1971 NFL season

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1971 National Football League season
Regular season
Duration September 19 – December 19, 1971
Playoffs
Start date December 25, 1971
AFC Champions Miami Dolphins
NFC Champions Dallas Cowboys
Super Bowl VI
Date January 16, 1972
Site Tulane Stadium, New Orleans, Louisiana
Champions Dallas Cowboys
Pro Bowl
Date January 23, 1972
Site Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
National Football League seasons
 < 1970 1972 > 

The 1971 NFL season was the 52nd regular season of the National Football League. The season ended with Super Bowl VI when the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Miami Dolphins. Before the season, the Boston Patriots changed their name to New England Patriots after they moved to their new home field, Schaefer Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

Major rule changes[edit]

  • Teams will not be charged a time out for an injured player unless the injury occurs inside the last two minutes of a half.

Division races[edit]

Starting in 1970, and until 2002, there were three divisions (Eastern, Central and Western) in each conference. The winners of each division, and a fourth "wild card" team based on the best non-division winner, qualified for the playoffs. The tiebreaker rules were changed to start with head-to-head competition, followed by division records, common opponents records, and conference play. (More tiebreakers were provided in 1971 because, in 1970, reversing just one game's outcome would have led to a coin toss between Dallas and Detroit for the NFC wild-card berth.)

National Football Conference[edit]

Week Eastern Central Western Wild Card
1 3 teams 1–0–0 2 teams 1–0–0 2 teams 1–0–0 3 teams 1–0–0
2 2 teams 2–0–0 Chicago 2–0–0 Atlanta 1–0–1 2 teams 2–0–0
3 Washington 3–0–0 4 teams 2–1–0 San Francisco 2–1–0 5 teams 2–1–0
4 Washington 4–0–0 Chicago* 3–1–0 Los Angeles 2–1–1 3 teams 3–1–0
5 Washington 5–0–0 Minnesota* 4–1–0 Los Angeles 3–1–1 Detroit 4–1–0
6 Washington 5–1–0 Minnesota 5–1–0 Los Angeles 4–1–1 4 teams 4–2–0
7 Washington 6–1–0 Minnesota 6–1–0 San Francisco 5–2–0 Chicago 5–2–0
8 Washington 6–1–0 Minnesota 6–2–0 San Francisco 6–2–0 Detroit 5–2–1
9 Washington 6–2–1 Minnesota 7–2–0 San Francisco 6–3–0 Chicago* 6–3–0
10 Dallas 7–3–0 Minnesota 8–2–0 Los Angeles 6–3–1 Washington* 6–3–1
11 Dallas 8–3–0 Minnesota 9–2–0 San Francisco 7–4–0 Washington* 7–3–1
12 Dallas 9–3–0 Minnesota 9–3–0 Los Angeles 7–4–1 Washington 8–3–1
13 Dallas 10–3–0 Minnesota 10–3–0 San Francisco 8–5–0 Washington 9–3–1
14 DALLAS 11–3–0 MINNESOTA 11–3–0 SAN FRANCISCO 9–5–0 WASHINGTON 9–4–1

American Football Conference[edit]

Week Eastern Central Western Wild Card
1 2 teams 1–0–0 2 teams 1–0–0 San Diego 1–0–0 2 teams 1–0–0
2 Miami 1–0–1 Cleveland 2–0–0 Oakland* 1–1–0 6 teams 1–1–0
3 Baltimore 2–1–0 Pittsburgh* 2–1–0 Oakland* 2–1–0 2 teams 2–1–0
4 Baltimore 3–1–0 Cleveland 3–1–0 Oakland* 3–1–0 Kansas City 3–1–0
5 Baltimore 4–1–0 Cleveland 4–1–0 Oakland* 4–1–0 Kansas City 4–1–0
6 Miami 4–1–1 Cleveland 4–2–0 Oakland* 5–1–0 Kansas City 5–1–0
7 Miami 5–1–1 Cleveland 4–3–0 Oakland* 5–1–1 Kansas City 5–1–1
8 Miami 6–1–1 Cleveland* 4–4–0 Oakland 5–1–2 Baltimore 6–2–0
9 Miami 7–1–1 Cleveland* 4–5–0 Oakland 6–1–2 Baltimore 7–2–0
10 Miami 8–1–1 Cleveland* 5–5–0 Oakland 7–1–2 Kansas City 7–2–1
11 Miami 9–1–1 Cleveland 6–5–0 Oakland 7–2–2 Baltimore 8–3–0
12 Miami 9–2–1 Cleveland 7–5–0 Kansas City 8–3–1 Baltimore 9–3–0
13 Baltimore 10–3–0 Cleveland 8–5–0 Kansas City 9–3–1 Miami 9–3–1
14 MIAMI 10–3–1 CLEVELAND 9–5–0 KANSAS CITY 10–3–1 BALTIMORE 10–4–0

Final standings[edit]

W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, PCT= Winning Percentage, PF= Points For, PA = Points Against

  x  – clinched wild card berth,   y  – clinched division title

Note: Prior to 1972, the NFL did not include tie games when calculating a team's winning percentage in the official standings

AFC East
Team W L T PCT PF PA
y-Miami Dolphins 10 3 1 .769 315 174
x-Baltimore Colts 10 4 0 .714 313 140
New England Patriots 6 8 0 .429 238 325
New York Jets 6 8 0 .429 212 299
Buffalo Bills 1 13 0 .071 184 394
AFC Central
Team W L T PCT PF PA
y-Cleveland Browns 9 5 0 .643 285 273
Pittsburgh Steelers 6 8 0 .429 246 292
Houston Oilers 4 9 1 .308 251 330
Cincinnati Bengals 4 10 0 .286 284 265
AFC West
Team W L T PCT PF PA
y-Kansas City Chiefs 10 3 1 .769 302 208
Oakland Raiders 8 4 2 .667 344 278
San Diego Chargers 6 8 0 .429 311 341
Denver Broncos 4 9 1 .308 203 275
NFC East
Team W L T PCT PF PA
y-Dallas Cowboys 11 3 0 .786 406 222
x-Washington Redskins 9 4 1 .692 276 190
Philadelphia Eagles 6 7 1 .462 221 302
St. Louis Cardinals 4 9 1 .308 231 279
New York Giants 4 10 0 .286 228 362
NFC Central
Team W L T PCT PF PA
y-Minnesota Vikings 11 3 0 .786 245 139
Detroit Lions 7 6 1 .538 341 286
Chicago Bears 6 8 0 .429 185 276
Green Bay Packers 4 8 2 .333 274 298
NFC West
Team W L T PCT PF PA
y-San Francisco 49ers 9 5 0 .643 300 216
Los Angeles Rams 8 5 1 .615 313 260
Atlanta Falcons 7 6 1 .538 274 277
New Orleans Saints 4 8 2 .333 266 347


Tiebreakers[edit]

  • New England finished ahead of N.Y. Jets in the AFC East based on better point differential in head to head games, 13 points.

Playoffs[edit]

Note: Prior to the 1975 season, the home teams in the playoffs were decided based on a yearly rotation.
Divisional Playoffs Conf. Championship Games Super Bowl VI
                   
December 26 – Candlestick Park        
 Washington Redskins  20
January 2 – Texas Stadium
 San Francisco 49ers  24  
 San Francisco 49ers  3
December 25 – Metropolitan Stadium
     Dallas Cowboys  14  
 Dallas Cowboys  20
January 16 – Tulane Stadium
 Minnesota Vikings  12  
 Dallas Cowboys  24
December 26 – Cleveland Stadium    
   Miami Dolphins  3
 Baltimore Colts  20
January 2 – Miami Orange Bowl
 Cleveland Browns  3  
 Baltimore Colts  0
December 25 – Municipal Stadium
     Miami Dolphins  21  
 Miami Dolphins (2OT)  27
 Kansas City Chiefs  24  
 

Awards[edit]

Most Valuable Player Alan Page, Defensive Tackle, Minnesota
Coach of the Year George Allen, Washington
Defensive Player of the Year Alan Page, Defensive Tackle, Minnesota
Offensive Rookie of the Year John Brockington, Running Back, Green Bay
Defensive Rookie of the Year Isiah Robertson, Linebacker, L.A. Rams

References[edit]