22 rounds were played. Number eleven and twelve were relegated. The winners of the two groups of the Second Division were promoted, as well as the winner of a series of play-off matches between the two second placed teams in the two groups of the Second Division and number ten in the First Division.
For the first time in the Norwegian Premier League, three rather than two points were given for wins. There was also another, more controversial new rule for points: if a match was drawn, two points would be given to the winner of a penalty shootout, and one point to the loser of the shootout. This rule, suggested by Tom A. Schanche and appointed by the Norwegian Football Association in February 1987, was highly controversial and liquidated after the 1987 season. Note that if draws would end as draws with one point to each, as usual, Tromsø IL would have been placed 10th with a possibility of being relegated.
Moss FK, coached by Nils Arne Eggen, won the league for the first and, so far, last time. The victory was not settled until the final round of the league, with Moss beating runners-up Molde FK (who would have grabbed the gold if they defeated Moss) 2-0 at away grounds.
The qualification matches were contested between Hamarkameratene (10th in the First Division), Djerv 1919 (2nd in the Second Division - Group A), and Lyn (2nd in the Second Division - Group B). Djerv 1919 won and was promoted to the First Division.