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The National Football League has a weird plan for assigning its new expansion franchises. Seattle will be in the NFC West in 1976, which makes sense, but in 1977 it will be switched to the AFC Central. Tampa Bay will play in the AFC West in 1976, probably because it is on the west coast of Florida, and in 1977 will jump to the NFC Central. This is almost as dumb as the present NFL setup, in which Atlanta and New Orleans are in the NFC West with Los Angeles and San Francisco, and Houston is in the AFC Central with closely clustered Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Cleveland.
Pay close attention now, NFL. Here's what you should do. In the American Conference, shift Houston from the Central to a new five-club West, with Denver, Kansas City, San Diego and Oakland. Switch Buffalo from the AFC East to Houston's vacated spot in the Central: the Bills will then be with their geographical neighbors. Assign the new Tampa club to Buffalo's old place in the AFC East, in which it will have a cross-state rivalry with Miami.
About the only valid criticism of this proposed alignment is that it gives Washington a pretty good hold on the NFC East, while concentrating three top teams in the NFC West. But as it now stands, Los Angeles has a lock on the West, while three top teams butt heads in the East.
Here's the way it should look: