AFC North

Last updated

AFC North
Conference American Football Conference
League National Football League
Sport American football
Founded1970 (as AFC Central Division)
CountryUnited States
Teams
No. of teams4
Championships
Most recent champion(s) Pittsburgh Steelers (24 titles)
Most titles Pittsburgh Steelers (24 titles)

The American Football Conference – Northern Division or AFC North is one of the four divisions of the American Football Conference (AFC) in the National Football League (NFL). The division was adopted after the restructuring of the 2002 NFL season, when the league realigned divisions after expanding to 32 teams. This is the only division in the NFL in which no member team has hosted a Super Bowl in their stadiums.

Contents

Formation

The AFC North currently has four members: Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, and Pittsburgh Steelers. The original four members of the AFC Central were the Browns, Bengals, Steelers and Houston Oilers (now the Tennessee Titans).

The AFC North is the only AFC division that does not contain a charter team from the original American Football League. However, the Cincinnati Bengals were an AFL expansion team in the 1968 AFL season (the Steelers and Browns joined the AFC in 1970), although the Bengals joining the AFL was contingent on the team joining the NFL after the AFL–NFL merger was finalized in 1970, as Paul Brown was not a supporter of the AFL.

Three of the teams have interlocked histories. Both the Bengals and the Browns were founded by Paul Brown, while the Ravens and the city of Cleveland have their own unique relationship. Only the Steelers, who are older than the original Browns, have no direct history involving Paul Brown.

History

1970s

The AFC Central division was formed when the Browns and Steelers brought their rivalry to the AFC in 1970, joining the newly formed "AFC Central" with the Houston Oilers (from the AFL's East Division) and Cincinnati Bengals (from the AFL's West Division).

Although the Bengals won the first AFC Central Division Championship in 1970, the Steelers dominated the division for most of the 1970s. The Steelers also would win four Super Bowls in the decade, which were also the team's first league titles.

1980s

The 1980 Cleveland Browns broke the Steelers' six-year run as division champions, but failed to advance past the divisional round of the playoffs, losing to the Oakland Raiders as a result of Red Right 88. The Bengals were the only team to represent the AFC Central in the Super Bowl during the decade, appearing in Super Bowls XVI and XXIII. Both appearances resulted in close losses to the San Francisco 49ers.

1990s

The Steelers returned as the dominant team in the division in 1992. They won five divisional titles in six years, and played in Super Bowl XXX, in which they lost to the Dallas Cowboys.

In 1992, the Oilers were involved in one of the most famous playoff games in NFL history. In a game now known as The Comeback, the Oilers surrendered a 32-point lead to the Buffalo Bills and lost in overtime, 41–38. It is the largest deficit ever overcome in the history of the NFL.

In 1995, the Jacksonville Jaguars joined the league through expansion and were placed in the AFC Central. It was the first change to the structure of the division since its inception and added a second team to the division from the U.S. South. In 1996, in one of the most controversial decisions in American sports history, the Cleveland Browns moved to Baltimore and were rechristened as the Baltimore Ravens. Then in 1997, the Oilers moved to Tennessee but remained in the division (the team later was renamed the Titans in 1999). The makeup of the AFC Central changed once again in 1999 when the NFL reactivated the Cleveland Browns. The division had six teams for the 1999 to 2001 seasons, and was the only division to have that many teams in the post-merger era.

Aside from Pittsburgh's appearance in Super Bowl XXX, the only other appearance in the Super Bowl for the division in the decade was the Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV, who came up one yard short of the first Super Bowl to go into overtime. Along the way, the team got revenge on the Bills seven years after the Comeback in the Wild Card round by defeating the Bills 22–16 as a result of the Music City Miracle.

2000s

The decade began with the Ravens winning Super Bowl XXXV. The team's defense, led by linebacker Ray Lewis, was arguably one of the best defenses of all time.

In 2002, the NFL realigned into eight divisions of four teams. The Jaguars and Titans—the latter winning the AFC Central title in 2000—were both moved to the new AFC South, while the rest of the AFC Central remained intact and was renamed the AFC North. The Bengals, Browns, and Steelers were guaranteed to remain in a division together in any circumstance; this was part of the NFL's settlement with the city of Cleveland in the wake of the 1995 Cleveland Browns relocation controversy. [1] The division, geographically-speaking, thus became the shortest driving distance between each team among the NFL's eight divisions, as three of the teams are located within close proximity of Interstate 70 (with the one city that is not, Cleveland, being two hours north of I-70), and the distance between Baltimore and Cincinnati (the two teams furthest away from each other) being only 526 miles apart. The Browns and Steelers, the two closest rivals, even ride a bus to their games instead of flying. [2]

Since realignment, the Steelers have won the division title seven times, and the Ravens and Bengals have each won four times. The Steelers have swept all divisional opponents twice, in 2002 and 2008 (going 7 for 7 both times, winning against the Browns in a 2003 AFC Wildcard game and the Ravens in the 2009 AFC Championship), and the Ravens and Bengals have swept all three divisional opponents once each, the Bengals in 2009 and Ravens in 2011.

Since divisional realignment, the Steelers have made the playoffs ten times, the Ravens eight times, the Bengals seven times, and the Browns one time.

In 2005, although finishing second in the division to the Bengals, the Steelers became the first team in NFL history to enter the playoffs as a #6 seeded wild card team and win the Super Bowl.

In 2008, the Steelers became the first team to repeat as division champion since the division's realignment in 2002. The team went on to win Super Bowl XLIII that season, their second Super Bowl in four years and an NFL-record sixth overall.

In 2009, the Cincinnati Bengals swept their annual six-game slate of divisional opponents. Their first three games against the AFC North came in weeks three-through-five when they beat the Steelers, Browns and Ravens, respectively, each by three points. The close finishes deemed the Bengals, "Cardiac Cats." Cincinnati clinched their first division title since '05 in a week 16 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs, 17–10. In the playoffs, however, the Bengals fell to the New York Jets at home, 24–14.

Baltimore finished off their season by winning three of their final four games to finish 9-7 and earn the number-six seed in the AFC Playoffs. In the first round of the postseason, Baltimore defeated the New England Patriots in Foxboro, 33–14. In the divisional round of the postseason, Baltimore's season came to an end with a 20–3 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, who would defeat the Jets one week later to win the conference.

2010s

The Ravens repeated as division champions in 2011 and 2012. The team went on to win Super Bowl XLVII over the San Francisco 49ers, on February 3, 2013, in New Orleans. It was the second franchise Super Bowl win. As of 2012, the Steelers are the AFC North's most successful team with a 599–547–21 record all-time with the Browns 2nd in line with an overall record of 510–441–while the Ravens sit in 3rd (even though they were not an official franchise until 1996) at 164–128–and then the Bengals today remain the only team in the division with their all-time record below .500 as they sit in last at 310–396–.

In 2015, the Bengals became the first team in the AFC North (Central) to ever start the year 8–0, finishing the season 12–4 and winning the division for the second time in three years. Cincinnati clinched the division title in week 16 when the Steelers were upset by the 4–10 Ravens in Baltimore, quarterbacked by Ryan Mallett. Bengals' quarterback Andy Dalton was having his best season of his five-year career until breaking his thumb on December 13 against Pittsburgh caused him to miss the rest of the season. In the playoffs, Cincinnati (quarterbacked by A. J. McCarron) lost in a rematch with the Steelers, 18–16, in the final minutes of a heated battle. Pittsburgh advanced to the Divisional Round of the playoffs, only to lose to Peyton Manning and the eventual Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos.

The Steelers won the division title in 2016 after a 31–27 win over the Ravens on Christmas Day. Despite victories in the playoffs against Miami and Kansas City, they fell to New England in the AFC Championship Game.

The Ravens clinched the division in Week 15 of 2019 in a 42–21 win over the NY Jets. However, they were upset by the Tennessee Titans at home in the second round as the Number 1 seed.

2020s

The Steelers won the division in 2020. The Ravens and Browns also made it into the playoffs as the 5th and 6th seeded wildcards respectively. For the Browns, it was their first playoff appearance since 2002. The Browns defeated the Steelers 48–37 in Pittsburgh for the Wild Card Round. The Ravens beat the Titans 20–13 in their Wild Card matchup. However, both the Ravens and Browns failed to win their Divisional Round matchups, losing 17–3 to the Bills and 22–17 to the Chiefs respectively.

Division lineups

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

Years
AFC Central Division [A]
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
Pittsburgh Steelers
Cleveland Browns [B] suspended operations Cleveland Browns
Houston Oilers [C] Tennessee OilersTennessee Titans
Cincinnati Bengals
 Jacksonville Jaguars [D]
 Baltimore Ravens [E]
AFC North Division [F]
02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
Pittsburgh Steelers
Cleveland Browns
Cincinnati Bengals
Baltimore Ravens
 Team not in division   Division Won Super Bowl   Division Won AFC Championship
A In 1970 the division formed in American Football Conference.
B After the 1995 season, the Cleveland Browns franchise was deactivated; personnel, moved to the enfranchised Baltimore Ravens. The Cleveland Browns franchise was reactivated in 1999. The Browns, Ravens, and NFL officially consider the post-1999 Browns to be a continuation of the original team founded in 1946.
C Houston moved to Memphis as Tennessee Oilers in 1997, moved to Nashville in 1998 (still known as Oilers). Team was renamed Tennessee Titans in 1999.
D Jacksonville Jaguars enfranchised (1995 season).
E Baltimore Ravens enfranchised (1996 season)
F Division renamed AFC North. Jacksonville and Tennessee moved to AFC South.

Division champions

SeasonTeamRecordPlayoff Results
AFC Central
1970 Cincinnati Bengals 8–6Lost Divisional playoffs (at Colts) 0–17
1971 Cleveland Browns 9–5Lost Divisional playoffs (Colts) 3–20
1972 Pittsburgh Steelers 11–3Won Divisional playoffs (Raiders) 13–7
Lost AFC Championship (Dolphins) 17–21
1973 Cincinnati Bengals 10–4Lost Divisional playoffs (at Dolphins) 16–34
1974 Pittsburgh Steelers 10–3–1Won Divisional playoffs (Bills) 32–14
Won AFC Championship (at Raiders) 24–13
Won Super Bowl IX (vs. Vikings) 16–6
1975 Pittsburgh Steelers 12–2Won Divisional playoffs (Colts) 28–10
Won AFC Championship (Raiders) 16–10
Won Super Bowl X (vs. Cowboys) 21–17
1976 Pittsburgh Steelers 10–4Won Divisional playoffs (at Colts) 40–14
Lost AFC Championship (at Raiders) 7–24
1977 Pittsburgh Steelers 9–5Lost Divisional playoffs (at Broncos) 21–34
1978 Pittsburgh Steelers 14–2Won Divisional playoffs (Broncos) 33–10
Won AFC Championship (Oilers) 34–5
Won Super Bowl XIII (vs. Cowboys) 35–31
1979 Pittsburgh Steelers 12–4Won Divisional playoffs (Dolphins) 34–14
Won AFC Championship (Oilers) 27–13
Won Super Bowl XIV (vs. Rams) 31–19
1980 Cleveland Browns 11–5Lost Divisional playoffs (Raiders) 12–14
1981 Cincinnati Bengals 12–4Won Divisional playoffs (Bills) 28–21
Won AFC Championship (Chargers) 27–7
Lost Super Bowl XVI (vs. 49ers) 21–26
1982+ Cincinnati Bengals 7–2Lost First Round playoffs (Jets) 17–44
1983 Pittsburgh Steelers 10–6Lost Divisional playoffs (at Raiders) 10–38
1984 Pittsburgh Steelers 9–7Won Divisional playoffs (at Broncos) 24–17
Lost AFC Championship (at Dolphins) 28–45
1985 Cleveland Browns 8–8Lost Divisional playoffs (at Dolphins) 21–24
1986 Cleveland Browns 12–4Won Divisional playoffs (Jets 23–20) (2OT)
Lost AFC Championship (Broncos) 20–23 (OT)
1987 Cleveland Browns 10–5Won Divisional playoffs (Colts) 38–21
Lost AFC Championship (at Broncos) 33–38
1988 Cincinnati Bengals 12–4Won Divisional playoffs (Seahawks) 21–13
Won AFC Championship (Bills) 21–10
Lost Super Bowl XXIII (vs. 49ers) 16–20
1989 Cleveland Browns 9–6–1Won Divisional playoffs (Bills) 34–30
Lost AFC Championship (Broncos) 21–37
1990 Cincinnati Bengals 9–7Won Wild Card playoffs (Oilers) 41–14
Lost Divisional playoffs (at Raiders) 10–20
1991 Houston Oilers 11–5Won Wild Card playoffs (Jets) 17–10
Lost Divisional playoffs (at Broncos) 24–26
1992 Pittsburgh Steelers 11–5Lost Divisional playoffs (Bills) 24–3
1993 Houston Oilers 12–4Lost Divisional playoffs (Chiefs) 20–28
1994 Pittsburgh Steelers 12–4Won Divisional playoffs (Browns) 29–9
Lost AFC Championship (Chargers) 13–17
1995 Pittsburgh Steelers 11–5Won Divisional playoffs (Bills) 40–21
Won AFC Championship (Colts) 20–16
Lost Super Bowl XXX (vs. Cowboys) 17–27
1996 Pittsburgh Steelers 10–6Won Wild Card playoffs (Colts) 42–14
Lost Divisional playoffs (at Patriots) 3–28
1997 Pittsburgh Steelers 11–5Won Divisional playoffs (Patriots) 7–6
Lost AFC Championship (Broncos) 21–24
1998 Jacksonville Jaguars 11–5Won Wild Card playoffs (Patriots) 25–10
Lost Divisional playoffs (at Jets) 24–34
1999 Jacksonville Jaguars 14–2Won Divisional playoffs (Dolphins) 62–7
Lost AFC Championship (Titans) 14–33
2000 Tennessee Titans 13–3Lost Divisional playoffs (Ravens) 10–24
2001 Pittsburgh Steelers 13–3Won Divisional playoffs (Ravens) 27–10
Lost AFC Championship (Patriots) 17–24
AFC North
2002 Pittsburgh Steelers 10–5–1Won Wild Card playoffs (Browns) 36–33
Lost Divisional playoffs (at Titans) 31–34
2003 Baltimore Ravens 10–6Lost Wild Card playoffs (Titans) 17–20
2004 Pittsburgh Steelers 15–1Won Divisional playoffs (Jets) 20–17
Lost AFC Championship (Patriots) 27–41
2005 Cincinnati Bengals 11–5Lost Wild Card playoffs (Steelers) 17–31
2006 Baltimore Ravens 13–3Lost Divisional playoffs (Colts) 6–15
2007 Pittsburgh Steelers 10–6Lost Wild Card playoffs (Jaguars) 29–31
2008 Pittsburgh Steelers 12–4Won Divisional playoffs (Chargers) 35–24
Won AFC Championship (Ravens) 23–14
Won Super Bowl XLIII (vs. Cardinals) 27–23
2009 Cincinnati Bengals 10–6Lost Wild Card playoffs (Jets) 14–24
2010 Pittsburgh Steelers 12–4Won Divisional playoffs (Ravens) 31–24
Won AFC Championship (Jets) 24–19
Lost Super Bowl XLV (vs. Packers) 25–31
2011 Baltimore Ravens 12–4Won Divisional playoffs (Texans) 20–13
Lost AFC Championship (at Patriots) 20–23
2012 Baltimore Ravens 10–6Won Wild Card playoffs (Colts) 24–9
Won Divisional playoffs (at Broncos) 38–35 (2OT)
Won AFC Championship (at Patriots) 28–13
Won Super Bowl XLVII (vs. 49ers) 34–31
2013 Cincinnati Bengals 11–5Lost Wild Card playoffs (Chargers) 10–27
2014 Pittsburgh Steelers 11–5Lost Wild Card playoffs (Ravens) 17–30
2015 Cincinnati Bengals 12–4Lost Wild Card playoffs (Steelers) 16–18
2016 Pittsburgh Steelers 11–5Won Wild Card playoffs (Dolphins) 30–12
Won Divisional playoffs (at Chiefs) 18–16
Lost AFC Championship (at Patriots) 17–36
2017 Pittsburgh Steelers 13–3Lost Divisional playoffs (Jaguars) 42–45
2018 Baltimore Ravens 10–6Lost Wild Card playoffs (Chargers) 17–23
2019 Baltimore Ravens 14–2Lost Divisional playoffs (Titans) 12–28
2020 Pittsburgh Steelers 12–4Lost Wild Card playoffs (Browns) 37–48

+ A players' strike in 1982 reduced the regular season to nine games. Because of the strike, the league used for its playoffs a special 16-team "Super Bowl Tournament" just for this year. Division standings were not formally acknowledged (although every division wound up sending at least one team to the playoffs); Cincinnati had the best record of the division teams.

Wild Card qualifiers

SeasonTeamRecordPlayoff Results
AFC Central
1972 Cleveland Browns 10–4Lost Divisional playoffs (at Dolphins) 14–20
1973 Pittsburgh Steelers 10–4Lost Divisional playoffs (at Raiders) 14–33
1975 Cincinnati Bengals 11–3Lost Divisional playoffs (at Raiders) 28–31
1978 Houston Oilers 10–6Won Wild Card playoffs (at Dolphins) 17–9
Won Divisional playoffs (at Patriots) 31–14
Lost AFC Championship (at Steelers) 5–34
1979 Houston Oilers 11–5Won Wild Card playoffs (Broncos) 13–7
Won Divisional playoffs (at Chargers) 17–14
Lost AFC Championship (at Steelers) 13–27
1980 Houston Oilers 11–5Lost Wild Card playoffs (at Raiders) 7–27
1982 + Pittsburgh Steelers 6–3Lost First Round playoffs (Chargers) 28–31
Cleveland Browns 4–5Lost First Round playoffs (at Raiders) 10–27
1987 Houston Oilers 9–6Won Wild Card playoffs (Seahawks) 23–20 (OT)
Lost Divisional playoffs (at Broncos) 10–34
1988 Cleveland Browns 10–6Lost Wild Card playoffs (Oilers) 23–24
Houston Oilers 10–6Won Wild Card playoffs (at Browns) 24–23
Lost Divisional playoffs (at Bills) 10–17
1989 Houston Oilers 9–7Lost Wild Card playoffs (Steelers) 23–26 (OT)
Pittsburgh Steelers 9–7Won Wild Card playoffs (at Oilers) 26–23
Lost Divisional playoffs (at Broncos) 23–24
1990 Houston Oilers 9–7Lost Wild Card playoffs (at Bengals) 14–41
1992 Houston Oilers 10–6Lost Wild Card playoffs (at Bills) 38–41 (OT)
1993 Pittsburgh Steelers 9–7Lost Wild Card playoffs (at Chiefs) 27–24 (OT)
1994 Cleveland Browns 11–5Won Wild Card playoffs (Patriots) 20–13
Lost Divisional playoffs (at Steelers) 9–29
1996 Jacksonville Jaguars 9–7Won Wild Card playoffs (at Bills) 30–27
Won Divisional playoffs (at Broncos) 30–27
Lost AFC Championship (at Patriots) 6–20
1997 Jacksonville Jaguars 11–5Lost Wild Card playoffs (at Broncos) 17–42
1999 Tennessee Titans 13–3Won Wild Card playoffs (Bills) 22–16
Won Divisional playoffs (at Colts) 19–16
Won AFC Championship (at Jaguars) 33–14
Lost Super Bowl XXXIV (vs. Rams) 16–23
2000 Baltimore Ravens 12–4Won Wild Card playoffs (Broncos) 21–3
Won Divisional playoffs (at Titans) 24–10
Won AFC Championship (at Raiders) 16–3
Won Super Bowl XXXV (vs. Giants) 34–7
2001 Baltimore Ravens 10–6Won Wild Card playoffs (at Dolphins) 20–3
Lost Divisional playoffs (at Steelers) 10–27
AFC North
2002 Cleveland Browns 9–7Lost Wild Card playoffs (at Steelers) 33–36
2005 Pittsburgh Steelers 11–5Won Wild Card playoffs (at Bengals) 31–17
Won Divisional playoffs (at Colts) 21–18
Won AFC Championship (at Broncos) 34–17
Won Super Bowl XL (vs. Seahawks) 21–10
2008 Baltimore Ravens 11–5Won Wild Card playoffs (at Dolphins) 27–9
Won Divisional playoffs (at Titans) 13–10
Lost AFC Championship (at Steelers) 14–23
2009 Baltimore Ravens 9–7Won Wild Card playoffs (at Patriots) 33–14
Lost Divisional playoffs (at Colts) 3–20
2010 Baltimore Ravens 12–4Won Wild Card playoffs (at Chiefs) 30–7
Lost Divisional playoffs (at Steelers) 24–31
2011 Pittsburgh Steelers 12–4Lost Wild Card playoffs (at Broncos) 23–29 (OT)
Cincinnati Bengals 9–7Lost Wild Card playoffs (at Texans) 10–31
2012 Cincinnati Bengals 10–6Lost Wild Card playoffs (at Texans) 13–19
2014 Cincinnati Bengals 10–5–1Lost Wild Card playoffs (at Colts) 10–26
Baltimore Ravens 10–6Won Wild Card playoffs (at Steelers) 30–17
Lost Divisional playoffs (at Patriots) 31–35
2015 Pittsburgh Steelers 10–6Won Wild Card playoffs (at Bengals) 18–16
Lost Divisional playoffs (at Broncos) 16–23
2020 Baltimore Ravens 11–5Won Wild Card playoffs (at Titans) 20–13
Lost Divisional playoffs (at Bills) 3–17
Cleveland Browns 11–5Won Wild Card playoffs (at Steelers) 48–37
Lost Divisional playoffs (at Chiefs) 17–22

+ 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.

++ Loss came against another AFC Central/AFC North team.

Total playoff berths

At the conclusion of the 2020 season

Teams with
Division titles
Division
Championships
Playoff
Berths
AFC
Titles
Super Bowl
wins
Pittsburgh Steelers [3] 243286
Cincinnati Bengals [4] 101420
Cleveland Browns [5] 61500
Baltimore Ravens [6] 61322
Tennessee Titans * [7] 31210
Jacksonville Jaguars* [8] 2400

Season results

(#)Denotes team that won the Super Bowl
(#)Denotes team that won the AFC Championship
(#)Denotes team that qualified for the NFL Playoffs
SeasonTeam (record)
1st2nd3rd4th5th6th
AFC Central
1970 Cincinnati (8–6) Cleveland (7–7) Pittsburgh (7–7) Houston (3–10–1)
1971 Cleveland (9–5) Pittsburgh (9–5) Houston (4–9–1) Cincinnati (4–10)
1972 Pittsburgh (11–3) Cleveland (11–3) Cincinnati (8–6) Houston (1–13)
1973 Cincinnati (10–4) Pittsburgh (10–4) Cleveland (10–4) Houston (1–13)
1974 Pittsburgh (10–3–1) Houston (7–7) Cincinnati (7–7) Cleveland (4–10)
1975 (1) Pittsburgh (12–2)(4) Cincinnati (11–3) Houston (10–4) Cleveland (3–11)
1976 (3) Pittsburgh (10–4) Cincinnati (10–4) Cleveland (9–5) Houston (5–9)
1977 (3) Pittsburgh (9–5) Cincinnati (8–6) Houston (8–6) Cleveland (8–6)
1978 (1) Pittsburgh (14–2)(5) Houston (10–6) Cleveland (9–7) Cincinnati (4–12)
1979 (2) Pittsburgh (12–4)(4) Houston (11–5) Cleveland (9–7) Cincinnati (4–12)
1980 (2) Cleveland (11–5)(5) Houston (11–5) Pittsburgh (9–7) Cincinnati (6–10)
1981 (1) Cincinnati (12–4) Pittsburgh (8–8) Houston (7–9) Cleveland (5–11)
1982^(3) Cincinnati (7–2)(4) Pittsburgh (6–3)(8) Cleveland (4–5) Houston (1–8)
1983 (3) Pittsburgh (10–6) Cleveland (9–7) Cincinnati (7–9) Houston (2–14)
1984 (3) Pittsburgh (9–7) Cincinnati (8–8) Cleveland (5–11) Houston (3–13)
1985 (3) Cleveland (8–8) Cincinnati (7–9) Pittsburgh (7–9) Houston (5–11)
1986 (1) Cleveland (12–4) Cincinnati (10–6) Pittsburgh (6–10) Houston (5–11)
1987 (2) Cleveland (10–5)(4) Houston (9–6) Pittsburgh (8–7) Cincinnati (4–11)
1988 (1) Cincinnati (12–4)(4) Cleveland (10–6)(5) Houston (10–6) Pittsburgh (5–11)
1989 (2) Cleveland (9–6–1)(4) Houston (9–7)(5) Pittsburgh (9–7) Cincinnati (8–8)
1990 (3) Cincinnati (9–7)(6) Houston (9–7) Pittsburgh (9–7) Cleveland (3–13)
1991 (3) Houston (11–5) Pittsburgh (7–9) Cleveland (6–10) Cincinnati (3–13)
1992 (1) Pittsburgh (11–5)(5) Houston (10–6) Cleveland (7–9) Cincinnati (5–11)
1993 (2) Houston (12–4)(6) Pittsburgh (9–7) Cleveland (7–9) Cincinnati (3–13)
1994 (1) Pittsburgh (12–4)(4) Cleveland (11–5) Cincinnati (3–13) Houston (2–14)
1995 (2) Pittsburgh (11–5) Houston (7–9) Cincinnati (7–9) Cleveland (5–11) Jacksonville (4–12)
  • 1996: The Cleveland Browns moved to Baltimore and became the Baltimore Ravens. Their history and records as the Browns remained in Cleveland for a potential expansion team to acquire.
1996 (3) Pittsburgh (10–6)(5) Jacksonville (9–7) Cincinnati (8–8) Houston (8–8) Baltimore (4–12)
1997 (2) Pittsburgh (11–5)(5) Jacksonville (11–5) Tennessee (8–8) Cincinnati (7–9) Baltimore (6–9–1)
1998 (3) Jacksonville (11–5) Tennessee (8–8) Pittsburgh (7–9) Baltimore (6–10) Cincinnati (3–13)
  • 1999: The Cleveland Browns rejoined the AFC Central as an expansion team after being inactive for three seasons, regaining the history and records of the original Browns. In addition to this, the Tennessee Oilers rebranded as the Tennessee Titans.
1999 (1) Jacksonville (14–2)(4) Tennessee (13–3) Baltimore (8–8) Pittsburgh (6–10) Cincinnati (4–12) Cleveland (2–14)
2000 (1) Tennessee (13–3)(4) Baltimore (12–4) Pittsburgh (9–7) Jacksonville (7–9) Cincinnati (4–12) Cleveland (3–13)
2001 (1) Pittsburgh (13–3)(5) Baltimore (10–6) Cleveland (7–9) Tennessee (7–9) Jacksonville (6–10) Cincinnati (6–10)
AFC North
2002 (3) Pittsburgh (10–5–1)(6) Cleveland (9–7) Baltimore (7–9) Cincinnati (2–14)
2003 (4) Baltimore (10–6) Cincinnati (8–8) Pittsburgh (6–10) Cleveland (5–11)
2004 (1) Pittsburgh (15–1) Baltimore (9–7) Cincinnati (8–8) Cleveland (4–12)
2005 (3) Cincinnati (11–5)(6) Pittsburgh (11–5) Baltimore (6–10) Cleveland (6–10)
2006 (2) Baltimore (13–3) Cincinnati (8–8) Pittsburgh (8–8) Cleveland (4–12)
2007 (4) Pittsburgh (10–6) Cleveland (10–6) Cincinnati (7–9) Baltimore (5–11)
2008 (2) Pittsburgh (12–4)(6) Baltimore (11–5) Cincinnati (4–11–1) Cleveland (4–12)
2009 (4) Cincinnati (10–6)(6) Baltimore (9–7) Pittsburgh (9–7) Cleveland (5–11)
2010 (2) Pittsburgh (12–4)(5) Baltimore (12–4) Cleveland (5–11) Cincinnati (4–12)
2011 (2) Baltimore (12–4)(5) Pittsburgh (12–4)(6) Cincinnati (9–7) Cleveland (4–12)
2012 (4) Baltimore (10–6)(6) Cincinnati (10–6) Pittsburgh (8–8) Cleveland (5–11)
2013 (3) Cincinnati (11–5) Pittsburgh (8–8) Baltimore (8–8) Cleveland (4–12)
2014 (3) Pittsburgh (11–5)(5) Cincinnati (10–5–1)(6) Baltimore (10–6) Cleveland (7–9)
2015 (3) Cincinnati (12–4)(6) Pittsburgh (10–6) Baltimore (5–11) Cleveland (3–13)
2016 (3) Pittsburgh (11–5) Baltimore (8–8) Cincinnati (6–9–1) Cleveland (1–15)
2017 (2) Pittsburgh (13–3) Baltimore (9–7) Cincinnati (7–9) Cleveland (0–16)
2018 (4) Baltimore (10–6) Pittsburgh (9–6–1) Cleveland (7–8–1) Cincinnati (6–10)
2019 (1) Baltimore (14–2) Pittsburgh (8–8) Cleveland (6–10) Cincinnati (2–14)
2020 (3) Pittsburgh (12–4)(5) Baltimore (11–5)(6) Cleveland (11–5) Cincinnati (4–11–1)

^ A players' strike in 1982 reduced the regular season to nine games. Because of the strike, the league used for its playoffs a special 16-team "Super Bowl Tournament" just for this year. Division standings were not formally acknowledged (although every division wound up sending at least one team to the playoffs); Cincinnati had the best record of the division teams.

See also

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AFC Championship Game Semi-final championship football game in NFL

The AFC Championship Game is the annual championship game of the American Football Conference (AFC) and one of the two semi-final playoff games of the National Football League (NFL), the largest professional American football league in the United States. The game is played on the penultimate Sunday in January by the two remaining playoff teams, following the AFC postseason's first two rounds. The AFC champion then advances to face the winner of the NFC Championship Game in the Super Bowl.

The American Football Conference – Eastern Division or AFC East is one of the four divisions of the American Football Conference (AFC) in the National Football League (NFL). There are currently four teams that reside in the division: the Buffalo Bills ; the Miami Dolphins ; the New England Patriots ; and the New York Jets.

The American Football Conference – Western Division or AFC West is one of the four divisions of the American Football Conference (AFC) in the National Football League (NFL). The division comprises the Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Las Vegas Raiders, and Los Angeles Chargers.

The American Football Conference – Southern Division or AFC South is one of the four divisions of the American Football Conference (AFC) in the National Football League (NFL). It was created before the 2002 season when the league realigned divisions after expanding to 32 teams. Since its creation, the division has had the same four members: the Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Tennessee Titans.

History of the Cincinnati Bengals

The Cincinnati Bengals are a professional football franchise in the National Football League. Since starting off as an expansion franchise in the American Football League in 1968, they have appeared in two Super Bowls, but lost both times to the San Francisco 49ers.

The Tennessee Titans are the professional American football team based in Nashville, Tennessee. They are members of the South Division of the American Football Conference (AFC) in the National Football League (NFL). Previously known as the Houston Oilers, the then Houston, Texas, team began play in 1960 as a charter member of the AFL American Football League. The Houston Oilers won two AFL championships before joining the NFL as part of the AFL–NFL merger. In 1999, the Tennessee Titans played their most memorable season since joining the NFL, when they made it all the way to Super Bowl XXXIV, but they fell to the Kurt Warner-led St. Louis Rams.

Browns–Steelers rivalry National Football League rivalry

The Browns–Steelers rivalry is a National Football League (NFL) rivalry between the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers. With 138 meetings it is the oldest rivalry and the most storied in the American Football Conference. The two divisional foes have a natural rivalry due to the commonalities between the cities, proximity, etc. It is sometimes called the Turnpike Rivalry or Turnpike War because the majority of the driving route between the two cities are via the Ohio and Pennsylvania Turnpikes.

Bengals–Browns rivalry National Football League cross-state rivalry in Ohio

The Bengals–Browns rivalry, often referred to as the Battle of Ohio, is a rivalry between the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns of the National Football League (NFL). Both teams are members of the American Football Conference (AFC) North Division, and play two games against each other annually.

Bengals–Steelers rivalry National Football League rivalry

The Bengals–Steelers rivalry is a National Football League (NFL) rivalry between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Pittsburgh Steelers. The two teams have played each other twice a year since becoming division rivals in 1970. Originally placed in the AFC Central following the 1970 AFL–NFL merger, the two teams currently compete in that division's successor, the AFC North.

As with all sports leagues, there are a number of significant rivalries in the National Football League (NFL). Rivalries are occasionally created due to a particular event that causes bad blood between teams, players, coaches, or owners, but for the most part, they arise simply due to the frequency with which some teams play each other, and sometimes exist for geographic reasons.

This article is a timeline of the National Football League (NFL). It tracks the history of each of the league's 32 current franchises from the early days of the league, through its merger with the American Football League (AFL). The history of franchises that began as independent teams, or as members of the Ohio League, New York Pro Football League, and other defunct leagues are shown as well.

Steelers–Titans rivalry National Football League rivalry

The Steelers–Titans rivalry is a National Football League rivalry between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Tennessee Titans that dates back to the 1970s when the Steelers and then-Houston Oilers played in the AFC Central. The two teams were realigned into separate divisions for the 2002 NFL season, however matchups are still considered heated between the two teams.

Jaguars–Titans rivalry National Football League rivalry

The Jaguars–Titans rivalry is a professional American football rivalry between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans in the National Football League (NFL)'s AFC South division.

Ravens–Titans rivalry National Football League rivalry

The Ravens–Titans rivalry is a professional American football rivalry between the Baltimore Ravens and the Tennessee Titans in the National Football League’s American Football Conference. Originally divisional rivals in the AFC Central, the Ravens and Titans developed strong enmity between each other before the two teams were moved to separate divisions. The teams have met in the playoffs five times and are both known for their strong defensive play. The rivalry is one of the tightest in the NFL with a 13–13 series record.

References

  1. "Nfl Vote On Realignment Nears".
  2. "On the Steelers: Few, if any, signs of rivalry".
  3. Charter member of division in 1970.
  4. Moved in from the AFL West in 1970.
  5. This refers to the team that the league officially views as one continuous franchise that entered the division in 1970, suspended operations from 1996–1998, and resumed play in 1999.
  6. This refers to the team that the league officially views as an expansion team that began play in 1996.
  7. Moved in from the AFL East in 1970. Known as the Houston Oilers until 1996, as the Tennessee Oilers in 1997 and 1998, and the Tennessee Titans since 1999. Realigned into the AFC South in 2002.
  8. Realigned into the AFC South in 2002.