The Falcons have come a long way since they were born in 1966. The NFL used to routinely change things up when it came to divisions and conferences, which means the Falcons have been moved around the board.
We all know that the Falcons have been in the NFC South for about 20 years now, but what about before then? What other conferences and divisions have they been a part of?
The Falcons have been around for a long time, which means they have been moved around a lot
The Falcons’ first season was in 1966, and back then the NFL only had the East (eight teams) and West (seven teams) divisions. Atlanta was a member of the East division but things were quickly changed after just one year of the Falcons being in the East.
The league added two divisions in 1967, four teams each, and renamed them all—Capitol, Century, Coastal, and Central divisions.
The Falcons were placed in the Coastal division with the Los Angeles Rams, the Baltimore Colts, and the San Francisco 49ers. This lasted just three years.
The NFL then added conferences with the NFC and AFC in 1970, much like we have now. Each conference had three divisions—East, Central, and West divisions.
Atlanta was put in the NFC West along with the San Francisco 49ers, the Los Angeles Rams, and the New Orleans Saints. This started the rivalry between the Saints and Falcons as they routinely fought over the bottom two spots in the division for the first few decades.
The NFC West remained the same for five seasons before the Seattle Seahawks entered the league in 1976 and joined the NFC West, giving the division five teams. Seattle ended up leaving after one year as they were moved to AFC West.
The division remained intact with those four teams—Falcons, Rams, Saints, and 49ers—until the Carolina Panthers joined the league in 1995 and were added to the NFC West.
That lasted eight seasons before the NFL switched to a more permanent format, the one we know today. They added a new division to both conferences and named them the North, South, East, and West.
The league pulled the Falcons, Panthers, and Saints from the NFC West and placed them in the NFC South, along with the Buccaneers who came from the NFC Central.
And here we are today, where the NFL is in its longest stretch without moving things around, and it seems like it will continue to look this way for a long time, at least until a new team is established.