AFC Championship Game
What is the only team to have played in the both the AFC and NFC Championship Games? You can find the answer at the end of this article.
The AFC Championship Game is one half of the NFL’s semi-final playoff round (the other half being the NFC Championship Game). The winner of the AFC title game plays the winner of the NFC title game in the Super Bowl. The AFC Championship Game was established in 1970 after the merger of the NFL with the American Football League. The first AFC Championship Game (played Jan. 3, 1971) saw the Baltimore Colts defeat the Oakland Raiders, 27-17. The winner of the AFC is awarded the Lamer Hunt Trophy.
As of 2013, the Pittsburgh Steelers have made the most appearances in the AFC Championship bout. They’ve played in the title game 15 times. They’ve won eight of them—no team has won more. The Steelers and the Raiders share the mark for the most losses in the NFC title game with seven. The New England Patriots have reached the AFC title game nine times and have won seven of them. Seven of their appearances have occurred after the turn of the century. The Denver Broncos are 6-2. The Miami Dolphins are 5-2. The Buffalo Bills are 4-1 and that includes four straight victories in the early 1990s.
The only AFC team that has never played in the championship game is the Houston Texans. The Texans, Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Jets, and Kansas City Chiefs have never won an AFC Championship although the Jets and Chiefs have won Super Bowls. The Jets have the worst championship record in the NFL. They are 0-4. The Browns are 0-3.
In the 1982 AFC Championship Game, the Cincinnati Bengals defeated the San Diego Chargers 27-7 in what is now known as the Freezer Bowl. It was the coldest game in NFL history based on wind chill. It was -59 °F. In the 1987 AFC Championship Game, Broncos quarterback John Elway drove his team 98-yards to tie the game—it’s now called “The Drive.” The Broncos then defeated the Browns in overtime. The following year, Browns running back Earnest Byner fumbled on his way to a game-tying touchdown (the play is now called “The Fumble”). Just like the year before, the Broncos defeated the Browns in the most heart-wrenching of fashions to win the AFC crown.
Answer: The only team that has played in both the AFC and NFC Championship Games is the Seattle Seahawks. They lost to the Oakland Raiders in 1984. Then they were realigned to the NFC before the start of the 2003 season. They reached the NFC Championship Game three years later where they defeated the Carolina Panthers.
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