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NFC North

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The NFC North is a division of the National Football League's National Football Conference, based in the Upper Midwest region of the United States. It currently has four members: the Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, and Minnesota Vikings.

The division was created in 1967 as the Central Division of the NFL's Western Conference and existed for three seasons before the AFL–NFL merger. After the merger, it was renamed the NFC Central and retained that name until the NFL split into eight divisions in 2002. The four teams have been together in the same division or conference since the Vikings joined the league in 1961. The Bears, Lions and Packers have been in the same division or conference since the NFL began a conference format in 1933.

Based on the ages of its teams, the NFC North is the oldest division in the NFL, at a combined 312 years old. The Bears are 92 years old (founded in 1919 in Decatur, Illinois; moved to Chicago in 1921), the Packers are also 92 years old (founded in 1919, but turned professional in 1921), the Lions are 82 years old (founded 1929 in Portsmouth, Ohio; moved to Detroit in 1934), and the Vikings are 50 years old (founded 1961). The division has a total of 11 Super Bowl appearances. The Packers have the most appearances in the Super bowl with 5, the most recent happening in 2011. The Bears and the Packers have the only Super Bowl wins of this division, a total of 5 (4 for the Packers and 1 for the Bears). Of the top 5 NFL teams with the highest winning percentage throughout its franchise history, three of them are in the NFC North (the Bears, the Packers and the Vikings). The Lions however, have one of the lowest winning percentages in the NFL, including the only winless 16-game season in NFL history.

This division earned the moniker "Black and Blue Division" due to its intense rivalries and physical style of play, and this nickname is still used regularly today. It is also known as the "Frostbite Division" as all teams played home games in late season winter cold until the mid 1970s. The division is also humorously called the "Frozen North", although two of its teams, Detroit and Minnesota, have played their home games indoors since 1975 and 1982 respectively. ESPN sportscaster Chris Berman often refers to this division as the "NFC Norris" because of its geographical similarity to the National Hockey League's old Norris Division. The NFC North's geography has been compared to that of a college conference since all four of its home cities lie within the territorial boundaries of the NCAA's Big Ten Conference.

Division lineupsEdit

1967–76 (as WC/NFC Central)

The Western Conference respectively divided into the Coastal and Central divisions. The Central Division consists of Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay, and Minnesota. Starting the 1970 season, this division became National Football Conference's Central division (or NFC Central for short), due to the AFL–NFL merger.

1977–2001 (as NFC Central)

Tampa Bay moved in from AFC West.

2002–present

  • Chicago Bears
  • Detroit Lions
  • Green Bay Packers
  • Minnesota Vikings

Tampa Bay moved to NFC South. NFC Central renamed NFC North.

Division championsEdit

Season Team Record Playoff Results
NFL Central
1967 Green Bay Packers 9-4-1 Won Super Bowl II
1968 Minnesota Vikings 8-6-0 Lost NFL Divisional Playoffs
1969 Minnesota Vikings 12-2-0 Lost Super Bowl IV
NFC Central
1970 Minnesota Vikings 12-2-0 Lost NFC Divisional Playoffs
1971 Minnesota Vikings 11-3-0 Lost NFC Divisional Playoffs
1972 Green Bay Packers 10-4-0 Lost NFC Divisional Playoffs
1973 Minnesota Vikings 12-2-0 Lost Super Bowl VIII
1974 Minnesota Vikings 10-4-0 Lost Super Bowl IX
1975 Minnesota Vikings 12-2-0 Lost NFC Divisional Playoffs
1976 Minnesota Vikings 11-2-1 Lost Super Bowl XI
1977 Minnesota Vikings 9-5-0 Lost NFC Championship Game
1978 Minnesota Vikings 8-7-1 Lost NFC Divisional Playoffs
1979 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10-6-0 Lost NFC Championship Game
1980 Minnesota Vikings 9-7-0 Lost NFC Divisional Playoffs
1981 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 9-7-0 Lost NFC Divisional Playoffs
1982+ Green Bay Packers 5-3-1 Lost NFC Second Round
1983 Detroit Lions 9-7-0 Lost NFC Divisional Playoffs
1984 Chicago Bears 10-6-0 Lost NFC Championship Game
1985 Chicago Bears 15-1-0 Won Super Bowl XX
1986 Chicago Bears 14-2-0 Lost NFC Divisional Playoffs
1987 Chicago Bears 11-4-0 Lost NFC Divisional Playoffs
1988 Chicago Bears 12-4-0 Lost NFC Championship Game
1989 Minnesota Vikings 10-6-0 Lost NFC Divisional Playoffs
1990 Chicago Bears 11-5-0 Lost NFC Divisional Playoffs
1991 Detroit Lions 12-4-0 Lost NFC Championship Game
1992 Minnesota Vikings 11-5-0 Lost NFC Wild Card Playoffs
1993 Detroit Lions 10-6-0 Lost NFC Wild Card Playoffs
1994 Minnesota Vikings 10-6-0 Lost NFC Wild Card Playoffs
1995 Green Bay Packers 11-5-0 Lost NFC Championship Game
1996 Green Bay Packers 13-3-0 Won Super Bowl XXXI
1997 Green Bay Packers 13-3-0 Lost Super Bowl XXXII
1998 Minnesota Vikings 15-1-0 Lost NFC Championship Game
1999 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 11-5-0 Lost NFC Championship Game
2000 Minnesota Vikings 11-5-0 Lost NFC Championship Game
2001 Chicago Bears 13-3-0 Lost NFC Divisional Playoffs
NFC North
2002 Green Bay Packers 12-4-0 Lost NFC Wild Card Playoffs
2003 Green Bay Packers 10-6-0 Lost NFC Divisional Playoffs
2004 Green Bay Packers 10-6-0 Lost NFC Wild Card Playoffs
2005 Chicago Bears 11-5-0 Lost NFC Divisional Playoffs
2006 Chicago Bears 13-3-0 Lost Super Bowl XLI
2007 Green Bay Packers 13-3-0 Lost NFC Championship Game
2008 Minnesota Vikings 10-6-0 Lost NFC Wild Card Playoffs
2009 Minnesota Vikings 12-4-0 Lost NFC Championship Game
2010* Chicago Bears 11-5-0 Lost NFC Championship Game

+ 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. Division standings were ignored, Green Bay had the best record of the division teams.

* Ironically enough, the 2010 division leader Chicago Bears, lost the NFC Conference game against the now Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers who they also happen to share the Conference with.

Wild Card qualifiersEdit

Season Team Record Playoff Results
NFC Central
1970 Detroit Lions 10-4-0 Lost Divisional Playoffs
1971 None
1972 None
1973 None
1974 None
1975 None
1976 None
1977 Chicago Bears 9-5-0 Lost Divisional Playoffs
1978 None
1979 Chicago Bears 10-6-0 Lost Wild Card Playoffs
1980 None
1981 None
1982+ Minnesota Vikings
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Detroit Lions
5-4-0
5-4-0
4-5-0
Lost NFC Second Round
Lost NFC First Round
Lost NFC First Round
1983 None
1984 None
1985 None
1986 None
1987 Minnesota Vikings 8-7-0 Lost NFC Championship Game
1988 Minnesota Vikings 11-5-0 Lost Divisional Playoffs
1989 None
1990 None
1991 Chicago Bears 11-5-0 Lost Wild Card Playoffs
1992 None
1993 Minnesota Vikings
Green Bay Packers
9-7-0
9-7-0
Lost Wild Card Playoffs
Lost Divisional Playoffs
1994 Detroit Lions
Chicago Bears
Green Bay Packers
9-7-0
9-7-0
9-7-0
Lost Wild Card Playoffs
Lost Divisional Playoffs
Lost Divisional Playoffs
1995 Detroit Lions 10-6-0 Lost Wild Card Playoffs
1996 Minnesota Vikings 9-7-0 Lost Wild Card Playoffs
1997 Detroit Lions
Minnesota Vikings
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
9-7-0
9-7-0
10-6-0
Lost Wild Card Playoffs
Lost Divisional Playoffs
Lost Divisional Playoffs
1998 Green Bay Packers 11-5-0 Lost Wild Card Playoffs
1999 Detroit Lions
Minnesota Vikings
8-8-0
10-6-0
Lost Wild Card Playoffs
Lost Divisional Playoffs
2000 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10-6-0 Lost Wild Card Playoffs
2001 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Green Bay Packers
9-7-0
12-4-0
Lost Wild Card Playoffs
Lost Divisional Playoffs
NFC North
2002 None
2003 None
2004 Minnesota Vikings 8-8-0 Lost Divisional Playoffs
2005 None
2006 None
2007 None
2008 None
2009 Green Bay Packers 11-5-0 Lost Wild Card Playoffs
2010 Green Bay Packers 10-6-0 Won Super Bowl XLV

+ 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.

Total playoff berthsEdit

Team Division Championships Playoff Berths Super Bowl Wins Super Bowl Losses NFL Championships
Minnesota Vikings 18 26 0 4 1
Chicago Bears 10 26 1 1 9
Green Bay Packers 10 26 4 1 13
Detroit Lions 3 14 0 0 4
Tampa Bay Buccaneers1 3 7 0 0 0

1 Realigned into the NFC South during the 2002 NFL season. Records only count the years in which the team was in the NFC Central.

Schedule assignmentsEdit

Year Opponents
Intraconf. Interconf.
2002 AFC East NFC South
2003 AFC West NFC West
2004 AFC South NFC East
2005 AFC North NFC South
2006 AFC East NFC West
2007 AFC West NFC East
2008 AFC South NFC South
2009 AFC North NFC West
2010 AFC East NFC East
2011 AFC West NFC South
2012 AFC South NFC West
2013 AFC North NFC East

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