1986 NFL season

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1986 National Football League season
Regular season
Duration September 7 – December 22, 1986
Playoffs
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
Pro Bowl
Date February 1, 1987
Site Aloha Stadium
National Football League seasons
 < 1985 1987 > 

The 1986 NFL season was the 67th regular season of the National Football League. The season ended with Super Bowl XXI when the New York Giants defeated the Denver Broncos to win their first league title in 30 years.

Major rule changes[edit]

  • Players are prohibited from wearing apparel, equipment, or other items that carry commercial names, names of organizations, or any type of personal message unless they get specific permission from the league.
  • If the offensive team commits a dead ball foul during the last two minutes of a half, the clock will start at the snap.
  • If an offensive player fumbles the ball and it goes forward and out of bounds, the ball is returned to that team at the spot of the fumble.
  • If an offensive player fumbles the ball in the field of play and it goes out of bounds in the opponent's end zone, the ball is given to the defensive team at the spot of the fumble (this rule would be changed in 1991 to result in a touchback).
  • A limited system of instant replay was adopted to aid officiating. A replay official in a booth would decide what plays to review and make the final ruling, regardless of the current score or the amount of time left in the game. The replay official communicated with the game officials via radio transmitters. However, there was no time limit on how long the replay official could review a play and this led to long game delays (this was a major reason why the system was eventually repealed in 1992 and not brought back until time limits for replays were established in 1999).

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

AFC East
Team W L T PCT PF PA
y-New England Patriots 11 5 0 .688 412 307
x-New York Jets 10 6 0 .625 364 386
Miami Dolphins 8 8 0 .500 430 405
Buffalo Bills 4 12 0 .250 287 348
Indianapolis Colts 3 13 0 .188 229 400
AFC Central
Team W L T PCT PF PA
y-Cleveland Browns 12 4 0 .750 391 310
Cincinnati Bengals 10 6 0 .625 409 394
Pittsburgh Steelers 6 10 0 .375 307 336
Houston Oilers 5 11 0 .313 274 329
AFC West
Team W L T PCT PF PA
y-Denver Broncos 11 5 0 .688 378 327
x-Kansas City Chiefs 10 6 0 .625 358 326
Seattle Seahawks 10 6 0 .625 366 293
Los Angeles Raiders 8 8 0 .500 323 346
San Diego Chargers 4 12 0 .250 335 396
NFC East
Team W L T PCT PF PA
y-New York Giants 14 2 0 .875 371 236
x-Washington Redskins 12 4 0 .750 368 296
Dallas Cowboys 7 9 0 .438 346 337
Philadelphia Eagles 5 10 1 .344 256 312
St. Louis Cardinals 4 11 1 .281 218 351
NFC Central
Team W L T PCT PF PA
y-Chicago Bears 14 2 0 .875 352 187
Minnesota Vikings 9 7 0 .563 398 273
Detroit Lions 5 11 0 .313 277 326
Green Bay Packers 4 12 0 .250 254 418
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2 14 0 .125 239 473
NFC West
Team W L T PCT PF PA
y-San Francisco 49ers 10 5 1 .656 374 247
x-Los Angeles Rams 10 6 0 .625 309 267
Atlanta Falcons 7 8 1 .469 280 280
New Orleans Saints 7 9 0 .438 288 287


Tiebreakers[edit]

  • Denver was second AFC playoff seed ahead of New England based on head-to-head victory (1–0).
  • N.Y. Jets was the first AFC Wild Card based on better conference record (8–4) than Kansas City (9–5), Seattle (7–5), and Cincinnati (7–5).
  • Kansas City was the second AFC Wild Card based on better conference record (9–5) than Seattle (7–5) and Cincinnati (7–5).
  • N.Y. Giants was the top NFC playoff seed based on better conference record than Chicago (11–1 to Bears' 10–2).

Playoffs[edit]

*Note: Two teams from the same division were not allowed to play against each other in the Divisional playoff round.
                                   
Divisional Playoffs
    January 4 - Mile High Stadium        
AFC Wild Card Game AFC Championship
 3  New England  17
December 28 - Giants Stadium     January 11 - Cleveland Stadium
 2  Denver  22  
 5  Kansas City  15  2  Denver (OT)  23
January 3 - Cleveland Stadium
 4  N.Y. Jets  35      1  Cleveland  20   Super Bowl XXI
 4  N.Y. Jets  20
    January 25 - Rose Bowl
 1  Cleveland (2OT)  23  
 A2  Denver  20
January 3 - Soldier Field
NFC Wild Card Game NFC Championship    N1  N.Y. Giants  39
 4  Washington  27
December 28 - RFK Stadium     January 11 - Giants Stadium
 2*  Chicago  13  
 5  L.A. Rams  7  4  Washington  0
January 4 - Giants Stadium
 4  Washington  19      1  N.Y. Giants  17  
 3  San Francisco  3
   
 1*  N.Y. Giants  49  

Awards[edit]

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)

References[edit]