History of the National Football Conference
The NFC was born from the NFL, and its decision in the late 1960s to merge with its rival league, the AFL.
The NFL was nearly 50 years old when the leagues agreed to merge. It was by far the more popular and prestigious of the two leagues. But the world of professional football was becoming harder to navigate with the competition between the leagues. Mainly escalating contracts and merger made the most sense for everyone.
One of the main sticking points in the creation of the NFC was division alignment. For the AFC, things were straightforward. The division lines were formed from geography. But the NFC put forth five possible division plans. The world of football would have been so different had any of the other four been selected.
Alignment of Divisions
Can you imagine an NFC with the Cowboys, 49ers, and Saints in the same division? How about a division that has both the Packers and Rams?
Ultimately the alignment plan that created the great rivalries of the NFC East. NFC North that we enjoy today was chosen. And since those original 13 NFC teams were put into three divisions. Three more teams have been added to the NFC – the Buccaneers, Seahawks, and Panthers. The conference is now in four divisions of four teams each.
The NFC leads the AFC 29-27 in the Super Bowl. The only one of the 16 NFC teams hasn’t played in the Super Bowl. The Detroit Lions. The other three teams to miss out on a Super Bowl appearance are in the AFC.
Of the 12 teams without a Super Bowl win, five of them are in the NFC – the Lions, Cardinals, Panthers, Falcons, and Vikings.
Of the 14 original NFL teams that kicked off in 1920. Only two of those teams remain – the Chicago Bears and Arizona Cardinals. The Bears and Cardinals are also the two teams with the longest continuous family ownership.
NFL Big Changes from Last Season – NFC
Compared to the AFC’s relationship to the former AFL, the NFC is built from the much older NFL. And that is how you would look at the stars in each conference. The AFC’s best quarterbacks are all in the early stages of their careers. Led by Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Justin Herbert, and Joe Burrow.
In contrast, the best quarterbacks in the NFC are all in the twilight of their careers. Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and the youngest of the bunch, 34-year-old Matthew Stafford.
There are fewer big changes in the NFC as the deans of the conference remain at the top. But, change is coming soon with the impending retirements of Brady and Rodgers. And the Packers themselves have already begun a transition with the trading of top wide receiver Davante Adams. Green Bay is still the class of the NFC North, but for how long?
NFC West Conference
The NFC West is the conference’s best division, and it has begun its transformation this season. Any of three teams – the Rams, Cardinals, and 49ers – could win it. Two of the division’s four teams have new quarterbacks. The biggest of these changes is in San Francisco, where Trey Lance takes over under center.
NFC South Conference
The NFC South should be the domain of Brady and the Bucs for at least one more season. With the Saints, now in a post-Sean Peyton era, as their closest competitor. The other two teams, Carolina and Atlanta, have coaches on the hot seat.
NFC East Conference
And that brings us to the NFC East, where a battle is brewing between the Cowboys and Eagles. Don’t forget the upstart Washington team giving Carson Wentz one more chance to be a franchise quarterback. The Giants have a new head coach in Brian Daboll. They are at least a year from being a legitimate contender.