NFC North Division

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The National Football Conference’s Northern Division – most regularly referred to as the NFC is one of four divisions in the NF part of the National Football League (NFL). This division is known for its rough and tumble rivalries between division teams – earning itself the nickname the ‘Black and Blue Division’. Its four team members are:

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

Before the expansion and realignment of the league, it used to be known as the NFC Central Division and originally had the Tampa Bay Buccaneers until they moved to the NFC South in 2002. The team that has won the most titles to date is the Minnesota Vikings

The NFC North History

Originally, the NFC North division was created as the Central Division in 1967 as a part of the original NFL Western Conference. However, in 1970, when the NFL merged with the AFL it was renamed NFC Central – the name it kept until 2002 when the league was finally split into its current eight-division format.

The four current members have played in the same division since the Minnesota Vikings joined the NFL in 1961 – in fact, the three other teams – the Lions, the Bears and the Packers have been in the same conference or division since 1933. As such, these teams have been playing each other at least twice every year for over sixty years (for the Lions, Bears and Packers it has been over eighty years!) and this is why the league is so well-known for its intense rivalries.

NFC North Success

NFC North teams have managed 5 Super Bowl wins, with the Green Bay Packers winning four and the Chicago Bears winning once…with their most recent win in 2010. Out of the top ten NFL teams that have the highest winning percentage throughout their franchise history, there are three representatives from the NFC North – The Bears, Packers and Vikings). However, on the flip side, the Lions can’t celebrate the same success, with one of the lowest winning percentages in the league… which includes the first-ever winless season in 2008 -= the first ever in the NFL.

The NFC North also has the second-longest Super Bowl drought, just slightly ahead of the AFC South. The last win was 2010 and since then they have suffered 5 losses.

The Green Bay Packers

The most successful team is the Packers, that until 2020 has a winning regular-season record, with four Super Bowl wins out of five Super Bowl appearances. They have also won nine pre-Super Bowl NFL titles

The Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears are the second most successful team, also with an overall winning season record as well as one Super Bowl win out of two Super Bowl appearances as well as eight Pre-Super Bowl NFL titles.

The Minnesota Vikings

The Minnesota Vikings haven’t been around as long as the other three teams but have still managed a winning regular-season record overall. Despite reaching the Super Bowl four times, they have never won the title.

The Detroit Lions

The Detroit Lions is the least successful team in the division with an overall losing record. They haven’t even reached the Super Bowl, let alone won a title. However, they have won four pre-Super Bowl titles.

These four teams have such intense rivalries and are known for a very physical style of play. It is also referred to as the Frostbite Division and the Frozen North due to the fact that until the mid-1970s, all teams played home games in the late-season winter cold

There are even those that describe the division as NFC Norris, owing to how geographically similar it is to what used to be the NHL’s Norris Division.

Division Wins

There have been four Super Bowl wins for the NFC North (and NFC Central as it was) division:

The Chicago Bears won the Super Bowl XX that was played on 26th January 1986, defeating the New England Patriots 46-10

The Green Bay Packers have managed to win the Super Bowl title a massive four times, however. Their first was Super Bowl I in 1966, then they won the following year in 1967. Their next win was Super Bowl XXXI in 1996 and their final win to date was the Super Bowl XLV in 2010.

Important NFC North Dates

  • In 1966, the Packers won the Super Bowl I in the NFL Western Conference which was then divided into the two coastal and central Divisions.
  • At the beginning of the 1970 season, after the NFL /AFL merger, the division was renamed the National Football Conference – Central Division (NFC Central).
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers joined in 1977 from the AFC West.
  • In 2020, the NFL realigned to 8 divisions and the division was renamed NFC North with Tampa Bay moving to NFC South.

NFC Championship Division Winners

  • Season Team Record Results
  • 1967 Green Bay Packers 9-4-1 Won Super Bowl vs Raider 33-14
  • 1968 Minnesota Vikings 8-6 Lost Conference Playoffs
  • 1969 Minnesota Vikings 12-2 Lost Super Bowl IV vs Chiefs 7-23
  • 1970 Minnesota Vikings 12-2 Lost Divisional Playoffs
  • 1971 Minnesota Vikings 11-3 Lost Divisional Playoffs
  • 1972 Green Bay Packers 10-4 Lost Divisional Playoffs
  • 1973 Minnesota Vikings 12-2 Lost Super Bowl VIII vs Dolphins 7-24
  • 1974 Minnesota Vikings 10-4 Lost Super Bowl IX vs Steelers 6-16
  • 1975 Minnesota Vikings 12-2 Lost Divisional Playoffs
  • 1976 Minnesota Vikings 11-2-1 Lost Super Bowl XI vs Raiders 14-32
  • 1977 Minnesota Vikings 9-5 Lost NFC Championships
  • 1978 Minnesota Vikings 8-7-1 Lost Divisional Playoffs
  • 1979 Tampa Bay 10-6 Lost NFC Championships
  • 1980 Minnesota Vikings 9-7 Lost Divisional Playoffs
  • 1981 Tampa Bay 9–7 Lost Divisional playoffs
  • 1982+ Green Bay Packers 5–3–1 Lost Second Round playoffs
  • 1983 Detroit Lions 9–7 Lost Divisional playoffs 
  • 1984 Chicago Bears 10–6 Lost NFC Championship 
  • 1985 Chicago Bears 15–1 Won Super Bowl XX vs. Patriots 46–10
  • 1986 Chicago Bears 14–2 Lost Divisional playoffs 
  • 1987 Chicago Bears 11–4 Lost Divisional playoffs 
  • 1988 Chicago Bears 12–4 Lost NFC Championship 
  • 1989 Minnesota Vikings 10–6 Lost Divisional playoffs
  • 1990 Chicago Bears 11–5 Lost Divisional playoffs 
  • 1991 Detroit Lions 12–4 Lost NFC Championship
  • 1992 Minnesota Vikings 11–5 Lost Wild Card playoffs
  • 1993 Detroit Lions 10–6 Lost Wild Card playoffs (Packers)
  • 1994 Minnesota Vikings 10–6 Lost Wild Card playoffs (Bears)
  • 1995 Green Bay Packers 11–5 Lost NFC Championship 
  • 1996 Green Bay Packers 13–3 Won Super Bowl XXXI vs. Patriots 35–21
  • 1997 Green Bay Packers 13–3Lost Super Bowl XXXII vs. Broncos 24–31
  • 1998 Minnesota Vikings 15–1 Lost NFC Championship 
  • 1999 Tampa Bay 11–5Lost NFC Championship
  • 2000 Minnesota Vikings 11–5Lost NFC Championship 
  • 2001 Chicago Bears 13–3 Lost Divisional playoffs 
  • 2002 Green Bay Packers 12–4 Lost Wild Card playoffs 
  • 2003 Green Bay Packers 10–6Lost Divisional playoffs
  • 2004 Green Bay Packers 10–6 Lost Wild Card playoffs 
  • 2005 Chicago Bears 11–5 Lost Divisional playoffs
  • 2006 Chicago Bears 13–3 Lost Super Bowl XLI vs. Colts 17–29
  • 2007 Green Bay Packers 13–3Lost NFC Championship 
  • 2008 Minnesota Vikings 10–6 Lost Wild Card playoffs 
  • 2009 Minnesota Vikings 12–4 Lost NFC Championship 
  • 2010 Chicago Bears 11–5Lost NFC Championship 
  • 2011 Green Bay Packers 15–1 Lost Divisional playoffs 
  • 2012 Green Bay Packers 11–5 Lost Divisional playoffs 
  • 2013 Green Bay Packers 8–7–1 Lost Wild Card playoffs 
  • 2014 Green Bay Packers 12–4 Lost NFC Championship 
  • 2015 Minnesota Vikings 11–5 Lost Wild Card playoffs 
  • 2016 Green Bay Packers 10–6 Lost NFC Championship
  • 2017 Minnesota Vikings 13–3 Lost NFC Championship 
  • 2018 Chicago Bears 12–4 Lost Wild Card playoffs
  • 2019 Green Bay Packers 13–3 Lost NFC Championship 
  • 2020 Green Bay Packers 13–3 Lost NFC Championship 

In 1982, there was a player’s strike that reduced the regular season down to just nine games. So, the NFL used a 16 team playoff tournament instead and the division standings were ignored – and Green Bay Packers had the best record of all division teams

Playoff Berths as Teams in the NFC North/Central

Here are the playoff berths between 1966-2020

Team Division Champions Playoff Berths NFL Titles Super Bowl Wins

The Vikings 20 30 1 0 out of 4

The Packers 18 25 13 4 out of 5

The Bears 11 15 9 1 out of 2

The Lions 3 12 4 0 out of 0

NFC North Future Schedule

Here are the future NFL schedules for the upcoming years in the league.

  • Year Opponents Interconference Opponents Intraconference
  • 2021 AFC North NFC West
  • 2022 AFC East NFC East
  • 2023 AFC West NFC South
  • 2024 AFC South NFC West
  • 2025 AFC North NFC East
  • 2026 AFC East NFC South
  • 2027 AFC West NFC West
  • 2028 AFC South NFC East
  • 2029 AFC North NFC South

NFC North FAQs

When Was the Minnesota First NFL Championship Game?

The first Vikings NFL Championship victory was in 1969 when they beat the Cleveland Browns 27-7.

When was NFC Central Changed to NFC North?

The NFL’s realignment and expansion in 2002 was when the NFC Central division was renamed NFC North