Game history

Who has played in the most AFC title games?

With the history of the AFC Championship game dating back to 1970, a number of teams have been involved in the game on several occasions. Let’s examine what NFL teams played the most in the AFC Championship game, which team won it the most and which franchise has the best winning percentage.

AFC Championship Game History

With the 2021-22 season bringing us to the 52nd AFC Championship game, there is a rich history to look back on. With only 18 teams having been part of the AFC since the merger in 1970, it’s no surprise that a few teams have topped the record books.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have played the most AFC Championship games

Given the AFC’s roots in the AFL, it’s intriguing that the team that has played the longest AFC Championship game in its history is a team that hailed from the NFL. The Steelers moved to the AFC when it merged in 1970 and haven’t looked back. In the years since, the Steelers have contested a record 16 conference championships, winning eight.

The Steelers’ history in the game spans the past 50 years. They played for the third conference championship in AFC history in 1972. They went on to play in five more AFC championships before 1980. Four of their eight wins came in that first decade. Since then, they have contested at least one conference championship in every decade that has passed.

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Pittsburgh appeared in the AFC Championship Game in 1972, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1978, 1979, 1984, 1994, 1995, 1997, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2010 and 2016. Their longest spell without an appearance lasted nine years. , between the 1984 and 1994 seasons.

Behind the Steelers are three other teams that have played at least 10 AFC Championship games. They are the New England Patriots (15), the Raiders franchise (11) and the Denver Broncos (10).

Full list of AFC Championship game appearances

Years underlined to indicate the team that won the conference championship that season.

  • Pittsburgh Steelers (16)
    1972, 1974, 19751976, 1978, 1979
    1984, 1994, 19951997, 2001, 2004
    2005, 2008, 20102016
  • New England Patriots (15)
    1985, 1996, 2001, 2003, 20042006
    2007, 20112012, 2013, 20142015
    2016, 2017, 2018
  • Los Angeles/Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders (11)
    1970, 1973, 1974, 1975, 19761977
    1980, 19831990, 2000, 2002
  • Denver Broncos (10)
    1977, 1986, 1987, 19891991, 1997
    19982005, 2013, 2015
  • Miami Dolphins (7)
    1971, 1972, 1973, 1982, 19841985
    1992
  • Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts (7)
    19701971, 1995, 2003, 2006, 2009
    2014
  • Buffalo Notes (6)
    1988, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 2020
  • Houston/Tennessee Oilers/Texans (5)
    1978, 1979, 19992002, 2019
  • Kansas City Chiefs (5)
    1993, 2018, 2019, 20202021
  • Baltimore Crows (4)
    20002008, 2011, 2012
  • San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers (4)
    1980, 1981, 19942007
  • New York Jets (4)
    1982, 1998, 2009, 2010
  • Cincinnati Bengals (3)
    nineteen eighty one, 19882021
  • Jacksonville Jaguars (3)
    1996, 1999, 2017
  • Cleveland Browns (3)
    1986, 1987, 1989
  • Seattle Seahawks (1)
    1983

Which team has won the most AFC Championship games?

With 11 wins, the Patriots have won the most AFC championship games since the merger in 1970. Behind them are the Steelers and Broncos with eight wins apiece. The only other team to have won at least five AFC championships is the Miami Dolphins.

Side of the coin, the Steelers also lost the most games (eight defeats). Close behind them are the Raiders with seven losses in their 11 AFC Championship games. No other team has lost five games or more.

Who has the best winning percentage?

Heading into the AFC Championship game for the 2021-22 season, the Cincinnati Bengals are the only team with a 1,000 winning percentage. The Bengals won in 1981 and 1988 and have the chance to start with three straight wins.

They would be the fourth team to win their first three AFC Championship games (Dolphins, Broncos and Patriots). The Dolphins and Patriots each won their first five, with the Broncos winning their first four.

Those same three teams are next behind the Bengals in winning percentage. The Broncos have a winning percentage of .800 (8-2), the Patriots at .733 (11-4) and the Dolphins at .714 (5-2). The Bills are the only other team with a winning percentage above .500 (.667; 4-2). Three teams sit at .500 – Steelers, Chiefs and Ravens.

At the other end of the spectrum, four teams have participated in an AFC Championship game but never won one. The Jets are 0-4, the Jaguars and Browns are 0-3, with the Seahawks 0-1. There are four other teams with a winning percentage below .500. They are the Oilers/Titans (1-4; .200), Chargers (1-3; .250), Raiders (4-7; .364) and Colts (3-4; .429).