NFC Championship Game History: Who’s played in the most NFC title games?

    In the NFC Championship Game's 50+ year history, which teams have the most appearances, victories, and winning percentage?

    With the history of the NFC Championship Game stretching back to 1970, a number of teams have been involved in the game multiple times. Let’s examine which NFL teams have played in the NFC Championship Game the most, which team has won it the most, and which franchise has the best winning percentage.

    NFC Championship Game history

    With the 2021-22 season bringing us the 52nd NFC Championship Game, there is a rich history to look back on. With just 16 teams having been part of the NFC since the merger in 1970, it is no surprise that a couple of teams have dominated the record books.

    The San Francisco 49ers have played in the most NFC Championship Games

    The 2021-22 NFC Championship Game will see the San Francisco 49ers appear in their 17th Conference Championship. It will also mean that the 49ers have appeared in an NFC Championship Game in five of the six decades that the NFC has been in existence. The 49ers contested the first two NFC Championship Games in 1970 and 1971.

    The 49ers have won seven of their first 16 appearances, with four of those victories coming during the 1980s. Their longest drought without appearing in the NFC Championship Game came between 1997 and 2011, and it’s the only time they have gone 10 or more seasons without an appearance.

    Two other teams have played in at least 10 NFC Championship Games. The Dallas Cowboys are second on the list with 14 but have not made it since 1995. For a team that appeared in the game seven times in the 1970s, three times in the 1980s, and four times in the 1990s, their current drought is somewhat stunning.

    The 49ers’ opponent in the 2021-22 NFC Championship Game, the Los Angeles Rams, is third on the list with 11 appearances. They had their own gap of more than a decade, going from 2001 to 2018 without playing in the NFC Championship.

    Complete list of NFC Championship Game appearances

    Years underlined to indicate the team winning the Conference Championship in that season.

    • San Francisco 49ers (17)
      1970, 1971, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1988
      1989, 1990, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1997
      2011, 2012, 2013, 2019, 2021
    • Dallas Cowboys (14)
      1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977
      1978, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1992, 1993
      1994, 1995
    • Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams (11)
      1974, 1975, 1976, 1978, 1979, 1985
      1989, 1999, 2001, 2018, 2021
    • Minnesota Vikings (9)
      1973, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1987, 1998
      2000, 2009, 2017
    • Green Bay Packers (9)
      1995, 1996, 1997, 2007, 2010, 2014
      2016, 2019, 2020
    • Philadelphia Eagles (7)
      1980, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2008
    • Washington (6)
      1972, 1982, 1983, 1986, 1987, 1991
    • New York Giants (5)
      1986, 1990, 2000, 2007, 2011
    • Chicago Bears (5)
      1984, 1985, 1988, 2006, 2010
    • Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4)
      1979, 1999, 2002, 2020
    • Carolina Panthers (4)
      1996, 2003, 2005, 2015
    • Atlanta Falcons (4)
      1998, 2004, 2012, 2016
    • Seattle Seahawks (3)
      2005, 2013, 2014
    • New Orleans Saints (3)
      2006, 2009, 2018
    • Arizona Cardinals (3)
      2008, 2015
    • Detroit Lions (1)

    Which team has won the most NFC titles?

    Despite not having contested an NFC Championship Game since 1995, the Cowboys’ dominance in those first 26 years is underlined by the fact they still have the most victories. Their eight wins are narrowly in front of the 49ers (seven wins), who could tie them this season. Two other teams — Washington and the New York Giants — have more than five victories.

    The 49ers could sit atop the list of both the most wins and the most losses after the 2021-22 NFC Championship Game. Their nine losses are three clear of the Cowboys, Rams, Vikings, and Packers, each with six losses. The Rams could close that gap if they lose to the 49ers this season.

    Who has the best winning percentage?

    Two teams in the 51-year history of the NFC have a perfect record when offered the opportunity to go to the Super Bowl. The New York Giants are 5-0 and have gone on to win the Super Bowl on four of those five occasions. The Seattle Seahawks are 3-0 in the NFC Championship Game, with all three appearances coming since their reintroduction to the NFC in 2002.

    However, the Seahawks have lost in the Conference Championships, having competed in the 1983 AFC Championship Game while a member of the AFC. Therefore, their record in Conference Championships is actually 3-1 for a .750 winning percentage.

    The Washington franchise sits narrowly behind the Seahawks and Giants with a .833 winning percentage (5-1). They are the only team other than the Dallas Cowboys (8-6; .571) to have a winning percentage above .500. Four teams have a winning percentage of exactly .500 — the Arizona Cardinals (1-1), Atlanta Falcons (2-2), Carolina Panthers (2-2), and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-2).

    The worst winning percentage in the NFC belongs to the Detroit Lions (0-1). They are the only NFC team to have never contested a Super Bowl. The next lowest winning percentages belong to the Saints (1-2), Packers (3-6), and Vikings (3-6), who all have a .333 winning percentage. Another four teams have win percentages below .500 — Bears (.400; 2-3), Rams (.400; 4-6), Eagles (.429; 3-4), and 49ers (.438; 7-9).

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