NFL Championship Weekend: What to Look For
NFL Championship Weekend: What to Look For

Four Teams Remain as NFL Enters Championship Weekend

Interesting stats and facts about NFL Championship Weekend. Here's what to look for during NFL Championship Weekend

Close Games

The NFC Championship Game has featured close games in each of the past eight seasons, including four overtime games. There have been eight consecutive NFC Championship Games decided by seven points or fewer, the longest streak in conference championship game history.

The NFC's No. 2 seed ARIZONA (14-3) will travel this Sunday to play No. 1 seed CAROLINA (16-1). The Panthers had seven games this season that finished within seven points or fewer, while the Cardinals had five such games.

The past eight NFC Championship Games have been decided by seven points or fewer:


Season Teams Winner Score
(Source: NFL) *Overtime
2007N.Y. Giants at Green Bay*N.Y. Giants23-20
2008Philadelphia at ArizonaArizona32-25
2009Minnesota at New Orleans*New Orleans31-28
2010Green Bay at ChicagoGreen Bay21-14
2011N.Y. Giants at San Francisco*N.Y. Giants20-17
2012San Francisco at AtlantaSan Francisco28-24
2013San Francisco at SeattleSeattle23-17
2014Green Bay at Seattle*Seattle28-22


Super Bowl Follow-Ups

The defending Super Bowl-champion NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (13-4) defeated Kansas City 27-20 last week in the Divisional Round. With a win Sunday against Denver, the Patriots can become the 13th team in NFL history to reach the Super Bowl after winning it the previous season.

Eight Super Bowl winners won the title game the next year and four lost it.

The teams to reach the Super Bowl after winning it the previous season:


Season Super Bowl Winner Next Season
(Source: NFL)
1966IGreen BayWon Super Bowl
1972VIIMiamiWon Super Bowl
1974IXPittsburghWon Super Bowl
1977XIIDallasLost Super Bowl
1978XIIIPittsburghWon Super Bowl
1982XVIIWashingtonLost Super Bowl
1988XXIIISan FranciscoWon Super Bowl
1992XXVIIDallasWon Super Bowl
1996XXXIGreen BayLost Super Bowl
1997XXXIIDenverWon Super Bowl
2003XXXVIIINew EnglandWon Super Bowl
2013XLVIIISeattleLost Super Bowl


​Super Championship

In 2015, NEW ENGLAND won the AFC East title for the 17th time and has advanced to the AFC Championship Game for the 12th time and fifth straight. The Patriots are 8-3 (.727) in AFC Championship Games all-time.

With a win against Denver on Sunday, New England (eight) can surpass Dallas (eight) and Pittsburgh (eight) for the most Super Bowl berths in NFL history.

Denver (seven) can tie New England, Dallas and Denver for the most Super Bowl berths with a win on Sunday.

The teams with the most Super Bowl appearances:


Team Super Bowls
(Source: NFL) *Playing Sunday
New England*8
San Francisco6


Carolina Cruising

The CAROLINA PANTHERS, who went 15-1 en route to the NFC South division title and the conference's top seed, host Arizona on Sunday in the NFC Championship Game.

With a win on Sunday, the Panthers will become the ninth team in NFL history to lose one or fewer regular season games and advance to the Super Bowl.

The teams with one or fewer regular season losses to reach the Super Bowl:


Team Season Super Bowl Record
(Source: NFL) *Nine-game regular season *Play Sunday in NFC Championship Game
Oakland Raiders1967II13-1
Baltimore Colts1968III13-1
Miami Dolphins1972VII14-0
Oakland Raiders1976XI13-1
San Francisco 49ers1984XIX15-1
Chicago Bears1985XX15-1
New England Patriots2007XLII16-0
Carolina Panthers**2015?15-1


Super Combination

New England head coach BILL BELICHICK and quarterback TOM BRADY have made six Super Bowl appearances together, the most appearances by any head coach-quarterback combination in NFL history.

With a win Sunday against the Broncos, the Patriots can extend their NFL record for the most such Super Bowl appearances.

The head coach - quarterback combinations with the most Super Bowl appearances in NFL history:


Quarterback Coach Team Super Bowls
(Source: NFL)
Tom BradyBill BelichickNew England Patriots6
Roger StaubachTom LandryDallas Cowboys4
Jim KellyMarv LevyBuffalo Bills4
Terry BradshawChuck NollPittsburgh Steelers4


With a win, Belichick (six) would surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer DON SHULA (six) as the only head coach to lead their team(s) to seven Super Bowls.

The head coaches to reach the most Super Bowls:


Coach Super Bowls
(Source: NFL)
Bill Belichick6
Don Shula6
Tom Landry5
Five tied4


Terrific Tom Brady

New England quarterback TOM BRADY has played in 30 career postseason games in his 16-year career. On Sunday at Denver, Brady can surpass ADAM VINATIERI (30) for the most postseason games played in NFL history.

The players with the most postseason games played in NFL history:


Player Team(s) Games
(Source: NFL)
Tom BradyNew England30
Adam VinatieriIndianapolis, New England30
Jerry RiceSan Francisco, Oakland, Seattle29
D.D. LewisDallas27


Heisman Hype

Arizona quarterback CARSON PALMER will face off against Carolina quarterback CAM NEWTON on Sunday in the NFC Championship Game.

Palmer, who won the Heisman Trophy in 2002 at the University of Southern California, and Newton, who won the award in 2010 at Auburn, will become the first pair of Heisman Trophy winning quarterbacks in NFL history to start against each other in the playoffs.


The LAMAR HUNT TROPHY will be presented to the winner of the AFC Championship Game.

The late Hunt, founder of the Kansas City Chiefs and American Football League, helped professional football attain its stature as America's No. 1 sport. In the 10-year history of the AFL, his team posted the most wins (87) and earned berths in two of the first four Super Bowls, including a victory in Super Bowl IV.

In 1972, Hunt became the first person from the AFL to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.


The winner of the NFC Championship Game will be presented with the GEORGE HALAS TROPHY.

Halas, the late owner of the Chicago Bears and a founder of the NFL, is the second-winningest coach in history (324-151-31) behind DON SHULA (347-173-6). He won six NFL championships with the Bears and is a charter enshrinee of the Pro Football Hall of Fame (1963).


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