The American Football Conference and the National Football Conference each have 32 clubs in the National Football League. The National Football League (NFL) is a prominent professional sports league in the United States and Canada, as well as the highest professional level of American football in the world. The NFL season kicks out in August with a three-week preseason, followed by an 18-week regular season from early September to early January, with each club playing 17 games and having one bye week. The National Football League comprises 32 clubs from the American Football Conference (AFC) and the National Football Conference (NFC).
After the regular season, seven teams from each conference proceed to the playoffs, a single-elimination tournament that ends in the Super Bowl, which is played in February between the AFC and NFC conference champions. The American Professional Football Association (APFA) founded the National Football League in 1920, before changing its name to the National Football League for the 1922 season.
After determining champions through end-of-season standings for the first time, a playoff system was implemented in 1933, ending with the NFL Championship Game until 1966. The Super Bowl was first played in 1967 to choose a champion between the best teams from the two leagues following an agreement to merge the NFL with the rival American Football League (AFL), and it has remained the last game of each NFL season since the merger was completed in 1970.
The NFL is the most popular sports league in the United States, with the largest average attendance (67,591) of any professional sports league in the world. The Super Bowl is also one of the world’s largest club athletic events, with individual games accounting for many of the most watched television programs in American history and all are on Nielsen’s Top 5 list of the most viewed US television broadcasts of all time. The NFL is the richest professional sports league in terms of income, as well as the league with the most valuable clubs.
The Green Bay Packers have won the most cumulative NFL championships, with thirteen, winning nine before the Super Bowl era and four later. The New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers have shared the most Super Bowl triumphs with six each since the game’s inception. The Los Angeles Rams are the current league champions, having defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 in Super Bowl LVI on February 13, 2022. The 2022 National Football League playoffs are set to begin on January 14, 2023, and will culminate with Super Bowl LVII on February 12 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. At the end of Week 16, the following teams have qualified for the playoffs:
- Baltimore Ravens
- Buffalo Bills, AFC East division champions
- Cincinnati Bengals
- Kansas City Chiefs, AFC West division champions
- Los Angeles Chargers
- Dallas Cowboys
- Minnesota Vikings, NFC North division champions
- Philadelphia Eagles
- San Francisco 49ers, NFC West division champions
The four division winners and three wild card clubs (the top three non-division winners with the best overall regular season records) from each conference qualified for the playoffs. The four division champions are seeded 1-4 based on their overall won-lost-tied record, while the wild card teams are seeded 5-7. The NFL playoff system does not use a fixed bracket playoff system, and teams from the same division can face each other in any round. The second-seeded division winner hosts the seventh seed wild card in the first round, termed the Wild Card NFL Playoffs or Wild Card Weekend, the fourth seed hosts the fifth seed, and the third seed hosts the sixth seed. Each conference’s top seed receives a first-round bye, moving them to the second round, the Divisional NFL Playoffs, and hosting the poorest surviving seed from the first round (seed 4, 5, 6, or 7). The remaining teams compete against each other, with the higher-seeded team hosting. The two divisional playoff clubs from each conference then face in the respective AFC and NFC Conference Championships, which are hosted by the higher seed. Although the Super Bowl is played at a neutral site, the chosen host club is decided by a conference-wide rotation.
The wild-card round is set to begin the 2022 playoffs, with three wild-card games contested in each conference. The Wild Card Weekend in 2023 is scheduled for January 14-16. The top seed in the conference will play the lowest remaining seed in the Divisional round on January 21-22, while the other two remaining teams will play each other. The winners of those games will progress to the Conference Championships on January 29. Super Bowl LVII is set for February 12 at Glendale, Arizona’s State Farm Stadium.
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