Earning The #1 Seed Is a Big, Big Advantage

Published on January 3rd, 2022 6:39 pm EST
Written By: Dave Manuel



The importance of getting the top seed for the NFL postseason. In 1975, the NFL switched to a seeding system for their postseason.

The format continues to change - for the 2021 season, for instance, extra teams are being added to the postseason.

No matter what tweaks the NFL makes to its postseason structure, however, one thing remains the same - earning the #1 seed is a big advantage.

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Since 1975, a #1 seed in either the NFC or AFC has won the Super Bowl a total of 25 times (out of a total of 46 Super Bowls).

The NFC has won 15 of these Super Bowls, while the AFC has won the remaining 10.

The #2 seed has also done well in the Super Bowl, with the AFC's #2 seed winning six Super Bowls since 1975, and the NFC's #2 seed winning four Super Bowls.

Funnily enough, the #4 seed has managed to win the Super Bowl five times since 1975, with AFC teams accounting for four of these wins.

#3, #5 and #6 seeds have all won the Super Bowl twice (six Super Bowls total).

Here is a percentage breakdown by seed:

#1 Seed - 54.4%
#2 Seed - 21.7%
#3 Seed - 4.4%
#4 Seed - 10.9%
#5 Seed - 4.4%
#6 Seed - 4.4%

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It's not hard to see why the #1 seeds have such an edge to win the Super Bowl, as they receive two major advantages:

1) First round bye
2) Home field advantage throughout the playoffs

#2 seeds also receive a first round bye, though they will be forced to win on the road if the #1 seed doesn't lose first.

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Here is the full list of Super Bowl Winners by seed and conference since 1975:

NFC #1 Seed

1977 - Cowboys
1981 - 49ers
1982 - Redskins
1984 - 49ers
1985 - Bears
1986 - Giants
1989 - 49ers
1991 - Redskins
1993 - Cowboys
1994 - 49ers
1995 - Cowboys
1996 - Packers
1999 - Rams
2009 - saints
2013 - Seahawks

AFC #1 Seed

1975 - Steelers
1976 - Raiders
1978 - Steelers
1983 - Raiders
1998 - Broncos
2003 - Patriots
2014 - Patriots
2015 - Broncos
2016 - Patriots
2017 - Patriots

AFC #2 Seed

1979 - Steelers
2001 - Patriots
2004 - Patriots
2008 - Steelers
2018 - Patriots
2019 - Chiefs
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NFC #2 Seed

1988 - 49ers
1990 - Giants
1992 - Cowboys
2002 - Bucs

AFC #3 Seed

2006 - Colts

NFC #3 Seed

1987 - Redskins

NFC #4 Seed

2011 - Giants

AFC #4 Seed

1980 - Raiders
1997 - Broncos
2000 - Ravens
2012 - Ravens

NFC #5 Seed

2007 - Giants

AFC #5 Seed

2020 - Buccaneers

AFC #6 Seed

2005 - Steelers

NFC #6 Seed

2010 - Packers

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