Football Terms – American Football Conference
The AFC, also known as the American Football Conference, is one of the two conference in the National Football League (along with the NFC). It was created after the AFL (American Football League) merged with the NFL in 1970.
The AFC was initially made up of the 10 original AFL teams (Patriots, Bills, Oilers, Dolphins, Jets, Bengals, Chiefs, Broncos, Raiders and Chargers), plus the addition of the NFL’s Browns, Steelers and Colts franchises. Since then, two teams have left the AFC, and five expansion teams have been added to the fold.
There are currently 16 teams in the AFC, and the conference is divided into North, South, East and West divisions, with each division containing four teams. During the regular season, teams play the other members of their division twice (once at home and once on the road).
Every season, 6 teams from the American Football Conference qualify for the NFL Playoffs. These six teams battle in a single-elimination tournament to see which team represents the AFC in the Super Bowl. To qualify, a team must either have the best record in its division or — if the team doesn’t win its division — have one of the two best records among non-division winners.
As of 2008, teams from the AFC have won 20 Super Bowls, while NFC teams have won 22. From Super Bowls XIX until XXXI, the AFC lost 13 straight league titles. Their fortunes have improved in recent years, however, as they have won eight of the last 11 Super Bowls.