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The National Football Conference – Eastern Division or NFC East is one of the four divisions of the National Football Conference (NFC) in the National Football League (NFL). It currently has four members: the Dallas Cowboys, the New York Giants, the Philadelphia Eagles, and the Washington Redskins.
|Conference||National Football Conference|
|League||National Football League|
|Founded||1967 (as the NFL Eastern Conference Capitol Division)|
|No. of teams||4|
|Most recent NFC East champion(s)||Dallas Cowboys|
|Most NFC East titles||Dallas Cowboys (23 titles)|
The division was formed in 1967 as the National Football League Capitol Division, keeping with the theme of having all of the league's divisions starting with the letter "C." The division was so named because it was centered on the capital of the United States, Washington, D.C. In 1967 and 1969 the teams in the NFL Capitol Division were Dallas, Philadelphia, Washington and the expansion team New Orleans Saints, which had been replaced by the New York Giants for the 1968 season. As of 2018, the NFC East is the only division in the league in which all four current teams have at least one Super Bowl win.
The NFC East has a long history of being geographically inaccurate. After the 1970 NFL merger, the Cowboys and St. Louis Cardinals remained a part of the East until 2002 despite being geographically west of most teams in the conference.
To begin with, the Cowboys were only located east of two NFC teams that were outside of the East division (Rams and 49ers from the West division) while the Cardinals were east of one additional such team (Vikings from the Central division). The Tampa Bay Buccaneers joined the Central as an expansion team in 1976; they’re located east of Dallas and St. Louis. The Cardinals relocated to Phoenix to start the 1988 season and stayed in the East; that made them located west of every team in the NFC except for the Rams and 49ers. The Rams relocated from Los Angeles to St. Louis to start the 1995 season and stayed in the West, while the Carolina Panthers joined the West as an expansion team that same season; this made the Cardinals and Cowboys west of every team in the conference except for the 49ers from 1995–2001.
The NFC East teams have combined to be the most successful division in the NFL since the 1970 NFL merger with 21 NFC Championship wins and 13 Super Bowl victories, the highest marks of any division in the NFL. The division features a number of prominent rivalries such as the Cowboys–Redskins rivalry and Eagles–Giants rivalry. Because the division's teams are in some of the United States' largest media markets (New York No. 1, Philadelphia, No. 4, Dallas-Fort Worth No. 5, and Washington No. 6), the NFC East receives a high amount of coverage from national sports media outlets. In the early 1990s the division claimed four consecutive Super Bowl champions, all 4 against the Buffalo Bills, with the Giants and Redskins respectively winning back-to-back in Super Bowls XXV and XXVI; and the Cowboys winning twice after in Super Bowls XXVII and XXVIII. Those same three teams won seven out of ten Super Bowls, from 1986-87 to 1995-96 (the 49ers won the other three during that span).
The Philadelphia Eagles are the only NFC East team to actually play in the city of the team's naming, Philadelphia. The other three teams play in suburbs of the major cities they are named after. The Dallas Cowboys play in Arlington, Texas. The Washington Redskins play in Landover, Maryland and the New York Giants play in East Rutherford, New Jersey, where they share a stadium with the New York Jets. Almost analogously, all four teams in the AFC East do not play within the boundaries of their metro areas’ main cities.
The NFC East can also be called the most valuable NFL division. All four teams in the division are in the top ten of most valuable NFL franchises (Cowboys #1; Giants #3; Redskins #4; Eagles #10). The next closest division is the AFC North, which is not completed until the 26th ranked Cincinnati Bengals.
Place cursor over year for division champ or Super Bowl team.
|NFL Eastern Conference
|NFC East Division[B]|
|N.O. Saints||NY Giants||N.O. Saints||New York Giants|
|St. Louis Cardinals[C]||Phoenix Cardinals||Arizona Cardinals[D]|
|NFC East Division [D]|
|New York Giants|
|Team not in division Division Won Super Bowl Division Won NFC Championship|
- A The Eastern Conference was divided into the Capitol and Century Divisions. Dallas, Philadelphia, and Washington moved in. Also, the New Orleans Saints joined the league.
- B The Capitol Division adopts its current name. New Orleans realigned to the NFC West. The Giants and Cardinals are added from the Century Division.
- C St. Louis moved to Phoenix in 1988. The team changed its name from Phoenix Cardinals to the Arizona Cardinals in 1994.
- D Arizona moved to the NFC West when the league realigned into 8 four-team divisions before the 2002 season.
As NFL Capitol DivisionEdit
|1967||Dallas Cowboys||9–5||Won Conference Playoffs (Browns) 52–14|
Lost NFL Championship Game (at Packers) 17–21
|1968||Dallas Cowboys||12–2||Lost Conference Playoffs (at Browns) 20–31|
|1969||Dallas Cowboys||11–2–1||Lost Conference Playoffs (Browns) 14–38|
There was one division sweep of the Capitol Division, 1969 Cowboys 6-0
As NFC EastEdit
- * A players' strike in 1982 reduced the regular season to nine games. Thus, the league used a special 16-team playoff tournament just for this year. Division standings were ignored; Washington had the best record of the division teams and won the Super Bowl.
- ++ The 1987 Redskins are the only NFC 3rd Seed to win the Super Bowl.
- ^ The 2007 Dallas Cowboys were defeated by division rival and NFC 5th Seed New York Giants, who ultimately won Super Bowl XLII.
- # The 2011 New York Giants are the only sub-10-win team to win the Super Bowl (other than the 1982 Redskins listed above), as well as the only team to win the Super Bowl as the NFC's 4th Seed.
All four teams in the NFC East have won the Super Bowl. The Cowboys lead with five, followed by the Giants with four, the Redskins with three, and the Eagles with one. In overall NFL history, however, the Giants lead with eight league championships, followed by the Redskins and Cowboys with five each, then the Eagles with four.
There have been two division sweeps of the NFC East Division, the 1998 Dallas Cowboys (8–0) and the 2004 Philadelphia Eagles (6–0).
Wild Card qualifiersEdit
- + A players' strike in 1982 reduced the regular season to nine games, so the league used a special 16-team playoff tournament just for this year.
- ** The 2007 New York Giants are the only NFC East team to win a Super Bowl as a Wild Card team, and the only NFL team in history to win the Super Bowl as a 5th Seed in either Conference.
Total playoff berthsEdit
- (NFC East records 1967-2017)
|New York Giants||8||15||5||4|
To sort table above, click button to right of heading.
|(#)||Denotes team that won the Super Bowl|
|(#)||Denotes team that won the NFC Championship|
|(#)||Denotes team that qualified for the NFL Playoffs|
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