1966 American Football League season

The 1966 American Football League season was the seventh regular season of the American Football League. The league entered talks with the National Football League regarding an NFL-AFL merger, which took effect fully in 1970.

The season also saw the debut of the Miami Dolphins. This gave the AFL 9 teams (an odd number). A sixth official, the Line Judge, is added to the officiating crew.

The season ended when the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Buffalo Bills in the AFL Championship game, and was defeated by the National Football League's Green Bay Packers in the first ever AFL-NFL World Championship Game which is now known as the Super Bowl.

1966 American Football League season
Regular season
DurationSeptember 2 – December 18, 1966
Playoffs
DateJanuary 1, 1967
Eastern ChampionBuffalo Bills
Western ChampionKansas City Chiefs
SiteWar Memorial Stadium, Buffalo, New York
ChampionKansas City Chiefs

Division Races

The AFL had 9 teams, grouped into two divisions (the new Miami team was in the Eastern Division, which now had 5 teams), and still played a 14-game schedule. With 8 clubs, each one had played a home-and-away game against the other 7 teams. All nine teams faced each other at least once, and each team would play six others twice. Though Boston and Miami were both in the Eastern Division, they met only once that season, on November 27 (each team played Western Division teams Kansas City and Denver twice, while Boston also played San Diego twice and Miami played Oakland twice --- meaning that the Patriots and Dolphins each had a schedule that called for them to face three non-division opponents more often than they played a divisional opponent). The best team in the Eastern Division would play against the best in the Western Division in a championship game. If there was tie in the standings, a playoff would be held to determine the division winner.

Week Eastern Western
1 Houston 1–0–0 Tie (Oak, SD) 1–0–0
2 Houston 2–0–0 Tie (KC, SD) 2–0–0
3 N.Y. Jets 2–0–0 Tie (KC, SD) 2–0–0
4 N.Y. Jets 3–0–0 Tie (KC, SD) 3–0–0
5 N.Y. Jets 3–0–1 San Diego 4–0–0
6 N.Y. Jets 4–0–1 Tie (KC, SD) 4–1–0
7 N.Y. Jets 4–1–1 San Diego 4–1–1
8 N.Y. Jets 4–2–1 Kansas City 5–2–0
9 Boston 4–2–1 Kansas City 6–2–0
10 Buffalo 5–3–1 Kansas City 7–2–0
11 Buffalo 6–3–1 Kansas City 8–2–0
12 Buffalo 7–3–1 Kansas City 8–2–1
13 Buffalo 8–3–1 Kansas City 9–2–1
14 Boston 7–3–2 Kansas City 9–2–1
15 Boston 8–3–2 Kansas City 10–2–1
16 Buffalo 9–4–1 Kansas City 11–2–1

Regular season

Prior to the season, the AFL-NFL Merger was announced, including both leagues agreeing to play an annual AFL-NFL World Championship Game (later known as the Super Bowl) beginning in January 1967.

Also, the Miami Dolphins joined the AFL as the expansion team.

Results

Home/Road Eastern Division Western Division
BOS BUF HOU MIA NY DEN KC OAK SD
Eastern Boston Patriots 14–3 27–21 24–24 10–17 24–43 24–21 35–17
Buffalo Bills 10–20 27–20 58–24 14–3 38–21 20–42 17–17
Houston Oilers 14–38 20–42 13–20 24–0 45–7 31–0 22–28
Miami Dolphins 14–20 0–29 29–28 14–19 24–7 18–19 14–23
New York Jets 38–28 23–33 52–13 30–13 24–32 21–24 17–16
Western Denver Broncos 10–24 40–38 17–7 7–16 10–56 3–17 20–17
Kansas City Chiefs 27–27 14–29 48–23 34–16 37–10 13–34 24–14
Oakland Raiders 10–31 38–23 21–10 28–28 28–10 10–32 20–29
San Diego Chargers 24–0 27–7 44–10 42–27 24–17 17–27 19–41

Standings

AFL Eastern Division
W L T PCT DIV PF PA STK
Buffalo Bills 9 4 1 .692 6–2 358 255 W1
Boston Patriots 8 4 2 .667 5–1–1 315 283 L1
New York Jets 6 6 2 .500 4–3–1 322 312 W1
Houston Oilers 3 11 0 .214 1–7 335 396 L8
Miami Dolphins 3 11 0 .214 2–5 213 362 W1

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

AFL Western Division
W L T PCT DIV PF PA STK
Kansas City Chiefs 11 2 1 .846 5–1 448 276 W3
Oakland Raiders 8 5 1 .615 4–2 315 288 W1
San Diego Chargers 7 6 1 .538 2–4 335 284 L1
Denver Broncos 4 10 0 .286 1–5 196 381 L2

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

Playoffs

1986 Jeno's Pizza - 15 - Willie Davis
The Chiefs lost to the Packers in the first AFL–NFL Championship Game (Super Bowl I)

Coaching changes

Offseason

In-season

External links

1966 All-AFL Team

The 1966 American Football League All-League Team was selected after the 1966 American Football League (AFL) season by AFL players, the Associated Press (AP), the Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA), the New York Daily News (NYDN), and United Press International (UPI) to honor the league's top performers at each position.

1966 American Football League Championship Game

The 1966 American Football League Championship Game was the seventh AFL championship game, played at War Memorial Stadium in Buffalo, New York, on January 1, 1967.It matched the Western Division champion Kansas City Chiefs (11–2–1) and the Eastern Division champion Buffalo Bills (9–4–1) to decide the American Football League (AFL) champion for the 1966 season.

The host Bills entered as two-time defending champions, but the visiting Chiefs were three-point favorites, mainly because of their explosive and innovative offense led by head coach Hank Stram. The Bills were a more conventional team with a solid defensive line and a running mindset on offense. The two teams had split their season series, played early in the schedule without weather as a factor, with the road team winning each.

The Chiefs defeated the Bills by a score of 31–7, and advanced to Super Bowl I to play against the National Football League (NFL) champion Green Bay Packers.

1966 American Football League draft

The 1966 American Football League draft was held on Saturday, November 27, 1965. The AFL added the Miami Dolphins as an expansion team in 1966 to bring its total to nine franchises for its seventh season. The only Hall of Famer to come out of this draft was Jan Stenerud, who was picked by the Kansas City Chiefs in the third round of the Red Shirt portion of the draft.

This was the last competitive draft of the American Football League before the AFL–NFL merger agreement, which was announced in June 1966. The next draft of college players in 1967 was a common draft, held in mid-March.

The 1966 NFL Draft was held the same day, November 27, 1965.

1966 Boston Patriots season

The 1966 Boston Patriots season was the franchise's 7th season in the American Football League The Patriots ended the season with a record of eight wins and four losses and two ties, and finished second in the AFL's Eastern Division. This would be the last winning season the Patriots posted as an AFL team; they would not have another such season until 1976, by which time the team was in the NFL as the New England Patriots.

1966 Buffalo Bills season

The 1966 Buffalo Bills season was the team’s seventh season in the American Football League. It was the first season for head coach Joe Collier, who had been the Bills' defensive coordinator for the previous four seasons.It ended with a loss in the AFL Championship Game to the Kansas City Chiefs, ending the team's two-year reign as league champions. The score was 31-7 during the time.

The Bills allowed the fewest points in the AFL for the third consecutive year. Although defensive tackle Tom Sestak hampered by a bad knee, defensive linemen Jim Dunaway and Ron McDole took a leadership position. Linebackers Mike Stratton, Harry Jacobs and John Tracey, and defensive backs George Saimes, Butch Byrd, Hagood Clarke and Tom Janik provided a strong defensive foundation.Halfback Bobby Burnett and split end Bobby Crockett joined long-time Bills running back Wray Carlton and quarterback Jack Kemp, leading Buffalo's offense to scoring 358 points, second-most in the AFL in 1966. Burnett's 1,185 total yards from scrimmage were 5th in the AFL, and garnered AFL Rookie of the Year honors for Burnett.

1966 Denver Broncos season

The 1966 Denver Broncos season was the seventh season for the team in the American Football League (AFL). For the second straight season the Broncos posted a record of four wins, and ten losses. They once again finished last in the AFL's Western Division.

Denver's offense set a dubious all-time AFL record in 1966 with the fewest total points scored in a season, with 196, or 14 per game. The Broncos are the last team in major professional football (AFL or NFL) to go an entire game without picking up a first down, which they did in Week One at Houston.

1966 Houston Oilers season

The 1966 Houston Oilers season was the 7th season for the Houston Oilers as a professional AFL franchise; The team failed to improve on their previous output of 4–10, winning only three games. The Oilers failed to qualify for the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season, and were swept by the expansion Miami Dolphins.

1966 Kansas City Chiefs season

The 1966 Kansas City Chiefs season was the team's seventh season and fourth in Kansas City. With an 11–2–1 regular season record, the Chiefs won the Western Division and defeated the Buffalo Bills to win their second AFL Championship, their first in Kansas City.

The American Football League, also in its seventh season, became a nine-team league in 1966 with the addition of the expansion Miami Dolphins. The 14-game AFL schedule had the teams play six opponents twice and the remaining two once, both from the other division. The sole games for the Chiefs in 1966 were against the New York Jets and Houston Oilers, both victories.

In previous years, the AFL title game concluded the season, but not in 1966, following the merger agreement in June. The Chiefs were invited to play in the inaugural AFL-NFL World Championship Game, later known as Super Bowl I, against the NFL's Green Bay Packers. After a competitive first half, the underdog Chiefs lost momentum and the Packers won 35–10.

The franchise's previous AFL title was four years earlier in 1962 as the Dallas Texans.

1966 Miami Dolphins season

The 1966 Miami Dolphins season was the team's inaugural year as an expansion franchise in the American Football League (AFL). The Dolphins were the first of two expansion teams in the AFL, founded by Minneapolis attorney-politician Joe Robbie and actor-comedian Danny Thomas. Future Harlem Globetrotters and Montreal Canadiens owner George N. Gillett, Jr. was a minority partner, and the team was led by head coach George Wilson. The franchise was granted in August 1965 for $7.5 million.

Their regular season debut on September 2 began with Joe Auer returning the opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown, but the Dolphins lost to the Oakland Raiders, 23–14. Auer was the leading scorer for the season and was named team MVP. With an odd number of teams, each of the nine AFL teams had two bye weeks and played fourteen games. Miami lost its first five games before upsetting the Denver Broncos in the Orange Bowl. The Dolphins defeated the Houston Oilers the following week, but then lost the next six consecutive games. In Week 16, Miami won against the Oilers again to finish the season with a 3–11 record. Having defeated the Oilers twice, the Dolphins became the first ever expansion team in the Super Bowl era to sweep a division rival, and the last until the Jacksonville Jaguars did it in 1995 against the Cleveland Browns.

1966 NFL season

The 1966 NFL season was the 47th regular season of the National Football League, and the first season in which the Super Bowl was played, though it was called the AFL-NFL World Championship Game. The league expanded to 15 teams with the addition of the Atlanta Falcons, making a bye necessary each week for one team.

This was the last season that the NFL was divided only into two separate conferences, and only one postseason round was played between the two conference champions. The season concluded with the first Super Bowl; the NFL champion Green Bay Packers defeated the AFL's Kansas City Chiefs 35–10 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on January 15, 1967.

1966 New York Jets season

The 1966 New York Jets season was the seventh season for the team in the American Football League (AFL). The season began with the team trying to improve on their 5–8–1 record from 1965 under head coach Weeb Ewbank. The Jets finished the season 6–6–2.

1966 Oakland Raiders season

The 1966 Oakland Raiders season began with the team trying to improve on their 8–5–1 record from 1965. The 1966 season was the seventh season in Oakland and in the American Football League. 1966 also saw the team move their home games from Frank Youell Field to the new Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum.

1966 San Diego Chargers season

The 1966 San Diego Chargers season began with the team trying to improve on their 9–2–3 record in 1965. In the team's final season at Balboa Stadium, the Chargers went 7–6–1 and finished in third place in the AFL West Division. The team would move to San Diego Stadium for the following season. It was also the first season to feature an AFL-NFL World Championship Game now known as the Super Bowl.

For the 1966 season only, the Chargers changed the color of the lightning bolt on their helmets from yellow to blue. The yellow bolt returned the following season.

Super Bowl I

The first AFL-NFL World Championship Game in professional American football, known retroactively as Super Bowl I and referred to in some contemporaneous reports, including the game's radio broadcast, as the Super Bowl, was played on January 15, 1967 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California. The National Football League (NFL) champion Green Bay Packers defeated the American Football League (AFL) champion Kansas City Chiefs by the score of 35–10.

Coming into this game, considerable animosity existed between the AFL and NFL, thus the teams representing the two rival leagues (Kansas City and Green Bay, respectively) felt pressure to win. The Chiefs posted an 11–2–1 record during the 1966 AFL season, and defeated the Buffalo Bills 31–7, in the AFL Championship Game. The Packers finished the 1966 NFL season at 12–2, and defeated the Dallas Cowboys 34–27 in the NFL Championship Game. Still, many sports writers and fans believed any team in the older NFL was vastly superior to any club in the upstart AFL, and so expected Green Bay would blow out Kansas City.The first half of Super Bowl I was competitive, as the Chiefs outgained the Packers in total yards, 181–164, to come within 14–10 at halftime. Early in the 3rd quarter, Green Bay safety Willie Wood intercepted a pass and returned it 50 yards to the 5-yard line. The turnover sparked the Packers to score 21 unanswered points in the second half. Green Bay quarterback Bart Starr, who completed 16 of 23 passes for 250 yards and two touchdowns, with 1 interception, was named MVP.

It remains the only Super Bowl to have been simulcast in the United States by two networks. NBC had the rights to nationally televise AFL games, while CBS held the rights to broadcast NFL games; both networks were allowed to televise the game. The 1st Super Bowl's entertainment consisted of college marching bands from the University of Arizona and Grambling State University, instead of featuring popular singers and musicians as in later Super Bowls.

1966 AFL season
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