Today’s debate attempts to answer a question that is answered in every Super Bowl – which conference reigns supreme?
Loyal Homer took a compelling, albeit obvious, approach to proving that the AFC is the conference most deserving of respect in the 2011 playoff picture. He went with a “numbers don’t lie approach” that showed that the record book clearly favors the AFC. Loyal Homer aptly pointed out that even without the Patriots skewing AFC number and Seattle doing the same for the NFC, the AFC playoff contender’s collective records would still best the NFC by a sizeable margin. Although the NFL is a league of parity these numbers call that understanding into serious doubt. He hammered his point home by calling attention to the fact that interleague play again favors the AFC. Using the age old adage made famous by the greatest professional wrestling legend of all time, the Nature Boy Ric Flair, “To be the man, you’ve got to beat the man,” and the stats make it clear that until proven otherwise the AFC is “the man.”
Optimist Prime’s argument was intriguing to say, the very least. After losing some major ground by coming out of the gates conceding the AFC’s dominance in most things statistical, he redeemed himself greatly by appealing not to numbers but gut feelings – a refreshing change from the usual format of TSD debate. Optimist Prime then lobbied hard that the qualitative data, rather than the quantitative, supported the upstart senior circuit in this debate. His approach prompted me to answer the question, “Of the respective playoff teams in each conference, which teams would you not want your favorite team to play?” It was quite a risk basing his entire argument on such a subjective call, but considering the mound of statistical evidence piling up against the NFC, it was a risk he had to make.
Unfortunately for Optimist Prime, big gambles have a way of not always working out. After giving thoughtful consideration to his challenge I still felt that the AFC was the conference to beat, and that’s why Loyal Homer is the winner of this debate. The Patriots, Steelers, Colts, Jets, Ravens and Chiefs are just flat out scarier (and in that order, to boot) playoff contenders. The AFC boasts a killer lineup of dynastic dominance. The top two seeds in the conference – the Patriots and Steelers – have been to the Super Bowl many times, and more often than not have walked away with the trophy held high.
The upstart NFC, however, puts forth a much less impressive lineup on the field, a lineup of teams with a lot of potential, but teams that carry less of an air of intimidation. Honestly, only the NFC teams competing in the Wild Card Round of the playoffs seem to pose any real threat, the Seahawks excluded, of course. The Saints, Eagles, and Packers all possess offenses potent enough to carry them all the way to the Super Bowl, but they would still have to get past the AFC, and I just don’t see that happening.
There are far too many questions surrounding NFC contenders than the AFC powerhouses, questions that Loyal Homer accurately called out. Questions like, “Who will be running the ball for the injury thinned Saints?” “Are the trendy pick Eagles really as tough as they seem, when they were one loss away from being out the playoff picture altogether?” “Can a one dimensional Packers team pick up all their wins on the road possibly make it all the way to a Super Bowl victory?” My gut tells me no, no, and probably not.
While the Super Bowl will have the final say on the matter in the real world, this debate is ruled by speculation of sports fans, and WE believe that the AFC is the conference to beat. So enjoy the victory Loyal Homer, we’ll find out if you really know what you’re talking about in about four weeks.