National Football Conference


National Football Conference
National Football Conference (NFC)
National Football Conference logo.svg
National Football Conference logo (2010-present)
League National Football League
Sport American Football
Formerly National Football League, pre 1970 AFL-NFL merger
Founded 1970
No. of teams 16
Most recent champion(s) Green Bay Packers (3rd title)
Most titles Dallas Cowboys (8 titles)

The National Football Conference (NFC) is one of the two (NFC and AFC) conferences of the National Football League (NFL). This conference and its counterpart, the American Football Conference (AFC), currently contain 16 teams each, making up the 32 teams of the NFL.

Contents

Current teams

Since 2002, the NFC has comprised 16 teams, organized into four divisions each containing four teams: East, North, South, and West.

Division Team City Stadium
East Dallas Cowboys Arlington, TX Cowboys Stadium
New York Giants East Rutherford, NJ MetLife Stadium
Philadelphia Eagles Philadelphia, PA Lincoln Financial Field
Washington Redskins Landover, MD FedExField
North Chicago Bears Chicago, IL Soldier Field
Detroit Lions Detroit, MI Ford Field
Green Bay Packers Green Bay, WI Lambeau Field
Minnesota Vikings Minneapolis, MN Mall Of America Field
South Atlanta Falcons Atlanta, GA Georgia Dome
Carolina Panthers Charlotte, NC Bank of America Stadium
New Orleans Saints New Orleans, LA Louisiana Superdome
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tampa, FL Raymond James Stadium
West Arizona Cardinals Glendale, AZ University of Phoenix Stadium
St. Louis Rams St. Louis, MO Edward Jones Dome
San Francisco 49ers San Francisco, CA Candlestick Park
Seattle Seahawks Seattle, WA CenturyLink Field

Season structure

Each NFC team plays the other teams in their division twice (home and away) during the regular season, in addition to 10 other games assigned to their schedule by the NFL in the April before. Two of these games are assigned on the basis of the teams' final record in the previous season. The remaining 8 games are split between the roster of two other NFL divisions. This assignment shifts each year. For instance, in the 2007 regular season, each team in the NFC West will play a game apiece against each team in both the AFC North and the NFC South. In this way division competition consists of common opponents, with the exception of the 2 games assigned on the strength of the each team's prior season record.

At the end of each season, a series of playoff games are contested among the top six teams in the NFC, consisting of the four division champions (by place standing) and the two other teams ("wild cards") with the best win-loss records. The NFC playoffs culminate in the NFC Championship Game for the George Halas Trophy. The NFC Champion plays the AFC Champion in the Super Bowl.

History

Original National Football Conference logo (1970-2009)

The NFC was created after the NFL merged with the American Football League (AFL) in 1970.[1] While all of the former AFL teams along with the NFL's Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Baltimore Colts formed the American Football Conference (AFC), the remaining 13 NFL teams formed the NFC. The NFL Capitol, Central, and Coastal Divisions became the NFC East, Central and West Divisions, respectively.

However, team owners could not agree to a plan on how to align the clubs in the NFC. The alignment proposals were narrowed down to five finalists, and then the plan that was eventually selected was picked out of a glass bowl by then-NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle's secretary, on January 16, 1970.[2]

5 plans for 1970

The five alignment plans for the NFC in 1970. Plan 3 was selected:

  • Plan 1
    • Eastern - Atlanta, Minnesota, New York Giants, Philadelphia, Washington
    • Central - Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay, New Orleans
    • Western - Dallas, Los Angeles Rams, St. Louis Cardinals, San Francisco
  • Plan 2
    • Eastern - Minnesota, New York Giants, Philadelphia, Washington
    • Central - Atlanta, Dallas, New Orleans, St. Louis Cardinals
    • Western - Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay, Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco
  • Plan 3
    • Eastern - Dallas, New York Giants, Philadelphia, St. Louis Cardinals, Washington
    • Central - Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay, Minnesota
    • Western - Atlanta, Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans, San Francisco
  • Plan 4
    • Eastern - Minnesota, New York Giants, Philadelphia, St. Louis Cardinals, Washington
    • Central - Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay
    • Western - Dallas, New Orleans, Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco
  • Plan 5
    • Eastern - Detroit, Minnesota, New York Giants, Philadelphia, Washington
    • Central - Chicago, Dallas, Green Bay, St. Louis Cardinals
    • Western - Atlanta, Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans, San Francisco


Three expansion teams have joined the NFC since the merger, thus making the current total 16. When the Seattle Seahawks and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers joined the league in 1976, they were temporarily placed in the NFC and AFC, respectively, for one season before they switched conferences. The Seahawks returned to the NFC as a result of the 2002 realignment. The Carolina Panthers joined the NFC in 1995.

Since 1970, NFC teams have won 25 out of 45 Super Bowls.[3]

Since the 2002 realignment, no NFC team has made back-to-back Super Bowl appearances. Since 2001--when the St. Louis Rams lost Super Bowl XXXVI to the New England Patriots--the NFC has sent 10 of 16 teams to the Super Bowl, with only Atlanta (which appeared in Super Bowl XXXIII just three years prior), Dallas (last appeared in Super Bowl XXX), Detroit (never appeared in a Super Bowl), Minnesota (last appeared in Super Bowl XI, currently the longest such drought in the NFC), San Francisco (last appeared in Super Bowl XXIX), and Washington (last appeared in Super Bowl XXVI) having not appeared for the conference, although the Falcons and Vikings have appeared in the NFC Championship Game in that span. By contrast, the AFC have sent either the Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots, or the Pittsburgh Steelers in every year in that same span except for 2002, when the Oakland Raiders lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl XXXVII.

The original NFC logo, in use from 1970–2009, depicted a blue 'N' with three stars across it. The three stars represented the three divisions that were used from 1970-2001 (Eastern, Central and Western).[4] The 2010 NFL season brought an updated NFC logo. Largely similar to the old logo, the new logo has a fourth star, representing the four divisions that have comprised the NFC since 2002.[5]

References


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