NFC Championship Game

The NFC Championship Game is the annual championship game of the National Football Conference (NFC) and one of the two semi-final playoff games of the National Football League (NFL), the largest professional American football league in the United States. The game is played on the penultimate Sunday in January by the two remaining playoff teams, following the NFC postseason's first two rounds. The NFC champion then advances to face the winner of the American Football Conference (AFC) Championship Game in the Super Bowl.

The game was established as part of the 1970 merger between the NFL and the American Football League (AFL), with the merged league realigning into two conferences. Since 1984, each winner of the NFC Championship Game has also received the George Halas Trophy, named after the founder and longtime owner of the NFL's Chicago Bears, George Halas.

NFC Championship Game
Nfc championship logo
NFC Championship logo
First played1971 (1970 season)
TrophyGeorge Halas Trophy

Recent and upcoming games
2017 season
Lincoln Financial Field
January 21, 2018
Minnesota Vikings 7, Philadelphia Eagles 38
2018 season
Mercedes-Benz Superdome
January 20, 2019
Los Angeles Rams 26, New Orleans Saints 23 (OT)

History

The first NFC Championship Game was played following the 1970 regular season after the merger between the NFL and the American Football League. The game is considered the successor to the original NFL Championship, and its game results are listed with that of its predecessor in the annual NFL Record and Fact Book.[1] Since the pre-merger NFL consisted of six more teams than the AFL, a realignment was done as part of the merger to create two conferences with an equal number of teams: The NFL's Baltimore Colts, the Cleveland Browns, and the Pittsburgh Steelers joined the ten former AFL teams to form the AFC; while the remaining 13 pre-merger NFL clubs formed the NFC.

Every NFC team has played in an NFC Championship at least once. The Seattle Seahawks, who have been members in both the AFC and the NFC, hold the distinction of appearing in both conference title games. Only the Detroit Lions have yet to win or host an NFC Championship Game. The San Francisco 49ers have the most appearances in the NFC Championship Game at 15, and have hosted the most at 9. The Dallas Cowboys have won the most NFC Championships at 8.

Playoff structure

NFC Championship logo old
NFC Championship Game logo, 2008–2010 (Used with old shield since 2005)

At the end of each regular season, a series of playoff games involving the top six teams in the NFC are conducted. In the current (since 2002–03 season) NFL playoff structure, this consists of the four division champions and two wild card teams (those clubs that possess the two best win-loss records after the regular season yet fail to win their division). The two teams remaining following the Wild Card round (first round) and the divisional round (second round) play in the NFC Championship game.

Initially, the site of the game was determined on a rotating basis. Since the 1975–76 season, the site of the NFC Championship has been based on playoff seeding based on the regular season won-loss record, with the highest surviving seed hosting the game. A wild card team can only host the game if both participants are wild cards, in which case the fifth seed would host the sixth seed. Such an instance has never occurred in the NFL.

George Halas Trophy

Beginning with 1984-85 season, the winner of the NFC Championship Game has received the George Halas Trophy, named after the longtime owner and coach of the Chicago Bears, a charter member of the NFL. The original design consisted of a wooden base with a sculpted NFC logo in the front and a sculpture of various football players in the back.

It, and the Lamar Hunt Trophy that is awarded to the AFC champion, were redesigned for the 2010–11 NFL playoffs by Tiffany & Co. at the request of the NFL in an attempt to make both awards more significant.[2] The trophies are now a new, silver design with the outline of a hollow football positioned on a small base to more closely resemble the Vince Lombardi Trophy, awarded to the winner of the Super Bowl.[3]

The George Halas Trophy should not be confused with the Newspaper Enterprise Association's George S. Halas Trophy which was awarded to the NFL's defensive player of the year from 1966 to 1996 or the Pro Football Writers Association's George S. Halas Courage Award.

List of NFC Championship Games

Numbers in parentheses in the winning team column are NFC Championships won by that team. Bold indicates team won Super Bowl that year.
Numbers in parentheses in the city and stadium column is the number of times that metropolitan area and stadium has hosted a NFC Championship, respectively.
Season Playoffs Winning team Score Losing team Score Location Stadium
1970 1970–71 Dallas Cowboys (1) 17 San Francisco 49ers 10 San Francisco, California Kezar Stadium[fn 1]
1971 1971–72 Dallas Cowboys (2) 14 San Francisco 49ers 3 Irving, Texas Texas Stadium
1972 1972–73 Washington Redskins (1) 26 Dallas Cowboys 3 Washington, D.C. RFK Stadium[fn 2]
1973 1973–74 Minnesota Vikings (1) 27 Dallas Cowboys 10 Irving, Texas (2) Texas Stadium (2)
1974 1974–75 Minnesota Vikings (2) 14 Los Angeles Rams 10 Bloomington, Minnesota Metropolitan Stadium
1975 1975–76 Dallas Cowboys (3) 37 Los Angeles Rams 7 Los Angeles, California Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum[fn 3]
1976 1976–77 Minnesota Vikings (3) 24 Los Angeles Rams 13 Bloomington, Minnesota (2) Metropolitan Stadium (2)
1977 1977–78 Dallas Cowboys (4) 23 Minnesota Vikings 6 Irving, Texas (3) Texas Stadium (3)
1978 1978–79 Dallas Cowboys (5) 28 Los Angeles Rams 0 Los Angeles, California (2) Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (2)
1979 1979–80 Los Angeles Rams (1) 9 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 0 Tampa, Florida Tampa Stadium
1980 1980–81 Philadelphia Eagles (1) 20 Dallas Cowboys 7 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Veterans Stadium
1981 1981–82 San Francisco 49ers (1) 28 Dallas Cowboys 27 San Francisco, California (2) Candlestick Park
1982 1982–83 [fn 4] Washington Redskins (2) 31 Dallas Cowboys 17 Washington, D.C. (2) RFK Stadium (2)
1983 1983–84 Washington Redskins (3) 24 San Francisco 49ers 21 Washington, D.C. (3) RFK Stadium (3)
1984 1984–85 San Francisco 49ers (2) 23 Chicago Bears 0 San Francisco, California (3) Candlestick Park (2)
1985 1985–86 Chicago Bears (1) 24 Los Angeles Rams 0 Chicago, Illinois Soldier Field
1986 1986–87 New York Giants (1) 17 Washington Redskins 0 East Rutherford, New Jersey Giants Stadium
1987 1987–88 Washington Redskins (4) 17 Minnesota Vikings 10 Washington, D.C. (4) RFK Stadium (4)
1988 1988–89 San Francisco 49ers (3) 28 Chicago Bears 3 Chicago, Illinois (2) Soldier Field (2)
1989 1989–90 San Francisco 49ers (4) 30 Los Angeles Rams 3 San Francisco, California (4) Candlestick Park (3)
1990 1990–91 New York Giants (2) 15 San Francisco 49ers 13 San Francisco, California (5) Candlestick Park (4)
1991 1991–92 Washington Redskins (5) 41 Detroit Lions 10 Washington, D.C. (5) RFK Stadium (5)
1992 1992–93 Dallas Cowboys (6) 30 San Francisco 49ers 20 San Francisco, California (6) Candlestick Park (5)
1993 1993–94 Dallas Cowboys (7) 38 San Francisco 49ers 21 Irving, Texas (4) Texas Stadium (4)
1994 1994–95 San Francisco 49ers (5) 38 Dallas Cowboys 28 San Francisco, California (7) Candlestick Park (6)
1995 1995–96 Dallas Cowboys (8) 38 Green Bay Packers 27 Irving, Texas (5) Texas Stadium (5)
1996 1996–97 Green Bay Packers (1) 30 Carolina Panthers 13 Green Bay, Wisconsin Lambeau Field
1997 1997–98 Green Bay Packers (2) 23 San Francisco 49ers 10 San Francisco, California (8) 3Com Park (7)
1998 1998–99 Atlanta Falcons (1) 30a[›] Minnesota Vikings 27 Minneapolis, Minnesota (3) Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome
1999 1999–00 St. Louis Rams (2) 11 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 6 St. Louis, Missouri Trans World Dome
2000 2000–01 New York Giants (3) 41 Minnesota Vikings 0 East Rutherford, New Jersey (2) Giants Stadium (2)
2001 2001–02 St. Louis Rams (3) 29 Philadelphia Eagles 24 St. Louis, Missouri (2) Edward Jones Dome (2)
2002 2002–03 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1) 27 Philadelphia Eagles 10 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (2) Veterans Stadium (2)[fn 5]
2003 2003–04 Carolina Panthers (1) 14 Philadelphia Eagles 3 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (3) Lincoln Financial Field
2004 2004–05 Philadelphia Eagles (2) 27 Atlanta Falcons 10 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (4) Lincoln Financial Field (2)
2005 2005–06 Seattle Seahawks (1) 34 Carolina Panthers 14 Seattle, Washington Qwest Field
2006 2006–07 Chicago Bears (2) 39 New Orleans Saints 14 Chicago, Illinois (3) Soldier Field (3)
2007 2007–08 New York Giants (4) 23a[›] Green Bay Packers 20 Green Bay, Wisconsin (2) Lambeau Field (2)
2008 2008–09 Arizona Cardinals (1) 32 Philadelphia Eagles 25 Glendale, Arizona University of Phoenix Stadium
2009 2009–10 New Orleans Saints (1) 31a[›] Minnesota Vikings 28 New Orleans, Louisiana Louisiana Superdome
2010 2010–11 Green Bay Packers (3) 21 Chicago Bears 14 Chicago, Illinois (4) Soldier Field (4)
2011 2011–12 New York Giants (5) 20a[›] San Francisco 49ers 17 San Francisco, California (9) Candlestick Park (8)
2012 2012–13 San Francisco 49ers (6) 28 Atlanta Falcons 24 Atlanta, Georgia Georgia Dome
2013 2013–14 Seattle Seahawks (2) 23 San Francisco 49ers 17 Seattle, Washington (2) CenturyLink Field (2)
2014 2014–15 Seattle Seahawks (3) 28a[›] Green Bay Packers 22 Seattle, Washington (3) CenturyLink Field (3)
2015 2015–16 Carolina Panthers (2) 49 Arizona Cardinals 15 Charlotte, North Carolina Bank of America Stadium
2016 2016–17 Atlanta Falcons (2) 44 Green Bay Packers 21 Atlanta, Georgia (2) Georgia Dome (2)[fn 6]
2017 2017–18 Philadelphia Eagles (3) 38 Minnesota Vikings 7 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (5) Lincoln Financial Field (3)
2018 2018–19 Los Angeles Rams (4) 26a[›] New Orleans Saints 23 New Orleans, Louisiana (2) Mercedes-Benz Superdome (2)

^ a: Overtime

Appearances 1970–present

Num Team W L PCT PF PA Last appearance Last championship Home games Home wins Home losses Home Win Pct. Away games Away wins Away losses Away Win Pct.
14 Dallas Cowboys 8 6 .571 317 264 1995 1995 5 4 1 .800 9 4 5 .444
15 San Francisco 49ers 6 9 .400 307 289 2013 2012 9 4 5 .444 6 2 4 .333
6 Washington Redskins 5 1 .833 139 78 1991 1991 5 5 0 1.000 1 0 1 .000
5 New York Giants 5 0 1.000 116 50 2011 2011 2 2 0 1.000 3 3 0 1.000
10 Los Angeles/St. Louis Ramsb[›] 4 6 .333 82 187 2018 2018 4 2 2 .500 6 2 4 .333
9 Minnesota Vikings 3 6 .333 136 175 2017 1976 3 2 1 .667 6 1 5 .200
7 Green Bay Packers 3 4 .429 143 126 2016 2010 2 1 1 .500 5 2 3 .400
7 Philadelphia Eagles 3 4 .429 147 126 2017 2017 5 3 2 .600 2 0 2 .000
3 Seattle Seahawksc[›] 3 0 1.000 85 53 2014 2014 3 3 0 1.000 0 0 0 —–
5 Chicago Bears 2 3 .400 80 86 2010 2006 4 2 2 .500 1 0 1 .000
4 Atlanta Falcons 2 2 .500 108 103 2016 2016 2 1 1 .500 2 1 1 .500
4 Carolina Panthers 2 2 .500 90 82 2015 2015 1 1 0 1.000 3 1 2 .333
3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1 2 .333 33 30 2002 2002 1 0 1 .000 2 1 1 .500
3 New Orleans Saints 1 2 .333 45 67 2018 2009 1 1 0 1.000 1 0 1 .000
2 Arizona Cardinals 1 1 .500 47 74 2015 2008 1 1 0 1.000 1 0 1 .000
1 Detroit Lions 0 1 .000 10 41 1991 N/A 0 0 0 —– 1 0 1 .000

^ b: Includes appearances during their first tenure in Los Angeles (the 1970 merger to 1994), where they went 1–6 in NFC Championship Games; and their period as the St. Louis Rams (1995–2015), where they went 2–0 in NFC Championship Games.

^ c: The Seahawks were members of the NFC in 1976 and then members of the AFC from 1977 to 2001, before rejoining the NFC in 2002. Including their only appearance in the AFC Championship Game (0–1), they hold a combined 3–1 record between both Conference Championship Games.

NFC Championship Game records

Nfc-championship
NFC Championship Game logo, 2001–2005
  • Most victories: 8 – Dallas Cowboys (19701971, 1975, 19771978, 19921993, 1995)
  • Most losses: 9** – San Francisco 49ers (1970–1971, 1983, 1990, 1992–1993, 1997, 2011, 2013)
  • Most appearances: 15 – San Francisco 49ers (1970–1971, 1981, 1983–1984, 1988–1990, 19921994, 1997, 2011–2013)
  • Most consecutive appearances: 4 (tie, 2 teams, 3 times)
    • Dallas Cowboys (1970–1973, 1992–1995)
    • Philadelphia Eagles (20012004)
  • Most consecutive victories: 2 – (tie, 6 teams, 8 times)
    • Dallas Cowboys (1970–1971, 1977–1978, 1992–1993)
    • Minnesota Vikings (1973–1974)
    • Washington Redskins (1982–1983)
    • San Francisco 49ers (19881989)
    • Green Bay Packers (19961997)
    • Seattle Seahawks (2013–2014)
  • Most victories without a loss: 5** – New York Giants (1986, 1990, 2000, 2007, 2011)
  • Most appearances without a win: 1 – Detroit Lions (1991)
  • Most consecutive appearances without a win: 6 – Minnesota Vikings (1977, 1987, 1998, 2000, 2009, 2017)
  • Most defensive shutouts: 2**; – New York Giants (Jan 11, 1987, 17–0 vs Redskins and Jan 14, 2001, 41–0 vs Vikings)
  • Most times shut out: 2**; – Los Angeles Rams (Jan 7, 1979, 0–28 vs Cowboys and Jan 12, 1986, 0–24 vs Bears)
  • Most consecutive losses: 3* – (tie, 3 times)
    • Los Angeles Rams (1974–1976)
    • Dallas Cowboys (1980–1982)
    • Philadelphia Eagles (20012003)
  • Most games hosted: 9 – San Francisco 49ers (1970, 1981, 1984, 1989–1990, 1992, 1994, 1997, 2011)
  • Most numerous matchup: 6** – Dallas Cowboys vs. San Francisco 49ers (1970–1971, 1981, 1992–1994)
  • Most points scored: 49 points – January 24, 2016 – Carolina Panthers vs. Arizona Cardinals (2015)
  • Largest margin of victory: 41 points – January 14, 2001 (2000), New York Giants (41) vs. Minnesota Vikings (0)
  • Closest margin of victory: 1 point – San Francisco 49ers (28) vs. Dallas Cowboys (27), 1981 NFC Championship Game**
  • Fewest points scored, winning team: 9**[›]; January 6, 1980 (1979) – Los Angeles Rams vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Fewest points scored: 0*; (tie, 5 teams, 6 times)
  • Most points scored, losing team: 28 (tie); January 15, 1995 (1994) – Dallas Cowboys vs. San Francisco 49ers, January 24, 2010 (2009) – Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints
  • Most combined points scored: 66; January 15, 1995 (1994) – San Francisco 49ers (38) vs. Dallas Cowboys (28)
  • Fewest combined points scored: 9**; January 6, 1980 (1979) – Los Angeles Rams (9) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0)
  • Longest game: 71 minutes, 52 seconds**; January 17, 1999 (1998) – Atlanta Falcons (30) @ Minnesota Vikings (27), OT
  • Most NFC Championships won in overtime: 2** – New York Giants (2007, 2011)
  • Most NFC Championships lost in overtime: 2* (tie) – Green Bay Packers (2007, 2014) Minnesota Vikings (1998, 2009)
  • Current teams which have never hosted an NFC Championship Game:
  • Current teams which have never won an NFC Championship:
  • Longest drought without appearing in an NFC Championship Game: 26 years
    • Detroit Lions (last appearance – 1991)
    • Washington Redskins (last appearance – 1991)
  • Longest drought without an NFC Championship: 48 years***; Detroit Lions
  • Largest comeback: 17 points (trailed 17–0; won 28–24), San Francisco 49ers, 2012
  • Overtime games:
    • 1998 Atlanta Falcons 30 Minnesota Vikings 27
    • 2007 New York Giants 23 Green Bay Packers 20
    • 2009 New Orleans Saints 31 Minnesota Vikings 28
    • 2011 New York Giants 20 San Francisco 49ers 17
    • 2014 Seattle Seahawks 28 Green Bay Packers 22
    • 2018 Los Angeles Rams 26 New Orleans Saints 23


Notes:

  • *Tied for Conference Championship record
  • ^ **: Conference Championship record

TV ratings

  • 2006: 35.233 million viewers; post gun: 24.641 million; post-game: 15.279 million
  • 2007: million viewers; post-game: million [1] [2]
  • 2008: million viewers; post-game: million [3]
  • 2009: million viewers; post-game: 23.83 million (10:27pm–11:02pm) [4]
  • 2010: 57.9 million viewers [5]
  • 2011: 51.9 million viewers;
  • 2012: 57.6 million viewers [6]; Post Game: million [7]
  • 2013: 42.0 million viewers; post-game: million [8]
  • 2014: 55.91 million viewers (peak: 66.3 million viewers); (6:42-9:59pm); post-game (9:55-9:59pm): 44.903 million [9]; The OT (9:59-10:19pm): 30.339 million viewers [10] [11] [12]
  • 2015: 49.8 million viewers (peak: 60.5 million viewers); The OT: 16.280 million viewers (6:40-7:06pm)[13]

Footnotes

  1. ^ Final NFL Game at Kezar Stadium.
  2. ^ The 1972 Dallas Cowboys were the first ever NFC wild card franchise to advance to the Conference championship game.
  3. ^ The 1975 Dallas Cowboys were the first ever wild card franchise to advance to the Super Bowl.
  4. ^ played on Saturday
  5. ^ Final NFL Game at Veterans Stadium.
  6. ^ Final NFL Game at the Georgia Dome.
  7. ^ a b The Lions last hosted and won the 1957 NFL Championship Game during the pre-Super Bowl era.

References

  1. ^ "Playoff Games". NFL Record and Fact Book 2009. Time, Inc. Home Entertainment. ISBN 978-1-60320-809-3.
  2. ^ "NFC's Halas trophy has new look". Chicago Sun-Times.
  3. ^ Bell, Jarrett (January 25, 2011). "NFL Replay: Gritty Steelers aren't pretty, but they are Super". USA Today.
1971 San Francisco 49ers season

The 1971 San Francisco 49ers season was the team's 22nd year with the National Football League. The 49ers appeared in the NFC Championship Game for the second consecutive year. The team moved into a new home, Candlestick Park. After winning two of their first three games on the road the 49ers lost their first game at Candlestick Park to the Los Angeles Rams 20-13. The 49ers would rebound and win the NFC West for the second year in a row by posting a 9-5 record. However, for the second year in a row the 49ers season ended in disappointment with a 14-3 loss in the NFC Championship Game to the Cowboys in Dallas.

1978 Los Angeles Rams season

The 1978 Los Angeles Rams season was the team's 41st year with the National Football League and the 33rd season in Los Angeles.

The Rams won their sixth-straight division title and appeared in the NFC Championship game, only to get shutout by the Dallas Cowboys 0–28.

1986 Washington Redskins season

The 1986 Washington Redskins season was the franchise's 55th season in the National Football League (NFL) and their 51st in Washington, D.C.. The team improved on their 10–6 record from 1985 and returned to the playoffs after missing them the previous year, finishing with a 12–4 record, a second place finish in the NFC East, and qualified for the playoffs as a wild card. They defeated the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Wild Card Game at RFK Stadium, then upset the defending champion Chicago Bears in the Divisional Playoffs. The season came to an end in the NFC Championship Game when the Redskins were defeated by their division rivals, the New York Giants.

1993 San Francisco 49ers season

The 1993 San Francisco 49ers season was the team's 44th year with the National Football League. The 49ers appeared in the NFC Championship Game for the second consecutive season and for the fifth time in six seasons. For the first time since 1978, Joe Montana was not on their active roster; specifically, the 49ers had traded him away to the Chiefs in April.

1995 Dallas Cowboys season

The 1995 Dallas Cowboys season was the franchise's 36th season in the National Football League and was the second year under head coach Barry Switzer and final of the three Super Bowl titles they would win during 1992 to 1995. Dallas would be the first team to ever win three Super Bowls in a span of four seasons. Switzer guided the Cowboys to a fifth Super Bowl victory by defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XXX. As of 2018, this is the last time the Cowboys appeared in the NFC Championship Game, and in turn, their last Super Bowl appearance.

1996 Green Bay Packers season

The 1996 Green Bay Packers season was their 78th season overall and their 76th in the National Football League, which culminated with the franchise winning its third Super Bowl and league-record 12th NFL Championship. The Packers posted a league-best 13–3 regular season won-loss record, going 8–0 at home and 5–3 on the road. It was the first time since 1962 that the club went undefeated at home. Additionally, the Packers had the NFL's highest-scoring offense (456) and allowed the fewest points on defense (210). Green Bay was the first team to accomplish both feats in the same season since the undefeated 1972 Miami Dolphins. They finished the season with the number one ranked offense, defense, and special teams. They also set a then NFL record for the fewest touchdowns allowed in a 16-game season, with 19. The Packers also allowed the fewest yards in the NFL and set a record for punt return yardage. Brett Favre won his second straight MVP award while also throwing for a career-high and league leading 39 touchdown passes.

In the postseason, the Packers defeated the San Francisco 49ers in the divisional round and the Carolina Panthers in the NFC Championship Game. Green Bay beat the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI to win their third Super Bowl and twelfth NFL Championship.In 2007, the 1996 Packers were ranked as the 16th greatest Super Bowl champions on the NFL Network's documentary series America's Game: The Super Bowl Champions. The 1996 Packers were ranked 6th-greatest Super Bowl team of all-time by a similar panel done by ESPN and released in 2007. As of 2019, the Packers are the only team since the implementation of the salary cap to score the most points and allow the fewest in the regular season.

1997 San Francisco 49ers season

The 1997 San Francisco 49ers season was the team's 48th year with the National Football League. The franchise appeared in the NFC Championship Game for the fifth time in the 1990s. This season marked their last appearance in the NFC title game until the 2011 season. The team's playoff run was ended by the Green Bay Packers for the third straight year.

1998 Minnesota Vikings season

The 1998 season was the Minnesota Vikings' 38th in the National Football League. The Vikings became the third team in NFL history to win 15 games during the regular season, which earned them the National Football Conference (NFC) Central division championship and the first overall seed in the NFC playoffs. The team entered the playoffs as the favorite to win Super Bowl XXXIII, but their season ended when they were upset by the Atlanta Falcons in the 1998 NFC Championship Game.

The 1998 Vikings team is known for its offense, which featured veteran quarterback Randall Cunningham, running back Robert Smith, and Hall of Fame wide receivers Cris Carter and a rookie Randy Moss. The team scored an NFL record 556 points during the season, and Moss set an NFL record by catching 17 touchdown passes, the most ever by a rookie. On special teams, Gary Anderson became the first placekicker in NFL history to convert every field goal and extra point he attempted. The Vikings defense ranked sixth in the league in points allowed and was led by Hall of Fame defensive tackle John Randle.

During the NFC Championship Game, Gary Anderson missed a field goal for the first time that season. Had the field goal been converted, it would have given the Vikings a nearly insurmountable 10-point lead late in the game. Instead, the Falcons tied the game on their ensuing drive and won by a field goal in sudden death overtime.

The 1998 Vikings were the first NFL team to compile a regular season record of 15–1 and not win the Super Bowl, and numerous publications have recognized the team as one of the greatest to never win the league championship. Their loss in the NFC Championship Game is also considered by their fans to be one of the most devastating losses in NFL history.

1998 NFC Championship Game

The 1998 NFC Championship Game was a National Football League (NFL) game played on January 17, 1999, to determine the National Football Conference (NFC) champion for the 1998 NFL season. The visiting Atlanta Falcons defeated the heavily favored Minnesota Vikings 30–27 in sudden death overtime to win their first conference championship and advance to the franchise's first Super Bowl appearance. As a result of their loss, the Vikings were eliminated from the playoffs and became the first team in the history of the NFL to compile a regular season record of 15–1 and not win the Super Bowl.The game is considered one of the most memorable conference championship games in NFL history. In 1998, the Vikings were the favorite to win the Super Bowl, as they had set the NFL record for most points scored by a team in a single season. They had gone undefeated in their home stadium, the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, during the regular season, and their placekicker, Gary Anderson, had become the first kicker in NFL history to convert every field goal and extra point attempt in a season. At a critical moment late in the game, Anderson missed a field goal for the first time that year, which, if converted, would have given the Vikings a nearly insurmountable 10-point lead. Instead, the Falcons scored a touchdown to tie the game on their ensuing drive and subsequently won by a field goal in overtime. Due to its impact on the game's outcome, Anderson's missed field goal has since become the focal point of the loss.The Falcons lost 34–19 to the Denver Broncos two weeks later in Super Bowl XXXIII. Neither the Falcons nor the Vikings would return to the Super Bowl until the 2016 NFL season, when the Falcons lost in overtime to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI. Although the game long stood as the proudest moment in the history of the Falcons franchise, the 1998 NFC Championship Game has been remembered for the effect it had on the Vikings players and their fan base, as it is seen by some sportswriters as one of the most devastating losses in NFL history.

49ers–Cowboys rivalry

The 49ers–Cowboys rivalry is a National Football League (NFL) rivalry between the San Francisco 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys lead the series 18-17-1. It is one of the great inter-division rivalry games in the NFL. The two teams do not play every year; instead, they play once every three years due to the NFL's rotating division schedules, or if the two teams finish in the same place in their respective divisions, they would play the ensuing season. Sports Illustrated ranked it as the eighth best rivalry while the NFL Top 10 ranked this rivalry to be the tenth best in the NFL. The rivalry was also the subject of two 2015 episodes of NFL Network's The Timeline series.

49ers–Giants rivalry

The 49ers–Giants rivalry is a National Football (NFL) rivalry between the San Francisco 49ers and the New York Giants. It is one of the great inter-division rivalry games in the NFL. The two teams do not play every year; instead, they play once every three years due to the NFL's rotating division schedules, or if the two teams finish in the same place in their respective divisions, they would play the ensuing season. Since 1982, the 49ers and Giants have met eight times in the postseason (including two NFC Championship Games), the most times two teams have met in the playoffs in the NFL since that time.

Both teams have won 16 regular season games and 4 postseason games against each other for a total of 20 wins each. However, San Francisco leads the overall series 18–11 since 1980.

Guy McIntyre

Guy Maurice McIntyre (born February 17, 1961) is a former professional American football offensive lineman in the National Football League. He played in three Super Bowls and five Pro Bowls as a member of the San Francisco 49ers.

McIntyre was one of the first linemen in the modern age of the NFL to be used as a blocking back/fullback (in Bill Walsh's "Angus" short-yardage formation); it was when this offense was used in the 1984 NFC Championship Game in the defeat of the Chicago Bears that motivated Bears coach Mike Ditka to use the same formation the following year, with William Perry, the "Refrigerator" as the blocking back, though Perry would also be used as a runner.McIntyre attended Thomasville High School, where he played high school football for the Bulldogs.

Lawrence Tynes

Lawrence James Henry Tynes (born May 3, 1978) is a Scottish-born former American football placekicker. After playing soccer for Milton High School a coach suggested he try out for the football team as a kicker. He played college football at Troy and was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs as an undrafted free agent in 2001. After four seasons in Kansas City, he was traded to the Giants in 2007. In his first season with the Giants, he kicked the game-winning field goal in overtime against the Green Bay Packers in the 2007–08 NFC Championship Game, which qualified the Giants for Super Bowl XLII. Four years later, he kicked another overtime field goal against the San Francisco 49ers in the 2011–12 NFC Championship Game, which qualified the Giants for Super Bowl XLVI. He has experienced his best success in New York, winning two Super Bowl championships in 2007 and 2011, winning against the New England Patriots in both games.

Tynes is the only player in NFL history to have two overtime game-winning field goals in the playoffs. Tynes kicked the longest post-season field goal in Lambeau Field post-season history (47 yards) in the 2007 NFC Championship Game. He then kicked a 31-yard field goal in overtime in the NFC Championship game to advance the New York Giants to Super Bowl XLVI in 2011.

List of NFC Championship Game broadcasters

The following is a list of the television and radio networks and announcers who have broadcast the National Football Conference Championship Game throughout the years. The years listed concentrate on the season instead of the calendar year that the game took place. The forerunner to the NFC Championship Game (prior to the 1970 AFL–NFL merger) was the NFL Championship Game.

List of NFC champions

The National Football Conference (NFC) is one of two conferences within the National Football League (NFL), the American Football Conference (AFC) being the other. Prior to 1970, there were two separate professional football leagues, the National Football League and the American Football League (AFL). In 1970, the AFL merged with the NFL. As part of the merger, the former AFL teams, plus three former NFL teams (the Baltimore Colts, the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers), were placed into the AFC. The remaining former NFL teams were placed in the NFC. As of the 2018 season only the Detroit Lions have not won an NFC championship.

List of NFL Championship Game broadcasters

The following is a list of the television networks and announcers that broadcast the National Football League Championship Game from the 1940s until the 1969 NFL season (after which the NFL merged with the American Football League). The National Football League first held a championship game in 1933, it took until 1948 before a championship game would be televised. The successor to the NFL Championship Game is the NFC Championship Game.

NFL's Greatest Games

NFL's Greatest Games is a series of television programs that air on NFL Network, ESPN and related networks. They are condensed versions of some of the most famous games in the history of the National Football League, using footage and sound captured by NFL Films, as well as original interviews. All installments produced before 2015 are 90 minutes in length, and are presented with a title in respect to the game being featured. Starting in 2015, new installments produced run for either 30 minutes, 60 minutes, or 90 minutes, and no longer have a title beyond the actual game itself that is featured.

The series began with Super Bowl III, the New York Jets' 16-7 upset of the Baltimore Colts. ESPN debuted the program in 1999, on the 30th anniversary of the original game. More telecasts followed in the ensuing months.

In 2007, NFL Network unveiled Super Bowl Classics, a version of this program using complete videotaped games.

The "NFL's Greatest Games" banner is also occasionally used for episodes of the 1970s public television series The Way It Was that covered classic NFL games prior to 1958.

National Football Conference

The National Football Conference (NFC) is one of the two conferences of the National Football League (NFL), the highest professional level of American football in the United States. This conference and its counterpart the American Football Conference (AFC), currently contain 16 teams organized into 4 divisions. Both conferences were created as part of the 1970 merger with the rival American Football League (AFL), with all ten of the former AFL teams and three NFL teams forming the AFC while the remaining thirteen NFL clubs formed the NFC. A series of league expansions and division realignments have occurred since the merger, thus making the current total of 16 clubs in each conference. The current NFC champions are the Los Angeles Rams, who defeated the New Orleans Saints in the 2018 NFC Championship Game for their fourth conference championship.

The Catch (American football)

The Catch was the winning touchdown reception in the 1981 NFC Championship Game played between the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on January 10, 1982, as part of the 1981–82 NFL playoffs following the 1981 NFL season. With 58 seconds left in the game and the 49ers facing 3rd-and-3, San Francisco tight end Dwight Clark made a leaping grab in the back of the end zone to complete a 6-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Joe Montana, enabling the 49ers to defeat the Cowboys, 28–27. The Catch is widely regarded as one of the most memorable events in National Football League (NFL) history. It came at the end of a 14-play, 83-yard drive engineered by Montana. The game represented the end of the Cowboys' domination in the NFC since the conference's inception in 1970, and the beginning of the 49ers' rise as an NFL dynasty in the 1980s.

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