Could the AFC North make NFL history in 2014?
At the unofficial midpoint of the 2014 NFL season, the AFC North Division has all four teams sporting winning records: Cincinnati (5-2-1), Pittsburgh (6-3), Cleveland (5-3) and Baltimore (5-4). If all four remain above .500 at the end of the season, it would be the first time in NFL history that all of the teams from one division finished with a winning record.
Since 2002 when the NFL went to the current four-team, four-division format in each conference, there have been six times when all of the four teams in the division finished the year at .500 or above. The last time was in 2008 when each of the four teams in both the NFC East and NFC South finished the year at .500 or above.
Here’s a look at the six times since 2002 when all the teams in the division finished the season at .500 or above.
2002: AFC East (New England 9-7; Miami 9-7; N.Y. Jets 9-7, Buffalo 8-8)
2002: AFC West (Oakland 11-5; Denver 9-7; Kansas City 8-8; San Diego 8-8)
2007: AFC South (Indianapolis 13-3; Jacksonville 11-5; Tennessee 10-6; Houston 8-8)
2007: NFC East (Dallas 13-3; N.Y. Giants 10-6; Washington 9-7; Philadelphia 8-8)
2008: NFC East (N.Y. Giants 12-4; Philadelphia 9-6-1; Dallas 9-7, Washington 8-8)
2008: NFC South: (Carolina 12-4; Atlanta 11-5; Tampa Bay 9-7; New Orleans 8-8)
Interesting to note that when four teams from a division finished a season at .500 or better that it happened twice in the same year. If the AFC North finishes with all four at .500 or above, is there another division that could also have the same finish? Looking at the standings we see that both the NFC Central and NFC West have their fourth place teams with records of 3-5.
Prior to 2002, there were three times when all the teams in a division finished at .500 or better. Two of those times it happened with five teams in the division. Here are those three times.
1989: AFC Central (Cleveland 9-6-1; Houston 9-7; Pittsburgh 9-7; Cincinnati 8-8)
1995: AFC West (Kansas City 13-3; San Diego 9-7; Oakland 8-8; Denver 8-8; Seattle 8-8)
1999: AFC East (Indianapolis 13-3; Buffalo 11-5; Miami 9-7; N.Y. Jets 8-8; New England 8-8)
Only twice in NFL history has a team that made the Super Bowl from a division that had all of its teams at .500 or above: Oakland in 2002 and the New York Giants in 2007. The Raiders lost in the championship game; the Giants won the Super Bowl that year.
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