The National Football Conference (NFC) is one of two conferences within the National Football League (NFL), the American Football Conference (AFC) being the other. Prior to 1970, there were two separate professional football leagues, the National Football League and the American Football League (AFL). In 1970, the AFL merged with the NFL. As part of the merger, the former AFL teams, plus three former NFL teams (the Baltimore Colts, the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers), were placed into the AFC. The remaining former NFL teams were placed in the NFC. As of the 2020 season only the Detroit Lions have not won an NFC championship.
The NFC champion is not necessarily the team with the best record in the regular season. Rather, the champion is decided by the NFC Championship Game as part of the post-season playoffs involving the teams with the best regular season records. The Dallas Cowboys won the first two NFC championships, in 1970 and 1971. No team has won more than two consecutive NFC championships. The Cowboys won two consecutive NFC championships three times (1970-1971, 1977-1978, 1992-1993). The Minnesota Vikings (1973-1974), Washington Redskins (1982-1983), San Francisco 49ers (1988-1989), Green Bay Packers (1996-1997), and Seattle Seahawks (2013-2014) have also won two consecutive NFC championships.
Through the 2020 season, the Dallas Cowboys have won more NFC championships than any other team, with eight. The San Francisco 49ers have won seven. The Washington Redskins and New York Giants have each won five NFC championships. The Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams has won four and the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers have won three apiece. The San Francisco 49ers have also been the NFC runner up, as a result of losing the NFC Championship Game, a record nine times. The Rams, Cowboys and Packers have each been the runner up six times.
The record for the most regular season wins by an NFC champion is 15, by the 1984 San Francisco 49ers, the 1985 Chicago Bears and the 2015 Carolina Panthers, each with a 15–1 record. Six NFC champions have won 14 games. The 1982 Washington Redskins had the fewest wins of any NFC champion, with eight wins and just one loss in the strike–shortened 1982 season. The fewest wins by an NFC champion in a complete season were by the 1979 Los Angeles Rams, 2008 Arizona Cardinals, and the 2011 New York Giants. All three had nine wins and seven losses.
Tom Landry was the head coach for five NFC championships, more than any other head coach. Landry coached the Dallas Cowboys to NFC championships in 1970, 1971, 1975, 1977 and 1978. Joe Gibbs coached four NFC champions, and Bud Grant, Bill Walsh and Mike Holmgren each coached three. Holmgren and Dick Vermeil both won NFC championships for two different franchises. Holmgren was the head coach of the 1996 and 1997 NFC champion Green Bay Packers and of the 2005 NFC champion Seattle Seahawks. Vermeil was the head coach of the 1980 NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles, and 19 years later was the head coach of the 1999 NFC champion St. Louis Rams.
Roger Staubach and Joe Montana were each the starting quarterback for four NFC championships, more than any other quarterback. Staubach was the starting quarterback for the 1971, 1975, 1977 and 1978 Dallas Cowboys. Montana was the starting quarterback for the 1981, 1984, 1988 and 1989 San Francisco 49ers. Fran Tarkenton, Troy Aikman and Kurt Warner were each the starting quarterback for three NFC champions. Warner accomplished this for two different franchises, the 1999 and 2001 St. Louis Rams and the 2008 Arizona Cardinals. Joe Theismann, Phil Simms, Brett Favre, Eli Manning and Russell Wilson were each the starting quarterback for two NFC champions, although Simms missed the NFC Championship Game in one of those seasons (1990) due to injury.
Chuck Foreman and Emmitt Smith were each the leader in rushing yards for an NFC champion three times. Others who led an NFC champion in rushing yards multiple times are Duane Thomas, Tony Dorsett, John Riggins, Wendell Tyler, Roger Craig, Marshall Faulk and Marshawn Lynch. Tyler did so with two different franchises, the 1979 Los Angeles Rams and the 1984 San Francisco 49ers. Jerry Rice and Michael Irvin each led an NFC champion in receiving yards three times. Bob Hayes, Drew Pearson, Charlie Brown, Dwight Clark, Gary Clark and Antonio Freeman each led an NFC champion in receiving yards twice.
The 1983 Washington Redskins had seven 1st team All-Pros, more than any other NFC champion. The 2012 San Francisco 49ers and 2015 Carolina Panthers each had six and 1985 Chicago Bears had five. The 1975 Dallas Cowboys, 2000 New York Giants and 2007 New York Giants did not have any 1st team All-Pros. Ron Yary of the 1973, 1974 and 1976 Minnesota Vikings is the only offensive lineman with three 1st team All-Pro selections for an NFC champion. Several defensive players have been 1st team All-Pros for two NFC champions, including Alan Page, Cliff Harris, Ronnie Lott, LeRoy Butler, Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas.
The Super Bowl is played annually between the AFC champion and the NFC champion. The first four Super Bowls were played prior to the AFL/NFL merger between the AFL and NFL champion. The 1970 NFC champion Dallas Cowboys lost the first Super Bowl played after the merger, but the 1971 Cowboys were the first NFC team to win the Super Bowl. The NFC had a streak in which its champion won 13 consecutive Super Bowls, from the 1984 NFC champion San Francisco 49ers through the 1996 NFC champion Green Bay Packers. Overall, the NFC champion has won 26 of the 52 Super Bowls played since the formation of the NFC with the AFL/NFL merger through the end of the 2019 season.
|Season||Each year is linked to an article about that particular NFL season.|
|Team||Name of NFC Championship team, linked to the team's championship season|
|Record||Championship team's regular season record wins–losses; if the team played any tie games the record is shown as wins–losses–ties|
|Head Coach||Championship team's head coach; if the team had multiple head coaches for the season they are shown in decreasing order of number of regular season wins|
|Quarterback||Name of quarterback with most passing attempts for the team during the regular season|
|Leading Rusher||Name of player with most rushing yards for the team during the regular season|
|Leading Receiver||Name of player with most receiving yards for the team during the regular season|
|All-Pros||List of All-Pros on that season's NFC champion|
|Runner Up||Name of team that lost the NFC Championship Game|
|+||Super Bowl Champion|
|*||Member of Pro Football Hall of Fame|
|Season||Team||Record||Head Coach||Quarterback||Leading Rusher||Leading Receiver||All-Pros||Runner-Up||Reference|
|1970||Dallas Cowboys||10–4||Tom Landry*||Craig Morton||Duane Thomas||Bob Hayes*||Howley||San Francisco 49ers|||
|1971||Dallas Cowboys+||11–3||Tom Landry*||Roger Staubach*||Duane Thomas||Bob Hayes*||Lilly*, Niland, Wright*||San Francisco 49ers|||
|1972||Washington Redskins||11–3||George Allen*||Billy Kilmer||Larry Brown||Charley Taylor*||Brown, Hanburger*||Dallas Cowboys|||
|1973||Minnesota Vikings||12–2||Bud Grant*||Fran Tarkenton*||Chuck Foreman||John Gilliam||Eller*, Page*, Yary*||Dallas Cowboys|||
|1974||Minnesota Vikings||10–4||Bud Grant*||Fran Tarkenton*||Chuck Foreman||Jim Lash||Page*, Yary*||Los Angeles Rams|||
|1975||Dallas Cowboys||10–4||Tom Landry*||Roger Staubach*||Robert Newhouse||Drew Pearson*||none||Los Angeles Rams|||
|1976||Minnesota Vikings||11–2–1||Bud Grant*||Fran Tarkenton*||Chuck Foreman||Sammy White||Yary*||Los Angeles Rams|||
|1977||Dallas Cowboys+||12–2||Tom Landry*||Roger Staubach*||Tony Dorsett*||Drew Pearson*||Harris, Herrera, Martin, Pearson*||Minnesota Vikings|||
|1978||Dallas Cowboys||12–4||Tom Landry*||Roger Staubach*||Tony Dorsett*||Tony Hill||Harris, White*||Los Angeles Rams|||
|1979||Los Angeles Rams||9–7||Ray Malavasi||Pat Haden[a]||Wendell Tyler||Preston Dennard||Brooks, Youngblood*||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|||
|1980||Philadelphia Eagles||12–4||Dick Vermeil||Ron Jaworski||Wilbert Montgomery||Charlie Smith||Johnson||Dallas Cowboys|||
|1981||San Francisco 49ers+||13–3||Bill Walsh*||Joe Montana*||Ricky Patton||Dwight Clark||Dean*, Lott*||Dallas Cowboys|||
|1982||Washington Redskins+||8–1||Joe Gibbs*||Joe Theismann||John Riggins*||Charlie Brown||Moseley||Dallas Cowboys|||
|1983||Washington Redskins||14–2||Joe Gibbs*||Joe Theismann||John Riggins*||Charlie Brown||Butz, Grimm*, Jacoby, Murphy, Nelms, Riggins*, Theismann||San Francisco 49ers|||
|1984||San Francisco 49ers+||15–1||Bill Walsh*||Joe Montana*||Wendell Tyler||Dwight Clark||Fahnhorst||Chicago Bears|||
|1985||Chicago Bears+||15–1||Mike Ditka*||Jim McMahon||Walter Payton*||Willie Gault||Covert, Dent*, McMichael, Payton*, Singletary*||Los Angeles Rams|||
|1986||New York Giants+||14–2||Bill Parcells*||Phil Simms||Joe Morris||Mark Bavaro||Bavaro, Landeta, Morris, Taylor*||Washington Redskins|||
|1987||Washington Redskins+||11–4||Joe Gibbs*||Jay Schroeder[b]||George Rogers||Gary Clark||Clark, Wilburn||Minnesota Vikings|||
|1988||San Francisco 49ers+||10–6||Bill Walsh*||Joe Montana*||Roger Craig||Jerry Rice*||Craig, Rice*||Chicago Bears|||
|1989||San Francisco 49ers+||14–2||George Seifert||Joe Montana*||Roger Craig||Jerry Rice*||Cofer, Lott*, Montana*, Rice*,||Los Angeles Rams|||
|1990||New York Giants+||13–3||Bill Parcells*||Phil Simms[c]||Ottis Anderson||Stephen Baker||Johnson, Landeta||San Francisco 49ers|||
|1991||Washington Redskins+||14–2||Joe Gibbs*||Mark Rypien||Earnest Byner||Gary Clark||Green*, Lachey||Detroit Lions|||
|1992||Dallas Cowboys+||13–3||Jimmy Johnson*||Troy Aikman*||Emmitt Smith*||Michael Irvin*||Novacek, Smith*||San Francisco 49ers|||
|1993||Dallas Cowboys+||12–4||Jimmy Johnson*||Troy Aikman*||Emmitt Smith*||Michael Irvin*||Smith*, Williams||San Francisco 49ers|||
|1994||San Francisco 49ers+||13–3||George Seifert||Steve Young*||Ricky Watters||Jerry Rice*||Rice*, Sanders*, Young*||Dallas Cowboys|||
|1995||Dallas Cowboys+||12–4||Barry Switzer||Troy Aikman*||Emmitt Smith*||Michael Irvin*||Newton, Smith*, Woodson||Green Bay Packers|||
|1996||Green Bay Packers+||13–3||Mike Holmgren||Brett Favre*||Edgar Bennett||Antonio Freeman||Butler, Favre*||Carolina Panthers|||
|1997||Green Bay Packers||13–3||Mike Holmgren||Brett Favre*||Dorsey Levens||Antonio Freeman||Butler, Favre*||San Francisco 49ers|||
|1998||Atlanta Falcons||14–2||Dan Reeves||Chris Chandler||Jamal Anderson||Tony Martin||Anderson||Minnesota Vikings|||
|1999||St. Louis Rams+||13–3||Dick Vermeil||Kurt Warner*||Marshall Faulk*||Isaac Bruce*||Carter, Faulk*, Pace*, Warner*||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|||
|2000||New York Giants||12–4||Jim Fassel||Kerry Collins||Tiki Barber||Amani Toomer||none||Minnesota Vikings|||
|2001||St. Louis Rams||14–2||Mike Martz||Kurt Warner*||Marshall Faulk*||Torry Holt||Faulk*, Pace*, Warner*, Williams*||Philadelphia Eagles|||
|2002||Tampa Bay Buccaneers+||12–4||Jon Gruden||Brad Johnson||Michael Pittman||Keyshawn Johnson||Brooks*, Rice, Sapp*||Philadelphia Eagles|||
|2003||Carolina Panthers||11–5||John Fox||Jake Delhomme||Stephen Davis||Steve Smith||Jenkins||Philadelphia Eagles|||
|2004||Philadelphia Eagles||13–3||Andy Reid||Donovan McNabb||Brian Westbrook||Terrell Owens*||Dawkins*, Owens*, Sheppard||Atlanta Falcons|||
|2005||Seattle Seahawks||13–3||Mike Holmgren||Matt Hasselbeck||Shaun Alexander||Bobby Engram||Alexander, Hutchinson, Jones*, Strong||Carolina Panthers|||
|2006||Chicago Bears||13–3||Lovie Smith||Rex Grossman||Thomas Jones||Muhsin Muhammad||Gould, Hester, Kreutz, Urlacher*||New Orleans Saints|||
|2007||New York Giants+||10–6||Tom Coughlin||Eli Manning||Brandon Jacobs||Plaxico Burress||none||Green Bay Packers|||
|2008||Arizona Cardinals||9–7||Ken Whisenhunt||Kurt Warner*||Edgerrin James*||Larry Fitzgerald||Fitzgerald||Philadelphia Eagles|||
|2009||New Orleans Saints+||13–3||Sean Payton||Drew Brees||Pierre Thomas||Marques Colston||Evans||Minnesota Vikings|||
|2010||Green Bay Packers+||10–6||Mike McCarthy||Aaron Rodgers||Brandon Jackson||Greg Jennings||Clifton, Collins, Jennings, Matthews, Woodson*||Chicago Bears|||
|2011||New York Giants+||9–7||Tom Coughlin||Eli Manning||Ahmad Bradshaw||Victor Cruz||Pierre-Paul||San Francisco 49ers|||
|2012||San Francisco 49ers||11–4–1||Jim Harbaugh||Colin Kaepernick[d]||Frank Gore||Michael Crabtree||Bowman, Goldson, Iupati, Lee, Smith, Willis||Atlanta Falcons|||
|2013||Seattle Seahawks+||13–3||Pete Carroll||Russell Wilson||Marshawn Lynch||Golden Tate||Sherman, Thomas||San Francisco 49ers|||
|2014||Seattle Seahawks||12–4||Pete Carroll||Russell Wilson||Marshawn Lynch||Doug Baldwin||Sherman, Thomas, Wagner||Green Bay Packers|||
|2015||Carolina Panthers||15–1||Ron Rivera||Cam Newton||Jonathan Stewart||Greg Olsen||Davis, Kalil, Kuechly, Newton, Norman, Tolbert||Arizona Cardinals|||
|2016||Atlanta Falcons||11–5||Dan Quinn||Matt Ryan||Devonta Freeman||Julio Jones||Beasley, Jones, Ryan||Green Bay Packers|||
|2017||Philadelphia Eagles+||13–3||Doug Pederson||Carson Wentz[e]||LeGarrette Blount||Zach Ertz||Johnson, Kelce||Minnesota Vikings|||
|2018||Los Angeles Rams||13–3||Sean McVay||Jared Goff||Todd Gurley||Robert Woods||Donald, Gurley, Suh||New Orleans Saints|||
|2019||San Francisco 49ers||13–3||Kyle Shanahan[f]||Jimmy Garoppolo||Raheem Mostert||George Kittle||Kittle, Sherman, Buckner||Green Bay Packers|||
|2020||Tampa Bay Buccaneers+||11–5||Bruce Arians||Tom Brady||Leonard Fournette||Mike Evans||none||Green Bay Packers|||
|Season||Team||Record||Head Coach||Quarterback||Leading Rusher||Leading Receiver||All-Pros||Runner-Up||Reference|