Will the Super Bowl reflect how the NFC has dominated the AFC in 2012?

By
Updated: February 1, 2013
Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, who went 11-1 against the AFC and 1-3 against the NFC, are the poster children for the AFC's struggles against the NFC in 2012.

Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, who went 11-1 against the AFC and 1-3 against the NFC, are the poster children for the AFC’s struggles against the NFC in 2012.

When the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens meet in the Super Bowl, nobody knows who will win. Both teams feature talented, versatile rosters led by quarterbacks playing well in the playoffs, and football fans can only hope for an entertaining, back-and-forth game that comes down to the last minutes.

That was not the case this season, however, for the two conferences these teams represent. The NFC has dominated the AFC right from the start, and a closer look at the numbers after the season reveals just how wide the disparity between these two conferences was this year. Let’s dive right in and see just how ugly it was for the AFC.

Head-to-Head

Every year, each team plays one division (four teams) from the opposite conference. This means that there are 64 interconference games each year, and the NFC went 39-25 in those games in 2012, for an astounding 0.609 win percentage.

This was not dependent upon only a few teams, as you can clearly see in the table below. Of the sixteen NFC teams, twelve had a higher win percentage in their AFC games than they did in their NFC games; one had the same win percentage, and only three had a worse win percentage against the AFC than they did against the NFC.

NFC TeamAFC Win %NFC Win %Difference
Atlanta1.000.750.25
San Francisco1.000.640.36
Green Bay0.750.670.08
Washington0.500.67-0.17
Seattle0.750.670.08
Minnesota0.750.580.17
Chicago0.750.580.17
New York Giants0.250.67-0.42
Dallas0.750.420.33
St. Louis0.250.55-0.30
New Orleans0.500.420.08
Carolina0.500.420.08
Tampa Bay0.750.330.42
Arizona0.500.250.25
Detroit0.250.250.00
Philadelphia0.500.170.33
Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons went 4-0 against the AFC, including a win over the #1 AFC seed Denver Broncos.

Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons went 4-0 against the AFC, including a win over the #1 seeded Denver Broncos.

Playoff Teams

From top to bottom, it is easy to see that the NFC was a significantly stronger conference than the AFC. Is the same true for playoff teams from each conference, or did the NFC look good simply because it was deeper?

There were nine matchups this year between NFC and AFC where both teams ended up going to the playoffs. The NFC won six of those nine tilts (0.667 win %), but that is a small sample size. Perhaps a better way to measure these playoff entrants is to examine the records of only playoff teams against their opponents from the other conference.

AFCNFC
Win % in conference0.7500.662
Win % out of conference0.5830.792

The chart above shows the win percentage of playoff teams against in-conference and out-of-conference opponents. The trends here are extremely clear and extremely revealing. The AFC playoff teams had a significantly higher win percentage against their fellow AFC teams than NFC teams, while the NFC playoff teams beefed their records up against the AFC more than their own conference.

Conclusion

The numbers are in, and they don’t lie. No matter what way you look at it, the NFC was a much better conference than the AFC in 2012. But it is important to note that this does not mean anything about who will win the Super Bowl. The NFC champion San Francisco 49ers have come through the tougher conference in both the regular season and the playoffs, but that does not mean they will beat (or even should be favored over) the AFC champion Baltimore Ravens.

Either an AFC or NFC team could easily leave New Orleans with the Vince Lombardi trophy Sunday night, but that will say nothing about which conference had the better year. Regardless of the outcome Sunday night, NFC fans (and that is all of us here at WCSN) can rest assured that they have clear conference bragging rights until the AFC can level the playing field.

All together now... NFC!  NFC! NFC!

All together now . . . NFC! NFC! NFC!

S-E-C! S-E-C!

Oops, wrong brand of football. My bad. Same principle though. Until proven otherwise, the NFC remains king of the NFL.

About the author(s)

Johnathan Wood is a passionate fan of the Chicago Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks, Cubs, and Northwestern Wildcats. He enjoys being the beat writer for the Bears at Water Cooler Sports and being obnoxiously unapologetic about how his favorite teams are more awesome than yours. Feel free to email him at [email protected] if you have any comments or suggestions. Connect with .

321 comments
aciddragon
aciddragon moderator

hey SDL you still around?

Buhlitz
Buhlitz

I remember at the start of the 2011 season packers fans were saying jennings > megatron

adambballn
adambballn

Receivers I would rather have than Victor Cruz...

AJ Green, Julio Jones, Michael Crabtree, Calvin Johnson, Roddy White, Brandon Marshall, Greg Jennings, Dewayne Bowe, Vincent Jackson, Demarius Thomas, Hakeem Nicks, Dez Bryant, Larry Fitzgerald, Mike Wallace, Andre Johnson, Reggie Wayne (for a year at least)... basically guys that can play on the outside.

aciddragon
aciddragon moderator

the Japanese are just plain weird, the most popular for of cosmetic surgery is to get snaggle teeth 

aciddragon
aciddragon moderator

so since the Chiefs have to spend about $30 million in the offseason to get top the cap floor, who all do they look at?

Joedirte
Joedirte

Victor Cruz is a restricted Free Agent and can negoatiate with any team and the Giants have the right to match or recieve a 1st round pick for him. If I'm the Vikings I give Cruz a serious look and maybe over pay for him to Force the Giants hand.

Joedirte
Joedirte

@Buhlitz Well I was the one who got pissed off at Rich McCay for not trading up to the #2 spot from 7 when the Lions didnt really want to take yet another WR, but he thought Jamaal Anderson would be a good player........All Georgia people, especially Atlanta people were pissed with the Falcons because 2007 was our worst year start to finish

aciddragon
aciddragon moderator

@Buhlitz and i remember at the start of the 2012 season Lions fans saying Stafford was a top 5 QB 

adambballn
adambballn

@Buhlitz   If you recall I was defending CJ adamantly as a top 5 receiver on the Gulag when Cris Carter dissed him...

Joedirte
Joedirte

@adambballn Apparently getting a guy that averages 1200 yards and 10 TDs isnt that good. Also considering hes 24 should also play into factoring for a long term WR

aciddragon
aciddragon moderator

@adambballn hell i'd take Cobb too, with him he also doubles as a damn good kick returner 

Buhlitz
Buhlitz

@Aciddragon  Japanese are fucking weird. have you seen their commercials?

Scratch that, all of asia is fucking weird.

adambballn
adambballn

@Joedirte   If no one was giving up a 1st round pick for Wallace last year no one will be giving one up for Cruz this year.

Joedirte
Joedirte

Well the main thing the Vikings need is a WR to take the pressure off of AP and to help Ponder develop.....Now would you rather get a WR at the 23rd pick or get a Pro Bowl WR

Joedirte
Joedirte

IMO Cruz is my 4th rated long term WR I would want

1. Megatron

2. Julio Jones

3. AJ Green

robertj72
robertj72

@Joedirte I would do it if I were the Redskins....win/win...they need a top notch WR for Griffin and if they offer him a ton and NYG match they have weakened them financially.

Buhlitz
Buhlitz

@Joedirte cruz to the lions, all we have to do is dump half our roster to free up some space

aciddragon
aciddragon moderator

@Joedirte but in 7 games he had 50 yards or less

in 3 games less than 60 

and in 5 games he had over 100 

the guy is boom or bust 

adambballn
adambballn

@Joedirte@adambballn 

I think it's more important to have good outside guys than a good slot receiver.  

I'm not saying he's not good... but it's more important to pay your outside guys, not your slot guy.

aciddragon
aciddragon moderator

@Buhlitz hell have you seen there porn.........

oh wait what am i thinking of course you have 

robertj72
robertj72

@Joedirte @Aciddragon There are quality TEs out there. They will surely take a QB 1st round. they need to offer Hillis money again. His deal was only one year i think.

aciddragon
aciddragon moderator

@adambballn hell teams wouldn't part with a 3rd round pick for Sammie Lee Hill from Detroit last year and he's worth that 

aciddragon
aciddragon moderator

@Joedirte they have Harvin coming back (maybe if they don't trade him) but they need a big WR and Cruz isn't that, if he isn't franchised i'd take a look at Bowe first 

adambballn
adambballn

@Aciddragon  @adambballn @Joedirte   Other than those 5 100 yard games against 4 of the worst pass defense in the league he only went over 60 yards in one other game... 67 against Pittsburgh.

adambballn
adambballn

@Aciddragon  @Joedirte  His 5 100 yard games were against; TB, NO's, WAS (2x's), and Philly... some of the WORST pass defenses in the league this year.

Joedirte
Joedirte

@Aciddragon  @Joedirte Well if he was inactive for every game his 1st season then he DOES have 2 playing season under his belt. I think the NFL should go to MLB type of rookie  rules because Kaepernick should get some ROY love

aciddragon
aciddragon moderator

@Joedirte whoops he played in 3 games didn't record a catch then went on IR 

adambballn
adambballn

@Joedirte @adambballn   I think big physical receivers like Vincent Jackson who can go up and get the ball will always get paid much more than a guy like Cruz.  I'd be willing to bet that if Cruz left the Giants he'd never match his rookie season again.

aciddragon
aciddragon moderator

@Joedirte it's his 3rd season, his rookie season he was inactive for every game 

Joedirte
Joedirte

@adambballn @Joedirte Maybe but he has had 2 Pro Bowl seasons in his 1st 2 seasons and hes 24, Its like trading for a proven draft pick. I mean he probably will get vincent Jackson type money

adambballn
adambballn

@Joedirte @adambballn  We'll see next season... but he's not worth the kind of money he's trying to get from the Giants.  He still has a lot to prove.

Joedirte
Joedirte

@adambballn @Joedirte Well many players have sophmore slumps....Cam Newton ring a bell, and I'll tell you this Russell Wilson, RG3 and Luck will have down years after DC study them all offseason

adambballn
adambballn

@Joedirte @adambballn   Definitely... I'd want him on my team... I didn't say I wouldn't want him but I'd rather have most of those other guys ahead of him.  Check out his game log this year... he beat up bad defenses.  He snuck up on a lot of people last year, they were more ready for him this season.

Joedirte
Joedirte

@adambballn @Joedirte they move him and Nicks around and he beats #1 corners all the time. I know he might get too much love from ESPN because hes a New York guy but this guy is a playmaker and I would want him on my team if he were available. And as a long term WR looking into the future 8-10 years I only have Megatron, Julio Jones and AJ Green ahead of him

aciddragon
aciddragon moderator

@adambballn @Aciddragon  i'm not saying he is in the same catagory as most of those guys but i'd take him long before Thomas, that guy was the second best guy on his team and didn't improve that much with Peyton throwing to him over Tebow1

adambballn
adambballn

@Aciddragon  @adambballn   I personally don't think Cruz is a top 10 receiver either.  I think he's a slot guy, who rarely if ever faces a double team, that snuck up on a lot of people last year due to being a rookie.  The only big games he had last season were against awful pass defenses... TB, NO's, Washington...

Joedirte
Joedirte

@Aciddragon  @Joedirte Oh yea Bowe will most likely be available because the Chiefs dont really want him because of the decline and he would be too much to Franchise back to back years

robertj72
robertj72

@Aciddragon  @Joedirte I hate Bowe and i wouldn't want him within 100 miles of my team. All of his stats come in 4 games of the year and always late when the game is already lost and they don't matter. Bowe must have at least 50% junk time stats.

robertj72
robertj72

I like Nicks and Wallace more.

robertj72
robertj72

@Joedirte @robertj72 yeah if it has to be 10 years you may be right although I don't even think Cruz is the best young WR on his own team.


aciddragon
aciddragon moderator

@robertj72 he's a restricted free agent, he only has 3 years or less of NFL time so the Giants can basically put a less expensive franchise tag on him

robertj72
robertj72

@Joedirte @robertj72 Why not...paying a player has nothing to do with draft picks. Should be easier since they don't have to hand out 1st round money.

Buhlitz
Buhlitz

@Joedirte @Buhlitz but honestly the lions got royally fucked with the rookie wages (suh and stafford are making WAAAAY too much)