NFC vs AFC: who has won more Super Bowls?
Originally conceived as a fight for pride, to determine a final answer as to which professional football league was more competitive, is anything conclusive
Prior to the 1970 merger between the American Football League and the National Football League, there had been four annual games pitting the Champion of each league against each other to determine an overall top team. Officially known as the AFL-NFL World Championship Game, the fixture had been informally known as the “Super Bowl” amongst fans, and even referred to as such in on-air commentary.
From the merger onward, the game has been officially dubbed the “Super Bowl” and still sees the American Conference champion face the National Conference champion for gridiron supremacy. As we near the fifty-sixth edition of this contest, the original question that it was meant to answer is still open to interpretation. Namely, is the AFC or the NFC the “superior” league?
The NFC is ahead in the Vince Lombardi Trophy count but only by one game, with 28 wins to the AFC’s 27. The football fan might be forgiven for being tribal about the dominance of a particular conference, since most of these wins tend to come in bunches. The AFC won 11 of the first 15 editions and by the early 80’s certainly looked like the stronger of the two conferences. But the rise of the 49ers in 1982 saw the ushering in of an era in which the NFC was unstoppable, winning 15 of the following 16 Super Bowls. But the millennium saw the pendulum swing yet again with the AFC taking 15 out of the ensuing 24 games.
If past is prologue, then one thing that we might say is that the momentum seems to be settling into a more level contest. The two conferences seem more evenly matched than at any time in living memory and perhaps the days of the lopsided Super Bowl are, mercifully, coming to an end.