Say what you will about the NFC West being the NFC Worst. Sure, the regular season play from the division has been abysmal over the past decade. Even last year, when the Seattle Seahawks won the division at 7-9, more chants of the NFC Worst rose.
But, is it really that bad?
Of all the divisions since the realigning in 2002, the NFC West has sent two different representatives to the Super Bowl – Seattle and the Arizona Cardinals. That ties it with the NFC North and the NFC East. Only the NFC South has more, at three. (Atlanta is the only team that hasn’t.)
Although the NFL realigned divisions in 2002 and the NFC West wasn’t the same the year before, it was the division that pitted the St. Louis Rams against the New England Patriots. The Rams lost on a game-ending field goal.
If 2001 is included, then the NFC West is 0-3 in the Super Bowl in the past 10 years, which isn’t impressive. Every other division has had at least one winner.
This argument is about the NFC West’s regular season play, which has watched nine years pass with only nine teams posting winning records, (.500 doesn’t count.) The competition has been poor, the football – worse.
Fans who root for NFC West teams know the division is poor. They know the quality of the teams in it consistently lack quality. Still, there has to be something said about a division that has sent more, or as many, different teams to the Super Bowl in the last nine years, except for the NFC South.
This year as San Francisco runs away with the division, there’s a good possibility that the NFC West could be the only division that has sent all four of its teams in it to the Super Bowl in the last 11 years.
Of course, the Rams appeared in the year before the realignment, but that was the same year the 49ers played in the same division. Their records? San Francisco went 12-4, and St. Louis finished 14-2.
There are quality teams coming out of the NFC West. They are teams making decent runs in the playoffs. Even the 2010 Seahawks that finished the regular season 7-9 defeated the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints in the Wild Card round.
Sure, the division consistently has the poorest records, and the most teams playing the poorest football. Yet, it continues to send teams at a rate that keeps it on par with the rest of its conference.
So, while it might deserve the nickname the “NFC Worst”, it should also deserve a little more credit than what it’s received. It is the worst, but not by that much.