1986 NFL season
|Duration||September 7 – December 22, 1986|
|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|
|Date||February 1, 1987|
|National Football League seasons
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
- 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official could review a play and this led to long game delays (this was a major reason why the system was eventually repealed in 1992 and not brought back until time limits for replays were established in 1999).
W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, PCT = Winning Percentage, PF= Points For, PA = Points Against
wild card berth, – clinched division title– clinched
|y-New England Patriots||11||5||0||.688||412||307|
|x-New York Jets||10||6||0||.625||364||386|
|x-Kansas City Chiefs||10||6||0||.625||358||326|
|Los Angeles Raiders||8||8||0||.500||323||346|
|San Diego Chargers||4||12||0||.250||335||396|
|y-New York Giants||14||2||0||.875||371||236|
|St. Louis Cardinals||4||11||1||.281||218||351|
|Green Bay Packers||4||12||0||.250||254||418|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||2||14||0||.125||239||473|
|y-San Francisco 49ers||10||5||1||.656||374||247|
|x-Los Angeles Rams||10||6||0||.625||309||267|
|New Orleans Saints||7||9||0||.438||288||287|
- 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).
|*Note: Two teams from the same division were not allowed to play against each other in the Divisional playoff round.|
|Jan. 4 – Mile High Stadium|
|AFC Wild Card Game||AFC Championship|
|Dec. 28 – Giants Stadium||Jan. 11 – Cleveland Stadium|
|5||Kansas City||15||2||Denver (OT)||23|
|Jan. 3 – Cleveland Stadium|
|4||N.Y. Jets||35||1||Cleveland||20||Super Bowl XXI|
|Jan. 25 – Rose Bowl|
|Jan. 3 – Soldier Field|
|NFC Wild Card Game||NFC Championship||N1||N.Y. Giants||39|
|Dec. 28 – RFK Stadium||Jan. 11 – Giants Stadium|
|Jan. 4 – Giants Stadium|
|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)|
- NFL Record and Fact Book (ISBN 1-932994-36-X)
- NFL History 1981–1990 (Last accessed December 4, 2005)
- 1986 season in details
- Total Football: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League (ISBN 0-06-270174-6)