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 National Football League season
Regular season
DurationSeptember 10 –
December 18, 1966
East ChampionsDallas Cowboys
West ChampionsGreen Bay Packers
Championship Game
ChampionsGreen Bay Packers
1986 Jeno's Pizza - 15 - Willie Davis
The Packers defeated the Chiefs in the first AFL–NFL Championship Game (Super Bowl I)

Atlanta Falcons

The NFL awarded an expansion franchise to the city of Atlanta on June 30, 1965.[1][2] Commissioner Pete Rozelle granted ownership of the Atlanta Falcons to Rankin Smith, Sr. and they were awarded the first pick in the 1966 NFL Draft, as well as the final pick in each of the first five rounds.[3] The league also provided the Falcons with an expansion draft six weeks later.[3]

On June 3, 1965, the NFL announced its plans to add two teams in 1967.[4] four days later on June 7, the eight franchises of the rival American Football League (AFL) voted unanimously to add two teams in 1966,[5][6] an AFL franchise was awarded to Atlanta the next day.[7][8][9]

The competition with the AFL for Atlanta forced the first to be added a year early. The odd number of teams (15) in 1966 resulted in one idle team (bye) each week, with each team playing fourteen games over fifteen weeks (similar to 1960: twelve games over thirteen weeks). The second expansion team, the New Orleans Saints, joined the NFL as planned in 1967 as its sixteenth franchise. Scheduled byes in the NFL's regular season did not return until 1990.

The AFL had originally targeted Atlanta and Philadelphia,[9] but its two expansion teams became the Miami Dolphins in 1966 and the Cincinnati Bengals in 1968.

The AFL-NFL merger agreement

As the competitive war between the NFL and the American Football League reached its peak, the two leagues agreed to merge on June 8, 1966. Under the agreement:

  • The two leagues would combine to form an expanded league with 24 teams, which would be increased to 26 teams by 1969, and to 28 teams by 1970 or soon thereafter.
  • All existing teams would be retained, and none of them would be moved outside of their metropolitan areas.
  • While maintaining separate schedules through 1969, the leagues agreed to play an annual AFL-NFL World Championship Game beginning in January 1967.
  • The two leagues would officially merge in 1970 to form one league with two conferences.

Major rule changes

Goal posts were standardized in the NFL. They were to be 3–4 inches (7.6–10.2 cm) in diameter, painted bright yellow, with two non-curved supports offset from the goal line, and uprights 20 feet (6.1 m) above the crossbar. In 1967, the new "slingshot" goal post was made standard, with one curved support from the ground. In 1974, the goal posts were returned to the end line, and the uprights were extended to 30 feet (9.1 m) above the crossbar, and to 35 feet (10.7 m) in 2014.

The new goal-post rule is often referred to as the "Don Chandler Rule", referring to the placekicker for the Green Bay Packers. Although widely denied, the height increase of the uprights was in reaction to the previous season's Western Conference playoff game at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. Chandler kicked a controversial field goal that tied the game with under two minutes remaining. The kick was high above the upright, and many spectators thought that the kick missed. Chandler later hit a field goal that defeated the Baltimore Colts in overtime. The following week, the Packers defeated the Cleveland Browns in the NFL Championship Game, their first of three consecutive league titles.

Stadium changes

St. Louis opened new Civic Center Busch Memorial Stadium in 1966.

Conference races

In the Western Conference, Green Bay's first loss was in Week 5, falling 21–20 in San Francisco to tie them with the Rams. The Rams lost 35–7 to Minnesota the next week, and Green Bay stayed in front until Week 9, when Minnesota beat them 20–17. Baltimore's 19–7 win over Atlanta briefly tied it with the Packers at 7–2–0 in Week 10, but the Colts lost to Detroit the next week, 20–14. The Packers clinched the title in Week 13.

In the Eastern Conference, the St. Louis Cardinals took the early lead, winning their first five games. (The Dallas Cowboys were also unbeaten, but due to a bye in Week One, they had played one fewer game and thus were a half-game behind the Cardinals in the standings.) The unbeaten teams met in Week 6, and both were still unbeaten after they played to a 10–10 tie. However, both teams suffered their first defeat the next week, with St. Louis losing at Washington, 26–20, and the Cowboys falling in Cleveland, 30–21. In Week 9 (November 6), St. Louis beat the Giants, 20–17, while Dallas came up short in a 24–23 loss to the Eagles. The next week, Dallas won at Washington 31–30 on a field goal with 0:15 left, while the Cards fell at Pittsburgh, 30–9, cutting their safety margin to a half-game again. St. Louis had a bye in Week 11, and a 20–7 Dallas victory over Pittsburgh gave the Cards and Cowboys records of 7–2–1. Both teams won the next week, setting up the stage for their December 4 meeting in Dallas during Week 13. The Cards took a 10–7 lead in the first quarter, but Dallas won 31–17 to take over the conference lead. In Week Fourteen, Dallas hosted Washington, and lost 34–31 on a field goal at 0:08. The Cardinals were in a must-win game against what should have been an easy opponent, the new (2–10–0) Atlanta Falcons. Instead, the Falcons notched their third win and virtually ended St. Louis's hopes to go to the title game. The St. Louis Cardinals, who lost again the next week, never got that close to the Super Bowl again before moving to Phoenix in 1988.

Week Western Eastern
1 Detroit, Green Bay, Los Angeles (tie) 1–0–0 Cleveland, St. Louis (tie) 1–0–0
2 Green Bay, Los Angeles (tie) 2–0–0 St. Louis, Pittsburgh (tie) 2–0–0
3 Green Bay Packers 3–0–0 St. Louis Cardinals 3–0–0
4 Green Bay Packers 4–0–0 St. Louis Cardinals 4–0–0
5 Green Bay, Los Angeles (tie) 4–1–0 St. Louis Cardinals 5–0–0
6 Green Bay Packers 5–1–0 St. Louis Cardinals 5–0–1
7 Green Bay Packers 6–1–0 St. Louis Cardinals 5–1–1
8 Green Bay Packers 7–1–0 St. Louis Cardinals 6–1–1
9 Green Bay Packers 7–2–0 St. Louis Cardinals 7–1–1
10 Baltimore, Green Bay (tie) 7–2–0 St. Louis Cardinals 7–2–1
11 Green Bay Packers 8–2–0 Dallas, St. Louis (tie) 7–2–1
12 Green Bay Packers 9–2–0 Dallas, St. Louis (tie) 8–2–1
13 Green Bay Packers 10–2–0 Dallas Cowboys 9–2–1
14 Green Bay Packers 11–2–0 Dallas Cowboys 9–3–1
15 Green Bay Packers 12–2–0 Dallas Cowboys 10–3–1
  • A bye week was necessary in 1966, as the league had an odd-number (15) of teams; one team was idle each week.
    The sixteenth team (New Orleans) joined the league in 1967.

Final standings

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

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

Eastern Conference
Dallas Cowboys 10 3 1 .769 445 239
Cleveland Browns 9 5 0 .643 403 259
Philadelphia Eagles 9 5 0 .643 326 340
St. Louis Cardinals 8 5 1 .615 264 265
Washington Redskins 7 7 0 .500 351 355
Pittsburgh Steelers 5 8 1 .385 316 347
Atlanta Falcons 3 11 0 .214 204 437
New York Giants 1 12 1 .077 263 501
Western Conference
Green Bay Packers 12 2 0 .857 335 163
Baltimore Colts 9 5 0 .643 314 226
Los Angeles Rams 8 6 0 .571 289 212
San Francisco 49ers 6 6 2 .500 320 325
Chicago Bears 5 7 2 .417 234 272
Detroit Lions 4 9 1 .308 206 317
Minnesota Vikings 4 9 1 .308 292 304

NFL Championship Game

Playoff Bowl

The Playoff Bowl was between the conference runners-up, for third place in the league. This was its seventh year and it was played a week after the title game.


Most Valuable Player Bart Starr, Quarterback, Green Bay
Coach of the Year Tom Landry, Dallas


The 1966 NFL Draft was held on November 27, 1965 at New York City's Summit Hotel. With the first pick, the Atlanta Falcons selected linebacker Tommy Nobis from The University of Texas.


Eastern Conference

Western Conference

See also


  1. ^ Minter, Jim (July 12, 1965). "The mayor surrenders Atlanta". Sports Illustrated: 14.
  2. ^ "NFL wins 'war' for Atlanta stadium". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. July 1, 1965. p. 2, part 2.
  3. ^ a b "1966 NFL Draft". Pro Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved September 27, 2008.
  4. ^ "NFL ready to expand – AFL, too". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. June 4, 1965. p. 2, part 2.
  5. ^ "AFL to add 2 teams in '66". Milwaukee Sentinel. UPI. June 8, 1965. p. 3, part 2.
  6. ^ "American Football League will expand in 1966". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. June 8, 1965. p. 16.
  7. ^ "Atlanta gets AFL berth". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. June 9, 1965. p. 3, part 2.
  8. ^ "No-holds-barred war set by grid leagues". Rome News-Tribune. (Georgia). Associated Press. June 9, 1965. p. 11.
  9. ^ a b Hackleman, Jim (June 20, 1965). "Pro football leagues duel over juicy Atlanta plum". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. p. 4, sports.
  • NFL Record and Fact Book (ISBN 1-932994-36-X)
  • NFL History 1961–1970 (Last accessed December 4, 2005)
  • Total Football: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League (ISBN 0-06-270174-6)
  • When Pride Still Mattered, A Life of Vince Lombardi, by David Maraniss, 1999, p. 381, (ISBN 0-684-84418-4)
1966 All-Pro Team

The Associated Press (AP), United Press International (UPI), Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA), and New York Daily News selected All-Pro players following the 1966 NFL season.

1966 Atlanta Falcons season

The 1966 Atlanta Falcons season was the franchise's inaugural season in the National Football League (NFL). The Falcons finished in seventh place in the NFL Eastern Conference with a record of 3–11, ahead of only the New York Giants.

1966 NFL Championship Game

The 1966 National Football League Championship Game was the 34th NFL championship, played at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas. It was the final game of the 1966 NFL season.

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 New York Giants season

The 1966 New York Giants season was the franchise's 42nd season in the National Football League (NFL). The season saw the Giants looking to improve on their 7–7 record from 1965. However, they finished in last place in the Eastern Conference with a 1–12–1 record, the worst in franchise history. The 12 losses set a single-season team record that was matched four times before being broken in 2017.The 1966 Giants surrendered the most points in NFL history for a 14-game season. They allowed 501 points in 14 games, or an average of 35.8 points per game. This total broke the league record for the most points given up in a season. The next most points allowed by a Giants team was 427 in the 2009 season, which was 16 games. The Giants allowed opponents to score more than 30 points in eight of the 14 games, and gave up over 50 points three times. They are the only team in history to give up 500 points in a 14-game season.On November 27, the Giants played the highest-scoring game in NFL history, losing to the Washington Redskins, 72–41. It was the first of three straight games in which the Giants gave up more than 45 points; they allowed 49 points against the Cleveland Browns and 47 versus the Pittsburgh Steelers.

1992 NFL season

The 1992 NFL season was the 73rd regular season of the National Football League.

Due to the damage caused by Hurricane Andrew, the New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins game that was scheduled for September 6 at Joe Robbie Stadium was rescheduled to October 18. Both teams originally had that weekend off. This marked the first time since the 1966 NFL season and the AFL seasons of 1966 and 1967 that there were byes in week 1; in those years, byes were necessary every week since there were an odd number of teams, which would happen again between 1999 and 2001. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Dolphins also had their 2017 season opener postponed due to Hurricane Irma.

The Atlanta Falcons played their first season in the new Georgia Dome, replacing Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium, playing there until 2016.

The season ended with Super Bowl XXVII when the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Buffalo Bills 52–17 at the Rose Bowl. This would be the third of the Bills’ four consecutive Super Bowl losses.

Bruce McLenna

Bruce Oliver McLenna (December 23, 1941 – June 18, 1968) was an American football player. He played college football for the University of Michigan in 1961 and for Hillsdale College in 1964 and 1965. He played professional football for the Detroit Lions in 1966 and was later signed by the Kansas City Chiefs. In June 1968, he was killed in an automobile accident at age 26 while riding in a military vehicle as part of his service in the Missouri National Guard.

Butch Allison

Buford Needham "Butch" Allison (October 29, 1944 – April 2, 2010) was a professional gridiron football offensive lineman who played for the Baltimore Colts and New Orleans Saints of the National Football League (NFL) and the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League (CFL). He played college football at the University of Missouri. Allison was drafted in both the seventh round of the 1966 AFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders and the second round of the 1966 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Colts, who he played the 1966 NFL season with. He played for both the New Orleans Saints and Edmonton Eskimos in 1967.

Dan Lewis (American football)

Daniel Nathan Lewis (February 14, 1936 – March 6, 2015) was an American football halfback, fullback in the National Football League for the Detroit Lions (1958–1964), the Washington Redskins (1965), and the New York Giants (1966). He played college football at the University of Wisconsin.

Dave Cahill

David Allen Cahill (July 26, 1941 - November 12, 2012) is a former American football defensive tackle who played professionally in the National Football League (NFL). Cahill first played with the Philadelphia Eagles during the 1966 NFL season. He was selected by the New Orleans Saints in the 1967 NFL Expansion Draft, but played that season with the Los Angeles Rams. After a year away from the NFL, he played with the Atlanta Falcons during the 1969 NFL season.

Izzy Lang

Israel Alvin "Izzy" Lang (born February 2, 1942) is a former American football running back who played for six seasons in the National Football League. He was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 18th round of the 1964 NFL Draft. He played for the Eagles from 1964–1968, and the Los Angeles Rams in 1969. He played college football at Tennessee State.

John McDowell (American football)

John McDowell is a former offensive tackle in the National Football League.

List of Super Bowl champions

The Super Bowl is the annual American football game that determines the champion of the National Football League (NFL). The game culminates a season that begins in the previous calendar year, and is the conclusion of the NFL playoffs. The contest is held in an American city, chosen three to four years beforehand, usually at warm-weather sites or domed stadiums. Since January 1971, the winner of the American Football Conference (AFC) Championship Game has faced the winner of the National Football Conference (NFC) Championship Game in the culmination of the NFL playoffs.

Before the 1970 merger between the American Football League (AFL) and the National Football League (NFL), the two leagues met in four such contests. The first two were marketed as the "AFL–NFL World Championship Game", but were also casually referred to as "the Super Bowl game" during the television broadcast. Super Bowl III in January 1969 was the first such game that carried the "Super Bowl" moniker in official marketing; the names "Super Bowl I" and "Super Bowl II" were retroactively applied to the first two games. The NFC/NFL leads in Super Bowl wins with 27, while the AFC/AFL has won 26. Twenty franchises, including teams that have relocated to another city, have won the Super Bowl.The New England Patriots (6–5) and Pittsburgh Steelers (6–2) have won the most Super Bowls with six championships, while the Dallas Cowboys (5–3) and the San Francisco 49ers (5–1) have five wins. New England has the most Super Bowl appearances with eleven, while the Buffalo Bills (0–4) have the most consecutive appearances with four (all losses) from 1990 to 1993. The Miami Dolphins (1971–1973) and New England Patriots (2016–2018) are the only other teams to have at least three consecutive appearances. The Denver Broncos (3–5) and Patriots have each lost a record five Super Bowls. The Minnesota Vikings (0–4) and the Bills have lost four. The record for consecutive wins is two and is shared by seven franchises: the Green Bay Packers (1966–1967), the Miami Dolphins (1972–1973), the Pittsburgh Steelers (1974–1975 and 1978–1979, the only team to accomplish this feat twice and have four wins in six seasons), the San Francisco 49ers (1988–1989), the Dallas Cowboys (1992–1993), the Denver Broncos (1997–1998), and the New England Patriots (2003–2004). Among those, Dallas (1992–1993; 1995) and New England (2001; 2003–2004) are the only teams to win three out of four consecutive Super Bowls. The 1972 Dolphins capped off the only perfect season in NFL history with their victory in Super Bowl VII. The only team with multiple Super Bowl appearances and no losses is the Baltimore Ravens, who in winning Super Bowl XLVII defeated and replaced the 49ers in that position. Four current NFL teams have never appeared in a Super Bowl, including franchise relocations and renaming: the Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Houston Texans, though both the Browns (1950, 1954, 1955, 1964) and Lions (1935, 1952, 1953, 1957) had won NFL championship games prior to the creation of the Super Bowl.

Lou Rymkus

Louis Joseph "the Battler" Rymkus (November 6, 1919 – October 31, 1998) was an American football player and coach in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC), National Football League (NFL) and American Football League (AFL). Playing as a tackle for the Cleveland Browns in the AAFC and NFL in the late 1940s and early 1950s, Rymkus provided pass protection for quarterback Otto Graham as the team won five league championships. Following his playing career, Rymkus took a number of assistant coaching jobs before serving as the first head coach of the AFL's Houston Oilers in 1960. The team won the league's first championship, but Rymkus was fired by Oilers owner Bud Adams after a slow start in 1961.

Rymkus was born in Royalton, Illinois and grew up in Chicago. He was a star lineman in high school and won a football scholarship to attend the University of Notre Dame. At Notre Dame, he played on a 1941 team that went undefeated under head coach Frank Leahy. Rymkus was drafted by the NFL's Washington Redskins in 1943 and played one season for the team before joining the U.S. Marines during World War II. Following two years in the service, he signed with the Browns, where he spent the remainder of his playing career. Paul Brown, the Browns' first coach, called Rymkus "the best pass protector I've ever seen". His blocking was used by coaches to demonstrate proper form.

After Rymkus's brief stint coaching the Oilers, he held numerous football jobs, including as the coach of a high school team in Louisiana and an assistant with the Detroit Lions. Rymkus was a finalist for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1988 but was not elected. In 2005, he was named to the Professional Football Researchers Association Hall of Very Good in the association's third HOVG class.He died of a stroke in Houston, Texas, where he lived for most of his later life.

Ray Schmautz

Ray Schmautz (born January 26, 1943 in Chula Vista, California) is a former American football linebacker who played for San Diego State in college, and then with the Oakland Raiders. He played 10 games for Oakland in the 1966 NFL season.Ray was traded to the Denver Broncos in 1967 along with the defensive end Rich Jackson and outside guard Dick Tyson for the wide receiver Lionel Taylor and center Jerry Sturm.

Richard Koeper

Richard Koeper was a professional American football player.

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 NFL season
Early era
Modern era

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