NFC South

Last updated

NFC South
Conference National Football Conference
League National Football League
Sport American football
Founded2002
No. of teams4
Country United States
Most recent
champion(s)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6th title)
Most titles New Orleans Saints (7 titles)
NFC South
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Mapscaleline.svg
300km
200miles
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Gold pog.svg
Saints
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Panthers
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Falcons
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Buccaneers
NFC South Teams Location


The National Football Conference – Southern Division or NFC South is one of the four divisions of the National Football Conference (NFC) in the National Football League (NFL). It was created prior to the 2002 NFL season, when the league realigned divisions after expanding to 32 teams. The NFC South currently has four member clubs: the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Contents

Prior to the 2002 season, the Buccaneers belonged to the AFC West (1976) and NFC Central (19772001) (with their four division rivals in the Upper Midwest), while the other three teams were part of the geographically inaccurate NFC West.

The NFC South is one of two divisions to have each of its teams make a Super Bowl appearance since the 2002 realignment (along with the NFC West): Tampa Bay (2002 and 2020), Atlanta (2016), Carolina (2003 and 2015) and New Orleans (2009). Also since 2002, each team has won at least three division titles, making it one of three divisions in the league (the others are the NFC West and the NFC East) that hold this distinction. On January 3, 2021, the New Orleans Saints became the first ever team to sweep the NFC South in the regular season, despite losing to the eventual Super Bowl champions, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in the playoffs.

Entering 2019, the Saints have the most wins among division members. The Saints' record is 375–438–5; their win in Super Bowl XLIV is the highlight of a 10–12 playoff record. The Falcons' record is 365–461–6 with a playoff record of 10–14; the Falcons lost in Super Bowls XXXIII and LI. The Buccaneers' record is 267–424–1 with a victory in both their Super Bowl appearances, Super Bowl XXXVII and Super Bowl LV, and an overall playoff record of 10–9. The Panthers have the best playoff winning percentage (9–8) of any team in the division with losses in Super Bowls XXXVIII and 50, with a regular season record of 195–204–1.

The NFC South is the only NFC division not to have any of the twelve "old-line" franchises that predate the 1960 launch of the American Football League, the NFL's former rival league. The oldest team is the Falcons, who began play in 1966, and the Saints began play only a year later in 1967. Each of the other NFC divisions has three clubs that began play earlier than 1960, while the remaining three such teams are in the American Football Conference.

The NFC South became the second division in five years to have a champion with a losing record, as the 2014 Carolina Panthers won the division with a 7–8–1 record. (The 2010 Seattle Seahawks won the NFC West with a 7–9 record.) Additionally, Carolina became the first team to repeat as NFC South champions since the creation of the division. The Panthers were the first team to win the NFC South three consecutive times, from 2013 to 2015; while the Saints were the first team to win the division four consecutive times from 2017 to 2020. On January 7, 2018, two NFC South teams (the Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints) met in the NFL playoffs for the first time since the division's creation in 2002. Before then, they were the only division left in the NFL who had never had teams face off against each other in the postseason.

Division lineups

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

NFC South Division
02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 2425
Atlanta Falcons
Carolina Panthers
New Orleans Saints
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
 Division Won Super Bowl Division Won NFC Championship

Division champions

SeasonTeamRecordPlayoff Results
2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1) 12–4Won Divisional playoffs (49ers) 31–6
Won NFC Championship (at Eagles) 27–10
Won Super Bowl XXXVII (vs. Raiders) 48–21
2003 Carolina Panthers (1) 11–5Won Wild Card playoffs (Cowboys) 29–10
Won Divisional playoffs (at Rams) 29–23 (2OT)
Won NFC Championship (at Eagles) 14–3
Lost Super Bowl XXXVIII (vs. Patriots) 29–32
2004 Atlanta Falcons (1) 11–5Won Divisional playoffs (Rams) 47–17
Lost NFC Championship (at Eagles) 10–27
2005 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2) 11–5Lost Wild Card playoffs (Redskins) 10–17
2006 New Orleans Saints (1) 10–6Won Divisional playoffs (Eagles) 27–24
Lost NFC Championship (at Bears) 14–39
2007 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3) 9–7Lost Wild Card playoffs (Giants) 14–24
2008 Carolina Panthers (2) 12–4Lost Divisional playoffs (Cardinals) 13–33
2009 New Orleans Saints (2) 13–3Won Divisional playoffs (Cardinals) 45–14
Won NFC Championship (Vikings) 31–28 (OT)
Won Super Bowl XLIV (vs. Colts) 31–17
2010 Atlanta Falcons (2) 13–3Lost Divisional playoffs (Packers) 21–48
2011 New Orleans Saints (3) 13–3Won Wild Card playoffs (Lions) 45–28
Lost Divisional playoffs (at 49ers) 32–36
2012 Atlanta Falcons (3) 13–3Won Divisional playoffs (Seahawks) 30–28
Lost NFC Championship (49ers) 24–28
2013 Carolina Panthers (3) 12–4Lost Divisional playoffs (49ers) 10–23
2014 Carolina Panthers (4) 7–8–1Won Wild Card playoffs (Cardinals) 27–16
Lost Divisional playoffs (at Seahawks) 17–31
2015 Carolina Panthers (5) 15–1Won Divisional playoffs (Seahawks) 31–24
Won NFC Championship (Cardinals) 49–15
Lost Super Bowl 50 (vs. Broncos) 10–24
2016 Atlanta Falcons (4) 11–5Won Divisional playoffs (Seahawks) 36–20
Won NFC Championship (Packers) 44–21
Lost Super Bowl LI (vs. Patriots) 28–34 (OT)
2017 New Orleans Saints (4) 11–5Won Wild Card playoffs (Panthers) 31–26
Lost Divisional playoffs (at Vikings) 24–29
2018 New Orleans Saints (5) 13–3Won Divisional playoffs (Eagles) 20–14
Lost NFC Championship (Rams) 23–26 (OT)
2019 New Orleans Saints (6) 13–3Lost Wild Card playoffs (Vikings) 20–26 (OT)
2020 New Orleans Saints (7) 12–4Won Wild Card playoffs (Bears) 21–9
Lost Divisional playoffs (Buccaneers) 20–30
2021 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4) 13–4Won Wild Card playoffs (Eagles) 31–15
Lost Divisional playoffs (Rams) 27–30
2022 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5) 8–9Lost Wild Card playoffs (Cowboys) 14–31
2023 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6) 9–8Won Wild Card playoffs (Eagles) 32–9
Lost Divisional playoffs (at Lions) 23–31

Wild Card qualifiers

SeasonTeamRecordPlayoff Results
2002 Atlanta Falcons 9–6–1Won Wild Card playoffs (at Packers) 27–7
Lost Divisional playoffs (at Eagles) 6–20
2005 Carolina Panthers 11–5Won Wild Card playoffs (at Giants) 23–0
Won Divisional playoffs (at Bears) 29–21
Lost NFC Championship (at Seahawks) 14–34
2008 Atlanta Falcons 11–5Lost Wild Card playoffs (at Cardinals) 24–30
2010 New Orleans Saints 11–5Lost Wild Card playoffs (at Seahawks) 36–41
2011 Atlanta Falcons 10–6Lost Wild Card playoffs (at Giants) 2–24
2013 New Orleans Saints 11–5Won Wild Card playoffs (at Eagles) 26–24
Lost Divisional playoffs (at Seahawks) 15–23
2017 Carolina Panthers 11–5Lost Wild Card playoffs (at Saints) 26–31
Atlanta Falcons 10–6Won Wild Card playoffs (at Rams) 26–13
Lost Divisional playoffs (at Eagles) 10–15
2020 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 11–5Won Wild Card playoffs (at Washington) 31–23
Won Divisional playoffs (at Saints) 30–20
Won NFC Championship (at Packers) 31–26
Won Super Bowl LV (vs. Chiefs) 31–9

Total Playoff Berths as members of the NFC South

(NFC South records since the division's creation in 2002)

TeamDivision
Titles
Playoff
Berths
NFC
Championships
Super Bowl
Championships
Atlanta Falcons 4710
Carolina Panthers 5720
New Orleans Saints 7911
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 6722

Season results

(#)Denotes team that won the Super Bowl
(#)Denotes team that won the NFC Championship
(#)Denotes team that qualified for the NFL Playoffs
SeasonTeam (record)
1st2nd3rd4th
2002 (2) Tampa Bay (12–4)(6) Atlanta (9–6–1) New Orleans (9–7) Carolina (7–9)
2003 (3) Carolina (11–5) New Orleans (8–8) Tampa Bay (7–9) Atlanta (5–11)
2004 (2) Atlanta (11–5) New Orleans (8–8) Carolina (7–9) Tampa Bay (5–11)
2005 (3) Tampa Bay (11–5)(5) Carolina (11–5) Atlanta (8–8) New Orleans (3–13)
2006 (2) New Orleans (10–6) Carolina (8–8) Atlanta (7–9) Tampa Bay (4–12)
2007 (4) Tampa Bay (9–7) Carolina (7–9) New Orleans (7–9) Atlanta (4–12)
2008 (2) Carolina (12–4)(5) Atlanta (11–5) Tampa Bay (9–7) New Orleans (8–8)
2009 (1) New Orleans (13–3) Atlanta (9–7) Carolina (8–8) Tampa Bay (3–13)
2010 (1) Atlanta (13–3)(5) New Orleans (11–5) Tampa Bay (10–6) Carolina (2–14)
2011 (3) New Orleans (13–3)(5) Atlanta (10–6) Carolina (6–10) Tampa Bay (4–12)
2012 (1) Atlanta (13–3) Carolina (7–9) New Orleans (7–9) Tampa Bay (7–9)
2013 (2) Carolina (12–4)(6) New Orleans (11–5) Atlanta (4–12) Tampa Bay (4–12)
2014 (4) Carolina (7–8–1) New Orleans (7–9) Atlanta (6–10) Tampa Bay (2–14)
2015 (1) Carolina (15–1) Atlanta (8–8) New Orleans (7–9) Tampa Bay (6–10)
2016 (2) Atlanta (11–5) Tampa Bay (9–7) New Orleans (7–9) Carolina (6–10)
2017 (4) New Orleans (11–5)(5) Carolina (11–5)(6) Atlanta (10–6) Tampa Bay (5–11)
2018 (1) New Orleans (13–3) Atlanta (7–9) Carolina (7–9) Tampa Bay (5–11)
2019 (3) New Orleans (13–3) Atlanta (7–9) Tampa Bay (7–9) Carolina (5–11)
2020 (2) New Orleans (12–4)(5) Tampa Bay (11–5) Carolina (5–11) Atlanta (4–12)
2021 (2) Tampa Bay (13–4) New Orleans (9–8) Atlanta (7–10) Carolina (5–12)
2022 (4) Tampa Bay (8–9) Carolina (7–10) New Orleans (7–10) Atlanta (7–10)
2023 (4) Tampa Bay (9–8) New Orleans (9–8) Atlanta (7–10) Carolina (2–15)
Number of times each team has finished in each place
Placement at Season EndAtlanta FalconsCarolina PanthersNew Orleans SaintsTampa Bay Buccaneers
1st4 (2016)5 (2015)7 (2020)6 (2023)*
2nd7 (2019)6 (2022)7 (2023)*2 (2020)
3rd7 (2023)*5 (2020)6 (2022)4 (2019)
4th4 (2022)6 (2023)*2 (2008)10 (2018)

Asterisk (*) Denotes Current Year

Schedule rotation

YearOpponents
Interconf.Intraconf.
20192031AFC South NFC West
20202032AFC West NFC North
20212033AFC East NFC East
20222034AFC North NFC West
20232035AFC South NFC North
20242036AFC West NFC East
20252037AFC East NFC West
20262038AFC North NFC North
20272039AFC South NFC East
20282040AFC West NFC West
20292041AFC East NFC North
20302042AFC North NFC East

Postseason oddities

See also

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References

  1. "Super Bowl LV - Kansas City Chiefs vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - February 7th, 2021". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved May 16, 2024.