If a team clinches a conference, it means they have secured first place in that conference.
They are the top team in their half of the league and have qualified for the playoffs.
Each NFL conference will have sixteen teams, and each conference will have four divisions.
The top two teams in each division will get a spot in the playoffs, as well as three wild card spots for teams that did not win their division.
If a team wins the conference, it will be seeded top.
The Importance of Clinched Conferences
Claiming a conference has three main advantages, including home-field advantage, better matchups, and first-round byes.
If a team wins their conference, they will be the number one seed in their conference during the NFL playoffs.
No matter who they play, they will have home-field advantage. This can be quite a factor in playoff games as fans can get quite loud. Traveling on the road also benefits the home team.
The first round of the playoffs will feature six teams in each conference, while the winners will get a week off. Teams that have won their division will also get a bye in the first round.
A top seed need only win two games to reach the Super bowl. This makes a huge difference in a team’s playoff odds and is probably the most critical aspect of winning a conference.
Having favorable matchups in the playoffs is another very key factor. The conference winners will play the lowest remaining seed in the playoffs.
Following the bye in the first round, the conference winners will likely play the lowest-seeded team remaining in their conference.
This is often a wild card team that has won its first game. While these games are no walk in the park, the disadvantageous matchup makes it a whole lot easier for the one seed.
A Clinched Division is What?
When a team wins its four-team division, it is considered to have clinched the division.
The top four seeds in each conference are determined by division winners in the NFL.
During the regular season, the division winner with the best record will also clinch the conference title.
What is a Clinched Wild Card?
After learning what a clinched conference is in football, you may wonder what a clinched wild card is.
In football, wild cards are playoff positions awarded to teams that did not win their divisions.
Each conference will have four division winners. A recent rule change added three wild card teams to each conference.
There were previously two byes in each conference and two wild cards in each conference.
There is now only one bye team and three wild card teams.
Clinching a wild card means that a team has secured a playoff berth without winning their division.
It is not uncommon for wild card teams to have great win-loss records, but be unable to compete in their division due to the high caliber of their opponents.