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|THE GOOD AND BAD OF NFL REALIGNMENT|
New natural rivalries will have the opportunity to grow. This is especially true in the South. Tampa Bay never really fit in the old NFC Central with Detroit, Chicago, Minnesota and Green Bay. The Bucs and Falcons are a rivalry that can turn into a border war. The league has set themselves up for potentially exciting new rivalries.
Players get the chance to play different teams. In nine years in the NFL, I never played in New England or Oakland. With only three other teams that you have to play twice each year, it leaves the rest of the schedule open to variety that will be exciting for the players and fans. Players get to play in locales they haven't in the past and fans get to see stars their teams haven't competed against.
More geographic sense. While there are still some head scratchers (Indianapolis in the AFC South), the owners dealt with the worst of the geographic blunders. Arizona moves from the NFC East to the NFC West. Atlanta moves from the NFC West to the NFC East. St. Louis stays in the West, but you can't have topographic perfection and keep all of the good rivalries. Something had to give.
Travel will be eased. Due to the new NFL geography, road trips will be shorter for many teams.
Geographic inconsistencies remain. Dallas in the NFC East? Miami in the AFC East while Indianapolis is in the South? While the geographical disaster that was the former divisional setup has improved, inconsistencies remain in some instances in the name of rivalries (i.e., television revenue). I would think some of the teams that were evicted might harbor some hard feelings towards those that got special consideration.
No more first-class upgrades for poor media types. With Atlanta out of the NFC West, Tampa Bay avoiding northern climes and Arizona in the West were they belong, the people who cover these teams are going to lose out big time on all those frequent-flyer miles they racked up traveling to the far-flung homes of former divisional foes.