1986 NFL season

Last updated

1986 National Football League season
Regular season
DurationSeptember 7 – December 22, 1986
Playoffs
Start dateDecember 28, 1986
AFC Champions Denver Broncos
NFC Champions New York Giants
Super Bowl XXI
DateJanuary 25, 1987
Site Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California
Champions New York Giants
Pro Bowl
DateFebruary 1, 1987
Site Aloha Stadium
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Colts
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Patriots
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Bills
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Dolphins
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Jets
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Bengals
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Browns
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Oilers
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Steelers
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Broncos
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Chiefs
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Raiders
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Chargers
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Seahawks
AFC teams: Yellow ffff00 pog.svg West, DeepPink pog.svg Central, Green pog.svg East
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Cowboys
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Giants
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Eagles
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Cardinals
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Redskins
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Bears
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Lions
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Packers
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Vikings
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Buccaneers
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Falcons
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Rams
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Saints
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49ers
NFC teams: Yellow ffff00 pog.svg West, DeepPink pog.svg Central, Green pog.svg East

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.

Contents

Player movement

Transactions

Trades

Draft

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.

New referee

Dick Hantak was promoted to referee after serving eight seasons as a back judge (the position title was changed to field judge in 1998). 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.

Major rule changes

American Bowl

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.

DateWinning TeamScoreLosing TeamScoreStadiumCity
August 3, 1986 Chicago Bears 17 Dallas Cowboys 6 Wembley Stadium Flag of the United Kingdom.svg London

Regular season

Scheduling formula

    Inter-conference
AFC East vs NFC West
AFC Central vs NFC Central
AFC West vs NFC East

Highlights of the 1986 season included:

Final standings

Tiebreakers

Playoffs

Note: The New York Giants (the NFC one seed) did not play the Washington Redskins (the four seed) in the Divisional playoff round because both teams were in the same division.
Jan 4 – Mile High Stadium
3 New England 17
Dec 28 – Giants Stadium Jan 11 – Cleveland Stadium
2 Denver 22
AFC
5 Kansas City 152Denver23*
Jan 3 – Cleveland Stadium
4 NY Jets 351Cleveland20
AFC Championship
4NY Jets20
Jan 25 – Rose Bowl
1 Cleveland 23**
Divisional playoffs
Wild Card playoffsA2Denver20
Jan 3 – Soldier Field
N1NY Giants39
Super Bowl XXI
4Washington27
Dec 28 – RFK Memorial Stadium Jan 11 – Giants Stadium
2 Chicago 13
NFC
5 LA Rams 74Washington0
Jan 4 – Giants Stadium
4 Washington 191NY Giants17
NFC Championship
3 San Francisco 3
1 NY Giants 49


* Indicates overtime victory
** Indicates double-overtime victory

Milestones

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)

Statistical leaders

Team

Points scoredMiami Dolphins (430)
Total yards gainedCincinnati Bengals (6,490)
Yards rushingChicago Bears (2,700)
Yards passingMiami Dolphins (4,779)
Fewest points allowedChicago Bears (187)
Fewest total yards allowedChicago Bears (4,130)
Fewest rushing yards allowedNew York Giants (1,284)
Fewest passing yards allowedSt. Louis Cardinals (2,637)

Awards

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

Coaching changes

Offseason

In-season

Uniform changes

Television

This was the fifth and final year under the league's broadcast contracts with ABC, CBS, and NBC to televise Monday Night Football , the NFC package, and the AFC package, respectively. This was the last season that games remained only on broadcast television, as the league would sign a deal with the cable channel ESPN to broadcast a series of Sunday night games starting in 1987. [3]

ABC opted to go to a two-man booth, dropping Joe Namath and O. J. Simpson, moving Frank Gifford to its sole color commentator, and having Al Michaels serve as the new play-by-announcer. Gifford would once again call the play-by-play during those weeks when Michaels was busy calling the Major League Baseball playoffs, and Lynn Swann or Simpson would fill-in.

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References

  1. "The Month of November in Bills History". Buffalo Bills. Archived from the original on April 13, 2009. Retrieved August 9, 2009.
  2. "NFL.com | Official Site of the National Football League". NFL.com. Retrieved August 6, 2023.
  3. Brulia, Tim. "A CHRONOLOGY OF PRO FOOTBALL ON TELEVISION: Part 3" (PDF). Pro Football Researchers.