The Cranky Copy Editor — Monday, November 10

AFC (who gets to stay)

No brainers:

Pittsburgh Steelers, Miami Dolphins, Denver Broncos, New England Patriots, Oakland Raiders: All these teams can boast at least two Super Bowl victories and are fully entrenched in NFL lore. And as Mercury Morris will gladly remind you, the Fins are still the only team to go undefeated for an entire season.

New York Jets: They haven’t reached the Super Bowl since 1969, but it’s the Big Apple, baby, and they will forever be the first AFL team to defeat the NFL in the Super Bowl, so 40 years of sucking are forgiven.

Baltimore Ravens: They won a Super Bowl and play in a city with historic value to pro football; stick around a little while longer, boys.[image-1]

San Diego Chargers: No ring, but their AFL legacy and kick-ass uniforms move me.

Tennessee Titans: Forget that they’ve been consistently good for a number of years and came within a yard of tying Rams at the end of Super Bowl XXXIV. The Titans have cool uniforms in a USFL/Arena League kind of way. Not to mention the Music City Miracle. And smoking hot cheerleaders.

Kansas City Chiefs: Because we’re not the St. Louis Rams.

Take your ball and go home:

Buffalo Bills: 0-4 in the Super Bowl. O.J. Simpson played for them.

Cincinnati Bengals: The Ickey Shuffle. Ocho Cinco.

Indianapolis Colts: For not being the Baltimore Colts.

Cleveland Browns: Perennial also-rans, their last championship was in 1964. Yes, they will always have a place in the history books. Now, they are officially history.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Because even Jacksonville doesn’t give a shit.

Houston Texans: Oilers si, Texans, no.

NFC (who gets to stay)

No brainers:

Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins, New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears: Da Bears are probably the least of the bunch in terms of wins, but they are also the Monsters of the Midway, play in the Windy City and boast two of the league’s best running backs of all time: Walter Payton and Gale Sayers. Everyone else has won at least three Super Bowls and are bona fide icons of the league.

Philadelphia Eagles: It’s Philly, man!

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: World champs, one of the league’s best-ever defenses, and growing roster of future Hall-of-Famers.

Take your ball and go home:

Minnesota Vikings: Another 0-4 team in Super Bowl competition. Shake hands with the Bills, losers.

Arizona Cardinals: Two words — Arizona. Cardinals.

Detroit Lions: A legend of the NFL. Until Matt Millen.

Carolina Panthers, Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints: Enough already.

Seattle Seahawks: Came in the league the same year as the Bucs. Their claim to fame: Losing to Pittsburgh in one of the most boring Super Bowls of the modern era.

St. Louis Rams: The state of Missouri’s only big enough for one of us.

Given an infinite amount of time, a monkey banging away at a typewriter could produce the works of Shakespeare. Perhaps given the same amount of time, the New Orleans Saints could eventually win a Super Bowl.

But are you willing to wait for that day? And if/when it arrived, would you even care?

It’s not NFL parity or mediocrity per se that upsets me. It’s what that parity breeds: a chance for teams no one really cares about to compete for a championship that no one will want to watch.

So I’m hereby proposing the NFL separate the wheat from the chaff and cut its current roster of teams to eliminate those that have forfeit their window of opportunity. Those teams for which a Super Bowl win would be either anticlimactic or the equivalent of a tree falling in the forest when no one is around.

To speed along the process, I've already done the dirty work, selectively mixing objective criteria with my infinite wisdom. In the immortal words of former Falcons coach Jerry Glanville, "This the NFL, which stands for 'Not For Long.'"

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