American Football Conference (AFC)
The American Football Conference was created after the NFL-AFL merger in 1970. The AFC originally consisted of all the former AFL teams as well as the: Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Colts who joined from the NFL.
The thirteen AFC sides were split into three divisions: the AFC Eastern, AFC Central and AFC Western. The AFC Eastern and AFC Western divisions were roughly the same as their predecessors in the AFL while the new AFC franchises and the Houston Oilers (now known as the Tennessee Titans) were placed in the AFC Central.
Five new franchises have joined the AFC since 1970. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers joined the AFC for just one season, in 1976, and were then replaced by the Seattle Seahawks. The Jacksonville Jaguars joined the AFC in 1995 and were joined in 1996 by the Baltimore Ravens. The Houston Texans joined in 2002 and the Seahawks returned to the NFC, leaving the AFC with sixteen franchises.
After the Texans joined the AFC the divisions were realigned. The Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans formed a new division known as the AFC South while the AFC Central was renamed the AFC North. This left the conference with four divisions of four teams each.
The AFC has won nineteen of forty-two Super Bowls played since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. The Pittsburgh Steelers has been the most successful franchise, winning the AFC Championship eight times as well as seven Super Bowls. Every AFC franchise has qualified for the Super Bowl at least once except for the: Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans. However, only eight of the sixteen franchises have actually won the Super Bowl Championship. In recent seasons the: Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts have dominated the AFC, qualifying for the Super Bowl ten out of the last eleven seasons.