The worst NFL division of all time?

What an NFL season it was. Amidst all the inconsistencies of the season and variation among trends and teams, one thing stayed constant throughout the season. The NFC East sucked. We’ve seen bad divisions in the NFL before. The 2010 NFC West, won by the 7-9 Seahawks, and the 2014 NFC South, won by the 7-8-1 Panthers, come to mind. But there was just something about the NFC East this year that just made it so much more of a stinker than the rest of the awful divisions we’ve seen. To start off, the NFC East was even being made fun of all the way back to last year as being a bad division. The Eagles won the division with a 9-7 record and the division had a combined record of 24-40, including a 12-28 record when not including games the teams played against each other. The division already was the laughingstock of the league. The Giants and Redskins (now the Washington Football Team) were horrible, the Cowboys were easily the most disappointing team in the league as they constantly failed to live up to expectation and finished 8-8, and the Eagles were just a fragment of their Super Bowl winning team from just two years prior. Things were already on a downward turn, but they somehow got worse. With the Eagles constantly declining, the Cowboys were seen as the favorite to take the division. However, many thought if the Giants took the necessary steps, that they could be a sleeper to win the division. The Cowboys started off extremely underwhelming, with many noting their defense as being one of the worst they’ve ever seen, as they managed to give up 218 points through just six games. The Cowboys bright spot was QB Dak Prescott, who put-up mind-boggling numbers through four games, until a gruesome ankle injury in Week 5 took him out for the season. Things eventually got so bad for the Cowboys, that they resorted to starting QBs named Ben DiNucci and Garrett Gilbert in the midst of the season. Not even Madden could come up with names like those. It’s safe to say that the “Gucci DiNucci” nickname was short lived and so was Gilbert’s tenure, as both lasted one game. Somehow after starting 3-9, the Cowboys found themselves with a shot at the division going into Week 17, when a disappointing loss to the Giants took them out for good. The Eagles might have had an even more drastic downfall. Their wide-receiver issues still hadn’t been solved, and QB Carson Wentz, who was an MVP candidate just three seasons ago, looked like one of the worst QBs in the league, as he tossed only 16 touchdowns while turning the ball over 19 times. The Eagles resorted to starting rookie QB Jalen Hurts in Week 14 due to Wentz’s poor play. Their wildest moment of the season occurred when many assumed they purposely tanked and threw the game against the Washington Football Team in Week 17 in order to get a higher draft pick and to purposely let Washington take the division crown rather than the Giants, who would have clinched the division with an Eagles win. The Eagles not only went for some questionable fourth downs, but also benched Hurts when down three late, in favor of QB Nate Sudfeld, who even rivaled Ben DiNucci with his level of incompetency. The chaos that ensued following this game was hilarious and the meltdown that occurred with Giants fans is something that I will never forget. Speaking of the Giants, they were the only team without a major QB issue in the division. Starter Daniel Jones only missed two games all year. They started out 1-7 but put together an applaudable effort to end the season. They fell just short of the division crown (the Eagles may have had something to do with that) but did much better than expected by finishing 6-10. They beat the Seahawks in Week 13, which was definitely their most impressive victory, but their offense still needs a lot of work if they want to contend. Finally, the Washington Football Team. They won the division after starting 2-7. No one even considered them a contender prior to the season’s start, they truly defied the odds. QB Alex Smith proved remarkable after an awful leg injury in 2018 that many thought marked the end of his career. He came back and proved to be what the team needed. That doesn’t mean this team didn’t have its fair share of mishaps either. Dwayne Haskins, the second year QB who was seen as the future of the team, had as bad of a year as you could have. First of all, you could tell coach Ron Rivera pretty much gave up on him halfway through the season. Then, he was released a week after a video leaked of him partying at a strip club and violating the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols following a loss in Week 15. They won the marathon though, but how they do in the postseason though is yet to be determined. Of course, the Bucs face them, and with the Bucs reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2007, it would be disastrous to have their playoff return spoiled by a sub-.500 team. The two sub-.500 teams mentioned earlier (2010 Seahawks and 2014 Panthers) both won their first playoff games, so history is not on the Bucs’ side here. Thirteen different QBs, an 11-28-1 record excluding divisional games, and a disaster of a season later, it’s finally over. We can rejoice and reminisce on this atrocity of football. There was a little bit of everything, terrible offense, terrible defense, tanking, finger-pointing, blaming, but it’s all over now. I doubt this division can get worse from here, but we can’t really be 100% sure, can we?

No picture better encapsulates NFC East football than this one.

No picture better encapsulates NFC East football than this one.

Alex Kajda, Staff Writer

What an NFL season it was. Amidst all the inconsistencies of the season and variation among trends and teams, one thing stayed constant throughout the season. The NFC East sucked. We’ve seen bad divisions in the NFL before. The 2010 NFC West, won by the 7-9 Seahawks, and the 2014 NFC South, won by the 7-8-1 Panthers, come to mind. But there was just something about the NFC East this year that just made it so much more of a stinker than the rest of the awful divisions we’ve seen.

To start off, the NFC East was even being made fun of all the way back to last year as being a bad division. The Eagles won the division with a 9-7 record and the division had a combined record of 24-40, including a 12-28 record when not including games the teams played against each other. The division already was the laughingstock of the league. The Giants and Redskins (now the Washington Football Team) were horrible, the Cowboys were easily the most disappointing team in the league as they constantly failed to live up to expectation and finished 8-8, and the Eagles were just a fragment of their Super Bowl winning team from just two years prior. Things were already on a downward turn, but they somehow got worse.

With the Eagles constantly declining, the Cowboys were seen as the favorite to take the division. However, many thought if the Giants took the necessary steps, that they could be a sleeper to win the division. The Cowboys started off extremely underwhelming, with many noting their defense as being one of the worst they’ve ever seen, as they managed to give up 218 points through just six games. The Cowboys bright spot was QB Dak Prescott, who put-up mind-boggling numbers through four games, until a gruesome ankle injury in Week 5 took him out for the season. Things eventually got so bad for the Cowboys, that they resorted to starting QBs named Ben DiNucci and Garrett Gilbert in the midst of the season. Not even Madden could come up with names like those. It’s safe to say that the “Gucci DiNucci” nickname was short lived and so was Gilbert’s tenure, as both lasted one game. Somehow after starting 3-9, the Cowboys found themselves with a shot at the division going into Week 17, when a disappointing loss to the Giants took them out for good.

The Eagles might have had an even more drastic downfall. Their wide-receiver issues still hadn’t been solved, and QB Carson Wentz, who was an MVP candidate just three seasons ago, looked like one of the worst QBs in the league, as he tossed only 16 touchdowns while turning the ball over 19 times. The Eagles resorted to starting rookie QB Jalen Hurts in Week 14 due to Wentz’s poor play. Their wildest moment of the season occurred when many assumed they purposely tanked and threw the game against the Washington Football Team in Week 17 in order to get a higher draft pick and to purposely let Washington take the division crown rather than the Giants, who would have clinched the division with an Eagles win. The Eagles not only went for some questionable fourth downs, but also benched Hurts when down three late, in favor of QB Nate Sudfeld, who even rivaled Ben DiNucci with his level of incompetency. The chaos that ensued following this game was hilarious and the meltdown that occurred with Giants fans is something that I will never forget.

Speaking of the Giants, they were the only team without a major QB issue in the division. Starter Daniel Jones only missed two games all year. They started out 1-7 but put together an applaudable effort to end the season. They fell just short of the division crown (the Eagles may have had something to do with that) but did much better than expected by finishing 6-10. They beat the Seahawks in Week 13, which was definitely their most impressive victory, but their offense still needs a lot of work if they want to contend.

Finally, the Washington Football Team. They won the division after starting 2-7. No one even considered them a contender prior to the season’s start, they truly defied the odds. QB Alex Smith proved remarkable after an awful leg injury in 2018 that many thought marked the end of his career. He came back and proved to be what the team needed. That doesn’t mean this team didn’t have its fair share of mishaps either. Dwayne Haskins, the second year QB who was seen as the future of the team, had as bad of a year as you could have. First of all, you could tell coach Ron Rivera pretty much gave up on him halfway through the season. Then, he was released a week after a video leaked of him partying at a strip club and violating the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols following a loss in Week 15. They won the marathon though, but how they do in the postseason though is yet to be determined. Of course, the Bucs face them, and with the Bucs reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2007, it would be disastrous to have their playoff return spoiled by a sub-.500 team. The two sub-.500 teams mentioned earlier (2010 Seahawks and 2014 Panthers) both won their first playoff games, so history is not on the Bucs’ side here.

Thirteen different QBs, an 11-28-1 record excluding divisional games, and a disaster of a season later, it’s finally over. We can rejoice and reminisce on this atrocity of football. There was a little bit of everything, terrible offense, terrible defense, tanking, finger-pointing, blaming, but it’s all over now. I doubt this division can get worse from here, but we can’t really be 100% sure, can we?