The NFL is made up of 32 teams, broken up into a number of divisions. These division alignments are largely geographical in nature, which can be seen on the NFL division map. Today’s divisions are evenly balanced into two leagues with sixteen teams, each broken up into four divisions with team alignments roughly based on region, as you can see on our NFL map.
The divisional structure in the NFL has evolved over time. Initially, the NFL did not have divisions, and teams competed for the league championship based on their regular-season records. However, as the league expanded and more teams were added, the need for a divisional structure became apparent.
Understanding NFL Divisions
The NFL introduced divisions in 1933 to accommodate the growing number of teams and to establish a more structured competition. Over NFL history, division structure has undergone several changes due to expansion, relocation, and realignment. As the league added new franchises or relocated existing ones, divisions were adjusted to maintain geographical proximity and ensure fair competition.
Divisional Geographical Connections
Geographical connections play a significant role in the division alignments of the NFL. When determining the NFL team map and placement for teams, the league takes into account the geographic proximity between franchises.
By aligning teams geographically, the NFL aims to create regional and division rivalries and foster a sense of local competition. Divisional matchups often involve teams from nearby cities or regions, which creates a passionate fan base and rivalries fueled by the proximity of the teams.
The AFC Divisions
The Bills are the only NFL team to have appeared in four consecutive Super Bowls (Super Bowl XXV-XXVIII), although they unfortunately did not win any of them.
Stadium: Highmark Stadium
Stadium Location: Orchard Park, New York
The 1972 Miami Dolphins are the only team in NFL history to have a perfect season, finishing with a record of 17-0, including a Super Bowl victory.
Stadium: Hard Rock Stadium
Stadium Location: Miami Gardens, Florida
New England Patriots
The New England Patriots are tied with the Steelers for having won the most Super Bowl titles in NFL history, with six victories.
Stadium: Gillette Stadium
Stadium Location: Foxborough, MA
New York Jets
The New York Jets won their first and only Super Bowl in 1969, defeating the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III– as promised by their most famous player, legendary quarterback Joe Namath
Stadium: MetLife Stadium
Stadium Location: East Rutherford, NJ
Ray Lewis, one of the greatest linebackers in NFL history, spent his entire 17-year career with the Ravens and was a key part of their Super Bowl-winning teams.
Stadium: M&T Bank Stadium
Stadium Location: Baltimore, Maryland
The Cincinnati Bengals were established in 1968 and reached the Super Bowl three times, but have never won the big game.
Stadium: Paul Brown Stadium
Stadium Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
The Browns have a fierce rivalry with the Baltimore Ravens, stemming from the Browns' relocation to Baltimore and the subsequent return of the Browns to Cleveland.
Stadium: FirstEnergy Stadium
Stadium Location: Cleveland, Ohio
The Steelers have had numerous legendary players, including Terry Bradshaw and Joe Greene, and their fanbase is known for their passionate enthusiasm.
Stadium: Heinz Field
Stadium Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
The Houston Texans were established as an expansion team in 2002 and are the youngest franchise in the NFL.
Stadium: NRG Stadium
Stadium Location: Houston, Texas
The Indianapolis Colts were originally established in Baltimore in 1953 and relocated to Indianapolis in 1984. The team has had success with several notable quarterbacks, including Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck.
Stadium: Lucas Oil Stadium
Stadium Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
The Jacksonville Jaguars were established as an expansion team in 1995. They quickly made an impact by reaching the AFC Championship Game in just their second season.
Stadium: TIAA Bank Field
Stadium Location: Jacksonville, Florida
Eddie George, a former running back for the Titans, was a key figure during their successful seasons. He won the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award and made multiple Pro Bowl appearances.
Stadium: Nissan Stadium
Stadium Location: Nashville, Tennessee
The Denver Broncos have reached the Super Bowl a total of eight times, tied for the second-most appearances in NFL history.
Stadium: Empower Field at Mile High
Stadium Location: Denver, Colorado
Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs won their first Super Bowl in 50 years in 2020. They have a fierce rivalry with the Las Vegas Raiders.
Stadium: Arrowhead Stadium
Stadium Location: Kansas City, Missouri
Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders have had many legendary players, including Hall of Famers such as Marcus Allen, Howie Long, and Gene Upshaw.
Stadium: Allegiant Stadium
Stadium Location: Paradise, Nevada
Los Angeles Chargers
LaDainian Tomlinson, one of the greatest running backs in NFL history, spent the majority of his career with the Chargers. He holds numerous records, including the single-season touchdown record.
Stadium: SoFi Stadium
Stadium Location: Inglewood, California
The NFC Divisions
The Dallas Cowboys, often referred to as "America's Team," have the highest winning percentage in NFL history.
Stadium: AT&T Stadium
Stadium Location: Arlington, Texas
New York Giants
New York Giants player Lawrence Taylor, a legendary linebacker, revolutionized the linebacker position and is considered one of the greatest defensive players in NFL history.
Stadium: MetLife Stadium
Stadium Location: East Rutherford, New Jersey
Reggie White, a dominant defensive end, is considered one of the greatest players in Eagles history. He was known for his exceptional pass-rushing skills.
Stadium: Lincoln Financial Field
Stadium Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The recently-renamed Washington Commanders were the dominant team in the 1980s and early 1990s. Joe Theismann, a former quarterback, led the team to victory in Super Bowl XVII and was a prominent figure during the team's most successful years.
Stadium: FedEx Field
Stadium Location: Landover, Maryland
The Chicago Bears are one of the oldest and most storied franchises in NFL history, founded in 1920. Walter “Sweetness” Payton, one of the greatest running backs in NFL history, played his entire career with the Bears.
Stadium: Soldier Field
Stadium Location: Chicago, Illinois
The Detroit Lions are one of the original NFL teams. They have four NFL championships to their name, but have never appeared in a Super Bowl.
Stadium: Ford Field
Stadium Location: Detroit, Michigan
Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers are the oldest continuously operating professional football team in the United States, founded in 1919.
Stadium: Lambeau Field
Stadium Location: Green Bay, Wisconsin
Randy Moss, a dynamic wide receiver, made a significant impact during his time with the Vikings. He was known for his incredible speed and ability to make spectacular catches. They have a notable rivalry with the Green Bay Packers.
Stadium: U.S. Bank Stadium
Stadium Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Deion Sanders, a Hall of Fame cornerback, played for the Falcons and was known for his exceptional speed and flashy playing style.
Stadium: Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Stadium Location: Atlanta, Georgia
The Carolina Panthers were established as an expansion team in 1995 and reached the Super Bowl twice, with their most recent appearance in 2015. They are known for their strong defenses and their fierce rivalry with the nearby Atlanta Falcons.
Stadium: Bank of America Stadium
Stadium Location: Charlotte, North Carolina
New Orleans Saints
The New Orleans Saints, named after the gospel classic “When The Saints Go Marching In,” won their first Super Bowl in 2010. The team became a symbol of hope and resilience for the city of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
Stadium: Caesars Superdome
Stadium Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Regional rivals to the New Orleans Saints, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were the first team to host and win a Super Bowl in their own stadium.
Stadium: Raymond James Stadium
Stadium Location: Tampa, Florida
The Arizona Cardinals are one of the oldest continuously operating professional football teams in the United States. They were established in 1920 as the Chicago Cardinals before moving to St. Louis and then Arizona.
Stadium: State Farm Stadium
Stadium Location: Glendale, Arizona
Los Angeles Rams
The Los Angeles Rams have a rich history that dates back to their founding in 1936. Eric Dickerson, a Hall of Fame running back, set the NFL single-season rushing record as a Ram in 1984.
Stadium: SoFi Stadium
Stadium Location: Inglewood, California
San Francisco 49ers
The legendary Joe Montana led the 49ers to four Super Bowl victories and is considered one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time.
Stadium: Levi’s Stadium
Stadium Location: Santa Clara, California
Seahawks fans set the Guinness World Record for the loudest crowd noise at a sporting event within the span of a few months, first registering 136.6 decibels during a game against the San Francisco 49ers in 2013 and then surpassing their record to hit 137.6 decibels during l game against the New Orleans Saints that December.
Stadium: Lumen Field
Stadium Location: Seattle, Washington