NFC West: Is It the Worst Division in NFL History?

Eli ChesnerCorrespondent ISeptember 26, 2010

I love football, don't you? And it's not just because I am a Jets fan (OK, maybe it is) but it is also because it is the most competitive and most active sport in America.

Baseball? No way.

How is that even an active sport where you just stand there and swing a bat?

Basketball? Maybe.

There really isn't a lot of running around in basketball.

Hockey? Maybe.

But it is not like they run. They skate. That's easy. Football is active and competitive at the same time.

The reason why I'm bringing this up is because the level of talent in the NFL is outstanding. The AFC East has Tom Brady, the AFC North has Ray Lewis, the AFC West has Phillip Rivers, and the AFC South has Peyton Manning. In the NFC East you have Tony Romo. The NFC North has Aaron Rodgers, the NFC South has Drew Brees, and the NFC West has...

Anyone? Yeah...There are no big names in the NFC West besides Larry Fitzgerald but that's it. Now let's go team by team in this division and compare the NFC West with the other bad divisions in NFL history.

Arizona Cardinals

The last two years the Cardinals were arguably the most dominant team in the NFC. But now with their best QB in franchise history retired, their second best wide receiver Anquan Boldin gone, and recently throwing their next franchise quarterback, Matt Leinart, into the wind, the Cardinals have nothing left besides Fitzgerald. Their current quarterback, Derek Anderson has underperformed. Expect the Cardinals to next be in contention in the year 2015 or later.

San Francisco 49ers

Before the NFL season started, a lot of people were saying the 49ers were going to win the division easily and possibly make the Super Bowl. So much for that "bold" prediction. With a Week 1 loss to the Seahawks, then outplaying but still losing to the Saints in Week 2, the 49ers have started 0-2. However, they do have an easy schedule with games against the Raiders, Panthers, Broncos, two against the Rams and Cardinals, and Buccaneers. Expect them to make a run but do nothing special in the playoffs.

Seattle Seahawks

Before the year started I made the Seahawks my surprise pick this year and thought they would get to at least 11 wins. So much for that. At 1-1 with a dominating win against the 49ers and a disappointing loss to the Broncos, and a very hard schedule coming up, Seattle might compete but don't have anything good to look forward to.   

St. Louis Rams

The Rams have one of the best running backs in the NFL but a running back isn't going to carry a team to the postseason. Now they have a franchise quarterback in Sam Bradford. But they have no big-name wide receiver on the team. The Rams have started out decent with two losses by a total of five points. It will get better for them but nothing will happen before next season.

Worst Divisions in NFL History (post-merger)

2004 NFC West

Seahawks 9-7, Rams 8-8, Cardinals 6-10, 49ers 2-14. 

Just by looking at it, it might seem that the 2-14 San Francisco 49ers, who lost all 10 of their games outside the division, bear the brunt of the blame here. The truth is, though, it takes a group effort to get out-scored by 306 in interdivisional play—a truly staggering amount. All four teams were outscored when not playing one another. The Rams were outdone by 93 points outside the division—not as many as the Niners' 130, but a serious amount nonetheless.

2002 NFC North

Packers 12-4, Vikings 6-10, Bears 4-12, Lions 3-13.

It might seem incongruous to include a division with a 12-4 team at its top, but the Black and Bluers of '02 pulled off the rare trifecta of having three teams lose in double figures to compensate for the Packers' efforts. Besides, the Pack was only plus-21 in games outside its division, and got a 27-7 beatdown courtesy of the Falcons in the first round of the playoffs.

1984 AFC Central

Steelers 9-7, Bengals 8-8, Browns 5-11, Oilers 3-13

The Mark Malone/David Woodley-led Steelers were the cream of this division, as they acquitted themselves pretty well outside its boundaries. They laid the sole defeat on the 18-1 Super Bowl champion San Francisco 49ers that year, beating them 20-17 with a late comeback. They also beat the Denver Broncos in the divisional round of the playoffs before getting kicked down by the Dolphins 45-28 in the AFC Championship Game. As for the other three, though, they had a combined 7-24 showing when not lining up against their own.

Three other divisions have had three teams in triple-figure losses, but played well enough outside the divisional confines to avoid inclusion on this list: the 2005 NFC West, the 2004 NFC East and the 1990 NFC Central, which actually had four teams lose 10 times.

So there you go. The NFC West of 2010 is the worst division in NFL history.