1969 NFL playoffs

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The NFL playoffs following the 1969 NFL season determined the league's representative in Super Bowl IV.

This was the last NFL playoff tournament before the AFL–NFL merger.

Tournament bracket[edit]

Conference championship NFL Championship
December 28, 1969 – Cotton Bowl
 Cleveland Browns 38  
 Dallas Cowboys 14  
 
January 4, 1970 – Metropolitan Stadium
     Cleveland Browns 7
   Minnesota Vikings 27
December 27, 1969 – Metropolitan Stadium
 Los Angeles Rams 20
 Minnesota Vikings 23  

Playoff Bowl[edit]

The tenth and final Playoff Bowl for third place was played at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida. Los Angeles defeated Dallas 31–0 on Saturday, January 3, 1970.[1]

Conference championships[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Browns 7 10 7 14 38
Cowboys 0 0 7 7 14

at Cotton Bowl, Dallas, Texas

  • Date: December 28, 1969
  • Game attendance: 69,321
  • Referee: Jim Tunney
1 2 3 4 Total
Rams 7 10 0 3 20
Vikings 7 0 7 9 23

at Metropolitan Stadium, Bloomington, Minnesota

  • Date: December 27, 1969
  • Game attendance: 47,900
  • Referee: Pat Haggerty

Three weeks prior to this game, the teams met in Los Angeles in a battle between the undefeated (11–0) Rams and the 10–1 Vikings. The Vikings won that game 20–13. The rematch was played in the cold and snow of Minnesota. Early on, it appeared that the Vikings took a quick lead as Carl Eller intercepted a Roman Gabriel pass and returned for a touchdown but the score was nullified on an offside penalty on Alan Page.

In the game in L.A., the Viking defense shut down the Rams' wide receivers and outside running game, so in this game, the Rams attacked the middle of the Viking defense and neutralized the Viking pass rush with short quick passes to the tight ends. The Rams opened up a 17–7 halftime lead with touchdown passes going to tight ends Bob Klein and Billy Truax. The Rams could have had more but had to settle for a field goal after driving to the Minnesota 3 yard line. The Rams defense held Minnesota's high powered offense in check, with the "Fearsome Foursome" defensive line harassing Viking QB Joe Kapp.

In the second half, Viking coach Bud Grant adjusted his defense to stop the Ram tight ends, and his "Purple People Eaters" continued to punish the Ram running game. They also got increasing pressure on Ram QB Roman Gabriel. On offense, Grant neutralized the Ram pass rush by having QB Kapp run the ball, either on designed plays like quarterback draws or roll outs, or by instructing him to take off and run at the first sign of pressure. Kapp began frustrating the Rams with runs; this threat caused their pass rush to be less aggressive. The Vikings scored in the 3rd quarter to cut the Ram lead to 17–14, but early in the 4th quarter, the Rams answered with a drive of their own. Once again, the Viking defense bent but didn't break, stopping the Rams inside the 10 yard line and making them settle for a short field goal. So instead of being down 24–14, it was only 20–14 and Kapp subsequently marched the Vikings downfield, going the final 2 yards himself as Minnesota took its first lead of the game, 21–20. Then the Viking defense took over, and with under 4 minutes to play, Carl Eller sacked Gabriel in the end zone for a safety, giving the Vikings a 23–20 lead and the ball. But the Rams defense held, and 1969 NFL MVP Roman Gabriel began to march the Rams down field in the last two minutes. As they crossed mid field, it appeared the Rams might get the tying field goal or winning touchdown, but a Gabriel pass was tipped and intercepted at the Viking 40 yard line by Alan Page and Minnesota ran out the clock.

NFL Championship Game[edit]

For more details on this topic, see 1969 NFL Championship Game.
1 2 3 4 Total
Browns 0 0 0 7 7
Vikings 14 10 3 0 27

at Metropolitan Stadium, Bloomington, Minnesota

  • Date: January 4, 1970
  • Game attendance: 46,503
  • Referee: Tommy Bell

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Rams blank Cowboys in playoff". Eugene Register-Guard. Associated Press. January 4, 1970. p. 3B.