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Alignment history question

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Why were Atlanta and New Orleans in the NFC West? I know the story behind how the alignment was picked, but what justification did the NFL give for those two teams being in the West? Let's see, Atlanta is further east than Dallas, so we'll put them in the West and Dallas in the East. Along the same lines, why reason did MLB give for putting Atlanta and Cincinnati in the West?

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Atlanta and Cincinnati were in the NL West because the Cubs, Cardinals, and Mets wouldn't allow themselves to be split up. 

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If you know about Pete Roselle's secretary and the vase story, be reminded that Tex Schramm was basically running the NFL, not Pete.

 

When the Falcons and Saints entered the NFL, it was at the same time the Cowboys were getting good.

 

The Rams didn't want them in the West and the Vikings and Packers didn't want them in the Central.

 

Cowboys president Tex Schramm was also a former TV executive at CBS, so ensuring his team was in as many homes as possible was another thing as he also facilitated the AFL merging as he met with Lamar Hunt a lot at Love Field.

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12 hours ago, the admiral said:

Atlanta and Cincinnati were in the NL West because the Cubs, Cardinals, and Mets wouldn't allow themselves to be split up. 

 

Plus the desire to reduce travel time and have as many road games as possible in the Eastern time zone. Easier to travel to New York, Philly, Montreal, and Pittsburgh for 9 away games each, rather than Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, and Houston. (The NL had unbalanced schedules from the 1969 expansion until the 1993 expansion; the AL moved to balanced schedules in 1979.)

 

Cincinnati and Atlanta had brutal travel schedules at the time. But they got the shaft as two small-market, lower-revenue teams (1969 being well before the TBS Superstation turned the Braves into have a nationwide fanbase). 

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On 12/15/2017 at 9:41 PM, dfwabel said:

If you know about Pete Roselle's secretary and the vase story, be reminded that Tex Schramm was basically running the NFL, not Pete.

 

When the Falcons and Saints entered the NFL, it was at the same time the Cowboys were getting good.

 

The Rams didn't want them in the West and the Vikings and Packers didn't want them in the Central.

 

Cowboys president Tex Schramm was also a former TV executive at CBS, so ensuring his team was in as many homes as possible was another thing as he also facilitated the AFL merging as he met with Lamar Hunt a lot at Love Field.

The book America's Game goes into some detail on why certain owners wanted certain divisions, basically they were all looking out for themselves. It seems like they stacked the deck for the Vikings since they were in the East on 4 of the 5 alignments, but "somehow" the only set-up with Dallas in the East got pulled.

 

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There were oddities in the NFL conference/division alignments for a long time.  The Lions and the Baltimore Colts were in the Western Conference until the Colts moved to the AFC after the merger.  In the Colts' case, it was just a holdover from the Dallas Texans being in the Western Conference before moving to Baltimore.

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Posted (edited)

Nvm

Edited by MadmanLA
Wrong thread

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Baltimore Colts and Chicago Cardinals were both separated from their local rivals (Eagles/Redskins and Chicago Bears, respectively). This always left the NFL in a bit of a mess when they went to the four-division setup in the 60s. The old standard "Norse" Division as we know the NFC North today was there, and the with teams fitted where the could, the newly born Falcons and Saints got put the only place they could put one: NFL Siberia. With the hapless 49ers and moribund Colts, it made perfect sense to put them in what was called the "Coastal Division", even if geography wasn't a strong sense for them.

 

In 1967:

 

Capitol: Dallas, Washington, Philadelphia, and New Orleans

Century: NY Giants, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, St. Louis

Central: Green Bay, Chicago, Detroit, Minnesota

Coastal: San Francisco, Baltimore, Los Angeles, Atlanta

 

In 1968, they were smart and swapped the Giants and Saints.

 

The mess happened when trying to shoehorn the NFL alignment into the AFL/NFL merger. The NFC Central was set in stone. The NFC East was basically set in some form of Giants/Cowboys/Eagles/Redskins with one more team due to the NFL needing 13 teams in each conference. Baltimore was the OVERWHELMING pick to jump leagues. Washington had long arbhorred them even existing.

 

With the Browns and Steelers agreeing to jump together to the AFC, it at least settled WHO would be in the NFC. And the NFL, in name only, went with East, Central and West. Even though the NFC West was essentially a rebranded Coastal Division sans Baltimore and bringing over the castoff New Orleans Saints. That left St. Louis heading east since the Central Division was essentially against them being in their group (thanks to the longstanding rivalry with the Bears for Illinois).

 

Had the Cardinals moved west earlier, it's obvious an Arizona team would have been bumped out into the Coastal/West Division, and the future Panthers would have at least been put in the East. Although, had the open slot been available, Tampa Bay probably would have wound up in the East and the Panthers had found themselves in the NFC Central.

 

The big problem, is that after 30-plus years of this crazy alignment, the 2002 realignment with the 32nd team basically cemented the already odd bedfellows together. Dallas in the East being chief among them. But, things like the three Florida teams, who would make natural rivals, in three different divisions in two different conferences. Or, how the AFC South is basically cast-off central. All the relocated or unwanted teams that didn't fit elsewhere.

 

When the NFL realigned

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Isn’t it NFC “Norris” not NFC “Norse” due to the footprint being highly similar to the old NHL Norris Division (3/4 teams in same cities)

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Interesting stuff, I just assumed they would take care of the big city markets first, like NY, Chicago, and LA, then work down from there. And Dallas being in the east, again, my assumption from overseas was that they are the biggest team, with the biggest drawing power, so the US TV networks insisted that the Cowboys got paired with the Giants.

 

They really had the Giants in that Century division for one year? That bloody crazy!

I would have thought the Giants/Eagles rivalry being one of the most famous in the league would those two joined at the hip regardless of any realignment, as I imagine the Bears/Packers would.

 

And I must confess, until you pointed it out, I never thought of how bizarre the situation in Florida is!

I guess I’ve always viewed the Dolphins as being at a much higher level than the Bucs and Jags, even when the are struggling, I still regard them as a premier franchise who should be matched with New York and New England in the east. But you would have thought the last realignment would have been the perfect opportunity to pair the Bucs/Jags, and give the two fairy young franchises a natural geographic rivalry.

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1 hour ago, Pharos04 said:

Isn’t it NFC “Norris” not NFC “Norse” due to the footprint being highly similar to the old NHL Norris Division (3/4 teams in same cities)

 

yes

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3 hours ago, BRG75 said:

They really had the Giants in that Century division for one year? That bloody crazy!

They flipped back for 1969; the Giants were in the Capitol for one year and the Century for two.

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13 hours ago, Sykotyk said:

Baltimore Colts and Chicago Cardinals were both separated from their local rivals (Eagles/Redskins and Chicago Bears, respectively). This always left the NFL in a bit of a mess when they went to the four-division setup in the 60s. The old standard "Norse" Division as we know the NFC North today was there, and the with teams fitted where the could, the newly born Falcons and Saints got put the only place they could put one: NFL Siberia. With the hapless 49ers and moribund Colts, it made perfect sense to put them in what was called the "Coastal Division", even if geography wasn't a strong sense for them.

 

In 1967:

 

Capitol: Dallas, Washington, Philadelphia, and New Orleans

Century: NY Giants, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, St. Louis

Central: Green Bay, Chicago, Detroit, Minnesota

Coastal: San Francisco, Baltimore, Los Angeles, Atlanta

 

In 1968, they were smart and swapped the Giants and Saints.

 

The mess happened when trying to shoehorn the NFL alignment into the AFL/NFL merger. The NFC Central was set in stone. The NFC East was basically set in some form of Giants/Cowboys/Eagles/Redskins with one more team due to the NFL needing 13 teams in each conference. Baltimore was the OVERWHELMING pick to jump leagues. Washington had long arbhorred them even existing.

 

With the Browns and Steelers agreeing to jump together to the AFC, it at least settled WHO would be in the NFC. And the NFL, in name only, went with East, Central and West. Even though the NFC West was essentially a rebranded Coastal Division sans Baltimore and bringing over the castoff New Orleans Saints. That left St. Louis heading east since the Central Division was essentially against them being in their group (thanks to the longstanding rivalry with the Bears for Illinois).

 

Had the Cardinals moved west earlier, it's obvious an Arizona team would have been bumped out into the Coastal/West Division, and the future Panthers would have at least been put in the East. Although, had the open slot been available, Tampa Bay probably would have wound up in the East and the Panthers had found themselves in the NFC Central.

 

The big problem, is that after 30-plus years of this crazy alignment, the 2002 realignment with the 32nd team basically cemented the already odd bedfellows together. Dallas in the East being chief among them. But, things like the three Florida teams, who would make natural rivals, in three different divisions in two different conferences. Or, how the AFC South is basically cast-off central. All the relocated or unwanted teams that didn't fit elsewhere.

 

The Central and East were never set in stone. George Halas and the Packers representatives didn't want to be in a division with Dallas or Minnesota, who were the two best teams in the league at the time and the owners in cold weather cities wanted to have a "warm" weather team in their division. Owners would use late season games in places like Los Angeles, Dallas, New Orleans and even Atlanta as a vacation and would write it off. Only two of the alignments had either Minnesota or Dallas in a division with Chicago and Green Bay.

 

Plan 1

East – Atlanta, Minnesota, New York Giants, Philadelphia, Washington 

Central – Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay, New Orleans

West – Dallas, Los Angeles, St. Louis, San Francisco

 

Plan 2

East – Minnesota, New York Giants, Philadelphia, Washington

Central – Atlanta, Dallas, New Orleans, St. Louis

West – Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay, Los Angeles, San Francisco

 

Plan 3

East – Dallas, New York Giants, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Washington

Central – Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay, Minnesota

West – Atlanta, Los Angeles, New Orleans, San Francisco

 

Plan 4

East – Minnesota, New York Giants, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Washington

Central – Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay

West – Dallas, New Orleans, Los Angeles, San Francisco

 

Plan 5

East – Detroit, Minnesota, New York Giants, Philadelphia, Washington

Central – Chicago, Dallas, Green Bay, St. Louis

West – Atlanta, Los Angeles, New Orleans, San Francisco

 

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What should have happened was this...

 

East: Atlanta, Dallas, NYG, Philadelphia, Washington

Central: Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay, Minnesota

West: LA Rams, New Orleans, St Louis, San Francisco

 

OR...

 

East: Atlanta, NYG, Philadelphia, Washington

Central: Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay, Minnesota, St Louis

West: Dallas, LA Rams, New Orleans, San Francisco

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Let’s not turn this into a realignment concept thread. We have an outpost for that. 

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On 1/7/2018 at 2:04 AM, Sykotyk said:

Baltimore Colts and Chicago Cardinals were both separated from their local rivals (Eagles/Redskins and Chicago Bears, respectively). This always left the NFL in a bit of a mess when they went to the four-division setup in the 60s. The old standard "Norse" Division as we know the NFC North today was there, and the with teams fitted where the could, the newly born Falcons and Saints got put the only place they could put one: NFL Siberia. With the hapless 49ers and moribund Colts, it made perfect sense to put them in what was called the "Coastal Division", even if geography wasn't a strong sense for them.

 

I know this is a little off topic, but . . . what?!?!?!

 

The Colts had two .500 seasons during the 60s and were contenders throughout the late 60s when the four division setup was created.

 

1969 NFL Baltimore Colts 8 5 1 2nd of 4   279 268 11 Shula Matte Unitas Matte Richardson 8 4 6 13 16 7 10 16 0.8 2.2 3.0 0.5 2.5
1968 NFL Baltimore Colts* 13 1 0 1st of 4 Lost SB 402 144 258 Shula Boyd Morrall Matte Orr 2 4 1 2 5 1 2 16 18.4 -0.6 17.9 8.0 9.9
1967 NFL Baltimore Colts 11 1 2 1st of 4   394 198 196 Shula Unitas Unitas Matte Richardson 2 1 2 5 2 2 1 16 14.0 -0.8 13.2 6.4 6.8
1966 NFL Baltimore Colts 9 5 0 2nd of 7   314 226 88 Shula Boyd Unitas Lorick Mackey 8 5 3 7 7 4 7 15 6.3 1.4 7.6 2.2 5.5
1965 NFL Baltimore Colts* 10 3 1 1st of 7 Lost Div 389 284 105 Shula Boyd Unitas Hill Orr 3 5 4 5 8 2 5 14 7.5 5.4 12.9 7.0 5.9
1964 NFL Baltimore Colts* 12 2 0 1st of 7 Lost Champ 428 225 203 Shula Boyd Unitas Moore Orr 1 1 1 3 1 1 2 14 14.5 1.0 15.5 9.3 6.2
1963 NFL Baltimore Colts 8 6 0 3rd of 7   316 285 31 Shula Unitas Unitas Matte Mackey 7 2 7 6 9 7 5 14 2.2 -0.2 2.0 0.8 1.2
1962 NFL Baltimore Colts 7 7 0 4th of 7   293 288 5 Ewbank Marchetti Unitas Moore Orr 8 5 6 4 10 6 3 14 0.4 3.2 3.6 1.2 2.4
1961 NFL Baltimore Colts 8 6 0 3rd of 7   302 307 -5 Ewbank Moore Unitas Perry Berry 7 2 10 1 14 10 1 14 -0.4 1.5 1.1 0.9 0.3
1960 NFL Baltimore Colts 6 6 0 4th of 7   288 234 54 Ewbank Berry Unitas Moore Berry 4 1 6 4 6 5 2 13 4.5 -2.5 2.1 2.0 0.1
1959 NFL

Baltimore Colts*

9 3 0 1st of 6 Won Champ 374 251 123 Ewbank   Unitas Ameche Berry 1 1 7 8 1 1 2 12 10.3 -0.2 10.0 10.6 -0.6
1958 NFL Baltimore Colts* 9 3 0 1st of 

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19 hours ago, ltp74 said:

 

The Central and East were never set in stone. George Halas and the Packers representatives didn't want to be in a division with Dallas or Minnesota, who were the two best teams in the league at the time and the owners in cold weather cities wanted to have a "warm" weather team in their division. Owners would use late season games in places like Los Angeles, Dallas, New Orleans and even Atlanta as a vacation and would write it off. Only two of the alignments had either Minnesota or Dallas in a division with Chicago and Green Bay.

 

This was always the reason I'd heard for Miami in the AFC East. I can't provide a reference, but it always made sense to me.

 

That, and, for some reason, I know more than a few Dolphins fans from the Northeast, NY/NJ in particular. I'm not sure if that's nature, nurture, snowbirds, or a relic of the 1970s Dolphins - probably a mix of all four. I lived in NJ for a year and worked at a Lids, and the Dolphins were one of our best-selling teams. Giants were a solid #1, followed by Eagles, Jets, and Dolphins/Patriots about even at #4/5. I know that's anecdotal evidence, but it kinda made sense - Miami would play at least 2 games in the vicinity every year.

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My theory is that every municipality, hamlet, or census-designated place in America has one Miami Dolphins fan. Some have more, but none has zero. Just think about it.

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8 minutes ago, the admiral said:

My theory is that every municipality, hamlet, or census-designated place in America has one Miami Dolphins fan. Some have more, but none has zero. Just think about it.

 

What about townships, villages, and/or gores?

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11 hours ago, leopard88 said:

 

I know this is a little off topic, but . . . what?!?!?!

 

The Colts had two .500 seasons during the 60s and were contenders throughout the late 60s when the four division setup was created.

 

1969 NFL Baltimore Colts 8 5 1 2nd of 4   279 268 11 Shula Matte Unitas Matte Richardson 8 4 6 13 16 7 10 16 0.8 2.2 3.0 0.5 2.5
1968 NFL Baltimore Colts* 13 1 0 1st of 4 Lost SB 402 144 258 Shula Boyd Morrall Matte Orr 2 4 1 2 5 1 2 16 18.4 -0.6 17.9 8.0 9.9
1967 NFL Baltimore Colts 11 1 2 1st of 4   394 198 196 Shula Unitas Unitas Matte Richardson 2 1 2 5 2 2 1 16 14.0 -0.8 13.2 6.4 6.8
1966 NFL Baltimore Colts 9 5 0 2nd of 7   314 226 88 Shula Boyd Unitas Lorick Mackey 8 5 3 7 7 4 7 15 6.3 1.4 7.6 2.2 5.5
1965 NFL Baltimore Colts* 10 3 1 1st of 7 Lost Div 389 284 105 Shula Boyd Unitas Hill Orr 3 5 4 5 8 2 5 14 7.5 5.4 12.9 7.0 5.9
1964 NFL Baltimore Colts* 12 2 0 1st of 7 Lost Champ 428 225 203 Shula Boyd Unitas Moore Orr 1 1 1 3 1 1 2 14 14.5 1.0 15.5 9.3 6.2
1963 NFL Baltimore Colts 8 6 0 3rd of 7   316 285 31 Shula Unitas Unitas Matte Mackey 7 2 7 6 9 7 5 14 2.2 -0.2 2.0 0.8 1.2
1962 NFL Baltimore Colts 7 7 0 4th of 7   293 288 5 Ewbank Marchetti Unitas Moore Orr 8 5 6 4 10 6 3 14 0.4 3.2 3.6 1.2 2.4
1961 NFL Baltimore Colts 8 6 0 3rd of 7   302 307 -5 Ewbank Moore Unitas Perry Berry 7 2 10 1 14 10 1 14 -0.4 1.5 1.1 0.9 0.3
1960 NFL Baltimore Colts 6 6 0 4th of 7   288 234 54 Ewbank Berry Unitas Moore Berry 4 1 6 4 6 5 2 13 4.5 -2.5 2.1 2.0 0.1
1959 NFL

Baltimore Colts*

9 3 0 1st of 6 Won Champ 374 251 123 Ewbank   Unitas Ameche Berry 1 1 7 8 1 1 2 12 10.3 -0.2 10.0 10.6 -0.6
1958 NFL Baltimore Colts* 9 3 0 1st of 

The FRANCHISE. The team was decent most of its run. They were the reincarnation of an already failed team in Baltimore from the AAFC. The scraps of the last failed NFL team, the Dallas Texans. Washington did not want them in their division to draw away any of their fans. And that was in 1953 when they got plunked down into the NFL West.  It's easy to start counting five years later when they started to get good. But by then that was firmly entrenched in the 'can't compete in Washington's territory' camp by the NFL. Go back and read up on Washington and their 'territorial claims'. They were one of the outspoken critics of the Carolinas getting a team. And way before that the only way they changed their tune on the Cowboys (who Washington felt all of the south was their territory) was because the Cowboys bought the song rights to Hail to the Redskins and threatened their continued use of the song.

 

So, just as with the Cardinals, the Colts were continually separated from their local competition on purpose. And forcing them to play in a division with San Francisco and Los Angeles was about as far away as you could get.

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