Sunday, October 16, 2005

The NFC Beast is Back

In the 1980s, the National Football Conference champion was either the San Francisco 49ers or whomever won the NFC East. The lone exception was the Chicago Bears, NFC Central champion and winner of Super Bowl XX. The Bears distinguished themselves with the 46 defense and the infamous "We Are The Bears" video. I blame them for rap music.

Those NFC East teams won with slobber knocking defenses and powerful ground games. Remember Wilbert Montgomery, Joe Morris, Joe Washington, Ernest Byner, Emmet Smith and John Riggins? With the hiring of astute coaches, NFC East teams set the stage for the reemergence of the Beasts of the East. Andy Reid arrived for the 1999 season. He coached the Iggles to 71 wins and counting. Bill Parcells was named Cowboys head coach in 2003. Tom Coughlin and Joe Gibbs arrived in 2004.

Coaches seem to hit their stride in their third season, so you expect the Cowboys to be a stiff challenge to the Iggles this year and the Redskins and Giants to contend in 2006. But everything appears to be ahead of schedule. The Cowboys knocked off the Iggles convincingly and face the Giants today. The Redskins already knocked off the Cowboys. The Giants are much improved. Along with Philadelphia's injuries, the division race is the most wide open it has been since Reid's arrival. Once, the Iggles were a certainty to take the East, with odds of maybe 9 chances out of 10. Now, those odds dropped to 7.

The NFC East teams are doing it the old fashion way, effective defense and power running. Washington and Dallas rank third and fifth in defense in the NFC. Philadelphia is tenth. Julius Jones, Clinton Portis and Tiki Barber rank fifth, sixth and eighth respectively in NFC rushing. Philadelphia is the NFC's top passing team. Dallas ranks fifth, Giants seventh and Washington eighth.

It's too soon to say the NFC East champion will win the Superbowl. The NFC South looks like the toughest in the conference, but beastly competition is back in the East. Any of these teams could take the Division.

NFC Super Bowl Participants:
1981 Super Bowl XV Philadelphia Lost to Oakland 27-10
1982 Super Bowl XVI San Francisco Beat Cincinnati 26-21
1983 Super Bowl XVII Washington Beat Miami, 27-17
1984 Super Bowl XVIII Washington Lost to Oakland 38-9
1985 Super Bowl XIX San Francisco Beat Miami 38-16
1986 Super Bowl XX Chicago Beat New England 46-10
1987 Super Bowl XXI Giants Beat Denver 39-20
1988 Super Bowl XXII Washington Beat Denver 42-10
1989 Super Bowl XXIII San Francisco Beat Denver 20-16
1990 Super Bowl XXIV San Francisco Beat Denver 55-10
1991 Super Bowl XXV Giants Beat Buffalo 20-19
1992 Super Bowl XXVI Washington Beat Buffalo 37-24
1993 Super Bowl XXVII Dallas Beat Buffalo 52-17
1994 Super Bowl XXVIII Dallas Beat Buffalo 30-13
1995 Super Bowl XXIX San Francisco Beat San Diego 49-26
1996 Super Bowl XXX Dallas Beat Pittsburgh 27-17

1 comment:

toddplace said...

Great insight. Today's (10/30/05) Sports Page in the Washington Post had the same message in a longer article. You were two weeks ahead of them.