The NFL team you should support based on your AFL club – AFL News

In honour of the NFL season’s start and the beginning of the AFL finals, we compiled a cross-code comparison linking each AFL side to their closest NFL counterpart.

These comparisons are based on every metric you can think of; recent success, historic success, club status, current projections, future projections, similar-type players, recent list changes, method of play, and even just general vibes.

Some clubs have shockingly fitting comparisons while others need to be slightly reached for.

Nevertheless, here is our list of who every AFL fan should support this NFL season.


Adelaide Crows

Detroit Lions

Both sides are potent offensive machines who love a home game against any opposition.

Adelaide have been climbing the ranks under Matthew Nicks, adding weapons to their roster and worrying top sides. They were just edged out of the finals race this season in controversial fashion, but are primed to respond with a finals berth in 2024.

The Lions have developed similarly under three-year head coach Dan Campbell, also being edged out of the playoffs last season and ready to build on their shock week one upset victory over Kansas City.


Brisbane Lions

San Fransisco 49ers

Both sides are littered with talent that has carried them to some deep playoff runs, but are yet to capitalise on a golden era.

The all-star names on the 49ers’ list include Nick Bosa, Trent Williams, Christian McCaffrey, Fred Warner, George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and more.

This is a list comparable to the talent of Lachie Neale, Hugh McCluggage, Josh Dunkley, Harris Andrews, Joe Daniher and Cam Rayner, while we wait to see if Brock Purdy and Will Ashcroft establish themselves as the respective finishing touches on two stacked rosters.

Both sides prefer fast action and long-distance plays making for some explosive offense, but leaving themselves vulnerable when Brisbane’s defence, and San Fransisco’s quarterback are left exposed.

Carlton Blues

Dallas Cowboys

This is probably the most fitting cross-code comparison that exists in sports.

Both sides last won the big dance in 1995.

They are the two most heavily discussed teams with the most vocal fanbases in either league.

Both sides are routinely eliminated from the competition in heartbreaking style year on year.

Both have the most debated position in their sport; Carlton’s senior coach and Dallas’ quarterback.

Even their method of play is similar, with emphasis on defence led by some top-tier talent in Jacob Weitering and Micah Parsons.

Offensively, both tend to bully the opposition and grind out territory.

The Cowboys’ offensive line is one of the NFL’s strongest and creates ample opportunity for the likes of Tony Pollard and Dak Prescott to run and throw for bulk yardage.

Carlton’s midfield is similarly dominant at stoppage, where Patrick Cripps and George Hewett win contests and feed Sam Walsh and Adam Cerra on the outside.

Both sides even have the yips in front of goal, with Harry McKay and Brett Maher each succumbing to the pressure of set shots and field goal kicks in recent times.

After years of boasting quality lists, the Blues and the Cowboys look set to finally contend for glory this season and beyond.


Collingwood Magpies

Kansas City Chiefs

While Collingwood doesn’t yet have the two-time premiership integrity that the Chiefs have earned, there is a general consensus that these are the two best teams with the two loudest fanbases in their codes.

Craig McRae and Nick Daicos combine to create a generational duo, comparable to Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes.

Daicos is less than two years into his AFL career but appears to be on a trajectory to become one of, if not the greatest player of our time, a status that Mahomes has already reached at just 27 years old.

Moreover, both teams play with a fast-paced creative flare that is hard to stop and exciting to watch no matter who you barrack for.

Both are also held up defensively by a dominant figure who many would argue to be the best in the league, Chris Jones and Darcy Moore.


Essendon Bombers

New York Giants

These are two more of the biggest franchises in their sports with a knack for disappointing their vocal fans.

Granted, the Giants have a far greater recent history with their 2008 and 2012 Super Bowl wins, given the Bombers still haven’t won a final since 2004.

The last decade for both teams has been poor, however.

The Giants boast only two winning records over this period while the Bombers are yet to finish above 7th on the ladder.

Recent coaching changes have provided future optimism for both sides, with Brian Daboll and Brad Scott taking the reins with a promising system in the clubs’ rebuilding years.


Fremantle Dockers

Minnesota Vikings

There are two obvious similarities between these teams; they both wear purple uniforms and have never won a premiership/championship.

The Vikings have developed a reputation as a cursed franchise, having never won two playoff games in a single run since 1987 and suffering some notable heartbreaking defeats in important games in recent history.

The Dockers may not be cursed, but they are still the only team in the AFL to have existed in the 16-team competition and not have a flag to their name.


Geelong Cats

New England Patriots

New England has probably earned the title as the most well-run organisation in recent NFL history, thanks in large part to the stability and brilliance of the GOAT Tom Brady.

Many agree that Geelong is the best-run AFL side in recent history also, with Joel Selwood being the notable figure during their era of dominance.

The retirement of these two heroes has left a glaring hole yet to be filled in either franchise.

The Patriots are yet to make the playoffs since Brady’s departure while Geelong seems to lack a necessary touch of leadership and discipline since Selwood’s retirement, albeit in only one season since his departure.

Experts of both sports still hold faith in what’s ahead for these clubs but with Bill Belicek and Chris Scott seemingly in their final years as the head coach for either team, the public will wait and see what the future holds.


Gold Coast Suns

New York Jets

Obviously, Gold Coast does not boast the big-club glamour of a New York-based side, but these two sides were each involved in the biggest off-season acquisition of their respective league last season.

Aaron Rodgers is now the quarterback of the Jets while Damien Hardwick takes the reins as coach of the Suns.

Both moves come with intense drama and uncertainty, fans of both sports watch on in great anticipation to see just how good either team will be under the leadership of a fresh face with champion integrity.


Greater Western Sydney Giants 

Seattle Seahawks

These are two franchises setting the benchmark for consistency in their sports.

Many thought 2023 to be a rebuilding year for the Giants, having changed coaches and recently losing renowned talent like Jeremy Cameron and Tim Taranto.

Yet, they have still managed to make the most out of their underrated list and continue to challenge the best sides every year.

The Seahawks have also suffered a major loss of talent recently, with Russell Wilson exiting the door for a massive contract with the Denver Broncos.

This hasn’t stopped Pete Carroll and company from getting the most out of an also underrated list featuring Geno Smith, Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf, having made the playoffs in their first year without Wilson.


Hawthorn Hawks

Pittsburgh Steelers

Here is another comparison of two major franchises, with the Steelers being perhaps the most successful franchise in NFL history and the Hawks easily being the most successful AFL team since 1980.

Both sides have found themselves in a rebuilding phase since their most recent success, Pittsburgh’s last Super Bowl win coming in 2009 and Hawthorn’s last premiership in 2015.

The Steelers jumped unexpectedly in 2020 with a 12-4 season, finishing first in their division; a similar season to Hawthorn in 2018 finishing fourth but bowing out in straight sets.

Right now, both sides are well-poised to begin a new era of winning football; for the Steelers with offensive duo Kenny Pickett and George Pickens, and for the Hawks under their burgeoning coach Sam Mitchell.


Melbourne Demons

Philadelphia Eagles

Another fitting comparison between two major franchises that have recently established themselves as the two well-oiled machines of their competition.

Both recently experienced miraculous drought-breaking triumphs, with the Eagles’ first-ever Super Bowl victory in 2018 and Melbourne’s historic 2021 premiership, their first in 57 years.

Since these success stories, both sides have been entrenched as a couple of the best teams in their sport, led by the offensive machine of Jalen Hurts, AJ Brown, Davante Smith and Jason Kelce for Philadelphia, matched by Melbourne’s mix of Christian Petracca, Clayton Oliver, Jack Viney and Max Gawn.

Kelce and Gawn in particular have arguments as the best players in their position this century and are easily two of the most beloved athletes of either sport.


North Melbourne Kangaroos

Chicago Bears

Both of these sides hold a rich history with notable super teams of the past including the Bears of 1985 and the shin-boners of 1999.

At present, both sides have lingered down the bottom of the standings for a few seasons and are looking to rebuild with some exciting prospects.

North Melbourne awaits the next five years of Harry Sheezel, Luke Davies-Uniacke and George Wardlaw on their quest to become the next superstar Kangaroos, while Chicago’s future rests on their excitement machine at quarterback, Justin Fields.

While not projected for success anytime soon, the public eye will observe the potential of both these sides with great interest.


Port Adelaide Power

Cincinnati Bengals

There were a couple of contenders for Port Adelaide’s best comparison.

The Baltimore Ravens are a club with one of the richest histories in the NFL, similar to Port Adelaide and their illustrious past in the SANFL.

These sides have both recently been involved in heavy contract debates regarding Ravens quarterback, Lamar Jackson and Power coach Ken Hinkley.

It is the Cincinnati Bengals, however, who form the closest Port Adelaide comparison thanks to the breathtaking talent and excitement of their young guns Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase.

This explosive duo gives similar vibes to that of Connor Rozee and Zak Butters, being key members of the same draft who have grown to become the two best players in the team and two of the slickest midfielders in the competition.

Neither team has experienced success in their current tenure but the future looks bright for both.


Richmond Tigers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

These are two sides who made the most of an opportune period in the premiership window and are now suffering the comedown effects.

Of course, the Tigers managed three premierships compared to Tampa Bay’s one, but the Bucaneers’ recent Super Bowl victory came in the limited time frame of Tom Brady’s early 40’s.

The Tigers have now lost their coach Damien Hardwick, captain Trent Cotchin and key forward Jack Riewoldt while their generational talent in Dustin Martin looks set for a potential move.

For Tampa Bay, Tom Brady has finally retired from the sport and both teams now appear on a downward trend.


St Kilda Saints

Cleveland Browns

These are two clubs suffering from a long-term championship drought and a long history of relative mediocrity.

With only three winning seasons since 1999, the Browns have existed in obscurity despite being an honest team and fierce rival to notable contenders like the Bengals.

St Kilda has featured in Grand Finals as recently as 2010 but can otherwise be labelled as an honest team that lacks talent, similar to Cleveland.


Sydney Swans

Green Bay Packers

Two historically well-run franchises who seem to always be in the championship window.

Both have just suffered the loss of one of their greatest athletes; for Green Bay in Aaron Rodgers and for Sydney in Lance Franklin.

Despite their success, premiership/championship glory comes on a few-and-far-between basis for these clubs, with Sydney’s Grand Final victories all coming at least seven years apart (1909, 1918, 1933, 2005, 2012) and Green Bay’s four triumphs coming in a near half-century period (1967, 1968, 1997, 2011).


West Coast Eagles

Los Angeles Rams

These are two franchises who sacrificed their future in order to taste glory and are now suffering the consequences.

West Coast was all in on their recent era of success, throwing hefty contracts and draft picks to secure stars Jeremy McGovern, Luke Shuey, Elliot Yeo, Josh Kennedy and more to win the famous 2018 Grand Final.

The Rams threw the kitchen sink at Detroit to acquire Matthew Stafford, realising they had to make the most of an era with one of the game’s greatest defensive players in Aaron Donald, and superstar wide receiver Cooper Kupp.

Both sides won the chip they were begging for, with the Rams defeating the Bengals in 2021, but both sides have since fallen off a cliff in the aftermath.

West Coast are now one of the worst AFL sides we have ever seen and are only getting worse by losing their premiership veterans.

The Rams haven’t reached this level but suffered a disaster of a 2022 season and are now fading as their former stars age.


Western Bulldogs

Buffalo Bills

These clubs boast near-on championship-level lists and a particular generational talent, but have not achieved what they have promised during their windows of success.

Josh Allen and Marcus Bontempelli have typically done everything they can to reach the final stages of the season and carry their team over the line, but have routinely suffered disappointing exits.

Bontempelli’s 2021 season was a year from the top-shelf, finishing second in the Brownlow and carrying his side to a 19-point second-half lead in a Grand Final.

Similarly, Buffalo’s 2021 playoff run saw Josh Allen put together one of the greatest post-season quarterback performances in memory.

Unfortunately, the Bulldogs’ hopes were destroyed by a historic Melbourne third-quarter blitz while the Bills’ hopes were crushed by the greatness of Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs.

Since these upsets, both sides have underachieved in seasons they were expected to succeed in.

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