How Many Wildcards Are There In the NFL?

There are a total of 32 NFL teams, each with 53 active players on the roster and one head coach. So, how many wildcards are there in the NFL? The answer is simple: 256.


In the National Football League (NFL), a wild card team is a club that did not win its divisional championship, but finished with a winning record and was thus eligible to compete in the playoffs. There were four wild card teams in each NFL season from 1967 to 1969. In 1970, the NFL expanded to sixteen teams with the addition of the Buffalo Bills and the Miami Dolphins. As a result, there were now three divisions in each conference and four teams qualified for the playoffs from each conference; thus, each conference had two wild card teams. The number of wild card teams remained at two per conference until a fourth playoff team was added in each conference in 1975.

What is a Wildcard?

In the NFL, a Wildcard team is a team that did not win their division but still qualified for the playoffs. There are four Wildcard teams in each conference (NFC and AFC), for a total of eight Wildcard teams in the NFL. The four Wildcard teams in each conference are seeded #5 through #8, based on their regular season records.

How Many Wildcards Are There in the NFL?

In the NFL, there are a total of six playoff spots that are available to teams. Of those six spots, four are divisional winners and two are wildcard spots.

What is the Difference Between a Wildcard and a Divisional Game?

In the NFL, the divisional playoff games are played between the winners of each division. The two best teams in each conference (based on regular season record) who did not win their division also qualify for the playoffs and compete in the Wild Card round. In this round, the third seed plays the sixth seed and the fourth seed plays the fifth seed. The winners advance to play the top two seeds in their respective conferences in the divisional playoff games.

How Do Wildcard Teams Advance in the Playoffs?

The National Football League (NFL) playoffs are a single-elimination tournament held after the end of the regular season to determine the NFL champion. Six teams from each of the league’s two conferences qualify for the playoffs based on regular season records, and a separate set of brackets determines wild card teams.

In the current NFL playoff system, there are four wild card teams — two from each conference. The two wild card teams with the better record play each other, while the other two wild card teams play each other. The winners of those games advance to play the No. 1 and No. 2 seeded teams in each conference, respectively.


In the end, there are a total of 32 NFL teams, 4 of which are considered Wild Card teams. These 4 teams will compete in the playoffs to determine who goes on to the Super Bowl.

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