GREEN BAY – As the Minnesota Vikings get set to play in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday in Philadelphia, they're vying for their first trip to the Super Bowl in 41 years.
That's just one statistical tidbit when it comes to the history of teams from the NFC North/Central division playing for the conference title since the league merger.
Here are some more with championship weekend upon us. (Results represent the NFC Central from 1970-2001 and the NFC North from 2002-present. Years represent the year of the regular season, not the date of the actual games.)
- The Vikings have played in more NFC title games than any team in the division, with Sunday's their ninth appearance. After starting 3-0 with wins in 1973, '74 and '76, they've lost five straight during their 41-year Super Bowl drought, in '77, '87, '98, '00 and '09.
- The Packers have the next-most appearances with seven, going 3-4, followed by the Bears (2-3), Buccaneers (0-2, when in the NFC Central) and Lions (0-1).
- The division's collective record in NFC Championship games is just 8-15, including one game that featured a pair of division rivals in Green Bay and Chicago in 2010.
- Three consecutive NFC title games that included NFC Central teams in '79, '84 and '85 were all shutouts, with the division going 1-2. The only other shutout was in 2000, a Minnesota loss in the most lopsided of all the division teams' games (41-0 vs. N.Y. Giants).
- The division appeared in six straight NFC title games from 1995-2000, with Green Bay's two victories in '96 and '97 the only triumphs in that span.
- Three of the division's last five appearances in the NFC title game, and four of the last nine, have gone to overtime. The NFC North/Central has lost every overtime game. Only once has an NFC title game not involving a division team gone to overtime (N.Y. Giants over San Francisco, 20-17, in 2011).
- The two games with the fewest points scored by the victor in NFC title games involving division teams both feature the same franchise defeating Tampa Bay – 9-0 vs. the L.A. Rams in 1979 and 11-6 vs. the St. Louis Rams in 1999.
- The most points scored by the losing team is Minnesota's 28 in the overtime loss to New Orleans in 2009. Green Bay's 27 points in the '95 loss to Dallas and Minnesota's 27 in the '98 OT loss to Atlanta are right behind.
All NFC Championship games involving NFC North/Central teams dating back to league merger:
1973: Minnesota 27, Dallas 10
1974: Minnesota 14, L.A. Rams 10
1976: Minnesota 24, L.A. Rams 13
1977: Dallas 23, Minnesota 6
1979: L.A. Rams 9, Tampa Bay 0
1984: San Francisco 23, Chicago 0
1985: Chicago 24, L.A. Rams 0
1987: Washington 17, Minnesota 10
1988: San Francisco 28, Chicago 3
1991: Washington 41, Detroit 10
1995: Dallas 38, Green Bay 27
1996: Green Bay 30, Carolina 13
1997: Green Bay 23, San Francisco 10
1998: Atlanta 30, Minnesota 27 (OT)
1999: St. Louis 11, Tampa Bay 6
2000: N.Y. Giants 41, Minnesota 0
2006: Chicago 39, New Orleans 14
2007: N.Y. Giants 23, Green Bay 20 (OT)
2009: New Orleans 31, Minnesota 28 (OT)
2010: Green Bay 21, Chicago 14
2014: Seattle 28, Green Bay 22 (OT)
2016: Atlanta 44, Green Bay 21