Data Points: History shows NFC South is wide open

While taking Cam Newton with the first overall pick in the draft thrust the Panthers temporarily into the NFL spotlight, the reality is that most see the team struggling mightily in 2011. Based on their talent level, as well as their less-than-stellar 2-14 finish last season, it seems like an accurate prognostication.

But delving into the history of the NFC South paints a different picture. The reality is that anyone can win the division, in any year. In fact, the NFC South has never had a repeat division champ in its nine-season history. True story.

Now, this is not to suggest that the Panthers will take the South in 2011. But there’s almost as a good of a chance that the Falcons won’t either. In case you’re wondering, the Panthers have taken the division crown the most times (three) since it was formed in 2002.

— Elliot Harrison

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