We all know that the Detroit Lions haven’t won the division since 1993. In fact, technically speaking, the Lions have never won the NFC North. Back when they last won their division, it was called the NFC Central and included the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Obviously, the Lions’ own ineptitude over the last 24 years is the main reason behind the mind-bogglingly long drought. But they also haven’t been helped by an extremely competitive, extremely difficult division. Consider this: in seven out of the last eight seasons, the NFC North has sent at least two teams to the playoffs. Only the AFC North can claim the same accomplishment since 2008.
Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson met with the media on Wednesday and said the NFC North doesn’t get the respect it deserves:
Thompson on NFC North: "This division is extraordinarily competitive, extraordinarily difficult. I don't think it's appreciated enough."— Ryan Wood (@ByRyanWood) March 1, 2017
So today’s Question of the Day is:
Is the NFC North currently the toughest division in the NFL?
My answer: As of right now, I think the NFC North is only topped by the AFC West in difficulty. However, Thompson is exactly right that the NFC North is not appreciated enough. The division is not only regularly one of the toughest divisions, but there is a good amount of parity among the teams. Though Green Bay has won the division in five of the past six years, every team in the division has competed for the title in the past seven years. If we’re talking over the past decade, I think you could certainly make the argument that no division has been more difficult than the NFC North.
Of course, I would hate for the Lions to play in the AFC East, too, where the Patriots have won the division 14 out of the last 16 years. However, that’s more of a testament to a single team than the division.