***Warning: This post may have a small bias mainly because this is an opinion and some may be offend about what I say towards a team you support, I do apologize in advance if I have offended anyone, however I am just trying to get a point across. Feel free to debate with me about what I have said.***
The National Football League (NFL) is the most popular major sports league in the United States of America. It has a large fan base in Canada too and of course with the Hockey lockout more Canadians are looking towards the NFL for a different sport and entertainment, lucky for them the playoffs are just around the corner. The NFL playoffs are a very exciting time of year and get very interesting especially if you have a team you are cheering for in Canada. I have noticed that people pick teams before the playoffs start and give them their allegiance for the time being, luckily for me ,my favorite team the Cincinnati Bengals have made it to the post season again and for now I do not need to hop on any bandwagon. Another fun part of the NFL playoffs is the super bowl which means time to gather some friends a lot of food and drinks and enjoy the game no matter who is playing, although it would be even better if a team we actually cheer for makes it. This year the AFC playoffs will feature the Denver Broncos, New England Patriots, Houston Texans, Baltimore Ravens, and Indianapolis Colts and lucky for me the Cincinnati Bengals, and on the NFC side we see the Atlanta Falcons, San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers, Washington Redskins, Seattle Seahawks and last but not least the Minnesota Vikings, these teams have all made the cut which is not set to look like some great games ahead!
There is however something that bothers me, football is very exciting to watch especially since every win in the regular season matters, but what I have noticed is that although my Bengals are in the AFC (American Football Conference) the NFC (National Football Conference) has been more exciting to watch unfold over the final weeks of the season and has overall been more interesting. Now of course this is my opinion many of you may enjoy the AFC more, or feel it is more exciting, but to me it has been a bit boring. The last couple of years especially if the Bengals do not do well and miss the playoffs, but why do I feel it has been more exciting in the NFC than the AFC? Well this may bother some people, but I think it is because the NFC seems to be more different every year and more diverse while the AFC has 3 certain teams that usually make it to the post-season every year, or at least feels like every year. These teams are the New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts and to the great demise of Bengals fans, the Pittsburgh Steelers. These three teams have been majority of the time the talk of the NFL world and the top teams. If you do not believe me then look at these nifty numbers I found and put together to show you what I mean,
(To quickly explain this I put the final positions of the 3 teams in the standings since 2003 and the star* indicates missing the playoffs, next to it is the super bowl winner and loser).
AFC Regular season Finish Super Bowl
2003: 1 Patriots 4 Colts 10 Steelers* XXXVIII Pats over Panthers
2004: 1 Steelers 2 Patriots 3 Colts XXXIX Pats over Eagles
2005: 1 Colts 5 Steelers 6 Pats XL Steelers over Seahawks
2006: 3 Colts 4 Patriots 11 Steelers* XLI Colts over Bears
2007 1 Patriots 2 Colts 5 Steelers XLII Giants over Patriots
2008 2 Steelers 3 Colts 7 Patriots* XLIII Steelers over Cardinals
2009 1 Colts 3 Patriots 8 Steelers* XLIV Saints over Colts
2010 1 Patriots 2 Steelers 5 Colts XLV Packers over Steelers
2011 1 Patriots 3 Steelers 16 Colts* XLVI Giants over Patriots
2012 1 Patriots 5 Colts 7 Steelers* XLVII ???
As you can in the past 9 years one of the three teams have made the super bowl and 5 out of those 9 years they all made the playoffs and of course at least 2 of them made it every year and the Steelers have missed the playoffs most out of these 3 teams, but when they make it they manage to usually have a successful run.
Depending on where your allegiance lies this can be a good thing or a bad thing, but to me its boring. I can safely say that I am not the only one who feels this way about these three teams and the AFC, bring a tad bland. Yes this shows that these 3 are top teams who drafted and signed the right players to become top contenders, but frankly aside Pats, Colts and Steelers fans who cares right? Personally I like it when it is more different, look at the NFC conference champions who made it to the super bowl aside the Giants making it twice and winning it every other team is different and that to me is more interesting than the constant flow of AFC having three top teams. I know, I know one day they will not be a top team and there will be new teams, but that is the future and I want the present to change and so far only a bit has changed. As a Bengals fan I sure enjoyed watching Cincy eliminate the Steelers from playoff contention and they are also an aging team, but the Patriots do not look like they are slowing down yet and you know what kudos Bill Belichick who knows how to keep this team a top contender for a long time but still it will be a while until they start to fall and then there are the Colts, everyone thought with Peyton Manning gone the Colts would be a dud, but no they got to draft Andrew Luck and in his first season he helped get the Colts a playoff spot which probably means at least another 8-10 years of Colts in the playoffs. Look I may seem a bit bitter and maybe I am, but honestly as I look at it if it is not your own team you cheer for it is nice to have variety and if you are a fan of one of these three teams enjoy it, because it is your time, but for me I got tired of them winning a few years ago and want some change. Funny enough in the NFC it looks like the Green Bay Packers, San Francisco 49ers, Atlanta Falcons and the New Orleans Saints could be the new top teams that rarely miss the playoffs, but for now it is new it still has had more diversity in the past 9 years than the AFC and again it is no different the NFC looks like the conference to watch if you do not have your own team to cheer for. As for me I have a wildcard game rematch featuring the Bengals vs. the Texans and I think the Bengals have a better chance of winning this time around and making a decent push for the Super Bowl especially since they have a better record on the road than they do at home, but only time will tell…. GO BENGALS!
Super Bowl prediction if it is not my Bengals representing the AFC
Broncos vs. Falcons or Ravens vs. Seahawks (You never know)
Next blog I will take a stroll down memory lane and talk about one of my first sporting events involving the Expos, stay tuned and Happy New Years