Many people debate which division is the toughest or currently the best in the NFL. But which divisions are historically the toughest, most successful, or the greatest all-time? Which divisions have produced the best players or seen the most success in the playoffs? We’ve set out to answer this question. A little over a month ago we at NFL Spin Zone released a ranking of all 32 NFL franchises based on all-time greatness a month ago. Using the same comprehensive points system we’ve broken the NFL down to its eight divisions and ranked them based on all-time greatness.
This is a ranking the best divisions in NFL history, thus only history compiled while playing in the NFL is accounted for. AFL statistics are not valid for the purposes of this list. What this ranking system does is list all eight NFL divisions in order of greatness per year. Since most divisions have teams that have been in the league for varying amounts of years (many with differences that span decades) we took each division’s total points and divided them by the total amount of years that division’s four teams have been in the NFL. This gives us the clearest picture of which divisions are historically the toughest to play in, have featured the best players, and are the most successful as a whole.
Super Bowl Win (1966-Present): 20 Points
World Championship (1920-1965): 12 Points
Conference Championship (1960-Present): 10 Points
Division Championship: 6 Points
Playoff Appearance: 4 Points
Hall of Fame Player (Main Contribution): 8 Points
AP MVP* (1957-Present): 6 Points
AP Offensive POY (1972-Present): 4 Points
AP Defensive POY (1971-Present): 4 Points
*Most NFL historians agree that 1957 was the year that the first legitimate MVP trophy was handed out.
As previously stated, we took the total number of points from each division’s four teams and divided that number by the total number of years the division’s four teams have been in the NFL (excluding this year). This created a total score more reflective of the all divisions’ collective success. Again, this was done because some divisions feature franchises that have been around for fifty years or more as well as franchises that have existed for less than twenty years. That lack of consistency had to be evened out, this accomplished that. The “Division Championship” was left as a point getter because numerous franchises have changed divisions and the division crowns those franchises have claimed should still be accounted for. “Playoff Appearance” accounts for franchises winning the wildcard, too.
Where does your team’s division rank versus all the rest in terms of all-time greatness?