Paint your face in your team colors and huddle up for these bits of interesting trivia.
- It’s simple to get into the NFL playoffs: win the most games, right? Not exactly. The playoffs are structured so that six teams from each conference get spots: four division winners and the two additional “wild card” teams with the best records. Somebody has to win a division, even if the division is terrible. The Carolina Panthers won the NFC South this year with a 7-8-1 record. That’s worse than the Philadelphia Eagles (10-6) and San Francisco 49ers (8-8), who missed out on wild card slots.
- The only other time a team with a losing record made the playoffs was in 1982. That season, a strike reduced the season to just 9 games. The Detroit Lions and Cleveland Browns both earned wild card playoff spots, both with a record of 4-5. (Both lost in the first round.)
- Teams with the longest playoff streaks: From 1975 to 1983, nine seasons, the Dallas Cowboys were a postseason mainstay. The Indianapolis Colts also made the playoffs nine seasons in a row from 2002 to 2010. (Each went on to win the Super Bowl once during those streaks.) The longest current streak is six seasons, shared by the New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers.
- The team with the longest playoff drought: the Buffalo Bills. It’s been 15 years since the team appeared in the postseason, losing a first-round game to the Tennessee Titans.
- Every team in the NFC has been to the conference title game. The only NFC team to never win that conference title game is the Detroit Lions.
- The only team in the NFL to never appear in a conference title match is the AFC’s Houston Texans. (But to be fair, they’ve only been in existence since 2002.)
- One team has reached both the NFC title game and the AFC title game. It’s the Seattle Seahawks. From its inception in 1977 until 2001, the team played in the AFC, then switched to the NFC. In 1983, the Seahawks lost the AFC title match; it won NFC titles in 2006 and 2014.