Top 5 Reasons The AFC Is The Superior Conference
The debate over which conference in the NFL is better has been a constant battle from decade to decade. Super teams, special players, great rivalries – they all have had a part in adding fuel to a fire of which is which.
The NFC dominated the AFC for nearly a decade in the 1990s in the Super Bowl where scores from year to year that it looked more like child’s play or sandlot football. Then, as the greats like Montana, Favre and Aikman left the game, the balance of power began to level off – opening the door for players like Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger to show their special talent in the 2000s.
Now, maybe more than ever, the balance of conferences has led to better competition, new rivalries and a chance for fans to find new heroes at other positions besides quarterback.
I grew up a Miami Dolphins fan – watching Bob Griese and then Dan Marino (with a smattering of David Woodley in between) lead the orange and aqua in the Orange Bowl. I am an AFC fan, through and through, watching the Jaguars now as they scratch and crawl for life in the AFC South.
Do I think the AFC is better than the NFC? Yes, but only because I am conditioned that way from years of being spoiled. I can, however, make a case for the AFC as being a supreme conference. Here are five reasons.
PEYTON MANNING AND TOM BRADY
This may be the best quarterback rivalry of all time. Long before the two quarterbacks found each other in the NFL, the league gave us Aikman and Favre and Aikman and Young. There is plenty of debate over which quarterback is better.
Some would argue Brady is better because he has more rings. Some would argue Manning is better because he has the records. Either way, they are still fun to watch.
THE DAWG POUND AND THE BLACK HOLE
In the 1970s and early 1980s was there a team of characters more villainess than the Raiders? And in the 1980s was there a fan base more recognizable than the Dawg Pound in Cleveland? The NFL does a good job of making sure it promotes the name on the front of the jersey more than name on the back.
In a sport that is so short and so violent, it is good the league also helps to promote the fan bases of its franchises. Oakland and Cleveland really did not need the help. They do their own self-promotion.
The Czar of professional football. He is as exciting to talk to and interview as a sleeping baby. Slow, deliberate answers, a scorned look on his face and of course, the way he wears that hoodie.
Coaches have their own personalities and the AFC has a few of them. Rex Ryan would be the antithesis of Belichick, but in a sport where the coach is sometimes just as important as the star player, Belichick is the “star” on par with Brady in New England.
PITTSBURGH VERSUS BALTIMORE
The great rivalries of Pittsburgh and Oakland, Kansas City and the Raiders and Dallas and Washington of the past are re-lived in this rivalry. In the 1970s, football was knockdown, drag out – beat the hell out of the opponent football. The current state of the Steelers and Ravens reminds me of players like Conrad Dobler and Ed Jones battled to the death.
BIG APPLE MADNESS
Where else would football die a painful death? The Jets are must see television for several reasons – none of which happen to be winning right now.
Woody Johnson’s franchise played in two AFC Title games in the past decade but have not been to a Super Bowl. Rex Ryan was the jovial, entertaining leader of a cast of misfits who played defense and forgot how to play offense. And all the while, the media loved every minute of it.
Too bad the fans did not feel the same way.