1967 NFL playoffs
The NFL playoffs following the 1967 NFL season culminated in the 1967 title game on New Year's Eve, and determined who would represent the league against the American Football League champions in Super Bowl II.
This was the first season that the NFL used a four-team playoff tournament. The four division winners advanced to the postseason, with the two division winners in each conference meeting in the first round (effectively being conference championship games). The Championship Game was the famous Ice Bowl, played in Green Bay on December 31.
Home field in the playoffs was still determined by a yearly rotation. Seeding the playoff teams by regular season records did not occur until the 1975 season. This is why the Rams (11–1–2) played a road game against the Packers (9–4–1).
|Conference championship||NFL Championship|
|December 24, 1967 – Cotton Bowl|
|December 31, 1967 – Lambeau Field|
|Green Bay Packers||21|
|December 23, 1967 – Milwaukee County Stadium|
|Los Angeles Rams||7|
|Green Bay Packers||28|
Like the Dallas Cowboys, the wildly inconsistent Cleveland Browns underachieved themselves to a 9–5 record. The Browns featured one of the best running games in the league with Leroy Kelly, while the Cowboys had one of the best run defenses in the game.
"Dandy" Don Meredith, the Cowboys quarterback, had been hampered by injuries all year, but Meredith was fully recovered for the contest with Browns, completing 10 of his 12 pass attempts for 212 yards. Trailing 14–0 early, the Browns drove down into field goal range, only to have Lou Groza's attempt fail due to a fumbled snap. The Cowboys responded immediately, as Meredith found former Olympic sprinter Bob Hayes for an 86-yard score, the longest scoring play at the time in NFL Playoff history. Hayes also set up three other touchdowns in the game with two spectacular punt returns and a 36-yard reception.
Hayes finished the game with five receptions for 144 yards and 3 punt returns for 141. His 141 punt return yards was an NFL playoff record and would remain so until broken by Anthony Carter in the 1987–88 playoffs.
The Rams came into the Western Conference Championship with all the momentum, possessing the NFL's best record, but having barely beaten the Packers two weeks earlier by a score of 27–24. In that game in Los Angeles, the Rams blew a 4th quarter lead, and needed a last-second touchdown set up by a blocked punt to pull out the game and keep their division title hopes alive, while the Packers had already clinched their division and were playing only for pride.
In this postseason affair, however, Green Bay would be playing for more than pride. The weather was expected to be cold and snowy, but it was unusually warm in Milwaukee (mid-30s) on this December day. However, the field condition was poor, and the Rams had accused the Packers of over watering the field to slow down the devastating pass rush of the Rams' Fearsome Foursome, who sacked Starr 6 times in the game in L.A. Playing with a backfield depleted by injuries, the Packers made the early mistakes of the game. A fumble set up the first score of the game, a 29-yard pass from Roman Gabriel to Bernie Casey. The Rams were unable to capitalize on a subsequent interception of Bart Starr when Dave Robinson blocked Bruce Gossett's 19 yard field goal attempt, and the Packers took over in the second quarter. The speedy rookie Travis Williams raced 46 yards for Green Bay's first touchdown, and Starr followed up with a pass to Carroll Dale before the half was over.
Led by Jerry Kramer and Forrest Gregg, the Packers' offensive line neutralized the vaunted "Fearsome Foursome" of Los Angeles. Where they had thoroughly harassed Starr in the Rams victory two weeks before, Starr was sacked only once in the playoff contest. The Packers defensive line took Gabriel down five times and pressured him into throwing inaccurate passes all day. Short runs by Chuck Mercein and Williams in the second half, the latter set up by a 48 yard touchdown pass from Starr to Dale, closed the scoring for the Packers, in the only NFL playoff game ever held at Milwaukee County Stadium..
NFL Championship Game