The NFL is split into two conferences, the American Football Conference (AFC) and the National Football Conference (NFC). Both conferences were formed in 1970 as part of the merger between the National Football League and American Football League. Prior to then, the AFL and NFL operated as two seperate leagues with different teams, structure, and championships.
Each conference has 16 teams, with the AFC home to teams such as the Bills, Patriots, and Jets, while the NFL is home to teams such as the Cowboys, Lions, and Cardinals.
Conference standings are important because they determine which teams make the playoffs. The top four teams in each conference at the end of the regular season automatically qualify for the playoffs and are seeded in order of their record. Next up, the winners of each division also automatically qualify for the playoffs, and then the final four spots in each conference are played for as part of Wild Card Weekend. Conference standings also have an impact on the draft, with worse teams receiving earlier picks.
There are in total 8 divisons in the NFL, with 4 in the AFC and 4 in the NFC. Each division consists of four teams, for a total of 32 teams in the NFL. The four divisions in the AFC are AFC North, AFC East, AFC West, AFC South. The NFC is home to the NFC North, NFC East, NFC West and NFC South.