NFC West as “NFC Worst” seems like a distant memory


December 8, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) shakes hands with Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) after the game at Candlestick Park. The 49ers defeated the Seahawks 19-17. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn’t more than a few years ago that the NFC West was labeled the “NFC Worst” by many who followed football. In Week 17 of the 2009 NFL season, history was made on Sunday Night Football when the Seattle Seahawks became the first team in league history to win their division and make the playoffs with a losing record. Obviously, this is the type of history you hope no one ever brings up again but given the circumstances surrounding the NFC Championship this might be the time to reflect.

Just think: a division that only a few seasons ago couldn’t produce one team with a winning record is now sending two teams to the NFC Championship. Since the beginning of the season, the Seahawks and 49ers have been viewed by many as the best two teams in the NFC. Judging by the outcome of the NFC playoffs, it looks like the sports writers and commentators were right for a change.

The hiring of Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh, combined with the amazing talent that both teams currently share has made the NFC West’s turnaround from worst to first a quick one (you know a division is good when a team goes 12-4 and that’s only good enough for a five-seed in the playoffs).

However, the surprisingly quick emergence of the NFC West doesn’t stop with the two divisional rivals playing Sunday night for a trip to the Super Bowl. The Arizona Cardinals might be able to make a case for being one of the best teams to miss the playoffs. They certainly proved their worth by snapping Seattle’s 14-game home win streak in Week 16 this season. And let’s not forget that the St. Louis Rams played a major portion of their season with a back-up quarterback and still managed to be competitive.

With all the young talent and coaching that currently resides in the NFC West it’s likely that this division will be a dominant force for years to come. So to anyone who remembers the term “NFC Worst,” tune in to FOX Sunday night and watch how the worst got a whole lot better.