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NFC South

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The NFC South is a division in the National Football Conference of the National Football League. 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 members: the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Prior to the 2002 season, the Buccaneers belonged to the AFC West (1976) and NFC Central (19772001), while the other three teams were part of the geographically inaccurate NFC West.

The NFC South has been nicknamed by Fox NFL Sunday as the "NASCAR Division," due to its geographic location in traditional "NASCAR Country," and NASCAR's coverage on Fox (Fox is also the home of most NFC games).[citation needed] Additionally, two of the division's cities (Atlanta and Charlotte) host NASCAR races, and the Charlotte area is the home base for most drivers and their crews.

The NFC South is the only division since the 2002 realignment to have each of its teams make a conference championship game appearance: Tampa Bay (2002), Atlanta (2004), Carolina (2003 and 2005), and New Orleans (2006 and 2009). All four teams have also made a Super Bowl appearance: Atlanta (XXXIII), Tampa Bay (XXXVII), Carolina (XXXVIII), and New Orleans (XLIV), with Tampa Bay and New Orleans having won. All four members of the NFC South have made postseason appearances before entering the division in 2002.

Total Divisional Bracket since 2002Edit

Team Division Championships Playoff Berths Super Bowl Appearances Super Bowl Wins
Atlanta Falcons 2 (2004, 2010) 4 (2002, 2004, 2008, 2010) none1 none
Carolina Panthers 2 (2003, 2008) 3 (2003, 2005, 2008) 1 (XXXVIII) none
New Orleans Saints 2 (2006, 2009) 3 (2006, 2009, 2010) 1 (XLIV) 1 (XLIV)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3 (2002, 2005, 2007) 3 (2002, 2005, 2007) 1 (XXXVII) 1 (XXXVII)

1 Atlanta appeared in Super Bowl XXXIII as a member of the NFC West. This table, however, only reflects championships (divisional, conference and league) and playoff berths earned as a member of the NFC South.

Division championsEdit

Season Playoffs Team Record Playoff Results
2002 2002-03 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 12–4 Won Super Bowl XXXVII (Raiders) 48–21
2003 2003-04 Carolina Panthers 11–5 Lost Super Bowl XXXVIII (Patriots) 32–29
2004 2004-05 Atlanta Falcons 11–5 Lost NFC Championship (Eagles) 27-10
2005 2005-06 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 11–5 Lost Wild Card Playoff (Redskins) 17-10
2006 2006-07 New Orleans Saints 10–6 Lost NFC Championship (Bears) 39–14
2007 2007-08 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 9–7 Lost Wild Card Playoff (Giants) 24–14
2008 2008-09 Carolina Panthers 12–4 Lost Divisional Playoff (Cardinals) 33–13
2009 2009-10 New Orleans Saints 13–3 Won Super Bowl XLIV (Colts) 31–17
2010 2010-11 Atlanta Falcons 13–3 Lost Divisional Playoff (Packers) 48-21

Wild Card qualifiersEdit

Season Playoffs Team Record Playoff Results
2002 2002-03 Atlanta Falcons 9–6–1 Lost Divisional Playoff (Eagles) 20–6
2003 2003-04 None
2004 2004-05 None
2005 2005-06 Carolina Panthers 11–5 Lost NFC Championship (Seahawks) 34–14
2006 2006-07 None
2007 2007-08 None
2008 2008-09 Atlanta Falcons 11–5 Lost Wild Card Playoff (Cardinals) 30–24
2009 2009-10 None
2010 2010-11 New Orleans Saints 11–5 Lost Wild Card Playoff (Seahawks) 41-36

Schedule rotationEdit

Intra-conference games

  • NFC North: 2002, 2005, 2008, 2011
  • NFC East: 2003, 2006, 2009, 2012
  • NFC West: 2004, 2007, 2010, 2013

Interconference games

  • AFC North: 2002, 2006, 2010
  • AFC South: 2003, 2007, 2011
  • AFC West: 2004, 2008, 2012
  • AFC East: 2005, 2009, 2013

Postseason odditiesEdit

  • In every season since the division's first season, the team which finished in last place in the previous season would significantly improve their record in the following season. Additionally, the same team won the division; however, this did not occur in the 2008 or 2010 seasons.
    • Carolina finished last in 2002 (7–9) and finished first in 2003 (11–5).
    • Atlanta finished last in 2003 (5–11) and finished first in 2004 (11–5).
    • Tampa Bay finished last in 2004 (5–11) and finished first in 2005 (11–5).
    • New Orleans finished last in 2005 (3–13) and finished first in 2006 (10–6).
    • Tampa Bay finished last in 2006 (4–12) and finished first in 2007 (9–7).
    • Atlanta finished last in 2007 (4–12) and finished second with a playoff berth in 2008 (11–5).
    • New Orleans finished last in 2008 (8–8) and finished first in 2009 (13–3).
    • Tampa Bay finished last in 2009 (3-13) but despite finishing third in 2010 with a 10-6 record, did not make the playoffs, due to Green Bay holding the wild-card tiebreakers.
    • Carolina finished last in 2010 (2-14).
  • From 2002 to 2009, no team in the NFC South earned back-to-back playoff appearances. In Week 16 of the 2010 season, New Orleans clinched a wild-card berth, becoming the first NFC South team to earn consecutive playoff appearances; however, no team in the NFC South has earned back-to-back division championships.
  • Each team was won the division at least twice and made a playoff appearance at least three times since the division's formation. Tampa Bay is the only team which has not made the playoffs as a wild-card.

ReferencesEdit

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