Conference Calls a Shot Away from Super BowlPosted: January 24, 2010
Broadway Joe Namath and the Jets stunned the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III.
The NFL conference championship games are cousin to major league baseball’s championship series. Win the big game go to the Super Bowl or win the pennant and go to the World Series.
There was a time prior to the first Super Bowl in 1967 when the conference championship games were for all the marbles, first in the National Football League beginning with the first playoff game in 1933 and later in the American Football League, which was founded in 1960.
The New York Giants have played in 18 NFL/NFC championship games, more than any other team in the NFL. The Giants are 7-11 in those games, but curiously have won all four of the NFC championship games they have been involved in. The Giants were just 3-11 in NFL championship games, losing five times in six years between 1958 and 1963.
The Green Bay Packers have won the most conference title games, going 10-4 in 14 tries. The Packers, of course, won the first two Super Bowls, and three overall.
Other notable NFC championship composite records include the Dallas Cowboys at 8-8, the Chicago Bears at 8-6 and the Cleveland/Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams at 5-9.
Neither of this year’s NFC contestants has ever won a Super Bowl. The Minnesota Vikings are 4-4 in NFC title games, but lost all four Super Bowls they played. The New Orleans Saints lost their only championship game 39-14 to the Bears in 2006.
The Vikings beat the Saints 44-10 in their only previous playoff game, spoiling New Orleans first-ever post-season appearance.
Steelers Dominate AFC
Not surprisingly, the Pittsburgh Steelers dominate AFC championship game appearances with 14. The Steelers split those 14 games, and went on to win six of the seven Super Bowls in which they appeared.
The Buffalo Bills, Denver Broncos and New England Patriots are all 6-2 in AFC conference championship games. The Oakland Raiders are tied with the Steelers with 14 championship game appearances, but they are just 5-9 in those games.
The New York Jets are 1-2 in conference championships. They beat the Oakland Raiders 27-23 at windy Shea Stadium in 1968 to win the AFC title, then upset the Baltimore Colts 16-7 to win Super Bowl III.
Those same Colts, who now call Indianapolis at home, are 2-3 in AFC championship games, including two games played when the franchise was in Baltimore. The Baltimore Colts were 3-1 in NFL title games, including victories over the Giants in 1958 and 1959 and a win over Dallas in Super Bowl V before moving to the AFC.
The Colts beat the Browns 34-0 in the 1968 NFC championship game on their way to that magical Sunday when the Jets shocked Baltimore and the rest of the world.
The Jets beat the Indy Colts 41-0 in the wild-card round following the 2002 season. They lost 14-0 to the Miami Dolphins in 1983 and 23-10 to the Denver Broncos in 1999 in their only other AFC championship games.