NFC South
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NFC South

NFC South
ConferenceNational Football Conference
LeagueNational Football League
SportAmerican football
CountryUnited States
No. of teams4
Most recent champion(s)New Orleans Saints (6th title)
Most titlesNew Orleans Saints (6 titles)

The National Football Conference - South Division or NFC South is one of the four divisions of the National Football Conference (NFC) in the National Football League (NFL). It was created prior to the 2002 NFL season, when the league realigned divisions after expanding to 32 teams. The NFC South currently has four member clubs: the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Prior to the 2002 season, the Buccaneers belonged to the AFC West (1976) and NFC Central (1977-2001), while the other three teams were part of the geographically inaccurate NFC West.

The NFC South is one of two divisions to have each of its teams make a Super Bowl appearance since the 2002 realignment (along with the NFC West): Tampa Bay (2002), Atlanta (2016), Carolina (2003 and 2015) and New Orleans (2009). Also since 2002, each team has won at least three division titles, the only such division in the league. It is also the only NFL division to have zero division sweeps by any of its member teams.

Entering 2019, the Saints have the most wins among division members. The Saints' record is 375-438-5; their win in Super Bowl XLIV is the highlight of a 9-11 playoff record. The Falcons' record is 365-461-6 with a playoff record of 10-14; the Falcons lost in Super Bowls XXXIII and LI, the latter in overtime. The Buccaneers' record is 267-424-1 with a victory in their only Super Bowl appearance, Super Bowl XXXVII, and an overall playoff record of 6-9. The Panthers have the best playoff record (9-8) of any team in the division with losses in Super Bowls XXXVIII and 50, with a regular season record of 195-204-1.

The NFC South is the only NFC division not to have any teams that predate the 1960 launch of the American Football League, the NFL's former rival league. The oldest team is the Falcons, who began play in 1966, and the Saints began play only a year later in 1967. Each of the other NFC divisions has 3 teams that began play earlier than 1960, while the remaining three such teams are in the American Football Conference.

The NFC South became the second division in five years to have a champion with a losing record, as the 2014 Carolina Panthers won the division with a 7-8-1 record. (The 2010 Seattle Seahawks won the NFC West with a 7-9 record.) Additionally, Carolina became the first team to repeat as NFC South champions since the creation of the division. The Panthers were the first team to win the NFC South three consecutive times, from 2013 to 2015; New Orleans followed from 2017 to 2019. On January 7, 2018, two NFC South teams (the Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints) met in the NFL playoffs for the first time since the division's creation in 2002. Before then, they were the only division left in the NFL who had never had teams face off against each other in the postseason.

Division lineups

Place cursor over year for division champ or Super Bowl team.

NFC South Division
02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19
Atlanta Falcons
Carolina Panthers
New Orleans Saints
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  Division Won Super Bowl   Division Won NFC Championship

Division champions

Season Team Record Playoff Results
2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 12-4 Won Divisional playoffs (49ers) 31-6
Won NFC Championship (at Eagles) 27-10
Won Super Bowl XXXVII (vs. Raiders) 48-21
2003 Carolina Panthers 11-5 Won Wild Card playoffs (Cowboys) 29-10
Won Divisional playoffs (at Rams) 29-23 (2OT)
Won NFC Championship (at Eagles) 14-3
Lost Super Bowl XXXVIII (vs. Patriots) 29-32
2004 Atlanta Falcons 11-5 Won Divisional playoffs (Rams) 47-17
Lost NFC Championship (at Eagles) 10-27
2005 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 11-5 Lost Wild Card playoffs (Redskins) 10-17
2006 New Orleans Saints 10-6 Won Divisional playoffs (Eagles) 27-24
Lost NFC Championship (at Bears) 14-39
2007 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 9-7 Lost Wild Card playoffs (Giants) 14-24
2008 Carolina Panthers 12-4 Lost Divisional playoffs (Cardinals) 13-33
2009 New Orleans Saints 13-3 Won Divisional playoffs (Cardinals) 45-14
Won NFC Championship (Vikings) 31-28 (OT)
Won Super Bowl XLIV (vs. Colts) 31-17
2010 Atlanta Falcons 13-3 Lost Divisional playoffs (Packers) 21-48
2011 New Orleans Saints 13-3 Won Wild Card playoffs (Lions) 45-28
Lost Divisional playoffs (at 49ers) 32-36
2012 Atlanta Falcons 13-3 Won Divisional playoffs (Seahawks) 30-28
Lost NFC Championship (49ers) 24-28
2013 Carolina Panthers 12-4 Lost Divisional playoffs (49ers) 10-23
2014 Carolina Panthers 7-8-1 Won Wild Card playoffs (Cardinals) 27-16
Lost Divisional playoffs (at Seahawks) 17-31
2015 Carolina Panthers 15-1 Won Divisional playoffs (Seahawks) 31-24
Won NFC Championship (Cardinals) 49-15
Lost Super Bowl 50 (vs. Broncos) 10-24
2016 Atlanta Falcons 11-5 Won Divisional playoffs (Seahawks) 36-20
Won NFC Championship (Packers) 44-21
Lost Super Bowl LI (vs. Patriots) 28-34 (OT)
2017 New Orleans Saints 11-5 Won Wild Card playoffs (Panthers) 31-26
Lost Divisional playoffs (at Vikings) 24-29
2018 New Orleans Saints 13-3 Won Divisional playoffs (Eagles) 20-14
Lost NFC Championship (Rams) 23-26 (OT)
2019 New Orleans Saints 13-3 Lost Wild Card playoffs (Vikings) 20-26 (OT)

Wild Card qualifiers

Total Playoff Berths

(NFC South records since the division's creation in 2002)

Team Division
Super Bowl
Atlanta Falcons 4 8 2 0
Carolina Panthers 5 7 2 0
New Orleans Saints 6 8 1 1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3 3 1 1

Season results

(#) Denotes team that won the Super Bowl
(#) Denotes team that won the NFC Championship
(#) Denotes team that qualified for the NFL Playoffs
Season Team (record)
1st 2nd 3rd 4th
2002 (2)Tampa Bay (12-4) (6)Atlanta (9-6-1) New Orleans (9-7) Carolina (7-9)
2003 (3)Carolina (11-5) New Orleans (8-8) Tampa Bay (7-9) Atlanta (5-11)
2004 (2)Atlanta (11-5) New Orleans (8-8) Carolina (7-9) Tampa Bay (5-11)
2005 (3)Tampa Bay (11-5) (5)Carolina (11-5) Atlanta (8-8) New Orleans (3-13)
2006 (2)New Orleans (10-6) Carolina (8-8) Atlanta (7-9) Tampa Bay (4-12)
2007 (4)Tampa Bay (9-7) Carolina (7-9) New Orleans (7-9) Atlanta (4-12)
2008 (2)Carolina (12-4) (5)Atlanta (11-5) Tampa Bay (9-7) New Orleans (8-8)
2009 (1)New Orleans (13-3) Atlanta (9-7) Carolina (8-8) Tampa Bay (3-13)
2010 (1)Atlanta (13-3) (5)New Orleans (11-5) Tampa Bay (10-6) Carolina (2-14)
2011 (3)New Orleans (13-3) (5)Atlanta (10-6) Carolina (6-10) Tampa Bay (4-12)
2012 (1)Atlanta (13-3) Carolina (7-9) New Orleans (7-9) Tampa Bay (7-9)
2013 (2)Carolina (12-4) (6)New Orleans (11-5) Atlanta (4-12) Tampa Bay (4-12)
2014 (4)Carolina (7-8-1) New Orleans (7-9) Atlanta (6-10) Tampa Bay (2-14)
2015 (1)Carolina (15-1) Atlanta (8-8) New Orleans (7-9) Tampa Bay (6-10)
2016 (2)Atlanta (11-5) Tampa Bay (9-7) New Orleans (7-9) Carolina (6-10)
2017 (4)New Orleans (11-5) (5)Carolina (11-5) (6)Atlanta (10-6) Tampa Bay (5-11)
2018 (1)New Orleans (13-3) Atlanta (7-9) Carolina (7-9) Tampa Bay (5-11)
2019 (3)New Orleans (13-3) Atlanta (7-9) Tampa Bay (7-9) Carolina (5-11)

Schedule rotation

Year Opponents
Interconf. Intraconf.
2007 2019 AFC South NFC West
2008 2020 AFC West NFC North
2009 2021 AFC East NFC East
2010 2022 AFC North NFC West
2011 2023 AFC South NFC North
2012 2024 AFC West NFC East
2013 2025 AFC East NFC West
2014 2026 AFC North NFC North
2015 2027 AFC South NFC East
2016 2028 AFC West NFC West
2017 2029 AFC East NFC North
2018 2030 AFC North NFC East

Postseason oddities

  • From 2003 to 2009, the team that placed last in the division the previous year would improve enough to reach the playoffs, usually by winning the division. Tampa Bay almost continued this trend in 2010, stopped only by losing a tiebreaker to Green Bay.
    • Carolina finished last in 2002 (7-9) and finished first in 2003 (11-5).
    • Atlanta finished last in 2003 (5-11) and finished first in 2004 (11-5).
    • Tampa Bay finished last in 2004 (5-11) and finished first in 2005 (11-5).
    • New Orleans finished last in 2005 (3-13) and finished first in 2006 (10-6).
    • Tampa Bay finished last in 2006 (4-12) and finished first in 2007 (9-7).
    • Atlanta finished last in 2007 (4-12) and finished second with a wild-card berth in 2008 (11-5).
    • New Orleans finished last in 2008 (8-8) and finished first in 2009 (13-3).
    • Tampa Bay finished last in 2009 (3-13) but despite finishing third in 2010 with a 10-6 record, did not make the playoffs, due to Green Bay holding the wild-card tiebreakers.
    • Carolina finished last in 2010 (2-14) and was eliminated from playoff contention in Week 14 of the 2011 season after going 4-9, becoming the first NFC South team to have a losing season after placing last in the division.
  • From 2002 to 2009, no team in the NFC South earned back-to-back playoff appearances. In Week 16 of the 2010 season, New Orleans clinched a wild-card berth, becoming the first NFC South team to earn consecutive playoff appearances. New Orleans earned three consecutive playoff appearances in the 2009, 2010, and 2011 seasons. Atlanta also earned three consecutive playoff appearances, in 2010, 2011 and 2012 and Carolina in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
  • Each team has won the division at least three times and made a playoff appearance at least three times since the division's formation. Tampa Bay is the only team which has not made the playoffs as a wild-card.
  • Each team has finished last in the division at least twice since the division's formation. Prior to 2012, no team has finished last in the division in consecutive seasons. Tampa Bay became the first team in the division to place last in the division in consecutive seasons, and have recently finished last for the fourth consecutive season.
  • The NFC South is the only NFL division where no member team has swept the division during a regular season.
  • From 2002 to 2011, there was an outright last place finisher in the division (i.e.: tiebreakers were not necessary to determine who finished last). That streak came to an end during the 2012 season, when Tampa Bay, New Orleans, and Carolina all finished at 7-9. This happened again in 2013, where both Atlanta and Tampa Bay finished 4-12.
  • In 2014, Carolina became the first team to defend the NFC South title. No other team in the division has managed to do so until New Orleans defeated Tampa Bay on December 9, 2018 and clinched the division for the second straight season.
  • In 2014, Carolina became the second team in NFL history to win its division and advance to the playoffs with a losing record (7-8-1). The first team to accomplish this is the 2010 Seahawks, who won the NFC West with a 7-9 record and beat New Orleans in the Wild Card game.
  • With Atlanta winning the 2016-17 NFC Championship, the NFC South became the first division since the 2002 realignment to have all four of its teams represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. (Tampa Bay 2002, Carolina 2003 and 2015, New Orleans 2009, Atlanta 2016).
  • In the 2017 NFL season the NFC South had three of its teams qualify for the playoffs (Atlanta, New Orleans, Carolina). It was also the first time where two NFC South teams met in the playoffs, when New Orleans hosted Carolina in the Wild Card playoffs.

See also


  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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