The AFC South versus the NFC East – who sucks more? It’s the discussion that is happening around workplace water coolers nation wide because when it comes down to it, football fans love to kick a loser when they’re down. Sure, an underdog win warms the cockles during Christmas time but a 4-team division packed with no-hopers and underachievers? That’s another story.
While an NFC East division led by a Washington Redskins side sitting 6 and 7 with a losing record doesn’t inspire any confidence, let’s consider where the AFC South is right now. Only the Indianapolis Colts have pulled up any tress in recent memory as the Texans, Jaguars and Titans have stunk the remainder of the competition out.
There have always been and will always be football teams that suck. The Browns, Chargers, Lions, Bears, 49ers and Buccaneers provide that perfect dose of equilibrium to the exciting winning football other franchises play. Yet they’re spread out across the AFC and NFC, not concentrated into one division of garbage.
With the Colts being dragged down to their divisional level in 2015, where exactly did it go wrong? 3 out of the 4 franchises have enjoyed a malaise stretching many seasons and with a stagnation lasting this long there has to be a lot of guilty parties. From the owners, CEO, list managers, scouts, coaching staff, players and cleaning lady, no one can walk away from this without a stain on their reputation.
Whether it’s relocation rumors, ownership troubles, poor coaching, obsession with cult heroes, injuries or just a terrible team, the list of the AFC South’s woes is endless. But we’ve narrowed down the 15 reasons why the division can be considered the worst ever in the NFL.
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15 Tennessee Haven’t Galvanized Post Bironas Tragedy
Tears were shed and tributes flowed when Tennessee Titans kicker Rob Bironas was discovered dead in a car crash in 2014. The 36-year old swerved off the road and flipped before hitting a ditch to kill the footballer instantly. The drink-driving incident reflected on the Titans as an organization as other clubs in different sports used tragedy to motivate their side to success. Perhaps all of the Titans ills make that feat unachievable in any realm, but it’s a sad state of affairs in any case.
14 Titans Rudderless
Mike Mularkey doesn’t only sound like an insult of a name, but the lame duck coach has been described in some quarters as a “good band aid until a more permanent solution can be found.” That is the worst endorsement you can receive, unless you’re job is threatened by Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly. It speaks volumes how low Mularkey is considered that the man leading another battler in the NFC East is being linked with the position. Who is running this joint, seriously?
13 No Quality in Titans Roster
Where is the genuine star power that is going to pick this team up by the scruff of the neck and take them places? Marcus Mariota, David Cobb, Dorial Green-Beckham, Antonio Andrews, Justin Hunter – all mediocre to decent depending on your view from the grandstands, but nothing there to suggest the future will be laden with trophies in seasons to come. Even when they get leads in football games they’ve proven a canny ability to lose their bottle and blow it anyway.
12 Bon Jovi Rejection of Titans
This is what has become of you Tennessee fans – Jon Bon Jovi wants to own a football team but sees the club as below him. The aging rocker took to Twitter to explain, “Rumors of my interest in the TN Titans are nothing more than that. I am not part of any group perusing a team that is not for sale.” That’s a low blow for the ailing franchise because the team needs some star power and clear direction into 2016 and beyond. The dark shadow that hangs over Jacksonville seems to be hanging around for a little while yet.
11 Jags Continually Linked With Relocation
It’s the rumor that refuses to die. London’s push into the NFL market shows no signs of slowing down with a new stadium to be built in North London to support a team based in the UK permanently. This is superb news for the 3.1 million Brits that consider themselves fans, but with the 32-team balance in place it means that one franchise has to be the casualty. The underperforming Jacksonville team seems an appropriate candidate for the chopping block if the move was to happen and that speculation cannot help the current environment.
10 Poor Jacksonville Squad
In the cold light of day this Jaguars squad is not even close to finals material because they are either too inexperienced, too inconsistent or simply rubbish. From Blake Bortles to Justin Blackmon, Allen Robinson, T.J. Yeldon, Julius Thomas, Denard Robinson, Allen Hurns and the rest of the squad, it’s just doesn’t stack up to the rest of the competition despite the high draft picks. Given time some of them could flourish, but by the time they do they might want to look elsewhere.
9 Jags Become The Benchmark For Losing Teams
The Bills had some promise in week 3 until their 34-31 loss to the Jags, likewise the Ravens in week 5, the Titans the following week and the Colts earlier in the month. A game against Jacksonville are usually high scoring affairs because they chance their arm and don’t have the defense to hold better teams out, but coming away from a meeting against the Jags without the points is like failing to take candy from a baby. Other fans just mark it down as a win and look beyond it, so these wins this season have really exposed those franchises in a big way.
8 Mustard Uniform
The pictures speak for themselves. We’ve already established that the side sucks on the field, why put them through the added humiliation of wearing a mustard-colored uniform for good measure? It looks like someone has dunked the jerseys into a pool of vomit and sprayed it off before running out onto the ground. USA Today rank it number 1 for worst kit ever in the NFL and given the team that’s playing in it, it creates a concoction of wrong.
7 Texans Can’t Beat Old Man Hasselbeck
Houston – we have a problem! Week 4 was a clutch fixture in the AFC South division earlier in the season as the Texans entertained the highly fancied Colts. With Andrew Luck out of the picture, this was the moment for the Texans to get win number 2 on the board and lift themselves out of the mire. Yet the evergreen Matt Hasselbeck at the tender age of 40 put on 2 TD passes with 219 yards to see them home 27-20 in a game that is sure to haunt them for the rest of the campaign. Though they recently defeated him... he really never sure have beat them in the first place.
6 Cult Of JJ Blindsides Rest Of Squad’s Failures
Any Texans game in prime time on a Thursday, Sunday or Monday night has JJ Watt plastered top to bottom. The guy doesn’t seem to care that he’s playing on a terribly overrated team, because in JJ’s world everything is awesome. He hogs the pre and post match coverage like few others and thrived in the spotlight during HBO’s Hard Knocks series earlier in the year. He is the premier defensive end in the league, no doubt about it. But Houston is obsessed about their hero to the detriment of the rest of the squad, which doesn’t come close to matching his quality.
5 Bill O’Brien
The man looks as though he’s unsure of whether he is going backwards of forwards. The bizarre revelation last month that he apologized to the squad for benching Brian Hoyer says volumes about his lack of leadership over the quarterback position. That epic encounter with Tom Brady during his time on the bench in New England shows the man has a short fuse and struggles to control his emotional state at the best of times. While the best teams are led by men in control, Bill O’Brien appears to be anything but.
4 Ryan Fitzpatrick Performing At NY Jets
The Texans look as though a 6th round pick is coming their way for Ryan Fitzpatrick, but what wouldn’t they give to have their time over again with Ryan Fitzpatrick? Admittedly there is daylight between him and the likes of Cam Newtown, Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger, yet the stats explain why the Jets are in a wildcard position and the Texans are floundering in the AFC. 25 TD passes with over 3000 yards is a healthy return for the 33-year old journeyman and the longer he carries the Jets into January, the more Houston will rue letting him go.
3 Andrew Luck’s Injury Crisis
The good news is he’s back in practice after his injury layoff. The bad news is that he seemed to be playing earlier in the season underdone and the subsequent lacerated kidney and torn abdominal muscle suffered against the Denver Broncos last month was the result of poor management. The 26-year old quarterback is arguably the best player in the AFC South with JJ Watt, so when the Colts key man goes down and they have to rely on Matt Hasselbeck, the quality drops significantly.
2 Colts Followed 49ers Rugby Example
The Colts haven’t had enough players step up to the plate in 2015 to merit a genuine Super Bowl run, which makes their decision to try former rugby player Daniel Adongo look a silly mistake. The San Francisco 49ers have tried and failed with former rugby league star Jarryd Hayne in the Bay Area, giving him a go as a punt returner and running back only to see a host of fumbles and errors cost their franchise dearly. These code hoppers need more time to show their mettle, because they can’t come into the NFL without more football under their belts.
1 THAT Jags Loss
It might not have been so much the result people didn’t see coming, but the score line. 51 to 16 victory to the Jacksonville Jaguars, something that comes around once in a generation if you’re lucky. The beauty of the NFL is that anyone can win or lose on the day and with a narrow lead to the Colts at halftime it seemed like everything was going to script. Absolute devastation followed in the second half and any reason fans needed to know why the AFC South sucks more than any other only needs to see this game. The favorites to win the division were handed a spanking by a team with no quality, no consistency, with rumors of relocation, ownership turmoil and a jersey that looks like vomit. Need we say more?
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