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The Falcons are tied for the fourth-most conference championship appearances in the last 20 years

They’ve won exactly two of them.

Green Bay Packers v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Here is a fun yet jarring fact: Over the last 20 years, only three teams have made more conference championships than the Atlanta Falcons. That’s pretty close to stunning.

As you’ll see below (and would have expected), the Patriots top this list, and they’ve been the NFL’s most successful team over the last two decades. The other two teams are the Steelers (who have won three of their six appearances and won two Super Bowls) and the Eagles (who made it six times but won just once, losing in the Super Bowl). Atlanta has four appearances with two wins, which came last year and back in 1998, tying for fourth-most them with the Colts, Broncos, Packers, Ravens, and Vikings.

I think this is useful perspective for one reason and one reason only. It illustrates just how more successful the Falcons have been over the last two decades than they were over their first three, when they made exactly zero Conference Championship Games. That has justifiably heightened expectations, to the point where it’s no longer good enough to fall short of a deep playoff run. That’s a positive development, but it certainly increases pressure on the Falcons to get this thing right in a hurry after such an up-and-down season.

That said, you can hold your head high and know the Falcons have shown up in more Conference Championships than the Buccaneers, Panthers, or Saints. Never mind any ring talk, this is the real mark of success. Or something.