|Duration||September 10 –|
December 18, 1966
|East Champions||Dallas Cowboys|
|West Champions||Green Bay Packers|
|Champions||Green Bay Packers|
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.
This was the last season that the NFL was divided only into two separate conferences, and only one postseason round was played between the two conference champions. The season concluded with the first Super Bowl; the NFL champion Green Bay Packers defeated the AFL's Kansas City Chiefs 35–10 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on January 15, 1967.
Pat Studstill for the Detroit Lions set a record for consecutive games with more than 125 receiving yards with five, a record which was not tied until Calvin 'Megatron' Johnson several decades later. He also became the 3rd ever player to complete a 99-yard pass play.
The highest scoring game in NFL history also took place during this season, with the then Washington Redskins defeating the New York Giants in a Week 12 showdown with a final score of 72–41.
As the competitive war between the NFL and the American Football League reached its peak, the two leagues agreed to merge on June 8, 1966. Under the agreement:
On June 3, 1965, the NFL announced its plans to add two teams in 1967. Four days later on June 7, the eight franchises of the rival American Football League (AFL) voted unanimously to add two teams in 1966, an AFL franchise was awarded to Atlanta the next day.
The NFL awarded the first of the two expansion franchises to the city of Atlanta on June 30, 1965. Commissioner Pete Rozelle granted ownership of the Atlanta Falcons to Rankin Smith, Sr. and they were awarded the first pick in the 1966 NFL Draft, as well as the final pick in each of the first five rounds. The league also provided the Falcons with an expansion draft six weeks later.
The AFL had originally targeted Atlanta and Philadelphia,but its two expansion teams became the Miami Dolphins in 1966 and the Cincinnati Bengals in 1968.
The competition with the AFL for Atlanta forced the first to be added a year early. The odd number of teams (15) in 1966 resulted in one idle team (bye) each week, with each team playing fourteen games over fifteen weeks (similar to 1960: twelve games over thirteen weeks). The second expansion team, the New Orleans Saints, joined the NFL as planned in 1967 as its sixteenth franchise. Scheduled byes in the NFL's regular season did not return until 1990.
The 1966 NFL Draft was held on November 27, 1965 at New York City's Summit Hotel. With the first pick, the Atlanta Falcons selected linebacker Tommy Nobis from The University of Texas.
Goal posts were standardized in the NFL. They were to be 3–4 inches (7.6–10.2 cm) in diameter, painted bright yellow, with two non-curved supports offset from the goal line, and uprights 20 feet (6.1 m) above the crossbar. In 1967, the new "slingshot" goal post was made standard, with one curved support from the ground. In 1974, the goal posts were returned to the end line, and the uprights were extended to 30 feet (9.1 m) above the crossbar, and to 35 feet (10.7 m) in 2014.
The new goal-post rule is often referred to as the "Don Chandler Rule", referring to the placekicker for the Green Bay Packers. Although widely denied, the height increase of the uprights was in reaction to the previous season's Western Conference playoff game at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. Chandler kicked a controversial field goal that tied the game with under two minutes remaining. The kick was high above the upright, and many spectators thought that the kick missed; however, the kick was ruled good by field judge Jim Tunney. Chandler later hit a field goal that defeated the Baltimore Colts in overtime. The following week, the Packers defeated the Cleveland Browns in the NFL Championship Game, their first of three consecutive league titles.
Another rule change born from the 1965 Western Conference playoff was two officials (the back judge and field judge) were stationed under each upright for field goal and extra point attempts.
In the Western Conference, Green Bay's first loss was in Week 5, falling 21–20 in San Francisco to tie them with the Rams. The Rams lost 35–7 to Minnesota the next week, and Green Bay stayed in front until Week 9, when Minnesota beat them 20–17. Baltimore's 19–7 win over Atlanta briefly tied it with the Packers at 7–2–0 in Week 10, but the Colts lost to Detroit the next week, 20–14. The Packers clinched the title in Week 13.
In the Eastern Conference, the St. Louis Cardinals took the early lead, winning their first five games. (The Dallas Cowboys were also unbeaten, but due to a bye in Week One, they had played one fewer game and thus were a half-game behind the Cardinals in the standings.) The unbeaten teams met in Week 6, and both were still unbeaten after they played to a 10–10 tie. However, both teams suffered their first defeat the next week, with St. Louis losing at Washington, 26–20, and the Cowboys falling in Cleveland, 30–21. In Week 9 (November 6), St. Louis beat the Giants, 20–17, while Dallas came up short in a 24–23 loss to the Eagles. The next week, Dallas won at Washington 31–30 on a field goal with 0:15 left, while the Cards fell at Pittsburgh, 30–9, cutting their safety margin to a half-game again. St. Louis had a bye in Week 11, and a 20–7 Dallas victory over Pittsburgh gave the Cards and Cowboys records of 7–2–1. Both teams won the next week, setting up the stage for their December 4 meeting in Dallas during Week 13. The Cards took a 10–7 lead in the first quarter, but Dallas won 31–17 to take over the conference lead. In Week Fourteen, Dallas hosted Washington, and lost 34–31 on a field goal at 0:08. The Cardinals were in a must-win game against what should have been an easy opponent, the new (2–10–0) Atlanta Falcons. Instead, the Falcons notched their third win and virtually ended St. Louis's hopes to go to the title game. The St. Louis Cardinals, who lost again the next week, never got that close to the Super Bowl again before moving to Phoenix in 1988.
|1||Detroit, Green Bay, Los Angeles (tie)||1–0–0||Cleveland, St. Louis (tie)||1–0–0||Dallas Cowboys|
|2||Green Bay, Los Angeles (tie)||2–0–0||St. Louis, Pittsburgh (tie)||2–0–0||San Francisco 49ers|
|3||Green Bay Packers||3–0–0||St. Louis Cardinals||3–0–0||Chicago Bears|
|4||Green Bay Packers||4–0–0||St. Louis Cardinals||4–0–0||Baltimore Colts|
|5||Green Bay, Los Angeles (tie)||4–1–0||St. Louis Cardinals||5–0–0||Minnesota Vikings|
|6||Green Bay Packers||5–1–0||St. Louis Cardinals||5–0–1||Cleveland Browns|
|7||Green Bay Packers||6–1–0||St. Louis Cardinals||5–1–1||Pittsburgh Steelers|
|8||Green Bay Packers||7–1–0||St. Louis Cardinals||6–1–1||New York Giants|
|9||Green Bay Packers||7–2–0||St. Louis Cardinals||7–1–1||Atlanta Falcons|
|10||Baltimore, Green Bay (tie)||7–2–0||St. Louis Cardinals||7–2–1||Green Bay Packers|
|11||Green Bay Packers||8–2–0||Dallas, St. Louis (tie)||7–2–1||St. Louis Cardinals|
|12||Green Bay Packers||9–2–0||Dallas, St. Louis (tie)||8–2–1||Philadelphia Eagles|
|13||Green Bay Packers||10–2–0||Dallas Cowboys||9–2–1||Washington Redskins|
|14||Green Bay Packers||11–2–0||Dallas Cowboys||9–3–1||Los Angeles Rams|
|15||Green Bay Packers||12–2–0||Dallas Cowboys||10–3–1||Detroit Lions|
Note: Tie games were not officially counted in the standings until 1972.
The Playoff Bowl was between the conference runners-up, for third place in the league. This was its seventh year and it was played a week after the title game.
The Green Bay Packers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs, league champion of the 1966 American Football League season, 35–10, at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, on January 15, 1967.
|Most Valuable Player||Bart Starr, Quarterback, Green Bay|
|Coach of the Year||Tom Landry, Dallas|
The Atlanta Falcons are a professional American football team based in Atlanta. The Falcons compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league's National Football Conference (NFC) South division. The Falcons joined the NFL in 1965 as an expansion team, after the NFL offered then-owner Rankin Smith a franchise to keep him from joining the rival American Football League (AFL).
The American Football League (AFL) was a major professional American football league that operated for ten seasons from 1960 until 1970, when it merged with the older National Football League (NFL), and became the American Football Conference. The upstart AFL operated in direct competition with the more established NFL throughout its existence. It was more successful than earlier rivals to the NFL with the same name, the 1926, 1936 and 1940 leagues, and the later All-America Football Conference.
The National Football Conference (NFC) is one of the two conferences of the National Football League (NFL). The NFC and its counterpart, the American Football Conference (AFC), currently contain 16 teams organized into 4 divisions. Both conferences were created as part of the 1970 merger with the rival American Football League (AFL), with all ten of the former AFL teams and three NFL teams forming the AFC while the remaining thirteen NFL clubs formed the NFC. A series of league expansions and division realignments have occurred since the merger, thus making the current total of 16 clubs in each conference. The defending NFC champions are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who defeated the Green Bay Packers in the 2020 NFC Championship Game for their second conference championship.
Below is a list of professional football championship games in the United States, involving:
The AFL–NFL merger was the merger of the two major professional American football leagues in the United States at the time: the National Football League (NFL) and the American Football League (AFL). It paved the way for the combined league, which retained the "National Football League" name and logo, to become the most popular sports league in the United States. The merger was announced on the evening of June 8, 1966. Under the merger agreement, the leagues maintained separate regular-season schedules for the next four seasons—from 1966 through 1969—and then officially merged before the 1970 season to form one league with two conferences.
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 determining a true national champion.
The Playoff Bowl was a post-season game for third place in the National Football League (NFL), played ten times following the 1960 through 1969 seasons, all at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida. It was originally known as the Runner-Up Bowl.
The 1966 National Football League Championship Game was the 34th NFL championship, played at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas. It was the final game of the 1966 NFL season.
The 1992 NFL season was the 73rd regular season of the National Football League. Due to the damage caused by Hurricane Andrew, the New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins game that was scheduled for September 6 at Joe Robbie Stadium was rescheduled to October 18. Both teams originally had that weekend off. This marked the first time since the 1966 NFL season and the AFL seasons of 1966 and 1967 that there were byes in week 1; in those years, byes were necessary every week since there were an odd number of teams, which would happen again between 1999 and 2001. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Dolphins also had their 2017 season opener postponed due to Hurricane Irma.
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 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 1960 NFL season was the 41st regular season of the National Football League.
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 National Football League preseason is the period each year during which NFL teams play several not-for-the-record exhibition games before the actual "regular" season starts. Beginning with the featured Pro Football Hall of Fame game in early August, four weekends of exhibition games are played in the NFL to date. The start of the preseason is intrinsically tied to the last week of training camp.
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.
NFL playoff results is a listing of the year-by-year results of the NFL Playoff games to determine the final two teams for the championship game. The winners of those games are listed in NFL Championship Game article.
The overall franchise records are shown in the last table.
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.
Dave Dunaway was a wide receiver in the National Football League.