It is true that the Baltimore Ravens, an AFC team, did just win Super Bowl XLVII. And it is true that the infallible Tom Brady still resides in the northeast, but the era of AFC dominance has come to an end—for now, at least. Save for the Denver Broncos, very few AFC teams will strike fear into the hearts of opponents in 2013.
This is seen by the NFC now boasting the NFL’s best quarterback—Aaron Rodgers, the best running back—Adrian Peterson, the best wide receiver—Calvin Johnson, a majority of the elite pass rushers—Aldon Smith being one, and now the best cornerbacks— Darrelle Revis and Richard Sherman.
The Revis trade is telling of one recent trend in the NFL; the NFC gets richer and the AFC gets progressively more impoverished of talent. The NFC has claimed Super Bowl titles four out of the past five years, and the 2000s era of AFC powerhouses is now in the rear view mirror.
That being said, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers can now compete in a division—the NFC South—that has three explosive offenses: New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, and Carolina Panthers. The reasoning for this is simple; Tampa Bay’s defense is now the best in the NFC South—a division with three mediocre (or worse) defenses.
With a solid defense and a plethora of weapons on offense—Vincent Jackson, Mike Williams, and Doug Martin–Tampa Bay’s success rests on the shoulders of Josh Freeman. The Buccaneers’ QB is one who has performed brilliantly at some points, while falling short on other occasions.
While they did win a championship in 2002 with journeyman Brad Johnson, the NFL is no longer a league where a ball club can flourish in spite of inconsistent quarterback play. The Buccaneers have made big headlines during the past two offseasons, and it is time for them to play up to their roster’s talent and join the ranks of the NFC’s many powerhouses.