Before anyone gets bent out of shape, I fully acknowledge this will never happen. The battle between sticking to what makes rich and powerful people more rich and powerful and what makes sense is usually over before it ever begins. However, in my fantasy world, I would like to see the NFL realigned in to divisions that make geographical sense with teams that are in logical proximity to one another.
The biggest hurdles to making this a reality are that some traditional divisional rivalries would be broken up, some teams would switch conferences, and a couple of teams would need to be relocated to new cities. As far as the divisional rivalries are concerned, there are really very few that have nationwide significance and remain strong throughout the test of time. More often, the teams tend to play each other more tightly because of familiarity but national implications between the teams are far more sporadic. On the other hand, passionate rivalries can emerge that exist outside of the division, such as the battle between Indianapolis and New England over the course of the last decade. The fact that this proposal better contains divisions within geographical areas, added to the reality that these teams would begin playing twice a year, are sure to produce new and lasting rivalries.
As far as the relocation of teams is concerned, this is a requirement born out of the continued neglect by the league to cultivate an adequate number of Western-based teams. There are currently a total of 6 NFL teams in the entire Western half of the United States and this needs to be remedied. By relocating two of the newer franchises awarded that have failed to achieve Super Bowl appearances to Western locations, as they should have been located in the first place, balance can be better achieved. The first relocation would be Jacksonville to Los Angeles. This is a move that has already been rumored and debated. Los Angeles is the 2nd largest television market in the nation whereas Florida was already well represented prior to the birth of the Jaguars. Jacksonville failed to prevent television blackouts in the majority of their home games this year. There is a formidable argument to be made for this move.
The second relocation I immediately confess is self-serving to what I would like to see. This would be the relocation of the Buffalo Bills to Portland, Oregon. Although the Bills have achieved 4 Superbowl teams and were one of the more memorable franchises of the late 80's and early 90's, fan support has wavered leading the team to be another frequent source of relocation rumors, including Canada. Portland is a top-20 television market and would immediately fuel rivalries with both their Northwest neighbor, Seattle, and California teams. Now to the details.
Arizona, Los Angeles, Oakland, and San Diego.
Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Kansas City, and St. Louis.
Dallas, Houston, New Orleans, and Tennessee.
Cleveland, New England, New Jersey (Jets), and Pittsburgh.
Denver, Portland, San Francisco, and Seattle
Chicago, Detriot, Green Bay, and Minnesota
Atlanta, Carolina, Miami, and Tampa Bay
Baltimore, New York (Giants), Philadelphia, and Washington.
As you can see, the only division completely left alone would be the NFC North. The move of Dallas to the AFC would be the most shocking, but they clearly do not belong in an East division in the first place. A couple new divisional rivalries of note would be Pittsburgh and New England as well as Denver and San Francisco. I would be interested to hear if others had thoughts on how we might reshape the league.