1986 NFL season

The 1986 NFL season was the 67th regular season of the National Football League. Defending Super Bowl Champion Chicago Bears shared the league’s best record with the Giants at 14–2, with the Giants claiming the spot in the NFC by tiebreakers. In the AFC, the Cleveland Browns earned home-field advantage with a record of 12–4, and they hosted the New York Jets in round one of the AFC playoffs. The Jets had started the season at 10–1 before losing their final five contests. The game went to double OT, with the Browns finally prevailing 23–20. The following Sunday, John Elway and the Denver Broncos defeated the Browns by an identical score in a game known for The Drive, where Elway drove his team 98 yards to send the game to overtime to win. The Giants would defeat their rival Washington Redskins in the NFC title game, blanking them 17–0 to advance to their first Super Bowl. The season ended with Super Bowl XXI when the New York Giants defeated the Denver Broncos 39–20 at the Rose Bowl to win their first league title in 30 years.

1986 National Football League season
Regular season
DurationSeptember 7 – December 22, 1986
Start dateDecember 28, 1986
AFC ChampionsDenver Broncos
NFC ChampionsNew York Giants
Super Bowl XXI
DateJanuary 25, 1987
SiteRose Bowl, Pasadena, California
ChampionsNew York Giants
Pro Bowl
DateFebruary 1, 1987
SiteAloha Stadium

Major rule changes

  • Players are prohibited from wearing apparel, equipment, or other items that carry commercial names, names of organizations, or any type of personal message unless they get specific permission from the league.
  • If the offensive team commits a dead ball foul during the last two minutes of a half, the clock will start at the snap.
  • If an offensive player fumbles the ball and it goes forward and out of bounds, the ball is returned to that team at the spot of the fumble.
  • If an offensive player fumbles the ball in the field of play and it goes out of bounds in the opponent's end zone, the ball is given to the defensive team at the spot of the fumble (this rule would be changed in 1991 to result in a touchback).
  • A limited system of instant replay was adopted to aid officiating. A replay official in a booth would decide what plays to review and make the final ruling, regardless of the current score or the amount of time left in the game. The replay official communicated with the game officials via radio transmitters. However, there was no time limit on how long the replay official could review a play and this led to long game delays (this was a major reason why the system was eventually repealed in 1992 and not brought back until a more comprehensive replay system with time limits were established in 1999).

New referee

Dick Hantak was promoted to referee. Fred Silva was then assigned as a swing official instead of his own crew.

Final standings

AFC East
New England Patriots(3) 11 5 0 .688 7–1 8–4 412 307 W1
New York Jets(4) 10 6 0 .625 6–2 8–4 364 386 L5
Miami Dolphins 8 8 0 .500 5–3 6–6 430 405 L1
Buffalo Bills 4 12 0 .250 1–7 3–11 287 348 L3
Indianapolis Colts 3 13 0 .188 1–7 2–10 229 400 W3
AFC Central
Cleveland Browns(1) 12 4 0 .750 5–1 10–2 391 310 W5
Cincinnati Bengals 10 6 0 .625 3–3 7–5 409 394 W1
Pittsburgh Steelers 6 10 0 .625 3–3 4–8 307 336 L1
Houston Oilers 5 11 0 .313 1–5 3–9 274 329 W2
AFC West
Denver Broncos(2) 11 5 0 .688 5–3 8–4 378 327 L1
Kansas City Chiefs(5) 10 6 0 .625 5–3 9–5 358 326 W3
Seattle Seahawks 10 6 0 .625 5–3 7–5 366 293 W5
Los Angeles Raiders 8 8 0 .500 4–4 7–5 323 346 L4
San Diego Chargers 4 12 0 .250 1–7 4–8 335 396 L2
NFC East
New York Giants(1) 14 2 0 .875 7–1 11–1 371 236 W9
Washington Redskins(4) 12 4 0 .750 5–3 9–3 368 296 W1
Dallas Cowboys 7 9 0 .438 5–3 6–6 346 337 L5
Philadelphia Eagles 5 10 1 .344 1–6–1 3–8–1 256 312 L1
St. Louis Cardinals 4 11 1 .281 1–6–1 3–10–1 218 351 W1
NFC Central
Chicago Bears(2) 14 2 0 .875 7–1 10–2 352 187 W7
Minnesota Vikings 9 7 0 .563 6–2 8–4 398 273 W1
Detroit Lions 5 11 0 .313 3–5 4–8 277 326 L4
Green Bay Packers 4 12 0 .250 3–5 3–9 254 418 L1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2 14 0 .125 1–7 1–13 239 473 L7
NFC West
San Francisco 49ers(3) 10 5 1 .656 3–2–1 6–5–1 374 247 W3
Los Angeles Rams(5) 10 6 0 .625 3–3 8–4 309 267 L2
Atlanta Falcons 7 8 1 .469 2–3–1 6–5–1 280 280 W1
New Orleans Saints 7 9 0 .483 3–3 6–6 288 287 L1


  • Denver was second AFC playoff seed ahead of New England based on head-to-head victory (1–0).
  • N.Y. Jets was the first AFC Wild Card based on better conference record (8–4) than Kansas City (9–5), Seattle (7–5), and Cincinnati (7–5).
  • Kansas City was the second AFC Wild Card based on better conference record (9–5) than Seattle (7–5) and Cincinnati (7–5).
  • N.Y. Giants was the top NFC playoff seed based on better conference record than Chicago (11–1 to Bears' 10–2).


NOTE: The New York Giants (the NFC one seed) did not play the Washington Redskins (the four seed) in the Divisional playoff round because both teams were in the same division.
Divisional Playoffs
    Jan. 4 – Mile High Stadium        
AFC Wild Card Game AFC Championship
 3  New England  17
Dec. 28 – Giants Stadium     Jan. 11 – Cleveland Stadium
 2  Denver  22  
 5  Kansas City  15  2  Denver  23*
Jan. 3 – Cleveland Stadium
 4  NY Jets  35      1  Cleveland  20   Super Bowl XXI
 4  NY Jets  20
    Jan. 25 – Rose Bowl
 1  Cleveland  23**  
 A2  Denver  20
Jan. 3 – Soldier Field
NFC Wild Card Game NFC Championship    N1  NY Giants  39
 4  Washington  27
Dec. 28 – Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium     Jan. 11 – Giants Stadium
 2*  Chicago  13  
 5  LA Rams  7  4  Washington  0
Jan. 4 – Giants Stadium
 4  Washington  19      1  NY Giants  17  
 3  San Francisco  3
 1*  NY Giants  49  
* Indicates overtime victory
** Indicates double-overtime victory

Statistical leaders


Points scored Miami Dolphins (430)
Total yards gained Cincinnati Bengals (6,490)
Yards rushing Chicago Bears (2,700)
Yards passing Miami Dolphins (4,779)
Fewest points allowed Chicago Bears (187)
Fewest total yards allowed Chicago Bears (4,130)
Fewest rushing yards allowed New York Giants (1,284)
Fewest passing yards allowed St. Louis Cardinals (2,637)


The following players set all-time records during the season:

Most Passes Completed, Season Dan Marino, Miami (378)
Most Pass Attempts, Season Dan Marino, Miami (623)


Most Valuable Player Lawrence Taylor, Linebacker, New York Giants
Coach of the Year Bill Parcells, New York Giants
Offensive Player of the Year Eric Dickerson, Running back, Los Angeles Rams
Defensive Player of the Year Lawrence Taylor, Linebacker, New York Giants
Offensive Rookie of the Year Rueben Mayes, Running back, New Orleans Saints
Defensive Rookie of the Year Leslie O'Neal, Defensive end, San Diego Chargers
NFL Comeback Player of the Year Joe Montana, Quarterback, San Francisco 49ers, Tommy Kramer, Quarterback, Minnesota Vikings (co-winners)
Man of the Year Reggie Williams, Linebacker, Cincinnati Bengals
Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Phil Simms, Quarterback, New York Giants


The 1986 NFL Draft was held from April 29 to 30, 1986 at New York City's Marriott Marquis. With the first pick, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected runningback Bo Jackson from the University of Auburn.

Coaching changes




  • NFL Record and Fact Book (ISBN 1-932994-36-X)
  • NFL History 1981–1990 (Last accessed December 4, 2005)
  • Total Football: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League (ISBN 0-06-270174-6)
1986 Seattle Seahawks season

The 1986 Seattle Seahawks season was the team's 11th season with the National Football League.

Despite posting a 10-6 record the Seahawks would miss the playoffs after having a dominate 5 game win streak to close out the season.

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.

2,000-yard club

The 2,000-yard club is a group of seven National Football League (NFL) running backs who have rushed for 2,000 or more yards in a regular season. These seven rushing seasons rank as the highest single-season rushing totals in NFL history, and reaching the 2,000-yard mark is considered a significant achievement for running backs. No running back has yet achieved this feat twice. The first 2,000-yard season was recorded in 1973 by Buffalo Bills running back O.J. Simpson. Simpson is the only player to have surpassed 2,000 yards in a 14-game season, as all others occurred in 16-game seasons; he finished the season with 2,003 rushing yards, averaging six yards per carry and an NFL-record 143.1 rushing yards per game. Los Angeles Rams running back Eric Dickerson, who had broken the single-season rookie rushing record in 1983, recorded the second 2,000-yard season in 1984. Dickerson rushed for 2,105 yards, the current NFL rushing record, and averaged 131.6 rushing yards per game.Detroit Lions running back Barry Sanders recorded the third 2,000-yard season in 1997, rushing for 2,053 yards. At the age of 29, Sanders was the oldest back to surpass 2,000 yards. Sanders had opened the season with only 53 yards through two games, but ran for 100 yards or more in each of the last 14 games of the season and averaged 6.1 yards per carry during the season. In 1998 Denver Broncos running back Terrell Davis became the fourth player to rush for over 2,000 yards, running for 2,008 yards. Davis also recorded 21 rushing touchdowns in his 2,000-yard season, the only 2,000 yard rusher to do so. Davis had reached the 1,000-yard mark only seven games into the season. Baltimore Ravens running back Jamal Lewis surpassed 2,000 yards in the 2003 season, recording 2,066 yards over the course of the season. 500 of these yards were recorded in two games against the Cleveland Browns, with Lewis rushing for a then-NFL record 295 yards in the first and recording 205 rushing yards in the second. Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson ran for 2,006 yards in 2009, averaging 5.6 yards per carry, and also recorded an NFL-record 2,509 yards from scrimmage. Minnesota Vikings back Adrian Peterson is the most recent player to have surpassed 2,000 yards rushing, having finished the 2012 season with 2,097 yards rushing, just 8 yards short of Dickerson's record. Peterson had torn two ligaments in his left knee the previous year, making him the only player to have surpassed 2,000 yards after having reconstructive knee surgery the prior season.Out of the seven players to have recorded a 2,000-yard rushing season, all but one (Dickerson) won the AP NFL Offensive Player of the Year Award the year that they rushed for 2,000 yards. Dickerson would go on to win the award though after the 1986 NFL season. Simpson, Sanders, Davis, and Peterson also won the AP Most Valuable Player (MVP) award. Simpson, Dickerson, Sanders and Davis are each members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which "honor[s] individuals who have made outstanding contributions to professional football"; Lewis has not been voted in, and Johnson and Peterson are not yet eligible.

Brian Holloway

Brian Douglass Holloway (born July 25, 1959) is a former professional American football offensive tackle for the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Raiders from 1981 to 1988. He is the father of David Holloway, who also played professional football.

Greg Feasel

Greg Feasel is a former offensive tackle in the National Football League. He is now the Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer for the Colorado Rockies.

Herman Ball

Herman Ball (May 9, 1910 – January 12, 1999) was a football player and coach who was a long-time assistant in the National Football League and served as head coach of the Washington Redskins from 1949 to 1951.

A native of Elkins, West Virginia, Ball attended Davis & Elkins College for three years beginning in 1932, helping the 1933 squad finish the season as the highest scoring team in college football with 345 points. Following his graduation, his first coaching position came in his home state as head coach at Ridgeley High School.

The following year, he moved south to begin a seven-year stint in Cumberland, Maryland, as head coach at Allegany High School. In his inaugural season at the helm, Allegany finished undefeated, the first of three spotless campaigns during his tenure, the others coming in 1940 and 1941. By the time he departed for the University of Maryland in 1943, he had compiled an impressive mark of 56-13-1.

Ball became an assistant with the Terrapins' football team, and also helped coach the school's baseball and basketball teams. During his third and final year in that role, he worked under the legendary Bear Bryant. Ball also worked part-time as a scout for the Redskins during the 1945 season, then joined the team the following year when he was hired as line coach.

On November 7, 1949, Redskins' first-year head coach John Whelchel was dismissed with the team sporting a 3-3-1 mark, with Ball being elevated to the position. In the team's final five games, Ball managed only one more win, then struggled the next year with a 3-9 mark, the worst record ever (at the time) for the franchise. Despite the miserable fortunes of the team, due in part to Ball's attempt at balancing the team's offensive attack with more of a running game, player loyalty and fan popularity helped Ball earn another year on the sidelines.

That term would be a short one when the Redskins began the 1951 NFL season with an 0-3 start. Ball was fired on October 18, a decision that helped bring about a bizarre situation in which his successor, former Bears assistant Hunk Anderson, was announced as Washington's new head coach, but was prevented from starting his new job because of contract issues with Chicago's George Halas. After refusing to provide compensation for Anderson, Redskin owner George Preston Marshall hired Ball's assistant, Dick Todd.

Serving as Washington's chief scout, Ball also returned to the sidelines as a Redskins' assistant until he resigned on December 17, 1954. He was hired three weeks later as an assistant coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers, spending one season in the Steel City until taking a similar position on February 2, 1956, under Weeb Ewbank with the Baltimore Colts.

Over the next seven years, Ball would help the team capture consecutive NFL titles in 1958 and 1959. When Don Shula replaced Ewbank after the 1962 NFL season, Ball was dismissed and signed as offensive line coach of the American Football League's Buffalo Bills on February 9, 1963. He spent one year there until returning to the NFL when former Redskins head coach Joe Kuharich took over the same role with the Philadelphia Eagles.

In five seasons, the team's best finish was in 1966, when they finished 9-5 and competed in the Playoff Bowl, but following a 2-12 finish in 1968, Kuharich and his staff were fired, although Ball remained as the team's director of player personnel. He remained in that role until announcing his retirement on December 23, 1977, staying on as a consultant until the end of the 1986 NFL season.

He died at the age of 88 at a Paoli, Pennsylvania, hospital of complications from a heart ailment.

Herman Hunter

Herman James Hunter (born February 14, 1961) is a former American football running back in the National Football League who played for the Philadelphia Eagles, Detroit Lions, and Houston Oilers. Hunter held the record for most kick return yards during the 1986 NFL season with 1,007 yards. He played college football for the Tennessee State Tigers.

Jay Schroeder

Jay Brian Schroeder (born June 28, 1961) is a former professional American football quarterback. He played college football at UCLA, after which he was selected in the third round (83rd overall) of the 1984 NFL draft by the Washington Redskins where he played for three seasons. He then played for the Los Angeles Raiders for five seasons and spent one season each with the Cincinnati Bengals and Arizona Cardinals.

While with the Washington Redskins, Schroeder was selected to his only Pro Bowl after the 1986 season season. He also won his only Super Bowl ring, when the Redskins won Super Bowl XXII over the Denver Broncos at the end of his final year with Washington.

John Sullivan (defensive back)

John Lloyd Sullivan (born November 15, 1961) is a former defensive back in the National Football League.

Jon Giesler

Jon William Giesler (born December 23, 1956) is a former American football player. He played 10 seasons, principally at the offensive left tackle position, for the Miami Dolphins of the National Football League (NFL) from 1979 to 1988. He played college football at the University of Michigan from 1975 to 1978.

Kurt Gouveia

Kurt Keola Gouveia (born September 14, 1964) is a former professional American football linebacker who played 13 seasons in the National Football League and one season in the XFL. During his career, he played for the Washington Redskins (1986–1994; 1999), the Philadelphia Eagles (1995), and the San Diego Chargers (1996–1998). In 2001, he also played for the Las Vegas Outlaws in the now-defunct XFL.

Gouveia played college football for Brigham Young University and was a member of their 1984 National Championship team.

Gouveia was also a member of the Hawaii State Football Championship Team, Wai'anae High School, 1980, making him a member of a championship team at all levels....High School, College and The NFL.

He was selected by the Redskins in the eighth round of the 1986 NFL Draft. Gouveia sustained a knee injury in training camp as a rookie and did not play during the 1986 NFL season.

In his 13 NFL seasons, Gouveia played in 184 games and his career totals include 73 starts in 151 regular season games, 819 tackles, ten interceptions, eight forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

Gouveia played a majority of his NFL career with the Redskins and was a member of both their 1987 and 1991 Super Bowl Championship teams. During the 1991 postseason, he made an interception in each Redskins' three playoff wins (including one in Super Bowl XXVI). Up to that point, he had only intercepted two passes in his entire career.

After his retirement as a player, Gouveia has coached linebackers at the professional level as the linebackers coach for the Sacramento Mountain Lions of the United Football League.

He is currently the linebackers coach and defensive coordinator at Brevard College (NCAA Division III, Brevard, NC)

Gouveia's son Jeron Gouveia-Winslow played football at Virginia Tech and is currently the safeties coach and co-special teams coordinator at Brevard College.

Gouveia is of Portuguese and Hawaiian descent.

Kurt is married to Julie Anne Gouveia

They have a 20-year-old son Dalton Olamana Gouveia who currently plays LB for The University Of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors Football Team, Dalton attended Charlotte Christian high school in Charlotte NC class of 2015

List of Monday Night Football results (1970–89)

Beginning in the 1970 NFL season, the National Football League began scheduling a weekly regular season game on Monday night before a national television audience. From 1970 to 2005, the ABC television network carried these games, with the ESPN cable television network taking over beginning in September 2006. Listed below are games played from 1970 to 1989.

Mike Moffitt

Michael Moffitt is a former tight end in the National Football League.

Miles Turpin

Miles Turpin is a former linebacker in the National Football League.

Ron Monaco

Ronnie Carl Monaco (born 1963) is a former linebacker in the National Football League. He played with the St. Louis Cardinals during the 1986 NFL season and the Green Bay Packers during the 1987 NFL season.

Stefan Humphries

Stefan Govan Humphries (born January 20, 1962) is a former American football player. He played college football at the University of Michigan, principally as an offensive guard, from 1980 to 1983. He also played five seasons in the National Football League (NFL) as an offensive guard for the Chicago Bears from 1984 to 1986 and for the Denver Broncos from 1987 to 1988.

The Drive

The Drive was an offensive series in the fourth quarter of the 1986 AFC Championship Game played on January 11, 1987, at Cleveland Municipal Stadium between the Denver Broncos and Cleveland Browns. Broncos quarterback John Elway, in a span of 5 minutes and 2 seconds, led his team 98 yards in 15 plays to tie the game with 37 seconds left in regulation. Denver won the game in overtime making a 38-yard field goal, the Broncos pulled off a 23–20 win over the Cleveland Browns.

The 98-yard drive ranks as pro football's prototypical clutch performance. Elway and his team spanned almost all of the 100-yard football field. According to an article by Sports Illustrated columnist and Colorado resident Rick Reilly, when Elway started the drive, Broncos offensive guard Keith Bishop said of the Browns, "We got 'em right where we want 'em!" Cleveland could not force a fourth down against Denver.

Tom Sifferman

Tom Sifferman (born September 27, 1943) is an American football official in the National Football League (NFL) from the 1986 NFL season to the 2008 NFL season. Sifferman is notable for being the only official in NFL history assigned to three consecutive Super Bowls, which include Super Bowl XXXVII in 2003, Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004, and Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005. He served as a field judge and wore uniform number 118. Sifferman is now a Replay Official, a duty he performed at Super Bowl LI.

Sifferman is a native of Seattle, Washington and is a 1961 graduate of Seattle Preparatory School. He is a retired manufacturer representative for a steel and aluminum products company. Sifferman resides in Bend, Oregon.

Sifferman was the field judge during a 1988 NFL season game on December 31 between the Philadelphia Eagles and Chicago Bears at Soldier Field played under heavy fog. This game would become known in NFL lore as the "Fog Bowl".During the 2006 NFL season, Sifferman was a field judge on the officiating crew headed by referee Ed Hochuli.

Sifferman goes by the nickname "Jungle Boy" as replay official, a nickname discovered when Hochuli accidentally turned on his microphone to the crowd during a game.

Warren Loving

Warren Eric Loving (born November 12, 1960) is a former professional American football player who played running back in 1987 for the Buffalo Bills. He appeared in two games as part of the Bills' replacement team during the 1987 players' strike. Loving previously participated in the Miami Dolphins training camp before the 1986 NFL season.Raised in Jersey City, New Jersey, Loving attended James J. Ferris High School.

1986 NFL season
Early era
Modern era

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