From the drawers of the Top Secret Fyles:
The NFC East Division is no doubt an embarrassment for the NFL, which prides itself on excellence, or more often on parody.
But looking at the division standings before Monday night, you see the Giants (4-7) and Washington (4-7) each leading, with the Eagles (3-6-1) and Cowboys (3-8) trailing. The most hilarious benefit of this is the division winner — whomever that may be — will be the NFC’s No. 4 playoff seed and host a wild-card game, the No. 5 seed that will be the best non-division winner in the conference.
This could be ironic again — the past two division winners with losing records both WON their opening wild-card games.
In 2014, NFC South winner Carolina (7-8-1) upended Arizona, 27-16, before losing in the division round to the top-seeded Seahawks, 31-17.
In 2010, the more shocking came true. Seattle (7-9), which won the NFC West over St. Louis thanks to a better division record, stunned defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans, 41-36, in the wild-card round.
That year, only the Cowboys (436) and Panthers (408) allowed more points in the NFC than the Seahawks. However, the Seahawks earned the home game over the Saints because they won a division title. The Seahawks were later ousted by the second-seeded Bears, 35-24, in the division round.
Currently, the 2014 NFC South goes down in recent memory as one the worst division since the 1970 NFL merger. The collective winning percentage between the Panthers (7-8-1), Saints (7-9), Falcons (6-10) and Buccaneers (2-14) was a putrid .352, posting a combined 22-41-1 overall record.
This season’s NFC East will challenge that dubious mark.
Before Monday night’s Seahawks-Eagles game, the NFC East’s combined mark between the four clubs is a dreadful 14-28-1 for a .337 winning percentage.
Even more shockingly, the teams’ combined record against non-divisional opponents is 5-19-1 (.220).
Seriously, it’s not even funny any more.
As a last example, the Steelers (9-7) — with much of their prime Super Bowl talent either gone or eroded — edged out the Bengals (8-8) for the 1984 AFC Central Division crown. The Browns (5-11) and Oilers (3-13) brought up the rear.
Pittsburgh WON its opening playoff game on the road, 24-17, at Denver, before falling at top-seeded Miami, 45-28, in the AFC title game.
Back to the present, it is highly possible that the NFC East winner won’t win more than six games in 2020 — yet will play host to a wild-card postseason game.
Times sports copy editor Richard Fyle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org