Top States for NFL Expansion and the Reason It's Good for the Game

John SzurlejAnalyst IAugust 30, 2011

NEW YORK - UNDATED:  This handout provided by KPS Architects shows the exterior of the proposed stadium for the New York Jets. The Convention Corridor proposal includes the stadium as well as an extension to the Jacob Javitz Convention Center. The project is a cornerstone for New York's 2012 Olympics bid.  (Photo by KPS Architects via Getty Images)
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It has been a little while since we last saw an expansion to the league and considering how popular and competitive the NFL is, the case for the addition of two more teams can be made.

There are prime cities around the country that could benefit from an NFL team and offer a quality home for a new market as well as adding to the rivalries that currently exist in the league.

Here are my top choices for expansion and why the cities should be considered.

First the NFC.

The NFC has two divisions that, right away, cannot be reorganized.  Those two divisions are the NFC East and NFC North.  The simple reason is twofold: geography and history. 

Outside of those two staples, the remaining divisions in the South and West could benefit from another team.

Possible cities that could use an NFL team are as follows:

NFC South


The rabid football hunger is satisfied by the Oklahoma Sooners and as you can see, they love their team.  Oklahoma would provide a unique opportunity for the NFL as it would offer a great fanbase and a natural-born rivalry between this team and both the Dallas Cowboys and the New Orleans Saints just by the proximity of their geographic location.

The NFC South is already an interesting division but adding another team into the mix could further bring more competition and establish it as one of the league's more interesting groupings.


This state could offer a home to the NFL for a team that would draw away from the fanbase of the Redskins and help establish itself as its own football state.  Consider the effects of adding a team that would create rivalries between the Redskins, Carolina Panthers and possibly the Tennessee Titans, Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals despite being in a different conference.

Virginia is the start of the South in my opinion, and it would be interesting to see if this state could become a major player for the NFL market.

NFC West


The Nebraska natives love their collegiate football team, but the question is would there be enough of a draw for the professionals?

I believe football could survive in this market, although it would be a small market, and offer interesting rivalries against teams in the NFC and AFC.

The Nebraska team would be in the heartland of the country and would offer a market that would be attractive to its surrounding area.


The Pro Bowl is played there, and the college team has a good amount of support.  The NFL could benefit from the exposure and it would be really interesting to see happen.  This is the most improbable, but I would love to see those cheerleaders!

In the AFC, there are more opportunities for success as the divisions could easily accept another team into the mix.  Here are where I would place them: 

AFC West


The state that no one thinks of could offer the West an interesting shot in the arm an provide instant rivalries to the California teams as well as the Denver Broncos.

DENVER, CO - AUGUST 27:  A general view of an NFL logo on the field prior to the preseason game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on August 27, 2011 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Garrett W. Ellwoo
Garrett Ellwood/Getty Images

It would be interesting to see if Oregon would be able to sustain an NFL team and based on the acceptance and support of the collegiate teams, I believe it could.

AFC South


Alabama is football gold, as it has a great following of the Crimson Tide and a heated rivalry against Auburn and Arkansas. 

The benefit of the NFL coming to this area would bring much-needed financial investments to the market and would offer another option to the teams in a somewhat crowded geographical area.

It may be a pipe dream, but it would be interesting to see the passion of the Alabama faithful carry over to their own NFL team.

AFC North


This little state is between markets for many teams and the fact that it offers a zero sales tax could be inticing to an NFL team.  Although there are considerable teams up and down the immediate eastern coast, it would provide an option for states such as New Jersey as southern Jersians are too far south to be major NY fans, and have to settle for Philadelphia.

There isn't much option here for the area as you kind of get what you are given, but a Delaware team would become southern New Jersey's team by proxy.

A nice rivalry between the Baltimore Ravens could erupt along the I-95 corridor which would be interesting to see.

Are any of these options viable?  Probably not—however they would be interesting to see happen.

I think the NFL has grown to a good size and there may not be an immediate need for more teams, but the possibility remains open.

It is more likely that the NFL will expand its regular season before more teams are added but I don't put anything past the mega business that the NFL is and the endorsements it gains.

Just some food for thought.


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