The NFC East is a division of the National Football League (NFL)’s National Football Conference (NFC). It currently has four members: the Philadelphia Eagles, the New York Giants, the Dallas Cowboys, and the Washington Redskins.
The division was formed in 1967 as the National Football League Capitol Division, keeping with the theme of having all of the league’s divisions starting with the letter “C.” The division was so named because it was centered on the capital of the United States, Washington, D.C. In 1967 and 1969 the teams in the NFL Capitol Division were Dallas, Philadelphia, Washington and the expansion New Orleans Saints, which had been replaced by the New York Giants for the 1968 season. Its most recent Super Bowl champions are the New York Giants.
Previously, although the St. Louis Rams were geographically farther east than Dallas before moving back to Los Angeles, the Cowboys remained in the NFC East despite being the only team located in the Central Time Zone and the Rams stayed in the NFC West because of long-standing rivalries: the Cowboys with all three other teams in the East, and the Rams with the San Francisco 49ers in the West.
The NFC East teams have combined to be the most successful division in the NFL since the 1970 NFL merger with 20 NFC Championship wins and 12 Super Bowl victories, the highest marks of any division in the NFL. Each of the current NFC East’s four teams has won at least three NFL titles during their existence; however, only Philadelphia has yet to win a championship in the Super Bowl era. The division features a number of prominent rivalries such as the Cowboys–Redskins rivalry and Eagles–Giants rivalry. Because the division’s teams are in some of the United States’ largest media markets (New York No. 1, Philadelphia, No. 4, Dallas-Fort Worth No. 5, and Washington No. 8), the NFC East receives a high amount of coverage from national sports media outlets. In the early 1990s the division claimed four consecutive Super Bowl champions, all 4 against the Buffalo Bills, with the Giants and Redskins respectively winning back-to-back in Super Bowls XXV and XXVI; and the Cowboys winning twice after in Super Bowls XXVII and XXVIII. Those same three teams won seven out of ten Super Bowls, from 1986-87 to 1995-96 (49ers won the other three).
The Philadelphia Eagles are the only NFC East team to play in the city of the team’s naming, Philadelphia. The other three teams play in suburbs of the major cities they are named after. The Dallas Cowboys play in Arlington, Texas. The Washington Redskins play in Landover, Maryland and the New York Giants play in East Rutherford, New Jersey, where they share a stadium with the New York Jets. The only two other teams not from either East division to do so is the NFC West’s San Francisco 49ers, who started playing in the San Francisco suburb of Santa Clara in 2014, and the Arizona Cardinals, who play in the Phoenix suburb of Glendale.
The NFC East can also be called the most valuable NFL Division. All four teams in the division are in the top ten of most valuable NFL franchises (Cowboys #1; Giants #3; Redskins #5; Eagles #10). The next closest division is the AFC North, which is not completed until the 26th ranked Cincinnati Bengals.