[UPDATE] This visualization has been updated to include new interactivity and Super Bowl results through 2012 at AFC vs NFC Records by Year.
Prior to the Jets Super Bowl III upset of the Baltimore Colts in 1969, the NFL had always been considered the dominant league to their AFL counterparts. It seems to me that some of those historical perceptions still linger today between the NFC and AFC, but the Kansas City Chiefs’ upset of the Green Bay Packers yesterday, a rematch of the first interconference game ever played (Super Bowl I), made me curious to know for sure which conference is the best in the NFL.
The following visualization was created using regular season interconference records of the AFC vs. NFC since the NFL merger in 1970, courtesy of the 2011 NFL Record and Fact Book:
Does the AFC’s domination of the NFC surprise you?
I have always had a hunch that the AFC usually gets the better of the NFC in head to head competition, but did not expect them to fare better in 25 of the 42 seasons played! In the other 17 seasons, the NFC won more games against AFC opponents in 9 years, and the two conferences won the same number of games against each other in the remaining 8 years. The overall interconference record between the AFC and NFC is 1160-1041-11.
Even when looking at preseason games, the AFC holds a distinct advantage, leading the series against the NFC 975-943-14. However, in the stat that matters most, the NFC leads the AFC in Super Bowl victories, with a 24-21 record.