How does the NFL playoffs work? Find out everything you need to know about the NFL playoffs, from how teams are seeded to who wins the Super Bowl.
The National Football League (NFL) playoffs are a single-elimination tournament held after the regular season to determine the NFL champion. From 1933 to 1966, the NFL postseason generally consisted of the NFL Championship Game, pitting the league’s two division winners (barring any one-game playoff matches that needed to be held because of ties in the standings); since 1967, when the league expanded from 15 to 16 teams with the addition of the New Orleans Saints, the playoffs have included six teams from each conference: the winners of each of the conference’s four divisions, and two wild card teams.
How the Playoffs Work
The NFL playoffs are a single-elimination tournament held after the end of the regular season to determine the NFL champion. Each year, 12 teams qualify for the playoffs. The four division winners in each conference are seeded 1-4 based on their regular season record, and the two wild card teams are seeded 5-6.
The Wild Card Round
The first weekend of the NFL playoffs is commonly referred to as the Wild Card weekend. During this round, the four teams with the best records from each conference who did not win their division compete against each other. These four teams are seeded fifth through eighth in the conference standings. The higher seed (five) hosts the lower seed (eight), and the remaining two seeds (six and seven) play each other. The winners from these two games then advance to the next round to play the first and second seeds from their respective conferences.
The Divisional Round
In the NFL, the divisional round is the second round of the playoffs. The divisional round is played on the weekend following Wild Card Weekend, and features four matchups, two in each conference. The winners of each matchup advance to their respective conference’s Championship Game.
The Conference Championships
In the NFL, the Conference Championships are the penultimate round of the playoffs. The winners of each Conference Championship game will advance to the Super Bowl. The Conference Championships are always played on Sunday afternoon.
The AFC (American Football Conference) Championship game is played between the two division winners from the AFC. The NFC (National Football Conference) Championship game is played between the two division winners from the NFC.
In each conference, the team with the best record in the regular season will host the team with the worst record. For example, if the New England Patriots have the best record in the AFC and the Los Angeles Chargers have the worst record, then the Patriots will host the Chargers in the AFC Championship game.
The Super Bowl
The Super Bowl is the biggest and most important American football game of the year. It is the annual championship game of the National Football League (NFL). The game is played by the two best teams from each conference: the American Football Conference (AFC) and the National Football Conference (NFC). The winner of the Super Bowl receives the Vince Lombardi Trophy, which is named after the legendary coach who led the Green Bay Packers to victory in the first two Super Bowls.
The game is usually played on the first Sunday in February and is broadcast live on television. More than 100 million people in the United States watch the Super Bowl every year.
In conclusion, the NFL playoffs are a system designed to crown a champion of the National Football League. The playoffs have evolved over time, but the fundamental goal remains the same: to identify and crown the best team in the NFL.