It determined the champion of the National Football League (NFL), which met the champion of the American Football League (AFL) in Super Bowl I, then formally referred to as the first AFL–NFL World Championship Game. The Western Conference champion Green Bay Packers (12–2), defending league champions, were hosted by the Dallas Cowboys (10–3–1), the Eastern Conference champions.
The home field for the NFL Championship alternated between the two conferences; even-numbered years were hosted by the Eastern and odd-numbered by the Western. Starting with the 1975 season, playoff sites were determined by regular season record, rather than a rotational basis.
The New Year's college bowl game at the Cotton Bowl for the 1966 season included the SMU Mustangs of Dallas. It was played the day before, New Year's Eve, which required a quick turnaround to transform the natural grass field. The two games were filled to the 75,504 capacity, but both local teams came up short.
|1966 NFL Championship Game|
|Date||January 1, 1967|
|Stadium||Cotton Bowl, Dallas, Texas|
|TV in the United States|
|Announcers||Jack Buck, Ray Scott,|
|Radio in the United States|
|Announcers||Jack Drees, Jim Morse|
It was the first NFL title game played after the AFL-NFL Merger was announced in June 1966. The game was played on January 1, 1967, the second consecutive year that the NFL season ended in January, rather than December. This was seventh season for the Dallas Cowboys and their first winning record since entering the league in 1960. They were champions of the NFL's Eastern Conference with a 10–3–1 record. The Packers won the Western Conference with a 12–2 record, their eighth consecutive winning season under head coach Vince Lombardi. Tickets for the game sold for ten dollars, and kickoff was just after 3 p.m. CST.
The seasoned Packers, defending champions of the 1965 season, were favored by a touchdown over the talented, but young Cowboys team, who had no players with championship experience and only one player over 30, linebacker Chuck Howley. The game was expected to be a shootout, and as wary as the Packers were of Cowboys wide-out Bob Hayes, the fastest man in football at the time, Lombardi made the decision before the game not to put double-coverage on the Olympic champion sprinter. It proved to be a good gamble, as Herb Adderley and Bob Jeter held Hayes to only one reception for one yard. Lombardi also installed a special offense for the game, knowing that the Cowboys had spent time preparing to stop plays like the Packers sweep.
Green Bay scored on their opening drive, with Elijah Pitts breaking free for a 32-yard run on the opening play - a misdirection play that was part of Lombardi's special game plan. Later Pitts took a circle route pass over the middle from Bart Starr at the Cowboy 5 and broke a tackle by Warren Livingston to cap a 17-yard touchdown play. Then Cowboys defensive back Mel Renfro fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and Packer rookie Jim Grabowski returned it 18 yards to give Green Bay a 14-0 lead before Dallas' first play. But the Cowboys stormed back with a 13-play drive to score on Dan Reeves' 3-yard rushing touchdown. Then after forcing a punt, they drove 59 yards to tie the game at 14 with a 23-yard touchdown burst by fullback Don Perkins.
Starr broke the tie on the third play of the second quarter with a 51-yard bomb to Carroll Dale over the head of CB Cornell Green. Dallas responded with a 68-yard drive to the Packers 4-yard line, featuring a 40-yard completion from Don Meredith to a wide open Reeves, but could go no further and settled for an 11-yard Danny Villanueva field goal, cutting their deficit to 21-17. Green Bay had a chance to retake a 7-point lead before halftime, but Don Chandler's 30-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Cowboys tackle Ralph Neely.
Early in the third quarter, Dallas defensive back Warren Livingston recovered a fumble from Pitts on the Cowboys 21-yard line. Meredith then led the team on a 13-play drive to bring the score to within one point, 21-20, on Villanueva's 32-yard field goal. But on Green Bay's next drive, Starr completed a 40-yard pass to Dale, who beat Green to the outside. From the Dallas 16 Starr hit Boyd Dowler cutting across the field for his third TD pass of the game, giving the Pack a 28-20 lead going into the fourth quarter. Dallas safety Mike Gaechter upended Dowler after the end took several steps in the end zone, causing Dowler to leave the game (Dowler was hampered much of the season by a calcium deposit on his shoulder). Bart Starr had to guide an upset Jim Taylor to the Green Bay sideline when the fiery Green Bay fullback started looking for Gaechter.
Late in the final period, Hayes fielded a punt on his own 1-yard line and was tackled inside the 5. Don Meredith hit a cold streak and missed several passes, and a Dallas punt gave Green Bay good field position on the Dallas 48. George Andrie sacked Starr on the first play, but he then picked up a key first down with a 24-yard pass to tight end Marv Fleming. Later faced with 3rd and 12, he completed a 16-yard pass to fullback Jim Taylor for a first down. Starr was again sacked on the drive, this time for an 11-yard loss by Willie Townes. But on third and nineteen, the Packers picked up a Cowboy blitz and Starr threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Max McGee (who replaced the injured Dowler). McGee had told Starr he could beat cornerback Warren Livingston to the outside ("Zig out" pattern). With just 5:20 left, the game appeared to be slipping out of reach for the Cowboys. However, defensive tackle Bob Lilly kept his team in the game by blocking Chandler's extra point attempt, keeping the deficit at 2 scores, 34-20, rather than 3.
Dallas started their comeback attempt on the ensuing drive. Faced with 3rd down and 20, Meredith threw a 68-yard touchdown pass to tight end Frank Clarke, making the score 34-27. Desperately trying to run out the clock with their ensuing possession, Green Bay started out with an 18-yard reception by Fleming on the Packers 46. But on the next play, Starr was sacked for an 8-yard loss by linebacker Dave Edwards. Townes broke up a screen pass on the next play, and then Taylor was stuffed for a loss. Now faced with 4th down, a heavy rush from the Dallas defense caused Chandler's punt to go just 17 yards, giving the Cowboys the ball on the Green Bay 47-yard line with 2:12 remaining.
A 21-yard catch by Clarke and a 4-yard run by Perkins advanced the ball to the Green Bay 22-yard line. Then a pass interference penalty on safety Tom Brown gave the Cowboys a first down at the Packer 2-yard line. Halfback Dan Reeves gained a yard on first down. A crucial mistake on a false start by Jim Boeke penalized the Cowboys back to the Green Bay 6, and Reeves then dropped a pass in the flat on second down. Reeves had been scratched in the eye on his previous run but did not come out of the game despite clouded vision, another mental error. Meredith found tight end Pettis Norman on third down to bring Dallas back to the two-yard line, the end making the catch on his knees. On fourth down, the Cowboys attempted a rollout pass. No one noticed that end Bob Hayes was in the goal line offense instead of Frank Clarke, who was typically used for better blocking. Packer linebacker Dave Robinson recognized the play from films, brushed Hayes aside, stormed into the Cowboy backfield and enveloped Meredith. Somehow Meredith got a wobbly sidearm toss away, but Tom Brown intercepted the pass in the end zone as the intended receiver, Hayes, was surrounded by Packers defenders. Vince Lombardi later congratulated Robinson, but in the next breath criticized him for being out of his assigned position.
Starr completed 19 of 28 passes for 304 yards and 4 touchdowns, with no interceptions, though he was sacked five times. His quarterback rating for the game was a stellar 143.5. Dale caught 5 passes for 128 yards and a score. Pitts led the Packers in rushing with 66 yards and caught a TD pass. Meredith finished the game 15/31 for 238 yards, with one touchdown and one interception, while also rushing for 22 yards. Perkins rushed for 108 yards and a score, while Reeves rushed for 47 yards, caught 4 passes for 77 yards, and scored a touchdown.
"I don't know, we haven't played Alabama yet." – Vince Lombardi after being asked what it felt like to be the greatest football team in the world just after winning the 1966 NFL Championship Game.
With the win, the Packers earned their tenth NFL championship; it was their second in a row and fourth in six seasons under Lombardi, in his eighth year as Green Bay's head coach.
Sunday, January 1, 1967
Kickoff: 3:05 p.m. CST
Over in the AFL, the winning Kansas City Chiefs split their players' shares for the title game 51 ways for $5,308 each, while the Buffalo Bills split theirs into 47 shares for about $3,800 each.
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.1967 NFL Championship Game
The 1967 National Football League Championship Game was the 35th NFL championship, played on December 31 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin.It determined the NFL's champion, which met the AFL's champion in Super Bowl II, then formally referred to as the second AFL-NFL World Championship Game.
The Dallas Cowboys (9–5), champions of the Eastern Conference, traveled north to meet the Western champion Green Bay Packers (9–4–1), the two-time defending league champions. It was a rematch of the previous year's title game, and pitted two future Hall of Fame head coaches against each other, Tom Landry for the Cowboys and Vince Lombardi for the Packers. The two head coaches had a long history together, as both had coached together on the staff of the late 1950s New York Giants, with Lombardi serving as offensive coordinator and Landry as defensive coordinator.
Because of the adverse conditions in which the game was played, the rivalry between the two teams, and the game's dramatic climax, it has been immortalized as the Ice Bowl and is considered one of the greatest games in NFL history.
Leading up to the 50th Anniversary of the game, NFL Films released an episode of its Timeline series about the events that day and the lasting impact. The episode is narrated and co-produced by filmmaker Michael Meredith, whose father Don Meredith was the QB for the Cowboys that day.Boyd Dowler
Boyd Hamilton Dowler (born October 18, 1937) is a former professional football player, a wide receiver in the National Football League. He played twelve seasons from 1959 to 1971, eleven with the Green Bay Packers and one with the Washington Redskins.
Born in Rock Springs, Wyoming, Dowler grew up in Cheyenne, where his father Walter was a high school history teacher. He was also a former football coach who had played college football at Wyoming. Boyd was a three-sport athlete at Cheyenne High School. He played college football at the University of Colorado as a single-wing quarterback under head coach Dal Ward.
Dowler led the Big Seven conference in receiving as a junior in 1957, but spent more time as a passer and runner during his senior season. While at Colorado, he was a member of Delta Tau Delta fraternity.
The 25th overall pick in the 1959 NFL Draft, Dowler was the NFL rookie of the year in 1959, Vince Lombardi's first season as head coach. Dowler was a two-time Pro Bowler in 1965 and 1967, and a key contributor on the Packers dynasty in the 1960s, assisting the team to five NFL championship wins and victories in Super Bowls I and II. A late hit by Dallas Cowboys defensive back Mike Gaechter in the end zone following a third quarter touchdown catch resulted in a shoulder injury in the 1966 NFL Championship Game. Dowler aggravated the shoulder early in the first quarter of the first Super Bowl two weeks later, allowing seldom-used Max McGee to be a significant contributor in the game with two touchdown catches. Dowler made a big impact the following year in Super Bowl II with a 62-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Bart Starr in the first half. He finished the game as the top receiver for the Packers, with two receptions for 71 yards and a touchdown. Dowler is a member of the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame and the NFL 1960s All-Decade Team.
After eleven seasons with the Packers ending in 1969, Dowler played one year for the Washington Redskins in 1971.
Dowler retired with a career record of 474 receptions for 7,270 yards and 40 touchdowns. He led the Packers in receptions for seven seasons.
Dowler is currently a scout for the Atlanta Falcons.Cowboys–Eagles rivalry
The Cowboys–Eagles rivalry is a rivalry between the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles. The rivalry has been ranked number one overall in the NFL in 1992 and 2014, characterized by bitterly contested games that are typical of the NFC East.Dave Robinson (American football)
Richard David Robinson (born May 3, 1941) is a former American football player. He played college football at Pennsylvania State University and professionally in the National Football League for the Green Bay Packers and the Washington Redskins. Robinson was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1997 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2013.History of the Dallas Cowboys
This article contains an in-depth explanation of the history of the Dallas Cowboys, a professional American football team that competes in the National Football League (NFL).History of the National Football League championship
Throughout its history, the National Football League (NFL) and other rival American football leagues have used several different formats to determine their league champions, including a period of inter-league matchups determining a true national champion.
Following its founding in 1920, the NFL first determined champions through end-of-season standings, but switched to a playoff system in 1933. The rival All-America Football Conference (AAFC) and American Football League (AFL) have since merged with the NFL (the only two AAFC teams that currently exist joined the NFL in 1950—the Cleveland Browns and the San Francisco 49ers), but AAFC championship games and records are not included in NFL record books. The AFL began play in 1960 and, like its rival league, used a playoff system to determine its champion.
From 1966–1969 prior to the merger in 1970, the NFL and the AFL agreed to hold an ultimate championship game, first called the AFL-NFL World Championship Game and later renamed the Super Bowl after 1968. Following the merger in 1970, the Super Bowl name continued as the game to determine the NFL champion. The most important factor of the merger was that all ten AFL teams joined the NFL in 1970 and every AFL championship game and record is included in NFL record books. The old NFL Championship Game became the NFC Championship Game, while the old AFL Championship Game became the AFC Championship Game. The NFL lists the old AFL/NFL championship games with "new" AFC/NFC championship games in its record books. The Green Bay Packers have won the most championships with 13 total (9 NFL championships pre-merger, four (4) Super Bowl championships). The Packers are also the only team to win three consecutive championships, having done so twice (1929–1931, 1965–1967). The Chicago Bears have won the second most overall championships with nine (9) (eight NFL championships, one Super Bowl championship).Jim Boeke
James Frederick Boeke (September 11, 1938 – September 26, 2014) was an American football offensive tackle in the National Football League for the Los Angeles Rams, Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints. He played college football at Heidelberg College.Jim Taylor (fullback)
James Charles Taylor (September 20, 1935 – October 13, 2018) was an American football fullback who played professionally in the National Football League (NFL) for ten seasons, with the Green Bay Packers from 1958 to 1966 and with the expansion New Orleans Saints in 1967. With the Packers, Taylor was invited to five straight Pro Bowls and won four NFL championships, as well as a victory in the first Super Bowl. He was recognized as the NFL Most Valuable Player after winning the rushing title in 1962, beating out Jim Brown. An aggressive player and fluent trash talker, Taylor developed several personal rivalries throughout his career, most notably with New York Giants linebacker Sam Huff. This confrontational attitude, combined with his tenacious running style, a penchant for contact, and ability to both withstand and deliver blows, earned him a reputation as one of the league's toughest players.
Playing college football for Louisiana State University (LSU), Taylor led the Southeastern Conference (SEC) in scoring in 1956 and 1957 and earned first-team All-America honors as a senior. He was selected by the Packers in the second round of the 1958 NFL Draft and was used sparingly as a rookie, but with the arrival of coach Vince Lombardi in 1959 Taylor soon became the team's all-purpose back, especially when only a few yards were needed. In this role, his spirited performance against the Giants in the 1962 NFL Championship Game came to define his mental and physical toughness.
Taylor finished his career after carrying 1,941 times for 8,597 yards and 83 touchdowns. He was the first player to record five straight seasons of at least 1,000 rushing yards. His 81 rushing touchdowns for the Packers remains a franchise record by a wide margin, and his 8,207 rushing yards with the team has been surpassed only once. Taylor was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1976. He is a member of the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame and his number 31 jersey is retired by the Saints.John Niland (American football)
John Hugh Niland (born February 29, 1944) is a former American Football offensive guard who played for the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles in an eleven-year career from 1966 to 1976. He was a six-time Pro Bowler and a three-time All-Pro. He played college football for the University of Iowa.Mike Gaechter
Michael Theodore "Mike" Gaechter (January 9, 1940 – August 17, 2015) was an American football safety in the National Football League for the Dallas Cowboys. He played college football at the University of Oregon.Three-peat
In American sports, a three-peat is winning three consecutive championships. The term, a portmanteau of the words three and repeat, originated with the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association, during their unsuccessful campaign for a third consecutive championship during the 1988–89 season, having won the previous 2 NBA Finals in 1987 and 1988 against the Boston Celtics and Detroit Pistons, but were swept by the Pistons in the 1989 NBA Finals. The term is a registered trademark owned by Pat Riley (https://www.threepeat.com), the Lakers' head coach from 1981–1990, although it was coined by L.A. player Byron Scott immediately after their victorious championship defense against the Detroit Pistons in the 1988 NBA Finals.Warren Livingston
Warren Livingston (born July 5, 1938) is a former professional American football cornerback in the National Football League for the Dallas Cowboys. He played college football at the University of Arizona.
|Division championships (18)|
|Conference championships (9)|
|League championships (13†)|
|Current league affiliations|
Championship seasons in bold
† does not include 1966 or 1967 NFL championships
|Division championships (23)|
|Conference championships (10)|
|League Championships (5)|
|Current league affiliations|
Championship seasons in bold
National Football League Championship Games (1933–present)
|NFL Championship Game|
|AFL Championship Game|
|AFL-NFL World Championship Games |
1 – From 1966 to 1969, the first four Super Bowls were "World Championship" games played between two independent professional football leagues, AFL and NFL, and when the league merged in 1970 the Super Bowl became the NFL Championship Game.
2 – Dates in the list denote the season, not the calendar year in which the championship game was played. For instance, Super Bowl XLI was played in 2007, but was the championship for the 2006 season.
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