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The NFC South is a division of the National Football League's National Football Conference. It was created prior to the 2002 season when the league realigned divisions after expanding to 32 teams. The NFC South currently has four members: the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Prior to the 2002 season, the Buccaneers belonged to the AFC West (1976) and NFC Central (1977-2001), while the other three teams were part of the geographically inaccurate-in-name NFC West.

The NFC South division has at times, notably on Fox NFL Sunday been nicknamed the "NASCAR Division," due to its geographic location in traditional NASCAR Country. Incidentally, Fox (owners of NFC broadcast rights) also has a contract with NASCAR.

Until the 2007-08 playoffs, a team from the NFC South had appeared in every NFC Championship Game since the 2002 realignment: Tampa Bay (2002), Carolina (2003 & 2005), Atlanta (2004), and New Orleans (2006). The NFC South is also the first division since the realignment that has had each of its teams make at least one Conference Championship Game appearance. Currently, Tampa Bay is the only team in the NFC South that has won a Super Bowl (XXXVII).


Division champions

Season Playoffs Team Record Playoff Results
2002 2002-03 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 12-4-0 Won Super Bowl XXXVII
2003 2003-04 Carolina Panthers 11-5-0 Lost Super Bowl XXXVIII
2004 2004-05 Atlanta Falcons 11-5-0 Lost NFC Championship
2005 2005-06 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 11-5-0 Lost Wild Card playoff
2006 2006-07 New Orleans Saints 10-6-0 Lost NFC Championship
2007 2007-08 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 9-7-0 Lost Wild Card playoff
2008 2008-09 Carolina Panthers 12-4-0 Lost NFC Divisional playoff
2009 2009-10 New Orleans Saints 13-3-0 TBD

Wild Card qualifiers

Season Playoffs Team Record Playoff Results
2002 2002-03 Atlanta Falcons 9-6-1 Lost NFC Divisional Playoff
2003 2003-04 None -- --
2004 2004-05 None -- --
2005 2005-06 Carolina Panthers 11-5-0 Lost NFC Championship Game
2006 2006-07 None -- --
2007 2007-08 None -- --
2008 2008-09 Atlanta Falcons 11-5-0 Lost NFC Wild Card Playoff
2009 2009-10 None -- --

Total playoff berths since 2002

Team Division
Super Bowl
Super Bowl
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3 3 1 (XXXVII) 1 (XXXVII)
Carolina Panthers 2 3 1 (XXXVIII) 0
Atlanta Falcons 1 3 0 0
New Orleans Saints 2 2 0 0

Worst-to-first pattern

From 2003 to 2009, the team that finished in last place in the division the previous year went on to win the division the following season:[1]

  • Carolina finished last in 2002, and first in 2003
  • Atlanta finished last in 2003, and first in 2004
  • Tampa Bay finished last in 2004, and first in 2005
  • New Orleans finished last in 2005, and first in 2006
  • Tampa Bay finished last in 2006, first in 2007
  • New Orleans finished last in 2008, first in 2009

In the final week of the 2008 regular season, a last-second field goal led Carolina (12-4) to victory over the Saints and an NFL South title. The win prevented Atlanta at 11-5 (who had finished last in 2007), from continuing the "last-to-first" streak. Although they did not win the division, the Falcons still made the playoffs as a wild card, maintaining a streak "last-to-playoffs".[2]

Interestingly in this same time frame, no team in the NFC South has earned back-to-back postseason appearances (for example, Atlanta and Carolina made the playoffs in 2008, but both failed to do so in 2009.)


  1. ^ Kaufman, Ira (18 September 2007). "Curse Of NFC South Hits Saints". The Tampa Tribune. Retrieved 30 December 2008.  
  2. ^ Gilmartin, Matt (29 December 2008). "Carolina Panthers End-Of-Season Report". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 30 December 2008. "The Carolina Panthers are now 12-4, champions of the NFC South... have broken the NFC South curse"  

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