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The AFC Championship Game
AFC Championship Game
is one of the two semi-final playoff games of the National Football League
National Football League
(NFL), the largest professional American football
American football
league in the United States. The game is played on the penultimate Sunday in January and determines the champion of the American Football Conference
American Football Conference
(AFC). The winner then advances to face the winner of the National Football Conference
National Football Conference
(NFC) Championship Game in the Super Bowl. The game was established as part of the 1970 merger between the NFL and the American Football League
American Football League
(AFL), with the merged league realigning into two conferences. Since 1984,[1] each winner of the AFC Championship Game has also received the Lamar Hunt
Lamar Hunt
Trophy, named after the founder of the AFL and longtime owner of the Kansas City Chiefs, Lamar Hunt.

Contents

1 History 2 Playoff structure 3 Lamar Hunt
Lamar Hunt
Trophy 4 List of AFC Championship Games 5 Appearances 1970–present 6 Records 7 TV ratings 8 Footnotes 9 References

History[edit] The first AFC Championship Game
AFC Championship Game
was played following the 1970 regular season after the merger between the NFL and the American Football League. The game is considered the successor to the former AFL Championship, and its game results are listed with that of its predecessor in the annual NFL Record and Fact Book.[2] Since the pre-merger NFL consisted of six more teams than the AFL, a realignment was required as part of the merger to create two conferences with an equal number of teams: The NFL's Baltimore Colts, the Cleveland Browns, and the Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers
joined the ten former AFL teams to form the AFC; while the remaining 13 pre-merger NFL clubs formed the NFC. Every AFC team except the Houston Texans
Houston Texans
has played in an AFC Championship Game at least once. The Seattle Seahawks, who have been members in both the AFC and the NFC, hold the distinction of appearing in both conference title games, a loss in the AFC conference title game to the Los Angeles Raiders
Los Angeles Raiders
for Super Bowl
Super Bowl
XVIII and, in their first appearance in a NFC conference title game, a win over the Carolina Panthers
Carolina Panthers
for Super Bowl
Super Bowl
XL. The Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers
have the most appearances in the AFC Championship Game
AFC Championship Game
at 16, with 11 of those games being in Pittsburgh, the most for either conference. The most AFC Conference Championships have been won by the New England Patriots winning 10 of them and going to 7 straight (2011-present). Playoff structure[edit] Further information: NFL playoffs

Lamar Hunt
Lamar Hunt
Trophy

At the end of each regular season, a series of playoff games involving the top six teams in the AFC are conducted. In the current (since 2002–03 season) NFL playoff structure, this consists of the four division champions and two wild card teams (those clubs that possess the two best won-loss records after the regular season yet fail to win their division). The two teams remaining following the Wild Card round (first round) and the divisional round (second round) play in the AFC Championship game. Initially, the site of the game was determined on a rotating basis. Since the 1975–76 season, the site of the AFC Championship has been based on playoff seeding based on the regular season won-loss record, with the highest surviving seed hosting the game. A wild card team can only host the game if both participants are wild cards, in which case the fifth seed would host the sixth seed. Such an instance has never occurred in the NFL. Lamar Hunt
Lamar Hunt
Trophy[edit] Beginning with 1984–85 season,[1] the winner of the AFC Championship Game has received the Lamar Hunt
Lamar Hunt
Trophy, named after the founder of the AFL. The original design consisted of a wooden base with a sculpted AFC logo in the front and a sculpture of various football players in the back. For the 2010–11 NFL playoffs, the Lamar Hunt
Lamar Hunt
Trophy and the George Halas Trophy, which is awarded to the NFC Champion, were redesigned by Tiffany & Co. at the request of the NFL, in an attempt to make both awards more significant.[3] The trophies are now a new, silver design with the outline of a hollow football positioned on a small base to more closely resemble the Vince Lombardi Trophy, which is awarded to the winner of the Super Bowl.[4] List of AFC Championship Games[edit]

Numbers in parentheses in the table are AFC Championships. Bold indicates team won Super Bowl
Super Bowl
that year. Numbers in parentheses in the city and stadium column is the number of times that metropolitan area and stadium has hosted an AFC Championship, respectively.

Season Playoffs Winning team Score Losing team Score Location Stadium

1970 1970–71 Baltimore Colts
Baltimore Colts
(1) 27 Oakland Raiders 17 Baltimore, Maryland Memorial Stadium

1971 1971–72 Miami Dolphins
Miami Dolphins
(1) 21 Baltimore Colts 0 Miami, Florida Miami Orange Bowl

1972 1972–73 Miami Dolphins
Miami Dolphins
(2) 21 Pittsburgh Steelers 17 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Three Rivers Stadium

1973 1973–74 Miami Dolphins
Miami Dolphins
(3) 27 Oakland Raiders 10 Miami, Florida
Miami, Florida
(2) Miami Orange Bowl
Miami Orange Bowl
(2)

1974 1974–75 Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers
(1) 24 Oakland Raiders 13 Oakland, California Oakland Coliseum

1975 1975–76 Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers
(2) 16 Oakland Raiders 10 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
(2) Three Rivers Stadium
Three Rivers Stadium
(2)

1976 1976–77 Oakland Raiders
Oakland Raiders
(1) 24 Pittsburgh Steelers 7 Oakland, California
Oakland, California
(2) Oakland Coliseum
Oakland Coliseum
(2)

1977 1977–78 Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos
(1) 20 Oakland Raiders 17 Denver, Colorado Mile High Stadium

1978 1978–79 Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers
(3) 34 Houston Oilers 5 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
(3) Three Rivers Stadium
Three Rivers Stadium
(3)

1979 1979–80 Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers
(4) 27 Houston Oilers 13 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
(4) Three Rivers Stadium
Three Rivers Stadium
(4)

1980 1980–81 Oakland Raiders
Oakland Raiders
(2) 34 San Diego Chargers 27 San Diego, California Jack Murphy Stadium

1981 1981–82 Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals
(1) 27 San Diego Chargers 7 Cincinnati, Ohio Riverfront Stadium

1982 1982–83 Miami Dolphins
Miami Dolphins
(4) 14 New York Jets 0 Miami, Florida
Miami, Florida
(3) Miami Orange Bowl
Miami Orange Bowl
(3)

1983 1983–84 Los Angeles Raiders
Los Angeles Raiders
(3) 30 Seattle Seahawks 14 Los Angeles, California Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

1984 1984–85 Miami Dolphins
Miami Dolphins
(5) 45 Pittsburgh Steelers 28 Miami, Florida
Miami, Florida
(4) Miami Orange Bowl
Miami Orange Bowl
(4)

1985 1985–86 New England Patriots
New England Patriots
(1) 31 Miami Dolphins 14 Miami, Florida
Miami, Florida
(5) Miami Orange Bowl
Miami Orange Bowl
(5)

1986 1986–87 Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos
(2) 23a[›] Cleveland Browns 20 Cleveland, Ohio Cleveland Municipal Stadium

1987 1987–88 Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos
(3) 38 Cleveland Browns 33 Denver, Colorado
Denver, Colorado
(2) Mile High Stadium
Mile High Stadium
(2)

1988 1988–89 Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals
(2) 21 Buffalo Bills 10 Cincinnati, Ohio
Cincinnati, Ohio
(2) Riverfront Stadium
Riverfront Stadium
(2)

1989 1989–90 Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos
(4) 37 Cleveland Browns 21 Denver, Colorado
Denver, Colorado
(3) Mile High Stadium
Mile High Stadium
(3)

1990 1990–91 Buffalo Bills
Buffalo Bills
(1) 51 Los Angeles Raiders 3 Orchard Park, New York Ralph Wilson Stadium

1991 1991–92 Buffalo Bills
Buffalo Bills
(2) 10 Denver Broncos 7 Orchard Park, New York (2) Ralph Wilson Stadium
Ralph Wilson Stadium
(2)

1992 1992–93 Buffalo Bills
Buffalo Bills
(3) 29 Miami Dolphins 10 Miami, Florida[fn 1] (6) Joe Robbie Stadium

1993 1993–94 Buffalo Bills
Buffalo Bills
(4) 30 Kansas City Chiefs 13 Orchard Park, New York (3) Ralph Wilson Stadium
Ralph Wilson Stadium
(3)

1994 1994–95 San Diego Chargers (1) 17 Pittsburgh Steelers 13 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
(5) Three Rivers Stadium
Three Rivers Stadium
(5)

1995 1995–96 Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers
(5) 20 Indianapolis Colts 16 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
(6) Three Rivers Stadium
Three Rivers Stadium
(6)

1996 1996–97 New England Patriots
New England Patriots
(2) 20 Jacksonville Jaguars 6 Foxborough, Massachusetts Foxboro Stadium

1997 1997–98 Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos
(5) 24 Pittsburgh Steelers 21 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
(7) Three Rivers Stadium
Three Rivers Stadium
(7)

1998 1998–99 Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos
(6) 23 New York Jets 10 Denver, Colorado
Denver, Colorado
(4) Mile High Stadium
Mile High Stadium
(4)

1999 1999–00 Tennessee Titans
Tennessee Titans
(1) 33 Jacksonville Jaguars 14 Jacksonville, Florida Alltel Stadium

2000 2000–01 Baltimore Ravens
Baltimore Ravens
(1) 16 Oakland Raiders 3 Oakland, California
Oakland, California
(3) Oakland Coliseum
Oakland Coliseum
(3)

2001 2001–02 New England Patriots
New England Patriots
(3) 24 Pittsburgh Steelers 17 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
(8) Heinz Field

2002 2002–03 Oakland Raiders
Oakland Raiders
(4) 41 Tennessee Titans 24 Oakland, California
Oakland, California
(4) Network Associates Coliseum
Network Associates Coliseum
(4)

2003 2003–04 New England Patriots
New England Patriots
(4) 24 Indianapolis Colts 14 Foxborough, Massachusetts
Foxborough, Massachusetts
(2) Gillette Stadium

2004 2004–05 New England Patriots
New England Patriots
(5) 41 Pittsburgh Steelers 27 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
(9) Heinz Field
Heinz Field
(2)

2005 2005–06 Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers
(6) 34 Denver Broncos 17 Denver, Colorado
Denver, Colorado
(5) Invesco Field at Mile High

2006 2006–07 Indianapolis Colts
Indianapolis Colts
(2) 38 New England Patriots 34 Indianapolis, Indiana RCA Dome

2007 2007–08 New England Patriots
New England Patriots
(6) 21 San Diego Chargers 12 Foxborough, Massachusetts
Foxborough, Massachusetts
(3) Gillette Stadium
Gillette Stadium
(2)

2008 2008–09 Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers
(7) 23 Baltimore Ravens 14 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
(10) Heinz Field
Heinz Field
(3)

2009 2009–10 Indianapolis Colts
Indianapolis Colts
(3) 30 New York Jets 17 Indianapolis, Indiana
Indianapolis, Indiana
(2) Lucas Oil Stadium

2010 2010–11 Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers
(8) 24 New York Jets 19 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
(11) Heinz Field
Heinz Field
(4)

2011 2011–12 New England Patriots
New England Patriots
(7) 23 Baltimore Ravens 20 Foxborough, Massachusetts
Foxborough, Massachusetts
(4) Gillette Stadium
Gillette Stadium
(3)

2012 2012–13 Baltimore Ravens
Baltimore Ravens
(2) 28 New England Patriots 13 Foxborough, Massachusetts
Foxborough, Massachusetts
(5) Gillette Stadium
Gillette Stadium
(4)

2013 2013–14 Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos
(7) 26 New England Patriots 16 Denver, Colorado
Denver, Colorado
(6) Sports Authority Field at Mile High
Sports Authority Field at Mile High
(2)

2014 2014–15 New England Patriots
New England Patriots
(8) 45 Indianapolis Colts 7 Foxborough, Massachusetts
Foxborough, Massachusetts
(6) Gillette Stadium
Gillette Stadium
(5)

2015 2015–16 Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos
(8) 20 New England Patriots 18 Denver, Colorado
Denver, Colorado
(7) Sports Authority Field at Mile High
Sports Authority Field at Mile High
(3)

2016 2016–17 New England Patriots
New England Patriots
(9) 36 Pittsburgh Steelers 17 Foxborough, Massachusetts
Foxborough, Massachusetts
(7) Gillette Stadium
Gillette Stadium
(6)

2017 2017–18 New England Patriots
New England Patriots
(10) 24 Jacksonville Jaguars 20 Foxborough, Massachusetts
Foxborough, Massachusetts
(8) Gillette Stadium
Gillette Stadium
(7)

Appearances 1970–present[edit]

Num Team W L PCT PF PA Last appearance Last championship Home games Home wins Home losses Home Win Pct. Away games Away wins Away losses Away Win Pct.

14 New England Patriots 10 4 .714 334 249 2017 2017 8 7 1 .875 6 3 3 .500

16 Pittsburgh Steelers 8 8 .500 332 303 2016 2010 11 6 5 .545 5 2 3 .400

10 Denver Broncos 8 2 .800 235 200 2015 2015 7 6 1 .857 3 2 1 .667

7 Miami Dolphins 5 2 .714 152 115 1992 1984 6 4 2 .667 1 1 0 1.000

11 Los Angeles/Oakland Raidersd[›] 4 7 .364 202 253 2002 2002 5 3 2 .600 6 1 5 .167

5 Buffalo Bills 4 1 .800 130 54 1993 1993 3 3 0 1.000 2 1 1 .500

7 Baltimore/Indianapolis Coltse[›] 3 4 .429 132 178 2014 2009 3 3 0 1.000 4 0 4 .000

4 Baltimore Ravens 2 2 .500 78 62 2012 2012 0 0 0 -4 !—– 4 2 2 .500

2 Cincinnati Bengals 2 0 1.000 48 17 1988 1988 2 2 0 1.000 0 0 0 -6 !—–

4 Houston Oilers/ Tennessee Titansf[›] 1 3 .250 75 116 2002 1999 0 0 0 -3 !—– 4 1 3 .250

4 Los Angeles/San Diego Chargers 1 3 .250 63 95 2007 1994 1 0 1 .000 3 1 2 .333

4 New York Jets 0 4 .000 46 91 2010 N/A 0 0 0 -2 !—– 4 0 4 .000

3 Jacksonville Jaguars 0 3 .000 40 77 2017 N/A 1 0 1 .000 2 0 2 .000

3 Cleveland Browns 0 3 .000 74 98 1989 N/A 1 0 1 .000 2 0 2 .000

1 Kansas City Chiefs 0 1 .000 13 30 1993 N/A 0 0 0 -5 !—– 1 0 1 .000

1 Seattle Seahawksb[›] 0 1 .000 14 30 1983 N/Ab[›] 0 0 0 -6 !—– 1 0 1 .000

0 Houston Texans 0 0 -7 !—– --- --- N/A N/A 0 0 0 -7 !—– 0 0 0 -7 ! —–

0 Tampa Bay Buccaneersc[›] 0 0 -7 !—– --- --- N/A N/A 0 0 0 -7 !—– 0 0 0 -7 ! —–

^ b: The Seahawks were members of the NFC in 1976 and then members of the AFC from 1977 to 2001, before rejoining the NFC in 2002. Including their appearances in the NFC Championship Game (3–0), they hold a combined 3–1 record between both Conference Championship Games. ^ c: The Buccaneers were members of the AFC in 1976 before moving to the NFC in 1977. ^ d: Includes appearances during their first tenure in Oakland (the 1970 merger until 1981), where they went 2–5 in AFC Championship Games; their period as the Los Angeles Raiders (1982–1994), where they were 1–1 in AFC Championship Games; and their current tenure in Oakland (1995–present), where they have gone 1–1 in AFC Championship Games. ^ e: Includes appearances as the Baltimore Colts
Baltimore Colts
(the 1970 merger to 1983), where they went 1–1 in AFC Championship Games. Since moving to Indianapolis in 1984, the Colts are 2–3 in AFC Championship Games ^ f: Includes appearances as the Houston Oilers (the 1970 merger to 1996), where they went 0–2 in AFC Championship Games. Since moving to Tennessee in 1997, they are 1–1 in AFC Championship Games. Records[edit]

AFC Championship Game
AFC Championship Game
logo, 2001–2005

AFC Championship Game
AFC Championship Game
logo, 2008–2010 (Used with old shield since 2005)

Most victories: 10**; New England Patriots
New England Patriots
(1985, 1996, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2011, 2014, 2016, 2017) Most losses: 8; Pittsburgh Steelers, (1972, 1976, 1984, 1994, 1997, 2001, 2004, 2016) Most appearances: 16; Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers
(1972, 1974–1976, 1978, 1979, 1984, 1994, 1995, 1997, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2010, 2016) Most consecutive appearances: 7**; New England Patriots
New England Patriots
(2011–2017) Most consecutive victories: 4**; Buffalo Bills
Buffalo Bills
(1990–1993) Most victories without a loss: 2; Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals
(1981, 1988)[fn 2] Most appearances without a win: 4; New York Jets
New York Jets
(1982, 1998, 2009, 2010) Most consecutive losses without a win: 4; (tie) Oakland Raiders
Oakland Raiders
(1970, 1973, 1974, 1975), New York Jets
New York Jets
(1982, 1998, 2009, 2010) Most defensive shutouts: 2**; Miami Dolphins
Miami Dolphins
(1971, 21–0 vs Colts and 1982, 14–0 vs Jets) Most consecutive losses: 3; Oakland Raiders
Oakland Raiders
(1973–1975) Most games hosted: 11**; Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers
(1972, 1975, 1978, 1979, 1994, 1995, 1997, 2001, 2004, 2008, 2010) Most numerous matchups: 3 (tie)

Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers
vs. Oakland Raiders
Oakland Raiders
(1974, 1975, 1976) Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns
vs. Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos
(1986, 1987, 1989) New England Patriots
New England Patriots
vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers
(2001, 2004, 2016) New England Patriots
New England Patriots
vs. Indianapolis Colts
Indianapolis Colts
(2003, 2006, 2014)

Most points scored: 51**; January 20, 1991 (1990) – Buffalo Bills vs. Los Angeles Raiders Largest margin of victory: 48 points**; January 20, 1991 (1990) – Buffalo Bills
Buffalo Bills
(51) vs. Los Angeles Raiders
Los Angeles Raiders
(3) Fewest points scored, winning team: 10; January 12, 1992 (1991) – Buffalo Bills
Buffalo Bills
vs. Denver Broncos Fewest points scored: 0*; (tie) Jan 2, 1972 (1971) Baltimore Colts
Baltimore Colts
0 vs Dolphins 21, Jan 23, 1983 (1982) NY Jets 0 vs Dolphins 14 Most points scored, losing team: 34**; January 21, 2007 (2006) – New England Patriots vs. Indianapolis Colts Most combined points scored: 73**; January 6, 1985 (1984) – Miami Dolphins (45) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers
(28) Fewest combined points scored: 14; January 23, 1983 (1982) – Miami Dolphins (14) vs. New York Jets
New York Jets
(0) Longest game: 65 minutes, 38 seconds; January 11, 1987 (1986) – Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos
(23) at Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns
(20), OT Current AFC teams which have never appeared in a Conference Championship Game: Houston Texans[fn 3] Current AFC teams which have never won a Conference Championship: Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns
(0–3), Houston Texans
Houston Texans
(0–0), Jacksonville Jaguars (0–3), New York Jets
New York Jets
(0–4) and Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City Chiefs
(0–1) Longest drought without appearing in an AFC Championship Game: 29 years**; Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals
(last appearance – 1988) Longest drought without an AFC Championship: 48 years**: New York Jets,[fn 4] and Kansas City Chiefs[fn 5] Highest attendance: 91,445; Los Angeles Raiders
Los Angeles Raiders
vs. Seattle Seahawks in Los Angeles on January 8, 1984 (1983)

Notes:

*Tied for Conference Championship record **Conference Championship record

TV ratings[edit]

1982: 51.6 million viewers [1] 2002: 2003: 41.5 million 2004: 2005: 44.3 million 2006: 39 million viewers [2] 2007: 46.7 million viewers (6:44-10:23pm) [3] 2008: 2009: 42 million viewers [4] 2010: 42.352 million viewers 2011: 54.9 million viewers[5] 2012: 48.7 million viewers[6][7] 2013: 47.7 million viewers[8] 2014: 51.3 million viewers [5] 2015:42.1 million viewers[9] 2016: 53.3 million viewers[10] 2017: 41.2 million viewers[11]

Footnotes[edit]

^ Joe Robbie Stadium, now Sun Life Stadium, is located in Miami Gardens. However, the city was not incorporated until 2003. Prior to that, the area was an unincorporated area of Miami-Dade County, and the stadium used a Miami address. ^ The Miami Dolphins
Miami Dolphins
won 5 AFC Championships before losing their first championship game. The New England Patriots
New England Patriots
equaled that record before losing a championship game. ^ The franchise was founded in 2002. ^ The Jets won Super Bowl
Super Bowl
III as the 1968 AFL Champion. ^ The Chiefs won Super Bowl
Super Bowl
IV as the 1969 AFL Champion

References[edit]

^ a b "Patriots Blog: AFC Championship Trophy In The House". WBZ-TV. January 18, 2012. Retrieved August 16, 2014. The Lamar Hunt
Lamar Hunt
Trophy, given to the winners of the AFC Championship since 1984  ^ "Playoff". NFL Record and Fact Book 2009. Time, Inc. Home Entertainment. ISBN 978-1-60320-809-3.  ^ "NFC's Halas trophy has new look". Chicago Sun-Times.  ^ Bell, Jarrett (January 25, 2011). "NFL Replay: Gritty Steelers aren't pretty, but they are Super". USA Today.  ^ "NFL passes new records in TV ratings". USA Today. 1 February 2011. Retrieved 11 October 2014.  ^ "NFL Ratings Spike: 48.7 Million Watch AFC Title Game, NFC Game Draws 57.6 Mil". Deadline Hollywood. 23 January 2012. Retrieved 11 October 2014.  ^ "AFC Championship Ratings". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved 11 October 2014.  ^ "Astonishing Chart Shows How The NFL Dominates TV Ratings". Business Insider. 17 December 2013. Retrieved 11 October 2014.  ^ http://deadline.com/2015/01/afc-championship-ratings-patriots-colts-cbs-nfl-revenge-1201353194/ ^ http://deadline.com/2016/01/afc-championship-game-ratings-broncos-patriots-cbs-1201689780/ ^ https://sportstvratings.com/nfl-conference-championships-overnight-tv-ratings-2006-2016/7365/

v t e

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National Football League
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Vince Lombardi Trophy Lamar Hunt
Lamar Hunt
Trophy (AFC) George Halas Trophy (NFC)

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v t e

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(2018)

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