AFC Conference Winner
The AFC championship game is the annual championship game of the American Football Conference (AFC), one of the National Football League’s (NFL) two conferences. The game is also one of the NFL’s two semi-final playoff games, the other being the NFC championship game. The eventual AFC champions automatically qualify for the Super Bowl, where they face the NFC champion in a battle for the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
The game is played every year on the final Sunday of January between the two AFC conference teams remaining following the first two rounds of AFC postseason play. All AFC champions receive the Lamar Hunt Trophy, named after the original founder of the rival American Football League (AFL) and later the Kansas City Chiefs, Lamar Hunt.
The game has its origins in the merger between the NFL and the AFL and was first played following the 1970 regular season. Prior to the merger, the AFL’s championship game was known simply as the AFL Championship. However, in the first season following the merger, the AFL was re-designated as the American Football Conference (AFC) and would comprise one of the NFL’s two conferences. The current AFC Championship is considered by many to be the direct successor of the former AFL Championship.
In order for AFC teams to advance to the championship game, a series of playoff games involving the conference’s top six teams are held following the end of each NFL regular season. Four of the six teams are the winners of the AFC’s North, East, South, and West divisions, while the remaining two teams are wildcard teams (teams that have the best records in the AFC, yet did not win their division). Teams with the higher seeds earn the right to host their respective playoff games.
Since the AFL-NFL merger, the AFC has not experienced a high degree of parity and has been largely dominated by three franchises, the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers (who continue to hold several conference records) and the Denver Broncos. The Patriots, who have been AFC champions a record 11 times, also own the record for most consecutive appearances (eight from 2011-2018) and most points scored by a losing team. The Steelers, for their part, hold the record for most losses and for the most appearances in the AFC title game, despite being AFC champions a total of eight times. Regardless of not holding any AFC records, the Denver Broncos have been AFC champions a total of eight times in ten appearances.
Given the fact that the NFL is the most popular sport in the US, it should come as no surprise that it is also the most bet on sport, with billions wagered each season. One of the most popular ways to bet on the NFL is futures bets, with wagering on the eventual Super Bowl winner being particularly popular. However, those looking to get in on the action of NFL futures betting can rest assured that wagering on the AFC championship, as well as the AFC division winners are also extremely popular.
However, before placing your bets, be sure to check out Sidelines for more information and for NFL odds comparisons on all your bets. Be sure to stay updated on league news, stats, injuries, and more.