The surviving clubs with the best regular season records were made the home teams for each playoff round. Previously, game sites rotated by division.
The league pioneered the use of equipping American football referees with wireless microphones to announce penalties and clarify complex and/or unusual rulings to both fans and the media.
Instead of a traditional Thanksgiving Day game hosted by the Dallas Cowboys, the league scheduled a Buffalo Bills at St. Louis Cardinals contest. This would be the first season since 1966 that the Cowboys did not play on that holiday.
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.
Baltimore finished ahead of Miami in the AFC East based on head-to-head sweep (2–0).
N.Y. Jets finished ahead of New England in the AFC East based on head-to-head sweep (2–0).
Minnesota was the top NFC playoff seed based on point rating system (Vikings were 1st in NFC in points scored and 2nd in NFC in points allowed for a combined rating of 3 while Rams were 5th in NFC in points scored and 1st in NFC in points allowed for a combined rating of 6).
Chicago finished ahead of Green Bay in the NFC Central based on better division record (2–4 to Packers' 1–5).