NFC South

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NFC South
Conference National Football Conference
League National Football League
Sport American Football
Founded 2002
No. of teams
Most recent champion(s) (3rd title)
Most titles (3 titles)

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 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 and 2012), Carolina (2003 and 2005), and New Orleans (2006 and 2009). All four members of the NFC South have made postseason appearances before entering the division in 2002. Also since 2002, each team has won at least three division titles, the only such division in the league; yet no team has successfully defended their title in two consecutive seasons.

Entering 2012 the Falcons and Saints are tied for most wins among division members. The Saints record is 299-386-5; their win in Super Bowl XLIV is the highlight of a 5-8 playoff record. The Falcons record is 299-399-6 with a playoff record of 6-11; the Falcons lost in Super Bowl XXXIII, their only Super Bowl appearance. The Buccaneers record is 222-341-1 with victory in Super Bowl XXXVII and an overall playoff record of 6-9. The Panthers have the best playoff record (6-4) of any team in the division with a loss in Super Bowl XXXVIII and an overall record of 125-147.

The NFC South is the only NFC division not to have any teams that predate the 1960 launch of the American Football League. Each of the other NFC divisions has 3 such teams, while the remaining three are in the American Football Conference. (In contrast, the NFC South's oldest team is the Falcons, who began play in 1966.)

Division lineups[edit]

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 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36
Atlanta Falcons
Carolina Panthers
New Orleans Saints
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
     Division Won Super Bowl      Division Won NFC Championship

Division champions[edit]

Season Playoffs Team Record Playoff Results
2002 2002-03 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 12–4 Won Divisional Playoffs (49ers) 31–6
Won NFC Championship (Eagles) 27–10
Won Super Bowl XXXVII (Raiders) 48–21
2003 2003-04 Carolina Panthers 11–5 Won Wild Card Playoffs (Cowboys) 29–10
Won Divisional Playoffs (Rams) 29–23 (2OT)
Won NFC Championship (Eagles) 14–3
Lost Super Bowl XXXVIII (Patriots) 32–29
2004 2004-05 Atlanta Falcons 11–5 Won Divisional Playoffs (Rams) 47–17
Lost NFC Championship (Eagles) 27–10
2005 2005-06 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 11–5 Lost Wild Card Playoffs (Redskins) 17–10
2006 2006-07 New Orleans Saints 10–6 Won Divisional Playoffs (Eagles) 27–24
Lost NFC Championship (Bears) 39–14
2007 2007-08 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 9–7 Lost Wild Card Playoffs (Giants) 24–14
2008 2008-09 Carolina Panthers 12–4 Lost Divisional Playoffs (Cardinals) 33–13
2009 2009-10 New Orleans Saints 13–3 Won Divisional Playoffs (Cardinals) 45–14
Won NFC Championship (Vikings) 31–28 (OT)
Won Super Bowl XLIV (Colts) 31–17
2010 2010-11 Atlanta Falcons 13–3 Lost Divisional Playoffs (Packers) 48–21
2011 2011-12 New Orleans Saints 13–3 Won Wild Card Playoffs (Lions) 45–28
Lost Divisional Playoffs (49ers) 36–32
2012 2012-13 Atlanta Falcons 13–3 Won Divisional Playoffs (Seahawks) 30–28
Lost NFC Championship (49ers) 28–24
2013 2013-14 Carolina Panthers 12–4 Lost Divisional Playoffs (49ers) 23–10

Wild Card qualifiers[edit]

Season Playoffs Team Record Playoff Results
2002 2002-03 Atlanta Falcons 9–6–1 Won Wild Card Playoffs (Packers) 27–7
Lost Divisional Playoffs (Eagles) 20–6
2005 2005-06 Carolina Panthers 11–5 Won Wild Card Playoffs (Giants) 23–0
Won Divisional Playoffs (Bears) 29–21
Lost NFC Championship (Seahawks) 34–14
2008 2008-09 Atlanta Falcons 11–5 Lost Wild Card Playoffs (Cardinals) 30–24
2010 2010-11 New Orleans Saints 11–5 Lost Wild Card Playoffs (Seahawks) 41–36
2011 2011-12 Atlanta Falcons 10–6 Lost Wild Card Playoffs (Giants) 24–2
2013 2013-14 New Orleans Saints 11–5 Won Wild Card Playoffs (Eagles) 26–24
Lost Divisional Playoffs (Seahawks) 23–15

Total Playoff Berths[edit]

(NFC South Records since 2002)

Team Division
Super Bowl
Atlanta Falcons 3 6 0 0
New Orleans Saints 3 5 1 1
Carolina Panthers 3 4 1 0
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3 3 1 1

To sort the table above, click button to right of heading.

Schedule rotation[edit]

Year Opponents
Interconf. Intraconf.
2014 AFC North NFC North
2015 AFC South NFC East
2016 AFC West NFC West
2017 AFC East NFC North
2018 AFC North NFC East
2019 AFC South NFC West
2020 AFC West NFC North
2021 AFC East NFC East
2022 AFC North NFC West
2023 AFC South NFC North
2024 AFC West NFC East
2025 AFC East NFC West

Postseason oddities[edit]

  • From 2003 to 2009, the team that placed last in the division the previous year would improve enough to reach the playoffs, usually by winning the division. Tampa Bay almost continued this trend in 2010, stopped only by losing a tiebreaker to Green Bay.
    • 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 wild-card 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) and was eliminated from playoff contention in Week 14 of the 2011 season after going 4-9, becoming the first NFC South team to have a losing season after placing last in the division.
  • 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. New Orleans earned three consecutive playoff appearances in the 2009, 2010, and 2011 seasons. Atlanta also earned three consecutive playoff appearances, in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
  • No NFC South team has successfully defended its division championship since the division's creation.
  • Each team has won the division at least three times 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.
  • Each team has finished last in the division at least twice since the division's formation. Prior to 2012, no team has finished last in the division in consecutive seasons. Tampa Bay became the first team in the division to place last in the division in consecutive seasons. In 2013, they did this a third consecutive time.
  • From 2002 to 2011, there was an outright last place finisher in the division. That streak came to an end during the 2012 season, when Tampa Bay, New Orleans, and Carolina all finished at 7-9. This happened again in 2013, where both Atlanta and Tampa Bay finished 4-12.

See also[edit]