In 2002, the NFL added its 32nd franchise, the Houston Texans. And also that season, the NFL also underwent its most extensive re-alignment of its divisional format since the AFL/NFL merger of 1970. In 2002, in place of the 6 divisions, 8 divisions were instituted – 4 in the AFC and 4 in the NFC.
The major changes were:
-Seattle Seahawks switched conferences, to the NFC (NFC West).
-Arizona Cardinals moved from NFC East to NFC West.
-newly-formed AFC South comprised of Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Tennessee Titans.
-newly-formed NFC South comprised of Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
-both the AFC Central and the NFC Central were renamed AFC North and NFC North.
The scheduling format was also tinkered with. One of the new elements that was long overdue was the elimination of the situation where teams were often playing every team in the other conference more than every team in their own conference. A team could actually go on forever not playing a team in their own conference if they finished, year-in, year-out, in certain places in the final standings. It was a pretty basic and glaring flaw. Another scheduling modification in 2002 was the drop from 4 games to 2 games per team that were scheduled the following season based on final standings. In other words, since 2002, good teams have not been punished with as tough a schedule the following season; and poor teams have not been rewarded with as soft a schedule the following season. And wins per first-place teams has increased since 2002, as the second link coming up shows (at the -footnote below). First link is to the en.wikipedia page on the ‘2002 NFL season/Expansion and re-alignment [see third paragraph and down]‘…
Here is an excerpt from that Wikipedia article…”The league also introduced a new eight-year scheduling rotation designed so that all teams will play each other at least twice during those eight years, and will play in every other team’s stadium at least once. Under the new scheduling formula, only two of a team’s games each season are based on the previous year’s record, down from four under the previous system (the previous system also used standings to determine interconference match-ups). An analysis of win percentages has shown a statistical trend upwards for top teams since this change; the top team each year now averages 14.2 wins, versus 13.4 previously.…”(end of excerpt).
, from June, 2008, from MIT-alumni-run site called The Fount.info ‘16-0: The myth of Perfection ‘.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII [Super Bowl 37], which was played in San Diego at Qualcomm Stadium.
Thanks to misterhabs.com/Helmets, aka Helmets, Helmets, Helmets site. At that site I got most of the helmet illustrations on the 2002 map; some helmet illustrations I found at each team’s page at en.wikipedia.org… ‘National Football League‘.
Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org, ‘National Football League‘.