The American Football Conference-Eastern Division (AFC East) will kick off our Sunday in the Skybox team by team 2012 Preview. This division (composed of the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots and New York Jets) has a combined total of 6 Superbowl wins. Superbowl XLVI runner-up New England Patriots have controlled this division over the last decade winning 8 of the last 10 Division titles. Another fun fact about this division is that it could be renamed, the Bill Parcells division. Parcells himself coached for the New England Patriots and New York Jets. Most recently Parcells was Vice President of Football Operations for the Miami Dolphins. Over the years, current and former head coaches such as Bill Belichick are from the Bill Parcells coaching tree.
Bad Blood in this Division: There has been long-standing rivalries in this division. One of the biggest rivalries in football has always been the Jets and the Dolphins. These teams have gone back and forth in some hard-fought games giving the Jets the overall advantage of 47-43-1. The Dolphins have also had their battles with the Bills, meeting in the playoffs 4 times. The most recent rivalry has been with the Patriots and the Jets. It has mirrored the bad blood similar to the baseball Yankees and the Red Sox. The Jets have mostly played second fiddle to the Pats, but NY has been competitive in recent years, playing the Patriots in playoff battles twice in the past six years.
Recently, there have been quite a few great moments between the teams in this division. In 2008, the Dolphins pulled an upset win (38-13) over the Patriots using the WildCat offense. Sadly Dolphins fans can’t shake the memory of a 41-14 loss to the Patriots during Monday Night Football in 2010. The next day, the Dolphins fired Special Teams coach John Bonamego for managing to give up 21 points in huge special teams mistakes. We all loved watching the battles between Randy Moss as a Patriot vs CB Derrelle Revis of the Jets. Speaking of Revis, he called New England Patriot head coach Bill Belichick a “jerk” during a word association game played on ESPN againt Patriot TE Rob Gronkowski–awkward.
Division Superstars: Who doesn’t know Tom Brady? This year he finally has some true competition in the popularity department since the Jets have acquired Tim Tebow from the Denver Broncos. Cornerback Derrelle Revis is the face of the Jets defense and arguably the best CB in the league. This division has a nice group of wide receivers, most notably, Wes Welker, Santonio Holmes, Stevie Johnson, and they newly signed Buffalo Bill Vincent Jackson. Emerging stars in this division are TE Rob Gronkowski of the Patriots and former Heisman Trophy winner RB Reggie Bush of the Miami Dolphins.
Superbowl Count: There have been a total of 6 Super Bowls won by the teams currently in the AFC East division. Three of those wins have come from the Patriots, all of which have occurred in the 21st century. The Dolphins won two Super Bowls came courtesy of the Dolphins in the 70s. In 1972, Miami recorded the only completely undefeated season to accompany their SB win. Lastly, the Jets won the title in 1968, behind the bold prediction of Broadway Joe Namath.
Ranking Last Season: New England Patriots (13-3), New York Jets (8-8), Miami Dolphins (6-10), Buffalo Bills (6-10)
2012 Division Showdowns: Week 1 – Bills at Jets, Week 3 – Jets at Dolphins, Week 4 = Patriots at Bills, Week 7 – Jets at Patriots, Week 8 – Dolphins at Jets, Week 10 – Bills at Patriots, Week 11 – Dolphins at Bills, Week 12 – Patriots at Jets, Week 13 – Patriots at Dolphins, Week 16 – Bills at Dolphins, Week 17 – Jets at Bills and Dolphins at Patriots.