With the Madden 19 cycle coming to a close, what better time to take a look at how each team, division and conference performed throughout the whole cycle.
The AFC South started of the cycle as the toughest division in MBL, as their division was quite competitive. Along with the NFC North, these were the only two divisions to finish with two teams with 10+ wins. To no one’s surprise, the AFC East finished as the weakest division with the two worst teams in MBL. Unlike in the seasons to come, the NFC West was surprisingly competitive, with three teams finishing with 7 wins or better. In this season, the Browns of the AFC North were able to defeat the Cowboys in the NFC East to win the Super Bowl.
The NFC East finished this season with one of the best combined division records seen this cycle, due to the Giants and Cowboys being the top two teams in the MBL in Season 34. Unlike in Season 33, 5 divisions had two teams with 10+ wins. The NFC East also had a .133-win percentage increase from Season 33 to Season 34, largely due to the improvements by the Redskins and the Giants. The NFC West took quite a hit, as every team performed worse in Season 34 compared to Season 33, except for the division winning Cardinals, who increased their win total by one. Once again, the AFC North’s Cleveland Browns knocked off the NFC East’s Cowboys in the Super Bowl.
Season 35 was all about the emergence of the AFC East as one of the toughest divisions in MBL. Their record improved by 15 wins, or a .234-win percentage increase, nearly the best improvement seen this cycle. This is largely due to the fact that they had 3 teams finish with 12 wins, the only such occurrence in the MBL in these seven seasons. However, the NFC South won the toughest division in Season 35, as all 4 teams finished with a winning record, as the division was highly competitive throughout the entire 17 weeks. The AFC West also took a step back this season, finishing as the worst division in MBL largely due to the fact that the Chargers were unable to win a game in Season 35. In the Super Bowl, the NFC North Detroit Lions were able to do what the Cowboys failed the prior two years, defeating the Browns in the Super Bowl.
Continuing the trend of the past 3 seasons, we saw a 4th new toughest division, this time the NFC North taking home the prize. The Lions and Bears dominated this season, each finishing with above 12 wins, as did the Cowboys and Giants in the NFC East. This season, unlike in seasons past, the divisions were a lot closer in competition (as seen by win percentage). The AFC North was the surprise under-performer this cycle, largely due to the Browns, who made it to the past three Super Bowls, only managing 6 wins in this season. The Super Bowl in this season featured two teams from the East, the New York Giants and the Miami Dolphins, with the Giants taking the title in Season 36.
For the first time this cycle, the NFC South were the first repeats as the toughest division. They nearly finished with all 4 teams with winning records once again. They were able to just edge out the NFC East as the toughest division, due to a tie. The Giants were the only team this cycle to finish a season with 0 losses but were unable to finish the postseason with 0 losses. The NFC North suffered quite a fall, dropping nearly 100 points in win percentage, as the Bears, Packers and Vikings underperformed. Once again, the AFC North regressed more, as they finished with the worst combined division record in this season. As seen by the win percentages, the top three divisions were able to capitalize and beat up the weaker divisions, as for the only time this cycle, three divisions finished with a .600-win percentage or better. The Dolphins were also able to bounce back and defeat a different NFC East foe, the Cowboys, in the Super Bowl, marking the Cowboys third defeat in the big game.
Somehow, the AFC North pulled off an incredible feat this cycle, going from worst to first. They beat out the AFC East from Season 35 with a 16-win improvement, along with a 258-point win percentage increase. They nearly had 3 teams finish with 12+ wins, truly a remarkable bounce back from this division, as all four teams improved from their win total in Season 38 compared to Season 37, including a 7-win improvement by the Ravens. For the 5th time in the past 6 seasons, the NFC South was able to finish in the top 2 of toughest divisions in MBL. After being a tough division in the beginning of the cycle, the AFC South once again, regressed, finishing just ahead of the worst division, the NFC West. For the third straight year, a team from an eastern division won the Super Bowl, as the New England Patriots were able to defeat the mighty Detroit Lions of the NFC North.
In the last season of the Madden 19 cycle, we finished with a tie for the toughest divisions in the MBL, as the AFC East and NFC North tied. Each time had a 15-game winner, the second time this has occurred all cycle. Once again, the NFC South was very tough, as three teams finished with 10+ wins, while the NFC West had the worst season of any division all cycle. The division winning Rams only managed 6 wins, 4 of which coming within the division, while only managing to get 19 wins as a whole division combined. Interesting fact, Season 39 and Season 35 were the only two seasons where no two teams tied in a game. With the playoffs still going on, it is unknown who will be in the Super Bowl, but it would not surprise many if the top teams in the toughest divisions in MBL in Season 39 face off in the Super Bowl.
Totals from Season 33-39:
And the toughest division all cycle goes to the NFC South, as they were able to just hold off the NFC East by .004-points in win percentage. They were the only division with all five teams finishing with a winning record. In more nail-biting fashion, the NFC North’s Detroit Lions were able to take the title of best win percentage (.826) and most wins (92), as both the Kansas City Chiefs and Dallas Cowboys finished just barely behind them. While the NFC is home to the toughest division, they are also home to the worst division, as the NFC West finishes with just one team with a winning record. The Seahawks, who owned the best record in the NFC West, still finished worse than the worst team in the most competitive division, the NFC South, as the Buccaneers finished with a record of (58-53-1), just slightly better than the Seahawks at (58-54). The 49ers and the Bills were also the only teams to finish below the 20-win threshold.
And, to no surprise, the NFC was the better conference throughout the entire Madden 19 cycle, as they finished a whopping 36 wins ahead of the AFC. The NFC defeated the AFC, based on wins and win percentage, in each of the first 5 seasons, with the AFC slightly defeating the NFC in the final two seasons. But while the NFC won more in the regular season, the AFC was able to win more in the postseason, as the AFC North (Browns x2) and AFC East (Dolphins and Patriots) each took home two Super Bowl titles, while the NFC only won two Super Bowl titles as a conference combined. With there still being one more Super Bowl to be played, will the AFC win a 5th title or can the NFC finish on a high note?