I am absolutely suggesting the NFL should manufacture or create rivalries where there currently are none to exploit. In 20 years, it won't matter, as fans will have had all that time to figure out how to hate the team they have been assigned. I matched up NFC teams with AFC teams as this seemed to create the least amount additional headache in the annual determination of opponents. Right now, every NFC division plays each AFC division on an annually rotating basis. So every 4th year, these teams would already be playing each other. In those years, I suggest a home-and-away with your rival. This means that the NFL does not have to do away with its current schedule-making process, except to substitute one of the intra-conference matchups with this "Rivalry" matchup. For the remaining intra-conference matchup, the NFL can either rotate that matchup from division to division, or they can develop an algorithm that determines opponents based on some strength rating or power ranking. These guys are no dummies. Plus it might even inject a little more fun and uncertaintly from year to year with regard to who you will play each season.
Here are the pairings:
Baltimore Ravens vs. Washington Redskins
Buffalo Bills vs. Chicago Bears
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Carolina Panthers
Cleveland Browns vs. Detroit Lions
Denver Broncos vs. San Francisco 49ers
Houston Texans vs. Dallas Cowgirls
Indianapolis Colts vs. St. Louis Rams
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Atlanta Falcons
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Green Bay Packers
Miami Dolphins vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
New England Patriots vs. Minnesota Vikings
New York Jets vs. New York Giants
Oakland Raiders vs. Seattle Seahawks
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Philadelphia Eagles
San Diego Chargers vs. Arizona Cardinals
Tennessee Titans vs. New Orleans Saints
I didn't mapquest the distances so there may be one or two instances where a team might have a closer rival. But I tried to match up franchises also. Chicago and Buffalo, two cold weather towns facing off every year. Kansas City and Green Bay, re-matching Super Bowl I every year. Instead of Oakland/San Fran, I put Oakland with Seattle, as the two old AFC rivals used to have some great battles before Seattle moved to the NFC. Sure, San Diego gets lucky by getting Arizona every year, and Minnesota is not the happiest team in the world as they draw the Patriots, but no team is great forever, or hapless forever (the Cardinals are really trying to prove me wrong there).
In years where you have home and away the Jets and Giants would treat New York to TWO bashes at their new facilities in the Meadowlands. Pittsburgh and Philly, Washington and Baltimore, Tampa and Miami, Jacksonville and Atlanta, Dallas and Houston -- these would all be ready-made to incite the locals.
In a league where they fine guys thousands of dollars for wearing their socks wrong, where they spend infinite amounts of time staring at slow-motion videos on the sidelines, where they are trying to get their hands around the community-destroying actions of a few athletically gifted criminals, isn't it time to get this idea off the ground and engage the NFL fans in a new way? Can we poke more holes in this than Ron Jeremy at a sorority pledge event? Sure. But the old "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" slogan will prevent as much good innovation as bad.