|Duration||September 7 – December 22, 1986|
|Start date||December 28, 1986|
|AFC Champions||Denver Broncos|
|NFC Champions||New York Giants|
|Super Bowl XXI|
|Date||January 25, 1987|
|Site||Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California|
|Champions||New York Giants|
|Date||February 1, 1987|
The 1986 NFL season was the 67th regular season of the National Football League. Defending Super Bowl Champion Chicago Bears shared the league’s best record with the Giants at 14–2, with the Giants claiming the spot in the NFC by tiebreakers. In the AFC, the Cleveland Browns earned home-field advantage with a record of 12–4, and they hosted the New York Jets in round one of the AFC playoffs. The Jets had started the season at 10–1 before losing their final five contests. The game went to double OT, with the Browns finally prevailing 23–20. The following Sunday, John Elway and the Denver Broncos defeated the Browns by an identical score in a game known for The Drive, where Elway drove his team 98 yards to send the game to overtime to win. The Giants would defeat their rival Washington Redskins in the NFC title game, blanking them 17–0 to advance to their first Super Bowl. The season ended with Super Bowl XXI when the New York Giants defeated the Denver Broncos 39–20 at the Rose Bowl to win their first league title in 30 years.
The 1986 NFL Draft was held from April 29 to 30, 1986 at New York City's Marriott Marquis. With the first pick, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected runningback Bo Jackson from Auburn University.
Dick Hantak was promoted to referee. Fred Silva was then assigned as a swing official instead of his own crew after suffering a heart attack in the offseason. Chuck Heberling was scheduled to be an instant replay official, but was asked to remain on the field following Silva's heart attack. Herberling earned assignment to the AFC championship.
A series of National Football League pre-season exhibition games that were held at sites outside the United States, the only American Bowl game in 1986 was held at London’s Wembley Stadium.
|Date||Winning Team||Score||Losing Team||Score||Stadium||City|
|August 3, 1986||Chicago Bears||17||Dallas Cowboys||6||Wembley Stadium||London|
Highlights of the 1986 season included:
|Jan. 4 – Mile High Stadium|
|Dec. 28 – Giants Stadium||Jan. 11 – Cleveland Stadium|
|Jan. 3 – Cleveland Stadium|
|Jan. 25 – Rose Bowl|
|Wild Card playoffs||A2||Denver||20|
|Jan. 3 – Soldier Field|
|Super Bowl XXI|
|Dec. 28 – RFK Memorial Stadium||Jan. 11 – Giants Stadium|
|Jan. 4 – Giants Stadium|
The following players set all-time records during the season:
|Most Passes Completed, Season||Dan Marino, Miami (378)|
|Most Pass Attempts, Season||Dan Marino, Miami (623)|
|Points scored||Miami Dolphins (430)|
|Total yards gained||Cincinnati Bengals (6,490)|
|Yards rushing||Chicago Bears (2,700)|
|Yards passing||Miami Dolphins (4,779)|
|Fewest points allowed||Chicago Bears (187)|
|Fewest total yards allowed||Chicago Bears (4,130)|
|Fewest rushing yards allowed||New York Giants (1,284)|
|Fewest passing yards allowed||St. Louis Cardinals (2,637)|
|Most Valuable Player||Lawrence Taylor, Linebacker, New York Giants|
|Coach of the Year||Bill Parcells, New York Giants|
|Offensive Player of the Year||Eric Dickerson, Running back, Los Angeles Rams|
|Defensive Player of the Year||Lawrence Taylor, Linebacker, New York Giants|
|Offensive Rookie of the Year||Rueben Mayes, Running back, New Orleans Saints|
|Defensive Rookie of the Year||Leslie O'Neal, Defensive end, San Diego Chargers|
|NFL Comeback Player of the Year||Joe Montana, Quarterback, San Francisco 49ers, Tommy Kramer, Quarterback, Minnesota Vikings (co-winners)|
|Man of the Year||Reggie Williams, Linebacker, Cincinnati Bengals|
|Super Bowl Most Valuable Player||Phil Simms, Quarterback, New York Giants|
The 2004 NFL season was the 85th regular season of the National Football League.
The 2005 NFL season was the 86th regular season of the National Football League.
The 2002 NFL season was the 83rd regular season of the National Football League.
The 2003 NFL season was the 84th regular season of the National Football League (NFL).
The 2001 NFL season was the 82nd regular season of the National Football League (NFL). In the wake of the September 11 attacks, the NFL's week 2 games were postponed and rescheduled to the weekend of January 6 and 7, 2002. In order to retain the full playoff format, all playoff games, including Super Bowl XXXVI, were rescheduled one week later. The New England Patriots won the Super Bowl, defeating the St. Louis Rams 20–17 at the Louisiana Superdome.
The 1999 NFL season was the 80th regular season of the National Football League. The Cleveland Browns returned to the field for the first time since the 1995 season, while the Tennessee Oilers changed their name to "Tennessee Titans," with the league retiring the name “Oilers.”
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 1990 NFL season was the 71st regular season of the National Football League. To increase revenue, the league, for the first time since 1966, reinstated bye weeks, so that all NFL teams would play their 16-game schedule over a 17-week period. Furthermore, the playoff format was expanded from 10 teams to 12 teams by adding another wild card from each conference, thus adding two more contests to the postseason schedule; this format remained in use until 2019. During four out of the five previous seasons, at least one team with a 10–6 record missed the playoffs, including the 11–5 Denver Broncos in 1985; meanwhile, the 10–6 San Francisco 49ers won Super Bowl XXIII, leading for calls to expand the playoff format to ensure that 10–6 teams could compete for a Super Bowl win. Ironically, the first sixth-seeded playoff team would not have a 10–6 record, but instead, the New Orleans Saints, with an 8–8 record, took the new playoff spot.
The 1988 NFL season was the 69th regular season of the National Football League. The Cardinals relocated from St. Louis, Missouri to the Phoenix, Arizona area becoming the Phoenix Cardinals but remained in the NFC East division. The playoff races came down to the regular season's final week, with the Seattle Seahawks winning the AFC West by one game, and the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers winning their respective divisions in a five-way tie, with the New Orleans Saints and New York Giants losing the NFC Wild Card berth to the Los Angeles Rams on tiebreakers.
The 1987 NFL season was the 68th regular season of the National Football League. This season featured games predominantly played by replacement players as the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) players were on strike from weeks four to six. The season ended with Super Bowl XXII, with the Washington Redskins defeating the Denver Broncos 42–10 at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego. The Broncos suffered their second consecutive Super Bowl defeat.
The 1985 NFL season was the 66th regular season of the National Football League. The season ended with Super Bowl XX when the Chicago Bears defeated the New England Patriots 46–10 at the Louisiana Superdome. The Bears became the second team in NFL history to win 15 games in the regular season and 18 including the playoffs.
The 1980 NFL season was the 61st regular season of the National Football League.
The 1979 NFL season was the 60th regular season of the National Football League. The season ended with Super Bowl XIV when the Pittsburgh Steelers repeated as champions by defeating the Los Angeles Rams 31–19 at the Rose Bowl. The Steelers became the first team to win back-to-back Super Bowls twice. It was also the 20th anniversary of the American Football League.
The 1978 NFL season was the 59th regular season of the National Football League. The league expanded the regular season from a 14-game schedule to 16 games, which it remained in place until 2021 when it was increased to 17 games. Furthermore, the playoff format was expanded from 8 teams to 10 teams by adding another wild card from each conference. The wild card teams played each other, with the winner advancing to the playoff round of eight teams.
The 1976 NFL season was the 57th regular season of the National Football League. The league expanded to 28 teams with the addition of the Seattle Seahawks and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This fulfilled one of the conditions agreed to in 1966 for the 1970 AFL–NFL merger, which called for the league to expand to 28 teams by 1970 or soon thereafter.
The 1975 NFL season was the 56th regular season of the National Football League. It was the first NFL season without a tie game. The league made two significant changes to increase the appeal of the game:
The 1973 NFL season was the 54th regular season of the National Football League. The season was highlighted by O.J. Simpson becoming the first player to rush for 2,000 yards in one season.
The 1972 NFL season was the 53rd regular season of the National Football League. The Miami Dolphins became the first NFL team to finish a championship season undefeated and untied when they beat the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl VII.
The 2006 NFL season was the 87th regular season of the National Football League. Regular season play was held from September 7 to December 31, 2006.
The 2010 NFL season was the 91st regular season of the National Football League and the 45th of the Super Bowl era.