1971 Los Angeles Rams season
Ownerestate of Dan Reeves
Head coachTommy Prothro
Home fieldLos Angeles Memorial Coliseum
Division place2nd NFC West
Playoff finishDid not qualify

The 1971 Los Angeles Rams season was the team's 34th year with the National Football League, and the 26th season in Los Angeles. The team looked to improve on its 9–4–1 record from 1970, but finished only one game below their goal, as they finished 8–5–1 and finished 2nd in the NFC West, behind the San Francisco 49ers (9–5).

The Rams started out strong at 4–1–1, but split their final eight games. Despite sweeping the 49ers on the season, a crucial tie against the Atlanta Falcons in week 2 proved to doom the Rams, because had they beaten Atlanta, they would've clinched the NFC West by virtue of their sweep over the 49ers.

Team owner Dan Reeves died of cancer prior to the season in April.[1]

NFL Draft

Main article: 1971 NFL Draft

= Pro Bowler
Round Pick Player Position College
1 10 Isiah Robertson Linebacker Southern
1 20 Jack Youngblood Defensive End Florida
3 63 Dave Elmendorf Strong Safety Texas A&M
4 101 Steve Worster Running back Texas


1971 Los Angeles Rams roster

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen


Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists

Practice squad

Rookies in italics

Regular season

As they had in 1970, the Rams and 49ers staged a season long battle for the NFC West title that came down to the season's final game. The Rams season got off to a rocky and controversial start in New Orleans against the Saints and their rookie quarterback Archie Manning. The Saints trailed 20–17 in the final seconds and faced 4th and goal from the Rams' 1-yard line. Instead of settling for a tie (there was no overtime for regular season games in the NFL in 1971), the Saints gambled and went for the win. Manning ran a quarterback sneak in which the officials signaled touchdown, although television replays showed that Manning was stopped short of the goal line. So instead of a 20–17 win, the Rams lost 24–20. In week 2 the Rams needed a last second field goal to tie the Atlanta Falcons, 20–20.

The Rams appeared to right their ship by winning their next four games, including a 20–13 win in San Francisco. But back-to-back losses to the Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Colts left the 4–3–1 Rams 1+12 games behind the 6–2 49ers. Then the Rams won 2 straight, including a 17–6 win in San Francisco; that gave the Rams a 12-game lead in the division and they held the tiebreaker over the 49ers by virtue of their season sweep of S.F. The Rams then lost a Thanksgiving game in Dallas 28–21, but re-took the division lead with two games to play by beating the Saints 45–28. However, just as they had the year before, the Rams lost a Monday night game at home, this time to the Redskins, coached by former Rams head coach George Allen, 38–24. And just like the previous season's Monday night home loss to the Lions, this one ended up costing the Rams both the division title and the wild card berth (won by the Redskins). The Rams won their final game in Pittsburgh 23–14, but learned on their flight home that the 49ers rallied beat the Lions with a 4th-quarter touchdown, 31–27.


Week Date Opponent Result Record Venue Attendance
1 September 19 at New Orleans Saints L 24–20 0–1 Tulane Stadium 70,915
2 September 26 Atlanta Falcons T 20–20 0–1–1 Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 57,895
3 October 3 Chicago Bears W 17–3 1–1–1 Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 66,957
4 October 10 at San Francisco 49ers W 20–13 2–1–1 Candlestick Park 44,000
5 October 17 at Atlanta Falcons W 24–16 3–1–1 Atlanta Stadium 58,850
6 October 24 Green Bay Packers W 30–13 4–1–1 Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 75,351
7 October 31 Miami Dolphins L 20–14 4–2–1 Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 72,903
8 November 8 at Baltimore Colts L 17–24 4–3–1 Memorial Stadium 57,722
9 November 14 at Detroit Lions W 21–13 5–3–1 Tiger Stadium 54,418
10 November 21 San Francisco 49ers W 17–6 6–3–1 Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 80,050
11 November 25 at Dallas Cowboys L 21–28 6–4–1 Texas Stadium 66,595
12 December 5 New Orleans Saints W 45–28 7–4–1 Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 73,610
13 December 13 Washington Redskins L 38–24 7–5–1 Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 80,402
14 December 19 at Pittsburgh Steelers W 23–14 8–5–1 Three Rivers Stadium 45,233

Note: Intra-division opponents are in bold text.


NFC West
San Francisco 49ers 9 5 0 .643 2–4 7–4 300 216 W2
Los Angeles Rams 8 5 1 .615 4–1–1 7–3–1 313 260 W1
Atlanta Falcons 7 6 1 .538 3–2–1 4–6–1 274 277 W1
New Orleans Saints 4 8 2 .333 2–4 4–7 266 347 L3

Note: Tie games were not officially counted in the standings until 1972.


  1. ^ "Reeves dies; NFL pioneer". Milwaukee Journal. April 16, 1971. p. 15, part 2.