With the history of the NFC Championship Game dating back to 1970, a number of teams have been involved in the game on multiple occasions. Let’s examine what NFL teams played the most in the NFC Championship Game, which team won it the most and which franchise has the best winning percentage.
NFC Championship Game History
With the 2021-22 season bringing us to the 52nd NFC Championship Game, there’s a rich history to look back on. With only 16 teams having been part of the NFC since the merger in 1970, it’s no surprise that a few teams have topped the record books.
The San Francisco 49ers have played the most NFC championship games
The 2021-22 NFC Championship Game will see the San Francisco 49ers compete in their 17th conference championship. It will also mean the 49ers have appeared in an NFC Championship Game in five of the NFC’s six decades of existence. The 49ers played the first two NFC Championship games in 1970 and 1971.
The 49ers have won seven of their first 16 appearances, including four 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’ve gone 10 seasons or more without an appearance.
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Two other teams have played in at least 10 NFC Championship games. The Dallas Cowboys are second on the list with 14 but haven’t 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 superb.
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 decade-plus gap, going from 2001 to 2018 without playing in the NFC Championship.
Full List of NFC Championship Game Appearances
Years underlined to indicate the team that won the conference championship that season.
- San Francisco 49ers (17)
1970, 1971, nineteen eighty one1983, 1984, 1988
19891990, 1992, 1993, 19941997
2011, 20122013, 20192021
- Dallas Cowboys (14)
1970, 19711972, 1973, 1975, 1977
19781980, 1981, 1982, 1992, 1993
- Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams (11)
1974, 1975, 1976, 1978, 19791985
1989, 1999, 2001, 20182021
- Minnesota Vikings (9)
1973, 1975, 19761977, 1987, 1998
2000, 2009, 2017
- Green Bay Packers (9)
1995, 1996, 19972007, 20102014
2016, 2019, 2020
- Philadelphia Eagles (7)
19802001, 2002, 2003, 20042008
- Washington (6)
1972, 1982, 19831986, 1987, 1991
- New York Giants (5)
1986, 1990, 2000, 2007, 2011
- Chicago Bears (5)
1984, 19851988, 20062010
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4)
1979, 1999, 2002, 2020
- Carolina Panthers (4)
1996, 20032005, 2015
- Atlanta Falcons (4)
19982004, 2012, 2016
- Seattle Seahawks (3)
2005, 2013, 2014
- New Orleans Saints (3)
- Arizona Cardinals (3)
- Detroit Lions (1)
Which team has won the most NFC titles?
Although they haven’t played in an NFC Championship Game since 1995, the Cowboys’ dominance over those first 26 years is underscored by the fact that they still have the most wins. Their eight wins narrowly edge the 49ers (seven wins), who could tie them this season. Two other teams — Washington and the New York Giants — have more than five wins.
The 49ers could top the list for most wins and most losses after the 2021-22 NFC Championship Game. Their nine losses are three ahead 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 NFC’s 51-year history have perfect records when offered the opportunity to go to the Super Bowl. The New York Giants are 5-0 and have won the Super Bowl four of those five times. The Seattle Seahawks are 3-0 in the NFC Championship Game, with all three appearances to come since their reintroduction to the NFC in 2002.
However, the Seahawks lost to the conference championships, having appeared in the AFC Championship Game in 1983 while members of the AFC. Therefore, their conference championship record is actually 3-1 for a .750 winning percentage.
The Washington franchise is just behind the Seahawks and Giants with an .833 (5-1) winning percentage. 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 Buccaneers Bay (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 played in a Super Bowl. The next lowest winning percentages belong to the Saints (1-2), Packers (3-6) and Vikings (3-6), all of whom have a .333 winning percentage. Four other teams have winning percentages below .500 – Bears (.400; 2-3), Rams (.400; 4-6), Eagles (.429; 3-4) and 49ers (.438; 7- 9) .