Time now for our Top 10 reasons NFC teams, on the whole, can slam dunk AFC teams in a roadside dumpster:

1. The NFC has the team of the '80s (San Francisco); the AFC has the scream of the '90s (New England). The 49ers could start all its rookies, free agent castoffs and reserves over the past three years and whip the Patsies by four touchdowns.2. The NFC has three teams - San Francisco, New York and Chicago - that could win the next three Super Bowls; the AFC has three teams - New England, Cleveland and Denver - that could win the next three No. 1 draft picks.

3. Money. NFC teams know how to spend it; AFC teams know how to waste it. The 49ers have the highest payroll in football - $26.8 million - and the best team. The New York Jets have the second-highest payroll - $22.5 million - and the third or fourth worst team.

4. Top-heavy talent. NFC teams have won the last six Super Bowls and the last two Pro Bowls.

5. Superior cellar-dwelling talent. Phoenix, Detroit and Atlanta, which have a stranglehold on last place in the three NFC divisions, could mug and maul the AFC's terrible trio - New England, Denver and Cleveland - every time out. And so far they have.

6. Superior quarterbacking. The NFC has Joe Montana, Randall Cunningham, Phil Simms, Jim Everett, Jim Harbaugh and Mark Rypien. Granted, the AFC has Dan Marino, Jim Kelly, John Elway and Warren Moon, but it also has Steve Grogan, Marc Wilson, Billy Joe Tolliver, Jay Schroeder and Jeff George.

7. Superior coaching. The NFC has George Seifert, Bill Parcells, Mike Ditka, Joe Gibbs and Buddy Ryan. Next to Don Shula and Dan Reeves, the AFC has Rod Rust, Jim Shofner, Ron Meyer, Bruce Coslet, Jack Pardee and Sam Wyche.

8. Superior depth. The NFC's second-tier teams - Washington, Philadelphia and Minnesota - can play with the best of the AFC.

9. Better rookies. While NFC teams were plucking such gems as Emmitt Smith, Johnny Johnson and Rodney Hampton in the April draft, AFC teams were gobbling up non-impact players such as Chris Singleton, Cortez Kennedy and Lamar Lathon.

10. Better luck. Phoenix trails Indianapolis, 17-13, two weeks ago. Colts quarterback Jeff George has not thrown an interception in his last 147 attempts. In the fourth period, George has a pass picked off, and the Colts lose on a 65-five yard interception return that was lateraled from one Cardinal to another. Cardinals win, 20-17.

Go figure.