1971 NFL season
|Duration||September 19 – December 19, 1971|
|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|
|Date||January 23, 1972|
|Site||Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum|
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 24-3 at Tulane Stadium. The Pro Bowl took place on January 23, 1972 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The AFC beat the NFC 26-13.
The Chicago Bears moved their home games to Soldier Field. The Dallas Cowboys moved during the season to Texas Stadium. The Philadelphia Eagles moved their games to Veterans Stadium. The San Francisco 49ers moved into Candlestick Park.
11 teams played their home games on artificial turf in 1971. This was up from 7 teams in the NFL in 1970. The teams were: Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Houston, Miami, New England, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis and San Francisco.
Major rule change
- Teams will not be charged a time out for an injured player unless the injury occurs inside the last two minutes of a half or overtime.
- Missed field goal attempts can be run back.
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
|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|
|6||Washington||5–1–0||Minnesota||5–1–0||Los Angeles||4–1–1||4 teams||4–2–0|
American Football Conference
|1||2 teams||1–0–0||2 teams||1–0–0||San Diego||1–0–0||2 teams||1–0–0|
W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, PCT= Winning Percentage, PF= Points For, PA = Points Against
wild card berth, – clinched division title– clinched
Note: Prior to 1972, the NFL did not include tie games when calculating a team's winning percentage in the official standings
|New England Patriots||6||8||0||.429||238||325|
|New York Jets||6||8||0||.429||212||299|
|y-Kansas City Chiefs||10||3||1||.769||302||208|
|San Diego Chargers||6||8||0||.429||311||341|
|St. Louis Cardinals||4||9||1||.308||231||279|
|New York Giants||4||10||0||.286||228||362|
|Green Bay Packers||4||8||2||.333||274||298|
|y-San Francisco 49ers||9||5||0||.643||300||216|
|Los Angeles Rams||8||5||1||.615||313||260|
|New Orleans Saints||4||8||2||.333||266||347|
- New England finished ahead of N.Y. Jets in the AFC East based on better point differential in head to head games, 13 points.
- Note: Prior to the 1975 season, the home teams in the playoffs were decided based on a yearly rotation of division winners. Had the playoffs been seeded, the divisional round matchups would have been #3 Cleveland at #2 Miami and #4 wild card Baltimore at #1 Kansas City in the AFC; #4 wild card Washington at #1 Minnesota and #3 San Francisco at #2 Dallas in the NFC.
|Divisional Playoffs||Conf. Championship Games||Super Bowl VI|
|December 26 – Candlestick Park|
|January 2 – Texas Stadium|
|San Francisco 49ers||24|
|San Francisco 49ers||3|
|December 25 – Metropolitan Stadium|
|January 16 – Tulane Stadium|
|December 26 – Cleveland Stadium|
|January 2 – Miami Orange Bowl|
|December 25 – Municipal Stadium|
|Miami Dolphins (2OT)||27|
|Kansas City Chiefs||24|
|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, Los Angeles|