The NFC West is a division of the National Football League (NFL)’s National Football Conference (NFC). It currently has four members: the Arizona Cardinals, the Los Angeles Rams, the San Francisco 49ers, and the Seattle Seahawks. The division was formed in 1967 as the National Football League Coastal Division, keeping with the theme of having all of the league’s divisions starting with the letter “C.” The division was so named because its teams were fairly close to the coasts of the United States, although they were on opposite coasts, making for long travel between division rivals. The NFL Coastal Division had four members: Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Colts, Los Angeles Rams, and San Francisco 49ers. Los Angeles and San Francisco occupied the West Coast, while Baltimore and Atlanta occupied the East Coast.
After the AFL–NFL merger in 1970, the division was renamed the NFC West. The Baltimore Colts moved to the AFC East and were replaced by the New Orleans Saints. In 1976, the newly formed Seattle Seahawks spent one season in this division before moving to the AFC West. Except for that one year, the division remained the same until 1995 with the addition of the new Carolina Panthers team. And even though the Rams moved to St. Louis that same year, they remained in this division (despite the Dallas Cowboys of the NFC East being located further west), leaving just one team on the West Coast.
The 2002 re-alignment changed the entire look of the NFC West. The Falcons, Panthers, and Saints moved into the NFC South; while the Cardinals, the only team not from the Pacific Time Zone since 2016 (Mountain) and the Seahawks, moved in. The Rams remained in the West, preserving the historical rivalry with the 49ers that has existed since 1950, and thus had been the only team in the division that was located east of the Rocky Mountains and from the Central Time Zone from 1995–2015 during their St. Louis years. With the Rams’ return to Los Angeles in 2016, the entire NFC West is located West of the Rockies for the first time in NFL history (and is the only division in the whole NFL to have that distinction).
In 2010, the NFC West became the first division in NFL history to have a champion with a losing record, after the 2010 Seattle Seahawks won the division title with a record of 7–9. They were joined in this distinction in 2014 by the Carolina Panthers, who won the NFC South with a record of 7–8–1.
Since the end of the 2016 NFL regular season, the 49ers lead the division with a record of 560–464–16 (107–132–1 since re-alignment) with five Super Bowl titles and an overall playoff record of 31–21. The Rams hold a record of 544–554–21 (87–152–1 since re-alignment) with three Super Bowl appearances and one win to go with a 19–24 overall playoffs record. The Cardinals hold a 111–128-1 record since joining the NFC West (542–732–40 overall) and a loss in Super Bowl XLIII, currently with a 7–9 playoff record, 5-4 as a member of the NFC West. The Seahawks hold a record of 137–102-1 since joining the NFC West (325–318-1 overall), with three Super Bowl appearances, winning Super Bowl XLVIII to go with a playoff record of 16–14; they are currently 13–9 in the playoffs as a member of the NFC West, having gone 3–5 while in the AFC West. Since re-alignment, the Seahawks have led the division in wins, division titles, and playoff appearances.
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