| 150 px |
National Football Conference logo (2010-present)
|League||National Football League|
|Formerly||National Football League, pre 1970 AFL-NFL merger|
|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.
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.
The NFC was created after the NFL merged with the American Football League (AFL) in 1970. 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.
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 22 out of 41 Super Bowls.
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). 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.
- "Pro Football - HISTORY". http://www.worldalmanacforkids.com/WAKI-ViewArticle.aspx?pin=x-fo055624a&article_id=608&chapter_id=13&chapter_title=Sports&article_title=Pro_Football_History. Retrieved 2009-04-03.
- Stellino, Vito (1999-10-07). "NFL to try realign play". Baltimore Sun. http://articles.baltimoresun.com/1999-10-07/sports/9910070115_1_nfc-central-nfc-west-division-afc-central. Retrieved 2010-01-24.
- "Chronology of Professional Football". http://static.nfl.com/static/content/public/image/history/pdfs/History/Chronology.pdf. Retrieved 2010-09-23/.
- "National Football Conference Logo". http://www.sportslogos.net/logo.php?id=4715. Retrieved 2009-12-29.
- Paul Lukas. "But I Absolutely Refuse to Write About the Draft Caps". Uni Watch blog. http://www.uniwatchblog.com/2010/03/02/but-i-absolutely-refuse-to-write-about-the-draft-caps/. Retrieved 2010-04-16.