|Duration||September 19 –|
December 26, 1965
|East Champions||Cleveland Browns|
|West Champions||Green Bay Packers (playoff)|
|Champions||Green Bay Packers|
The 1965 NFL season was the 46th regular season of the National Football League. The Green Bay Packers won the NFL title after defeating the Cleveland Browns in the championship game, the last before the Super Bowl era.
The NFL's war with the rival American Football League began to increase as the two leagues competed for the top players coming out of college. Prior to the season, both the NFL's Chicago Bears and the AFL's Kansas City Chiefs selected running back Gale Sayers in their respective league drafts. Sayers eventually decided to sign with the NFL's Bears in a victory for the established league. On the other hand, quarterback Joe Namath was selected by both the NFL's St. Louis Cardinals and the AFL's New York Jets, but Namath decided to play for the Jets after signing a $427,000 contract for three years.
This war between the AFL and the NFL would escalate until just before the 1966 season, when they would agree to merge and create a new AFL-NFL World Championship Game between the winners of the two leagues, that later would be known as the Super Bowl.
The 1965 NFL Draft was held on November 28, 1964 at New York City's Summit Hotel. With the first pick, the New York Giants selected back Tucker Frederickson from Auburn University.
Each team played each of the six other teams in its conference twice. In addition, each team played two of the seven teams from the other conference to complete the 14 game schedule. Thus each week's schedule included 6 intra-conference games (3 from each conference) and one inter-conference game. In 1965 the Western Conference dominated the Eastern winning 13 out of the 14 interconference games. The lone win for the Eastern Conference was a 39–31 victory by Dallas over San Francisco in week eight.
As in 1964, the Eastern Conference race started out as a battle between the Cardinals and the Browns. By Week Five (October 17), both had 4–1–0 records, but the Cards won only one more game after that, finishing 5–9. The Browns won all seven of their remaining divisional games during the same stretch, losing only their two inter-conference games against Western opponents. The Browns had clinched the conference title by November 28.
In the Western race, Green Bay won its first six games before a 31–10 loss at Chicago on Halloween put it in a tie with the Baltimore Colts. In Week Eight (November 7), the Packers lost again, 12–7 to Detroit, while the Colts beat Chicago 26–21. Both teams won their next two games, but in Week Eleven, the Packers lost 21–10 to the Rams, and the Colts averted a loss by tying the Lions, 24–24. In Week Twelve, Green Bay closed the gap with a 24–19 win over the Vikings, while the Colts fell to Chicago, losing the game (13–0) and their star quarterback, Johnny Unitas, to a knee injury.
With backup Gary Cuozzo passing for the Colts, they met the Packers again, in Baltimore, on December 12, and Paul Hornung scored five touchdowns as Green Bay won, 42–27, to take a half-game division lead, 10–3 to 9–3–1. Along with the conference lead, the Colts lost another quarterback when Cuozzo was injured. In the final weekend, the Colts were in Los Angeles for a Saturday game that they had to win, but were losing 17–10. A tying touchdown by fourth-string quarterback Ed Brown helped the Colts knot the game 17–17, but a tie wasn't enough. It took Lou Michaels' field goal to get a 20–17 win and a 10–3–1 record. A Green Bay win the next day in San Francisco would have ended the race, and the Packers leading and were slightly more than a minute away from the title game, but the 49ers tied the game, 24–24, with 1:07 to play. Both Green Bay and Baltimore had 10–3–1 records, forcing a playoff for the day after Christmas.
|1||4 teams||1–0–0||3 teams||1–0–0|
|2||3 teams||2–0–0||Dallas Cowboys||2–0–0|
|3||Tie (Det, GB)||3–0–0||4 teams||2–1–0|
|4||Green Bay Packers||4–0–0||Tie (Cle, StL)||3–1–0|
|5||Green Bay Packers||5–0–0||Tie (Cle, StL)||4–1–0|
|6||Green Bay Packers||6–0–0||Cleveland Browns||5–1–0|
|7||Tie (Bal, GB)||6–1–0||Cleveland Browns||5–2–0|
|8||Baltimore Colts||7–1–0||Cleveland Browns||6–2–0|
|9||Baltimore Colts||8–1–0||Cleveland Browns||7–2–0|
|10||Baltimore Colts||9–1–0||Cleveland Browns||8–2–0|
|11||Baltimore Colts||9–1–1||Cleveland Browns||9–2–0|
|12||Baltimore Colts||9–2–1||Cleveland Browns||10–2–0|
|13||Green Bay Packers||10–3–0||Cleveland Browns||10–3–0|
|14||(tie) Baltimore Colts||10–3–1||Cleveland Browns||11–3–0|
|Green Bay Packers||10-3-1|
Note: Tie games were not officially counted in the standings until 1972.
As the Green Bay Packers and Baltimore Colts were tied for first place in the Western Conference standings after the regular season ended, a conference playoff game was required, and was held in Green Bay at Lambeau Field: although the Packers had beaten the Colts in both of their games in 1965, there were no tiebreaking rules at the time.
In the playoff game, with both Colts starting quarterback Johnny Unitas and backup Gary Cuozzo injured, Baltimore was forced to use Tom Matte, normally a running back, as quarterback: Matte played the position in college at Ohio State. Further, Packers quarterback Bart Starr was injured on the first play from scrimmage and did not return to the game, being relieved by Zeke Bratkowski.
After Green Bay's Don Chandler kicked a 27-yard field goal with less than two minutes remaining to tie the game 10-10, the playoff went into overtime, where Chandler kicked a 25-yard field goal with 1:21 remaining in the period to win the Packers the Western Conference title.
The following week at Lambeau, Starr returned as starter, with the Packers defeating the Cleveland Browns in the NFL Championship Game, the last before the Super Bowl era.
Western Conference Playoff Game
NFL Championship Game
The Playoff Bowl was between the conference runners-up, for third place in the league. This was its sixth year (of ten) and it was played a week after the title game.
|Most Valuable Player||Jim Brown, Fullback, Cleveland|
|Coach of the Year||George Halas, Chicago|
The home of the Green Bay Packers, City Stadium, is renamed Lambeau Field in memory of team founder, player, and head coach Curly Lambeau
The Green Bay Packers are a professional American football team based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the National Football Conference (NFC) North division. It is the third-oldest franchise in the NFL, dating back to 1919, and is the only non-profit, community-owned major league professional sports team based in the United States. Home games have been played at Lambeau Field since 1957.
Throughout its history, the National Football League (NFL) and other rival American football leagues have used several different formats to determine their league champions, including a period of inter-league matchups to determine a true national champion.
The NFL playoffs following the 1967 NFL season culminated in the NFL championship game on New Year's Eve, and determined who would represent the league against the American Football League champions in Super Bowl II.
The 1965 NFL playoffs determined the champion of the National Football League in professional American football for its 1965 season. Although a single championship game between conference winners was the current format for the league, a tie in the Western Conference standings between the Green Bay Packers and Baltimore Colts necessitated an unscheduled tiebreaker playoff, the first in the league in seven years and the first in the Western conference since 1957. A coin flip decided the home team. The teams had played twice during the regular season and Green Bay had won both: 20–17 in Milwaukee on September 26, and 42–27 in Baltimore on December 12.
The 1967 NFL season was the 48th regular season of the National Football League. The league expanded to 16 teams with the addition of the New Orleans Saints.
The 1966 NFL season was the 47th regular season of the National Football League, and the first season in which the Super Bowl was played, though it was called the AFL-NFL World Championship Game. The league expanded to 15 teams with the addition of the Atlanta Falcons, making a bye necessary each week for one team.
The 1963 NFL season was the 44th regular season of the National Football League.
The 1960 NFL season was the 41st regular season of the National Football League.
The 1950 NFL season was the 31st regular season of the National Football League. The merger with the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) expanded the league to 13 teams. Meanwhile, television brought a new era to the game. The Los Angeles Rams became the first NFL team to have all of its games – both home and away – televised. The Washington Redskins became the second team to put their games on TV. Other teams arranged to have selected games televised.
The 1952 NFL season was the 33rd regular season of the National Football League. Prior to the season, the legacy of the Dayton Triangles, the final remaining Ohio League member and the franchise then known as the New York Yanks owner Ted Collins sold his team back to the NFL. A few days later, a new team was then awarded to an ownership group in Dallas, Texas, after it purchased the assets of the Yanks.
The Green Bay Packers are a professional American football team that has played professionally in the National Football League (NFL) since 1921. The team was founded in 1919 by Curly Lambeau and George Whitney Calhoun, and for the next two years played against local teams in Wisconsin and the upper peninsula of Michigan. In 1921, the Packers joined the American Professional Football Association, the precursor to the NFL with Curly Lambeau as their coach. After falling into financial trouble, the Green Bay Football Corporation, now known as Green Bay Packers, Inc., was formed in 1923. The Packers became a publicly owned football team run by a board of directors elected each year. The team went on to win six NFL championships from 1929 to 1944, including three straight (1929–1931). Along the way, Curly Lambeau, with the help of receiver Don Hutson, revolutionized football through the development and utilization of the forward pass.
The 1966 Green Bay Packers season was their 48th season overall and their 46th in the National Football League. The defending NFL champions had a league-best regular season record of 12–2, led by eighth-year head coach Vince Lombardi and quarterback Bart Starr, in his eleventh NFL season.
The Minnesota Vikings are an American football team based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. After initially committing to become one of the founding members of the American Football League (AFL) in 1959, the team joined the National Football League (NFL) as an expansion franchise and played their first game in 1961, as part of the Western Conference. In 1967, they were placed into the new Central division, which became part of the National Football Conference following the AFL–NFL merger in 1970. The divisions were reorganized again in 2002, with the Vikings as part of the NFC North, in which they have played ever since. The Vikings have won their division 20 times and appeared in the playoffs 30 times, leading to four conference championships and one NFL title in 1969.
The 1968 Cleveland Browns season was the team's 19th season with the National Football League. The Browns made it to the playoffs for the 2nd straight year thanks to an 8-game winning streak and the brilliant play of quarterback Bill Nelsen who replaced Frank Ryan as the starting quarterback prior to week 4 of their season.
The 1967 Los Angeles Rams season was the team's 30th year with the National Football League and the 22nd season in Los Angeles. Under second-year head coach George Allen, the Rams had a regular season record of 11–1–2, tied for the best in the league, and won the Coastal Division title. It was their first playoff appearance since 1955.
The 1964 Green Bay Packers season was their 46th season overall and their 44th season in the National Football League. The team was led by sixth-year head coach Vince Lombardi, and tied for second place in the Western Conference at 8–5–1.
The 1965 Green Bay Packers season was their 47th season overall and their 45th season in the National Football League. The team finished with a 10–3–1 record under seventh-year head coach Vince Lombardi, earning a tie for first place in the Western Conference with the Baltimore Colts.
The 1965 Baltimore Colts season was the 13th season for the team in the National Football League. The Baltimore Colts finished the National Football League's 1965 season with a record of 10 wins, 3 losses, and 1 tie, tied for first in the Western Conference with the Green Bay Packers. Although the Packers won both regular season games over the Colts, no tiebreaking system was in place in 1965, and a playoff game was required to determine the Western Conference champion, who would host the Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Browns for the NFL title.
The 1965 San Francisco 49ers season was the franchise's 16th season in the National Football League and their 20th overall. They improved on their 4–10 record from 1964, and finished 7–6–1. However, they failed to qualify for the playoffs for the eighth consecutive season.
Total Football: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League ( ISBN 0-06-270174-6)