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Perceptions of the "Dominate NFC East".

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by Raptorman, Jun 25, 2011.

  1. Raptorman

    Raptorman Vikings fan since 1966.

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    Ok, so since this lockout is dragging on and we have nothing better to talk about, I thought that I would do a little research on the Great NFC East division. You know the one that house's the great Football teams like the Cowboys and Redskins. WE all know of the press bias towards this division. But were does it come from? Who the hell knows. I broke down a few numbers, but this is just the start.
    Over the last 5 years the divisions win-lose records look like this.
    Code:
    East    176-143-1  .550 (Mcnabb knows about ties these days)
    North   155-165-0  .484
    South   165-155-0  .516
    West    126-194-0  .394
    
    Ok, so they look pretty good in the regular season. What does that translate to as far as the big game? Let's take a look at the NFC Championship game the last 5 years and the numbers of times teams made it to that game.
    Code:
    Giants    1
    Eagles    1
    Packers   2
    Bears     2
    Vikings   1
    Saints    2
    Cardinals 1
    
    So, while dominating in the regular season win percentage that does not translate to the post season play for some reason.
    Now, if you go back 15 year the number of times each division has had teams in the NFC championship game looks like this.
    Code:
    East  7  Eagles   5,  Giants  2
    North 9  Packers  4,  Vikings 3, Bears 2 
    South 9  Panthers 3,  Saints  2, Atlanta 2, Tampa 2
    West  5  Rams     2,  Arizona 1, Niners  1, Seahawks 1
    
    Now of those teams. The following have won Super Bowls in the last 15 years.
    Code:
    Giants   1
    Packers  2
    Tampa    1
    Saints   1 
    Rams     1
    So much for the "myth" of the dominate NFC East. The only team in the East that has shown any kind of dominance is the Eagles. And only the Giants have managed to win the big game in the last 15 years.

    Edit:Update the records to 5 years. Missed a year on my spreadsheet.
     
  2. SpartaChris

    SpartaChris Cheesehead

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    They get labeled as "The dominant division in the NFC" because they've been far more competitive as a whole for the past decade than other divisions. While I can understand your statement about a lack of post season success, since the split in 2002, they have sent a total of 18 teams to the playoffs. They sent two teams every year except for 2004 and 2010. In 2006 and 2007 they sent 3, while every other division sent one.

    The breakdown of playoff appearances per division in the NFC since the split is as follows:

    East- 18
    South- 13
    North- 12
    West- 11

    Winning the Super Bowl is the ultimate goal, but in order to do so, you need to send teams to the playoffs. They've been the most successful in accomplishing exactly that, which is why I believe their reputation as the dominant division in the NFC is well deserved.
     
  3. Raptorman

    Raptorman Vikings fan since 1966.

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    I would agree except for one thing, the East does not do well in the playoffs. Consider the following. Since the split these are the records of the divisions are as follows

    Code:
    East  12-16  .429
    North 10-9   .526
    South 13-9   .596
    West  10-11  .476 
    So, while sending the most teams to the playoffs they also do the worst in the playoffs. Since the split the East is 1-1 in the Super Bowl, the North is 1-1, the South is 2-1, and the West is 0-2. So while it's nice that they wins games in the regular season and send more teams to the playoffs, it does not translate to wins in the playoffs or the Super Bowl.
     
  4. SpartaChris

    SpartaChris Cheesehead

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    I don't disagree with anything you said, though I don't think you can simply discount regular season success. Dominance in the regular season is what gives teams a shot at the post season, and regardless of actual post-season success, the fact that the NFC East has sent more teams than any other division makes them the toughest division in the NFC until proven otherwise.

    Recently it appears like some divisions are poised to catch them. The NFC South has 3 pretty good, playoff caliber teams, and our division might even have 3, depending on whether Detroit lives up to expectations or not. That said, I believe last season for Dallas was a fluke, and you can't ignore the Giants or the Eagles. That gives them 3 potential playoff teams as well.
     
  5. PackersRS

    PackersRS Cheesehead

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    Postseason sucess is a much better indicament of power than regular season.

    Regular season nobody plays the same schedule. It can very well be a case of the East getting an easier schedule during the forementioned period of time.

    But in the postseason, you play the best in the league. You only win in the postseason if you're really good, whereas that's not the case in the regular season.

    I completely agree with Raptorman. While the NFC East is nothing to scoff at, the media bias completely overblows their power.
     
  6. DevilDon

    DevilDon Inclement Weather Fan

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    We're talking parity at play. I don't think anybody can ignore the NFC South anymore. I also think the North could come into play this year. I think you have to establish a consecutive record in regular season games to be considered the best. The NFC South played a light schedule last year. We'll see. Just my humble opinion but the playoffs are a whole different season.
    I DO see the other point though, the Packers were a 6th seed going in and obviously the best team in football at the moment. So does regular season matter that much? Everybody talks about establishing home field and it's nice, but hey, if you're the world champs...
    So it's hard to deny championships isn't it?
     
  7. Raptorman

    Raptorman Vikings fan since 1966.

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    As to the easier schedule, by going at least 5 years you would have to say that each year the divisions they played were the easiest ones that year. Not likely. One team can take down a divisions overall score, like in the north. Over that 5 year span, had Detroit gone .500 in the games outside the division but in conference games in 08-09, that would have added 7 wins to the division and taken 7 wins away from the the other division in the conference. Making it a lot more even overall.
     
  8. TJV

    TJV Lifelong Packers Fanatic

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    This is a topic for a lockout because from a historical point of view I don’t think whether or not the NFC East is or was dominant matters much. I’ll bet almost every person who pays attention to the NFL is a fan of an individual team, not of a division or even a conference. Think back to Chuck Noll and the Steelers winning 4 titles in six years, the 49ers dominance under Bill Walsh, and Belichick and the titles he won in New England. Is the first thing you think about which division was dominant during those eras? Is that even in the top five things you consider? Don’t the players, coaches, schemes, and great moments of those eras come to mind way ahead of “divisional dominance”, if that even enters your mind?

    Even with regard to individual titles or season, I don’t think it matters much. Which division in the league was dominant when the Packers won Super Bowl XXXI? How about when the Bears won XX? How does the fact the Packers’ loss in Super Bowl XXXII ended a 13-year stretch during which the NFC won the Super Bowl factor into your feelings about that epic loss? I hate to even think about that game but that has nothing to do with ending that streak and a lot to do with the ramifications of Wolf’s “fart in the wind” comment.

    Regarding the question whether regular season or post season records matter more when grading the relative strength of divisions, I think the regular season matters more because that’s when divisions are important. Once your team makes the playoffs, divisions only factor into which team is playing at home. No question playing in a weak division makes getting a seat at the playoff table much easier; ask last seasons’ Seahawks. But the object isn’t to be dominant within a division, that’s only the first step to achieve the goal of winning championships and division dominance isn't even necessary as the Packers just showed.

    It should embarrass Bears fans that some players and fans are even mentioning winning the 2010 division title because doing so can only remind others that the Bears lost an historic NFC championship to their bitter rivals at home! The 2010 seasons of the Seahawks and the Packers emphasize the relative unimportance of the strength of divisions.

    BTW, the “eastern bias” of the national sports media should not be a surprise to anyone.

     
  9. PackersRS

    PackersRS Cheesehead

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    I know that during that time span teams divisions play every division, but WHEN was the East really good? It doesn't have to be EVERY year that they played the easiest division, but when they played it, if they had a better performance than when other divisions played it, it automatically alters the stats. But that doesn't mean they were a better division than the others.

    If they did better against the weaker teams but did worse against the elite teams, that will probably result in a better regular season record than other divisions. But it doesn't mean they're a better division. Just that they're a more consistant division.
     
  10. ivo610

    ivo610 Cheesehead

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    It seems to rotate around on which division in the NFC is the best. I think the South will be next year from an overall standpoint.
     
  11. Poppa San

    Poppa San SB I trophy First of four Staff Member Moderator

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    Upcoming season East plays West and North plays South. I would not be surprised for an 8-8 split in N-S games while the East should go 11-5. If the East goes 4-4 in parity games while the West goes 2-6, the East could still wind up with a better conference record. Does that mean they are better or the cards were stacked in there favor this year? Early 90s when Dallas and SF dominated, the NFC central would send 3 or 4 teams some years to the playoffs. Who had the better division then?
     
  12. DevilDon

    DevilDon Inclement Weather Fan

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    Doesn't this remind everybody of the argument about who the best franchise has been? Packers have 13 titles, but Pittsburgh wants to say they have more Super Bowls.
    It's history. Again, my take is that no Division owns the title as dominant in the NFL. It changes year by year by which AFC or NFC teams you play. The playoff format represents that so let's just go get another Lombardi.
     
  13. SpartaChris

    SpartaChris Cheesehead

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    I wanted to take a look at the number of wins each division got since the 4 division per conference split in 2002. For grins, I also wanted to see which division fielded the most teams with wins in the double digits every year.

    The breakdown is as follows:

    2002-
    East: 32- 2 teams double digit wins
    North: 25- 1 team double digit wins
    South: 37- 1 team double digit wins
    West: 29- 1 team double digit wins

    2003
    East: 31- 2 teams double digit wins
    North: 31- 1 team double digit wins
    South: 31- 1 team double digits
    West: 33- 2 teams double digits

    2004
    East: 31- 1 team double digit wins
    North: 29- 1 team double digit wins
    South: 31- 1 team double digits
    West- 25- 0 teams double digit wins

    2005
    East: 36- 2 teams double digits
    North: 29- 1 team
    South: 33- 2 teams
    West: 28- 1 team

    2006
    East: 32- 1 team
    North: 30- 1 team
    South: 29- 1 team
    West: 29- 0 teams

    2007
    East: 40- 2 teams
    North: 35- 1 team
    South: 27- 0 teams
    West: 26- 1 team

    2008
    East: 38- 1 team
    North: 25- 1 team
    South: 40- 2 teams
    West: 22- 0 teams

    2009
    East: 33- 2 teams
    North: 32- 2 teams
    South: 33- 1 team
    West: 24- 1 team

    2010
    East: 32- 2 teams
    North: 33- 2 teams
    South: 36- 3 teams
    West: 25- 0 teams

    The totals for the East are 305 wins. North is 269, South is 297 and West is 241. Their division has 36 more wins over that time period than we do, and 64 more than the West. I was surprised to see the South is as close to them as they are, with the East having a +8 win differential.

    So maybe "Dominant" isn't the word, but better than the rest? Certainly. Regardless of post season success, the fact is they win more games than any other division in our conference. Since perception is reality, it's not a huge stretch to say they are the toughest division in the NFC.
     
  14. PackersRS

    PackersRS Cheesehead

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    If only one could completely disregard postseason success... Marino, Favre and Manning would be the best QBs of all time and the Vikings would be on par with the Packers.
     
  15. Raptorman

    Raptorman Vikings fan since 1966.

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    Post season success defines teams more than people care to admit. I'll give you an example. The New England Patriots. Successful team right? They won 3 Super Bowls, been there 6 times, and I have been told by someone on this forum that they have a "winning" tradition. But figure this, as a team, they did not break the .500 mark on winning percentage until the 2006 season. So from 1960 to 2005 they were a sub .500 team. Yet no one thinks of them as that. Why, 3 Super Bowls will do that for you.

    So when you look at which division are the "tougher" one, you cannot disregard post season play. Perception is not always reality.
     
  16. SpartaChris

    SpartaChris Cheesehead

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    I'm sorry, but perception is ALWAYS reality, and the overwhelming perception is the NFC East is the tougher division. And it's correct.

    I can cherry pick a couple stats here and there to back up my case, but the facts are the NFC East wins more games as a whole than any other division in the NFC and sends more teams to the playoffs than any other division in the NFC. These are undisputable facts. You can't just ignore the regular season to make your case- You have to look at the full picture.

    As for the playoffs, I don't feel playoff success is as indicative of overall divisional success as the regular season is. A lot fewer games, much smaller pool of competition, etc.

    As for the Patriots, while it's true they didn't always have a history of winning, they have won 10 games or more every year since 2003. Since 2000, they've had 2 seasons where they've won fewer than 10 games, and only one of those was a losing season. If that isn't a tradition of winning, I don't know what is.

    Let me ask this- Since you guys feel the East isn't historically the toughest division in the NFC, which division would YOU give it to?
     
  17. PackersRS

    PackersRS Cheesehead

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    Again, I completely agree with this.

    It simply boggles my mind why people put more relevance into regular season achievements than postseason, when the goal of the game is to win during the postseason.

    Back in the pre-modern era, when the champion was decided by most wins, then it was relevant.

    In essence, the regular season is nothing more than a glorified qualifier stage. So why would people put more emphasis on the qualifying stage than into the actual tournament?

    (yes, I'm well aware that the bulk of NFL games are disputed during the regular season, and that consistancy in the regular season usually translates to postseason success, still doesn't change the fact that what should matter in the NFL is what you do in the postseason)
     
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  18. PackersRS

    PackersRS Cheesehead

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    You lost me at perception is reality... If you look back into the discussion, you'll see that what "we" state for is division parity. The NFL is cyclical and we're talking about hardly 5% of winning difference in the regular season, which hasn't translated to postseason success

    There's no clearcut better division in the NFC.
     
  19. SpartaChris

    SpartaChris Cheesehead

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    We'll have to agree to disagree then, as I think wins first, which determines who actually makes it to the post season, should carry more weight when discussing dominance. The East, as a division, has proven tough to beat in the regular season, and the fact that they've sent 18 teams to the post season and played a total of 28 playoff games while the next runner up has sent 13 teams and played 22 playoff games is telling. Playing 6 more playoff games gives them 6 more chances for failure. The more chances at failure, the more likely you have a lower win percentage.

    Besides, this "Post season means all" mentality means Dan Marino and Dan Fouts were horrible QB's while Ben Roethlisberger is one of the all time greats. It doesn't really paint the whole picture.

    As for parity, the East has won almost 12% more games than the North over the same time period, and almost 21% more than the West. From a statistical point, that's not parity, that's dominance. You could claim parith with regards to the South as they are the only division that rivals them in terms of win percentage, but they've still won 9.4% more games than the North has.
     
  20. Raptorman

    Raptorman Vikings fan since 1966.

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    All right then, I will make the argument that since the regular season is so important that the Vikings are better than the Patriots. After all, they have been above .500 since 1973. They have had more games in post season than the Patriots. Makes sense right?
     
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  21. SpartaChris

    SpartaChris Cheesehead

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    Yup, like I said, we can cherry pick stats. The discussion was about the NFC East, which didn't exist until 2002.

    Again, using that same logic, Dan Marino was a crappy QB while Terry Bradshaw is the best all time.
     
  22. Raptorman

    Raptorman Vikings fan since 1966.

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    Well, yes and no. The NFC East was created in 1970 with the merger of the AFL and NFL. The only team that has moved from the division in those year was the Cardinals. So, yes, in its current form, it has been around since 2002, however those 4 teams have been in the same divison since 1970. The only other division that can claim that is the North.

    And as far as Marino, many consider him to less of a QB than Bradshaw because he never won a Super Bowl.
     
  23. Raptorman

    Raptorman Vikings fan since 1966.

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    The point being that there is no "Dominate" division in the NFC. That he media continually hypes the East as being tough, and yes, they win in the regular season. But that does not translate to wins in the post season.
     
  24. PackersRS

    PackersRS Cheesehead

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    Even then, the difference between margin of victory of the NFC East and the second place NFC South is merely 3% since 2002. Hardly dominance.
     
  25. Raptorman

    Raptorman Vikings fan since 1966.

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    If Detroit had won every game they lost to the East teams the last 5 years, the North would be 3 games behind of the East in wins. That's how close it really is.

    One team can bring down a whole division, and Detroit has really done that in the North the last 15 years.
     

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