1971 National Football League season
Regular season
DurationSeptember 19 – December 19, 1971
Playoffs
Start dateDecember 25, 1971
AFC ChampionsMiami Dolphins
NFC ChampionsDallas Cowboys
Super Bowl VI
DateJanuary 16, 1972
SiteTulane Stadium,
New Orleans, Louisiana
ChampionsDallas Cowboys
Pro Bowl
DateJanuary 23, 1972
SiteLos Angeles Memorial Coliseum
1971 NFL season is located in the United States
Colts
Colts
Patriots
Patriots
Bills
Bills
Dolphins
Dolphins
Jets
Jets
Bengals
Bengals
Browns
Browns
Oilers
Oilers
Steelers
Steelers
Broncos
Broncos
Chiefs
Chiefs
Raiders
Raiders
Chargers
Chargers
AFC teams:
Yellow ffff00 pog.svg
West,
DeepPink pog.svg
Central,
Green pog.svg
East
1971 NFL season is located in the United States
Cowboys
Cowboys
Giants
Giants
Eagles
Eagles
Cardinals
Cardinals
Redskins
Redskins
Bears
Bears
Lions
Lions
Packers
Packers
Vikings
Vikings
Falcons
Falcons
Rams
Rams
Saints
Saints
49ers
49ers
NFC teams:
Yellow ffff00 pog.svg
West,
DeepPink pog.svg
Central,
Green pog.svg
East
The Cowboys playing against the Dolphins in Super Bowl VI.
The Cowboys playing against the Dolphins in Super Bowl VI.

The 1971 NFL season was the 52nd regular season of the National Football League. The Boston Patriots changed their name to New England Patriots to widen their appeal to the entire New England region after moving to their new stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, located between Boston and Providence, Rhode Island.[1]

The season ended with Super Bowl VI when the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Miami Dolphins 24–3 at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans. The Pro Bowl took place on January 23, 1972, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum; the NFC beat the AFC 26–13.

Draft

The 1971 NFL Draft was held from January 28 to 29, 1971 at New York City's Belmont Plaza Hotel. With the first pick, the New England Patriots selected quarterback Jim Plunkett from Stanford University.

New officials

Three referees--Walt Fitzgerald, Bob Finley and George Rennix--retired following the 1970 season. Bob Frederic, Dick Jorgensen and Fred Wyant were promoted to fill those vacancies. Rich Eichhorst, a back judge in 1970, resigned to concentrate on officiating college basketball; he was replaced by Don Orr, who officiated in the league through 1995.

Major rule changes

Division races

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, record against common opponents, and records in 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

Week Eastern Central Western Wild Card
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
5 Washington 5–0–0 Minnesota* 4–1–0 Los Angeles 3–1–1 Detroit 4–1–0
6 Washington 5–1–0 Minnesota 5–1–0 Los Angeles 4–1–1 4 teams 4–2–0
7 Washington 6–1–0 Minnesota 6–1–0 San Francisco 5–2–0 Chicago 5–2–0
8 Washington 6–1–1 Minnesota 6–2–0 San Francisco 6–2–0 Detroit 5–2–1
9 Washington 6–2–1 Minnesota 7–2–0 San Francisco 6–3–0 Chicago* 6–3–0
10 Dallas 7–3–0 Minnesota 8–2–0 Los Angeles 6–3–1 Washington* 6–3–1
11 Dallas 8–3–0 Minnesota 9–2–0 San Francisco 7–4–0 Washington* 7–3–1
12 Dallas 9–3–0 Minnesota 9–3–0 Los Angeles 7–4–1 Washington 8–3–1
13 Dallas 10–3–0 Minnesota 10–3–0 San Francisco 8–5–0 Washington 9–3–1
14 Dallas 11–3–0 Minnesota 11–3–0 San Francisco 9–5–0 Washington 9–4–1

American Football Conference

Week Eastern Central Western Wild Card
1 2 teams 1–0–0 2 teams 1–0–0 San Diego 1–0–0 2 teams 1–0–0
2 Miami 1–0–1 Cleveland 2–0–0 Oakland* 1–1–0 6 teams 1–1–0
3 Baltimore 2–1–0 Pittsburgh* 2–1–0 Oakland* 2–1–0 2 teams 2–1–0
4 Baltimore 3–1–0 Cleveland 3–1–0 Oakland* 3–1–0 Kansas City 3–1–0
5 Baltimore 4–1–0 Cleveland 4–1–0 Oakland* 4–1–0 Kansas City 4–1–0
6 Miami 4–1–1 Cleveland 4–2–0 Oakland* 5–1–0 Kansas City 5–1–0
7 Miami 5–1–1 Cleveland 4–3–0 Oakland* 5–1–1 Kansas City 5–1–1
8 Miami 6–1–1 Cleveland* 4–4–0 Oakland 5–1–2 Baltimore 6–2–0
9 Miami 7–1–1 Cleveland* 4–5–0 Oakland 6–1–2 Baltimore 7–2–0
10 Miami 8–1–1 Cleveland* 5–5–0 Oakland 7–1–2 Kansas City 7–2–1
11 Miami 9–1–1 Cleveland 6–5–0 Oakland 7–2–2 Baltimore 8–3–0
12 Miami 9–2–1 Cleveland 7–5–0 Kansas City 8–3–1 Baltimore 9–3–0
13 Baltimore 10–3–0 Cleveland 8–5–0 Kansas City 9–3–1 Miami 9–3–1
14 Miami 10–3–1 Cleveland 9–5–0 Kansas City 10–3–1 Baltimore 10–4–0

Final standings

Tiebreakers

Playoffs

Main article: 1971–72 NFL playoffs

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.
Dec 26 – Candlestick Park
WC Washington 20
Jan 2 – Texas Stadium
West San Francisco 24
NFC
West San Francisco 3
Dec 25 – Metropolitan Stadium
East Dallas 14
NFC Championship
East Dallas 20
Jan 16 – Tulane Stadium
Cent. Minnesota 12
Divisional playoffs
NFC Dallas 24
Dec 26 – Cleveland Stadium
AFC Miami 3
Super Bowl VI
WC Baltimore 20
Jan 2 – Miami Orange Bowl
Cent. Cleveland 3
AFC
WC Baltimore 0
Dec 25 – Municipal Stadium
East Miami 21
AFC Championship
East Miami 27**
West Kansas City 24


Awards

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

Coaching changes

Offseason

In-season

Stadium changes

Uniform changes

Television

This was the second year under the league's four-year broadcast contracts with ABC, CBS, and NBC to televise Monday Night Football, the NFC package, and the AFC package, respectively. Frank Gifford's contract with CBS expired. He was then hired by ABC to serve as play-by-play announcer for MNF, while Keith Jackson returned to call college football for the network. Jack Whitaker and Pat Summerall replaced Gifford as hosts on The NFL Today, which was still a pre-recorded pregame show. At NBC, Al DeRogatis and Kyle Rote swapped color commentator positions, with DeRogatis joining Curt Gowdy as the network's lead broadcast team and Rote joining Jim Simpson at #2.[2]

References

  1. ^ Carbone, Nick (February 2, 2012). "New England Is Their Third Name". Time.
  2. ^ Brulia, Tim. "A CHRONOLOGY OF PRO FOOTBALL ON TELEVISION: Part 2" (PDF). Pro Football Researchers.