Definitions

NFC North

National Football Conference North Division

The NFC North is a division of the National Football League's National Football Conference. It was created prior to the 2002 season when the league realigned its divisions after expanding to 32 teams. It replaced the NFC Central, which was formed in 1970 after the AFL-NFL Merger, and its predecessor, the NFL Central Division.

The NFC North currently has four members: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, and Minnesota Vikings. The division contains the same alignment as the NFL Central Division, which was created in 1967 and existed for three seasons before the AFL-NFL Merger. During its earlier incarnation, the division earned the moniker "Black and Blue Division" due to its intense rivalries and physical style of play. Based on the ages of its teams, the NFC North is the oldest division in the NFL, a combined 299 years old (the Bears are 88 years old, the Packers are 86 years old, the Lions are 78 years old, and the Vikings are 47 years old). Another nickname for the earlier incarnation of the division was the "Frostbite Division" as all teams played home games in late season winter cold (especially the Packers and Vikings) until the mid 1970's.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers became the fifth member of the NFC Central in 1977 after they spent their first year in the league as a member of the AFC West, but they were moved to the NFC South in the 2002 realignment. With the departure of Tampa Bay, the division is sometimes humorously called the "Frozen North" (teams in the NFC North are located further north than those in the AFC North), although two of its teams, Detroit and Minnesota, have played their home games indoors since 1975 and 1982 respectively. 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.

ESPN sportscaster Chris Berman often refers to this division as the "NFC Norris," because of its geographical similarity to the NHL's old Norris Division, now called the Central Division.

Division champions

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 13-1-0 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
* A players' strike in 1982 reduced the regular season to nine games. Thus, 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.

Wild Card qualifiers

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 -- --

  • A players' strike in 1982 reduced the regular season to nine games. Thus, 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.

Total playoff berths

Team Championships Playoff Berths Super Bowl Wins Super Bowl Loses NFL Championships
Minnesota Vikings 16 24 0 4 1
Green Bay Packers 10 14 3 1 12
Chicago Bears 9 13 1 1 9
Detroit Lions 3 9 0 0 4
Tampa Bay Buccaneers1 3 7 1 0 1
1 Realigned into the NFC South during the 2002 NFL season.

Schedule assignments

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

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