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1971 National Football League season
Regular season
Duration September 19, 1971–December 19, 1971
Playoffs
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
Champions Dallas Cowboys
Pro Bowl
Date January 23, 1972
Site Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
National Football League seasons
 < 1970 1972 > 

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. Before the season, the Boston Patriots changed their name to New England Patriots after they moved to their new home field, Schaefer Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

Major rule changesEdit

  • Teams will not be charged a time out for an injured player unless the injury occurs inside the last two minutes of a half.

Division racesEdit

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, changing 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 6-1-0 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 standingsEdit

W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, PCT= Winning Percentage, PF= Points For, PA = Points Against

  x  - clinched wild card berth,   y  - clinched division title

Note: Prior to 1972, the NFL did not include tie games when calculating a team's winning percentage in the official standings

AFC East
TeamWLTPCTPFPA
y-Miami Dolphins 1031.769315174
x-Baltimore Colts 1040.714313140
New England Patriots 680.429238325
New York Jets 680.429212299
Buffalo Bills 1130.071184394
AFC Central
TeamWLTPCTPFPA
y-Cleveland Browns 950.643285273
Pittsburgh Steelers 680.429246292
Houston Oilers 491.308251330
Cincinnati Bengals 4100.286284265
AFC West
TeamWLTPCTPFPA
y-Kansas City Chiefs 1031.769302208
Oakland Raiders 842.667344278
San Diego Chargers 680.429311341
Denver Broncos 491.308203275
NFC East
TeamWLTPCTPFPA
y-Dallas Cowboys 1130.786406222
x-Washington Redskins 941.692276190
Philadelphia Eagles 671.462221302
St. Louis Cardinals 491.308231279
New York Giants 4100.286228362
NFC Central
TeamWLTPCTPFPA
y-Minnesota Vikings 1130.786245139
Detroit Lions 761.538341286
Chicago Bears 680.429185276
Green Bay Packers 482.333274298
NFC West
TeamWLTPCTPFPA
y-San Francisco 49ers 950.643300216
Los Angeles Rams 851.615313260
Atlanta Falcons 761.538274277
New Orleans Saints 482.333266347

TiebreakersEdit

  • New England finished ahead of N.Y. Jets in the AFC East based on better point differential in head to head games, 13 points.

PlayoffsEdit

Note: Prior to the 1975 season, the home teams in the playoffs were decided based on a yearly rotation.
Divisional Playoffs Conf. Championship Games Super Bowl VI
                   
December 26 - Candlestick Park        
 Washington Redskins  20
January 2 - Texas Stadium
 San Francisco 49ers  24  
 San Francisco 49ers  3
December 25 - Metropolitan Stadium
     Dallas Cowboys  14  
 Dallas Cowboys  20
January 16 – Tulane Stadium
 Minnesota Vikings  12  
 Dallas Cowboys  24
December 26 - Cleveland Stadium    
   Miami Dolphins  3
 Baltimore Colts  20
January 2 - Miami Orange Bowl
 Cleveland Browns  3  
 Baltimore Colts  0
December 25 - Municipal Stadium
     Miami Dolphins  21  
 Miami Dolphins (2OT)  27
 Kansas City Chiefs  24  
 

AwardsEdit

Most Valuable PlayerAlan Page, Defensive Tackle, Minnesota
Coach of the YearGeorge Allen, Washington
Defensive Player of the YearAlan Page, Defensive Tackle, Minnesota
Offensive Rookie of the YearJohn Brockington, Running Back, Green Bay
Defensive Rookie of the YearIsiah Robertson, Linebacker, L.A. Rams

ReferencesEdit

1971 NFL seasonv · d · e
AFC East Central West NFC East Central West
Baltimore Cincinnati Denver Dallas Chicago Atlanta
Buffalo Cleveland Kansas City NY Giants Detroit Los Angeles
Miami Houston Oakland Philadelphia Green Bay New Orleans
New England Pittsburgh San Diego St. Louis Minnesota San Francisco
NY Jets Washington
1971 NFL DraftNFL PlayoffsPro BowlSuper Bowl VI
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