division games. Half your season.
So what about the other games? I have a feeling that if the NFL did expand like this, they would also demand that 18-game season. I'm not a fan of it, but the NFL will say they just added over 400 player jobs and that this is the trade-off.
If that happens, then you will see 5 games against a division in your conference and 5 games against a division in the other conference.
Here is my vote: you play four teams in an AFC division and four against an NFC division. There's the 18 games.
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