Washington Redskins general manager Bruce Allen has been around the NFL long enough to remember when the NFC East was the league's most powerful division. He should know better than to think those days still exist.
"There's so many changes in the playoff teams each year -- I think half of them change each year anyway," Allen recently told WTEM-AM, via DC Sports Bog. "And in our division, you know, we're in the SEC of the NFL. This is the big leagues. I think when the Giants last won the Super Bowl, they won it with a 9-7 record. So we have to keep competing in our division, and that's what our focus is.
"If we can hold our ground in the division, we're going to be OK, because they are elite teams in our division."
Based on television ratings, the SEC comparison holds up. No team rates quite like the Dallas Cowboys, and almost any prime-time NFC East matchup does very well on television.
Based on results, the NFC East has been mediocre for a long time.
The division has two Super Bowl titles in the last 17 years, and those came from a Giants team that snuck into the playoffs. The Redskins, on balance, have been one of the worst franchises in the league over the last 20 years. The Cowboys have one playoff win since 1996, and it came against the Philadelphia Eagles.
We'll preview the NFC East on the "Around The League Podcast" on Friday, and it's undeniably one of the most compelling divisions with Eagles coach Chip Kelly added to the mix. But it's not the SEC of the NFL. It's more like the Big Ten, a popular conference with more history than talent.