The American Football Conference – Eastern Division or AFC East is a division of the National Football League's American Football Conference. There are currently four teams that reside in the division: Buffalo Bills of Orchard Park, Miami Dolphins of Miami Gardens, New England Patriots of Foxborough, and New York Jets of Florham Park.
Since the division's enfranchisement in 1960, with the creation of the American Football League, the division has represented in 18 Super Bowls and won 7 of them, with the most recent during the 2004 National Football League season by the New England Patriots. The most recent appearance in the Super Bowl by an AFC East team was the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI.
Entering 2014 the Patriots had the most wins in the division's history, with a record of 438-373-9, with a playoff record of 24-17 (3-4 in Super Bowls) entering the playoffs of that season. The Dolphins were second at 415-317-4 (having played 84 fewer games than their division rivals) with a playoff record of 20-20 (2-3 in Super Bowls). The Bills were at 376-436-8 with a playoff record of 14-15 (with two American Football League titles) but winless having gone to four consecutive Super Bowls. The Jets held a record of 373-439-8, with a playoff record of 12-13 including victory in Super Bowl III.
In 2012, the Patriots broke a tie with the Dolphins for winning the most division titles; with another division title in 2013 the Patriots have won 16 AFL/AFC East division titles to Miami's 14. The Bills have won ten division titles, and the Jets have won four.
Two teams formerly in the division combined for ten AFL/AFC East titles - the Houston Oilers (now the Tennessee Titans) won four division titles (and the 1960 and 1961 league titles) during the AFL era while the Baltimore-Indianapolis Colts won six division titles (and Super Bowl V) in the 32 seasons they were in the division.
AFL Eastern DivisionEdit
The American Football League Eastern Division was formed during the inaugural season of the American Football League in 1960, as a counterpart to the AFL Western Division. The divisional alignment consisted of the Buffalo Bills, Boston Patriots, New York Titans and Houston Oilers. The Miami Dolphins entered the AFL in 1966 as part of its Eastern division.
The division was absorbed nearly intact with the AFL–NFL Merger in 1970, but Houston was moved to the AFC Central (formerly the NFL Century Division, now the AFC North) and replaced by the closer Baltimore Colts (from the NFL Coastal Division, which became the NFC West). Despite relocating to Indianapolis, Indiana in 1984, the Colts continued to play in the AFC East until NFL expansion from 31 to 32 teams with the addition of the Houston Texans (successor club in Houston to the Oilers) and 2002 re-alignment when they were moved to the AFC South (the successor franchise to the Oilers, the Tennessee Titans, is also in the AFC South).
Although Miami is farther south than the home cities of the other three teams, all of which are in the Northeast, all four AFC East teams have historical rivalries among them, dating from their years in the AFL during the 1960s.
None of the AFC East teams currently plays within the central city of their metropolitan area: The Bills play 7 games in Orchard Park, New York and 1 in Toronto, Ontario (they played in the city of Buffalo from 1960–72). The Jets play in East Rutherford, New Jersey (they played in the New York City borough of Manhattan from 1960–63, and in the borough of Queens from 1964–83) The Dolphins play in Miami Gardens, Florida, a suburb of Miami (Miami Gardens was separated from the city itself and incorporated in 2003) The Patriots play in Foxborough, Massachusetts (they played in Boston, the largest city in New England, until 1970 and adopted their current name in 1971 when they moved into what eventually became known as Foxboro Stadium).
All of the teams are or were coached by a first or second generation member of the Bill Parcells coaching tree: the Patriots have Bill Belichick; the Dolphins had Tony Sparano; the Jets had Eric Mangini (who served as an assistant with both Belichick and Parcells); and the Bills had Dick Jauron (fired on November 17, 2009), who served as an assistant with former Parcells assistant Tom Coughlin. The Jets are now coached by Rex Ryan and the Bills are now coached by Doug Marrone. Parcells himself coached the Patriots (1993–6) and the Jets (1997–9) and was Vice President of Football Operations for the Dolphins until the summer of 2010.
ESPN's Chris Berman often calls this division the "AFC Adams" due to its geographical similarity to the old Adams Division of the NHL, now known as the Atlantic Division.
Along with the AFC (formerly AFL) West, the AFC East is the oldest NFL division in terms of creation date (1960).