The NFC South is a tough division to play in, and don’t let anyone ever tell you any differently. In fact, it may be the NFL’s best model for inconsistency. However, I mean that as a good thing.
With the Panthers winning the NFC South this season, we now have each team has winning the division three times each. Also, since the Falcons finished with a losing season, they also broke the NFC South streak for consecutive playoff appearances with three (2010-2012) – the Saints had three consecutive appearances previously (2009-2011). Since 2002, when the NFC South was formed, there has never been a repeat division winner.
Some people might say that there should always be a clear winner each season, but doesn’t that defeat the point of competition? I mean, who honestly loves the fact that New England has won the division ten out of the last eleven years other than Patriots fans?
There has also a been certain resurgent curse that shows its ugly head with becoming the NFC South winner. Just ask Atlanta. While the Falcons finished at 13-3 in 2012, they completely flopped in 2013, finishing at 4-12. Before that? We don’t have to spell out what happened to the 2011 Saints, as they went from 13-3 to 7-9, and all of the ‘Bounty Gate’ shenanigans. Before that, each team that finished dead last in the division from 2003-2007, and 2009, would end up being the division winner.
While we’re an eternity away from the 2014 season, we do know that whoever wins the NFC South this season will have bragging rights as the ‘leader’ for at least one season.
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