NFC East Is Done as an Elite Division

Nick Kostora@@nickkostoraContributor IIIOctober 15, 2012

BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 14: Quarterback Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys walks off the field after a failed third down conversion against the Baltimore Ravens in the first quarter at M&T Bank Stadium on October 14, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Baltimore Ravens won, 31-29. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

There was a time not long ago when the NFC East could be considered one of the best divisions in the NFL.

That time has passed. Forgotten divisions like the NFC West have risen up and proven to be more competitive and balanced.

The NFC East still boasts quality teams, and having the defending Super Bowl champions within the ranks immediately lends validity to the division. However, it is also known for teams that often perform well below expectations.

The Dallas Cowboys perennially have one of the most talented rosters in the league yet fail to win when it matters. The Philadelphia Eagles march to the beat of an all too similar drum, and the Washington Redskins are improving, but still not a Super Bowl contender.

That leaves the New York Giants to stand as the lone elite team in a division where every game used to matter; where a division title was often decided in the last few weeks of the season, and a Wild Card team was all but a certainty.

Why has the profile of the NFC East fallen?

Is it because of the rise of divisions around the league? Any team in the NFC North could emerge for a playoff run, the NFC West has gone from afterthought to prime-time player and even the AFC West now features the talents of Peyton Manning.

The fact of the matter is that the current form of the NFC East has reached its potential. The Eagles are spinning their wheels with the Andy Reid/Michael Vick tandem, the Cowboys refuse to live up to their tremendous potential and the Robert Griffin train is at least a few years away from chugging towards a title.

In 2011 the NFC East won a combined 30 games. That number was down from 32 wins in 2010, a number down from 37 wins in 2009.

This clear decline showcases a deterioration of the elite status of the division. Large changes need to take place for the NFC East to regain its form atop the NFL's best.

The NFC East has some of the most storied traditions and rivalries in all of football, but right now it is not playing to the bar it has always set for itself.