If you’re confused about which teams are in the NFC East, just reminder that at one time, the Arizona Cardinals were part of this division. And really, nothing about Arizona says “east” – even less than Dallas, TX.
The Dallas Cowboys
History: The Cowboys (originally named the Steers, which is potentially the best worst first name ever) were formed as an expansion team of the NFL in 1960. Tom Landry was named as the head coach and led the team with integrity, innovation, and a long list of winning seasons as a result. Dallas dominated the NFL in the 90’s with Hall of Fame players and coaches such as Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin, and Jimmy Johnson. The Cowboys are synonymous with their hands-on owner, Jerry Jones.
Current Players to Know: Tony Romo has probably dealt with more criticism than most quarterbacks due to the fact that he’s the face of America’s most well-known football franchise. He’s often accused of being inconsistent. Jason Witten is Romo’s favorite target at tight end; DeMarco Murrary is having a great start to the season at running back. Sean Lee is making quite a splash at linebacker this season.
Head Coach: Jason Garrett
2011 Regular Season Record: 8-8
What to Watch For in 2012: It’s been a rough start for Big D. They might be 2-1 at this point, but it’s an ugly 2-1. The Cowboys have a lot of work to do to gel as an offense, and it won’t get any easier this week against the Bears on Monday night. Sean Lee is probably the player to watch this season; he’s off to an incredible start.
The New York Giants
History: The Giants go way back. They were founded in 1925 by Tim Mara. The Mara family still owns the Giants. The team is well-known for the Bill Parcels/Phil Simms/Lawrence Taylor era in the 1980’s. They are also the current Super Bowl champions and have won two Super Bowls in the last 5 years.
Current Players to Know: Eli Manning is currently regarded as the best 4th quarter quarterback in the league. He has pulled out some unbelievable winning drives in the past few seasons. Victor Cruz is well known for this moves as a wide receiver…and for his moves as a salsa dancer during his TD celebrations. The Giants have a glut of talented defensive ends: Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, and Jason Pierre-Paul are the best known.
Head Coach: Tom Coughlin
2011 Regular Season Record: 9-7
What to Watch For in 2012: The Giants are probably the least talked about Super Bowl Champions in the history of football. Perhaps it’s the unassuming demeanor of Eli Manning, who has often been criticized for his low-key presence on-field, but one way or another it seems like no one takes the Giants seriously, despite their overwhelming success over the course of the past few seasons. They’re on pace to have another great one, too, with Eli playing better than even in the 4th quarter.
The Philadelphia Eagles
History: The Eagles were actually founded in 1933 as a replacement team for another team (the Frankford Yellow Jackets) that had gone bankrupt. They’ve been to two Super Bowls but have yet to win one. Current head coach Andy Reid has held his position since 1999 and has led the Eagles to five NFC Championship games and a Super Bowl. He is currently the longest tenured coach in the league.
Current Players to Know: Michael Vick, QB, who tends to spend more time on the ground getting hit than on his feet. DeSean Jackson (WR) and LeSean McCoy (RB) are his favorite offensive weapons. Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie hold down the fort on defense as cornerbacks.
Head Coach: Andy Reid
2011 Regular Season Record: 8-8
What to Watch For in 2012: Philadelphia is notorious for it’s emotionally-charged treatment of the Eagles…especially when they are performing poorly. And they are indeed performing poorly. They’ve won two games by the skin of their teeth and lost by a landslide on Sunday. Andy Reid has been on the hot seat in Philadelphia for a few seasons now, despite significant success, but if the Eagles don’t improve quickly it could be his last season in Philly.
The Washington Redskins
History: The Redskins were awarded a franchise in 1932 as the Boston Braves. The team’s name was changed to the Redskins a year later and moved to Washington in 1937. That was also the year the Redkins signed Sammy Baugh, who went on to become a Hall of Fame quarterback. Head coach Joe Gibbs had a long and successful history with the Redskins, coaching the team from 1981-1992 and then again from 2004-2007. Mike Shanahan, long-time Broncos coach, is the current head coach.
Current Players to Know: RGIII, or Robert Griffin the Third, is having the best season of all of the rookie quarterbacks in the league so far (though he’s had a rough two weeks after a stellar start in Week 1). This is wide receiver Pierre Garcon’s first season in Washington; he previously played in Indianapolis. London Fletcher is an inside linebacker and has played 224 consecutive games over the course of 14 seasons – never once missing a game.
Head Coach: Mike Shanahan
2011 Regular Season Record: 5-11
What to Watch For in 2012: The Redskins have been abysmal over the past few seasons. It looks like there is some reason to hope for more this season, though, with the addition of RGIII at QB and Garcon at WR. There are still plenty of kinks to work out, but Redskins fans have reason to believe that over the course of the next few seasons their situation in a difficult division might improve.