The League

Dave Goldberg
Sports Reporter

Dave Goldberg

Covered the NFL for the AP for 25 years and now is a senior NFL writer for

NFC Still Supreme


When I was given this topic, I was a little incredulous.

All season I've been thinking that the best teams in the NFC are better than the AFC's best and someone says "NO!!'' Yeah, I know, "power rankings'' are meaningless although the Saints, Giants and Vikings have been at or near the top most of the season. Last time I looked, all were in the NFC.

I guess this came from blowouts Sunday: the Colts over the Rams, the Patriots over the Bucs and the Bengals over the Bears. In other words, the best team in the AFC beating the worst team in the NFC 42-6; the second-best team in the AFC beating the second-worst team in the NFC 35-7 and an enigmatic AFC team running it up at home on an enigmatic NFC team that probably isn't as good as people think. (Perhaps Jay Cutler is a pig in a poke after all.)

Oh yes, and Buffalo, a mediocre (or worse) AFC team beating Carolina, a mediocre (or worse) NFC team and Houston's home win over San Francisco -- two more middling teams.

If we're adhering to the theory, what do we do about Green Bay, a middling (or slightly better) NFC team and its 31-3 win over Cleveland, a horrible AFC team? Or New Orleans' comeback from a 24-3 deficit to beat Miami 46-34? "They had to come back,'' I'm told. Yeah, they outscored the Dolphins 43-10 in the last 30 minutes and two seconds.

I guess the folks who advocate "AFC dominance'' can point to Pittsburgh, the defending Super Bowl champion, beating previously unbeaten Minnesota. Pittsburgh, by my accounting, is the third best team in the AFC -- OK, make it tied with Denver -- and was at home in one of the league's most difficult venues.

First, the Steelers got the benefit of a game turning tripping call on the Vikings that was nearly unanimously panned as terrible that turned the game. Then Brett Favre was driving the Vikings for at least a tying field goal and maybe a winning touchdown when a pass bounced off the hands of Chester Taylor to the Steelers' Keyaron Fox, who returned it 82 yards for a TD. That tells me the teams are about even. In fact, as I watched the game, I thought the Vikings probably had a bit the better of the play -- I thought the tripping call was terrible, too.

Remember the NFL's favorite slogan? "On Any Given Sunday?'' It's from the Rozelle era, when the mantra was that anyone can beat anyone.

That's still true. Except for St. Louis (NFC), Tampa Bay (NFC), Kansas City (AFC), Cleveland (AFC), Tennessee and, on most days, Oakland (AFC). Yes, I know, the Raiders beat Philadelphia last week. But the Eagles throw in a stinker every season and Oakland lost 44-7 to the Giants two weeks ago.

Here's what I really think.

If the Saints, Vikings or maybe even the Cowboys are in the Super Bowl against the Colts, Patriots, Broncos or Steelers, I'll take the Saints, Vikings or Giants, assuming that they are reasonably healthy.

After all, the Giants showed the Patriots all about "AFC dominance'' two seasons ago.

By Dave Goldberg  |  October 26, 2009; 9:38 AM ET  | Category:  NFL Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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really? nfc over afc. come on now. yes, the giants beat the pats. lets go through the decade together- 00-ravens, 01-pats, 02-bucs, 03-pats,04-pats, 05-steelers, 06-colts,07-giants, 08-steelers....2 nfc champs this decade, one of them being a miracle win in 07. hmmmm, i wonder who has the better conference? take a look at what the patriots did to atlanta, the bengals did to the bears, pitt beating the vikes yesterday, the beat goes on and on. this isnt even an argument. for christ sakes, the RAIDERS BEAT THE EAGLES LAST WEEK. the chiefs gave the cowboys all they could handle, and the broncos beat the cowboys. wake up. the nfc is a joke compared to the afc. you still like the giants after losing at home to the cardinals? the pats beat the cards 47-7 last year in foxboro- w/out tom brady. the saints will find a way to blow it.

Posted by: chrissimusc | October 26, 2009 11:32 AM

I pity the fool who wrote this column. Why don't you cook up a few more excuses for why Minnesota lost the game on Sunday, Dave? Yeah, maybe if Brett Favre's grandmother had added a touch more salt to his meatballs last week he would have thrown for 1000 yards on Sunday. And maybe cows can fly over the moon. Only ONE THING MATTERS in the NFL -- the FINAL SCORE...

Posted by: jerkhoff | October 27, 2009 2:29 PM

I suppose if you live in the DC area and are force-fed a weekly dose of Redskins and NFC football, it would be expected that your mind would eventually turn to mush. The last I looked, the AFC has been riding roughshod over the NFC for the past decade and I haven't seen anything to change that so far this season. Colts, Patriots, Broncos, Steelers and probably even the Ravens and Bengals are easily superior to every other team in the NFC, outside of the Saints.

Posted by: coltsforu | October 27, 2009 3:10 PM

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