NFC North

NFC North
Conference National Football Conference
League National Football League
Sport American football
Founded 1967 (As NFL Western Conference Central Division)
Country United States
Teams
No. of teams 4
Championships
Most recent NFC North champion(s) Minnesota Vikings (20 titles)
Most NFC North titles Minnesota Vikings (20 titles)

The NFC North is a division of the National Football League (NFL)'s National Football Conference (NFC), based in the Upper Midwest region of the United States. Nicknamed the "Black & Blue Division" for the rough and tough rivalry games between the teams, it currently has four members: the Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, and Minnesota Vikings. The NFC North was previously known as the NFC Central from 1970 to 2001. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were previously members, from 1977, one year after they joined the league as an expansion team, until 2001 when they moved to the NFC South.

The division was created in 1967 as the Central Division of the NFL's Western Conference and existed for three seasons before the AFL–NFL merger. After the merger, it was renamed the NFC Central and retained that name until the NFL split into eight divisions in 2002. The four current division teams have been together in the same division or conference since the Vikings joined the league in 1961. The Bears, Lions and Packers have been in the same division or conference since the NFL began a conference format in 1933. Largely because the four teams have played each other at least twice a year, with the exception of the strike-shortened 1982 season, for more than half a century (more than 80 years in the case of the Bears, Lions and Packers), the entire division is considered one very large rivalry.

Based on the combined ages of its current teams, the NFC North is the oldest division in the NFL, at a combined 344 years old. The Bears are 99 years old (founded in 1919 in Decatur, Illinois; moved to Chicago in 1921), the Packers are also 99 years old (founded in 1919, but turned professional in 1921), the Lions are 89 years old (founded 1929 in Portsmouth, Ohio; moved to Detroit in 1934), and the Vikings are 57 years old (founded 1961). The division has a total of 11 Super Bowl appearances. The Packers have the most appearances in the Super Bowl with 5, the most recent happening at the conclusion of the 2010 season. The Bears and the Packers have the only Super Bowl wins of this division, a total of 5 (4 for the Packers and 1 for the Bears). Of the top 10 NFL teams with the highest winning percentage throughout its franchise history, three of them are in the NFC North (the Bears, the Packers, and the Vikings). The Lions however, have one of the lowest winning percentages in the NFL, including the first winless 16-game season in NFL history, in 2008.[1]

Entering 2014 the Bears led the division with an overall record of 730–534–42, victory in Super Bowl XX[2] and eight pre-Super Bowl league titles; Chicago's overall playoff record is 17–18. The Packers hold an overall record of 698–537–36 with an overall playoff record of 30–18, four Super Bowl titles in five Super Bowl appearances, and nine pre-Super Bowl league titles - bringing the Packers to a total of 13 World Championships, currently the most in the NFL. The Lions hold a record of 517–620–32, four league championships, and a 7–11 playoff record. As the youngest (in terms of franchise age) team in the division, the Vikings hold a record of 431–365–9, a playoff record of 19–27, and had won a league title the season before the merger (although they subsequently lost Super Bowl IV).

This division earned the moniker "Black and Blue Division" due to its intense rivalries and physical style of play, and this nickname is still used regularly today. It is also known as the "Frostbite Division" as all teams played home games in late season winter cold until the mid-1970s. The division is also humorously called the "Frozen North", although Detroit has played its home games indoors since 1975, and Minnesota also did so from 1982 to 2013 and returned to indoor home games at U.S. Bank Stadium in 2016. ESPN sportscaster Chris Berman often refers to this division as the "NFC Norris" because of its geographical similarity to the National Hockey League's former Norris Division.

Division lineups

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

Years
NFL Western Conference
Central Division
NFC Central Division[B]
1900s 2000s
67[A] 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 00 01
Chicago Bears
Detroit Lions
Green Bay Packers
Minnesota Vikings
  Tampa Bay Buccaneers[C]
NFC North Division[D]
2000s
02[D] 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19
Chicago Bears
Detroit Lions
Green Bay Packers
Minnesota Vikings
     Team not in division      Division Won Super Bowl      Division Won NFC Championship      Division won NFL Championship, Lost Super Bowl
A The NFL Western Conference was divided into the Coastal and Central divisions. The Packers had won Super Bowl I in 1966 in the NFL Western Conference.
B Starting the 1970 season, this division became the National Football Conference Central division (or NFC Central for short), due to the AFL–NFL merger.
C Tampa Bay moved from the AFC West in 1977
D For the 2002 season, the league realigned to have 8 four team divisions. Division renamed the NFC North. Tampa Bay moves to the NFC South.

Division champions

SeasonTeamRecordPlayoff Results
NFL Central (pre-merger)
1967Green Bay Packers9–4–1Won 1967 NFL Championship Game
Won Super Bowl II
1968Minnesota Vikings8–6Lost NFL Divisional Playoffs
1969Minnesota Vikings12–2Won 1969 NFL Championship Game
Lost Super Bowl IV
NFC Central (post merger)
1970Minnesota Vikings12–2Lost NFC Divisional Playoffs
1971Minnesota Vikings11–3Lost NFC Divisional Playoffs
1972Green Bay Packers10–4Lost NFC Divisional Playoffs
1973Minnesota Vikings12–2Lost Super Bowl VIII
1974Minnesota Vikings10–4Lost Super Bowl IX
1975Minnesota Vikings12–2Lost NFC Divisional Playoffs
1976Minnesota Vikings11–2–1Lost Super Bowl XI
1977Minnesota Vikings9–5Lost NFC Championship Game
1978Minnesota Vikings8–7–1Lost NFC Divisional Playoffs
1979Tampa Bay Buccaneers10–6Lost NFC Championship Game
1980Minnesota Vikings9–7Lost NFC Divisional Playoffs
1981Tampa Bay Buccaneers9–7Lost NFC Divisional Playoffs
1982+Green Bay Packers5–3–1Lost NFC Second Round
1983Detroit Lions9–7Lost NFC Divisional Playoffs
1984Chicago Bears10–6Lost NFC Championship Game
1985Chicago Bears15–1Won Super Bowl XX
1986Chicago Bears14–2Lost NFC Divisional Playoffs
1987Chicago Bears11–4Lost NFC Divisional Playoffs
1988Chicago Bears12–4Lost NFC Championship Game
1989Minnesota Vikings10–6Lost NFC Divisional Playoffs
1990Chicago Bears11–5Lost NFC Divisional Playoffs
1991Detroit Lions12–4Lost NFC Championship Game
1992Minnesota Vikings11–5Lost NFC Wild Card Playoffs
1993Detroit Lions10–6Lost NFC Wild Card Playoffs
1994Minnesota Vikings10–6Lost NFC Wild Card Playoffs
1995Green Bay Packers11–5Lost NFC Championship Game
1996Green Bay Packers13–3Won Super Bowl XXXI
1997Green Bay Packers13–3Lost Super Bowl XXXII
1998Minnesota Vikings15–1Lost NFC Championship Game
1999Tampa Bay Buccaneers11–5Lost NFC Championship Game
2000Minnesota Vikings11–5Lost NFC Championship Game
2001Chicago Bears13–3Lost NFC Divisional Playoffs
NFC North
2002Green Bay Packers12–4Lost NFC Wild Card Playoffs
2003Green Bay Packers10–6Lost NFC Divisional Playoffs
2004Green Bay Packers10–6Lost NFC Wild Card Playoffs
2005Chicago Bears11–5Lost NFC Divisional Playoffs
2006Chicago Bears13–3Lost Super Bowl XLI
2007Green Bay Packers13–3Lost NFC Championship Game
2008Minnesota Vikings10–6Lost NFC Wild Card Playoffs
2009Minnesota Vikings12–4Lost NFC Championship Game
2010Chicago Bears11–5Lost NFC Championship Game
2011Green Bay Packers15–1Won Super Bowl Champions
2012Green Bay Packers11–5Lost NFC Divisional Playoffs
2013Green Bay Packers8–7–1Lost NFC Wild Card Playoffs
2014Green Bay Packers12–4Lost NFC Championship Game
2015Minnesota Vikings11–5Lost NFC Wild Card Playoffs
2016Green Bay Packers10–6Lost NFC Championship Game
2017Minnesota Vikings13–3Lost NFC Championship Game

+ A players' strike in 1982 reduced the regular season to nine games, so the league used a special 16-team playoff tournament just for this year. Division standings were ignored; Green Bay had the best record of the division teams.

Wild Card qualifiers

SeasonTeamRecordPlayoff Results
NFC Central
1970Detroit Lions10–4–0Lost Divisional Playoffs
1977Chicago Bears9–5–0Lost Divisional Playoffs
1979Chicago Bears10–6–0Lost Wild Card Playoffs
1982+Minnesota Vikings
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Detroit Lions
5–4–0
5–4–0
4–5–0
Lost NFC Second Round
Lost NFC First Round
Lost NFC First Round
1987Minnesota Vikings8–7–0Lost NFC Championship Game
1988Minnesota Vikings11–5–0Lost Divisional Playoffs
1991Chicago Bears11–5–0Lost Wild Card Playoffs
1993Minnesota Vikings
Green Bay Packers
9–7–0
9–7–0
Lost Wild Card Playoffs
Lost Divisional Playoffs
1994Detroit Lions
Chicago Bears
Green Bay Packers
9–7–0
9–7–0
9–7–0
Lost Wild Card Playoffs
Lost Divisional Playoffs
Lost Divisional Playoffs
1995Detroit Lions10–6–0Lost Wild Card Playoffs
1996Minnesota Vikings9–7–0Lost Wild Card Playoffs
1997Detroit Lions
Minnesota Vikings
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
9–7–0
9–7–0
10–6–0
Lost Wild Card Playoffs
Lost Divisional Playoffs
Lost Divisional Playoffs
1998Green Bay Packers11–5–0Lost Wild Card Playoffs
1999Detroit Lions
Minnesota Vikings
8–8–0
10–6–0
Lost Wild Card Playoffs
Lost Divisional Playoffs
2000Tampa Bay Buccaneers10–6–0Lost Wild Card Playoffs
2001Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Green Bay Packers
9–7–0
12–4–0
Lost Wild Card Playoffs
Lost Divisional Playoffs
NFC North
2004Minnesota Vikings8–8–0Lost Divisional Playoffs
2009Green Bay Packers11–5–0Lost Wild Card Playoffs
2010Green Bay Packers10–6–0Won Super Bowl XLV
2011Detroit Lions10–6–0Lost Wild Card Playoffs
2012Minnesota Vikings10–6–0Lost Wild Card Playoffs
2014Detroit Lions11–5–0Lost Wild Card Playoffs
2015Green Bay Packers10–6–0Lost Divisional Playoffs
2016Detroit Lions9–7–0Lost Wild Card Playoffs

+ A players' strike in 1982 reduced the regular season to nine games, so the league used a special 16-team playoff tournament just for this year.

Total playoff berths

Total playoff berths as members of the NFC Central/North

(1966–2016 seasons)

TeamDivision
Championships
Playoff
Berths
NFL League
Titles
Super Bowl
Appearances
Super Bowl
Wins
Minnesota Vikings2029140
Green Bay Packers15221354
Chicago Bears1014921
Detroit Lions312400

To sort table above, click button to right of heading.

Total playoff berths in team history

(1920–2016 seasons)

TeamDivision
Championships
Playoff
Berths
NFL League
Titles
(pre-merger)
Conference
Wins
Super Bowl
Wins
Total (1)
Championships
Minnesota Vikings20291400
Green Bay Packers1831119413
Chicago Bears18258419
Detroit Lions4184404

To sort table above, click button to right of heading.

1 From 1966 to 1969, this means winning both the NFL Championship game AND the Super Bowl. Hence, the Vikings' NFL Championship victory in 1969 isn't counted. The Packers had 2 NFL titles during this time frame and also won Super Bowl I and II.

Schedule assignments

Year Opponents
Interconf. Intraconf.
2018 AFC East NFC West
2019 AFC West NFC East
2020 AFC South NFC South
2021 AFC North NFC West
2022 AFC East NFC East
2023 AFC West NFC South
2024 AFC South NFC West
2025 AFC North NFC East
2026 AFC East NFC South
2027 AFC West NFC West
2028 AFC South NFC East

See also

References

  1. "Lions complete 1st 0-16 season in league history - NFL- NBC Sports". Nbcsports.msnbc.com. 2008-12-28. Retrieved 2012-09-08.
  2. "Super Bowl XX Game Recap". Nfl.com. 1986-01-27. Retrieved 2012-09-08.
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