|AFC Champions Miami Dolphins|
Champions Dallas Cowboys
Start date 1971
|NFC Champions Dallas Cowboys|
Champion Dallas Cowboys
|Duration September 19 – December 19, 1971|
Site Tulane Stadium, New Orleans, Louisiana
Site Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
Similar 1970 NFL season, 1974 NFL season, 1969 NFL season, 1976 NFL season, 1967 NFL season
The 1971 NFL season was the 52nd regular season of the National Football League. The season ended with Super Bowl VI when the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Miami Dolphins 24-3 at Tulane Stadium. The Pro Bowl took place on January 23, 1972 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The AFC beat the NFC 26-13.
Before the season, the Boston Patriots changed their name to New England Patriots after they moved to their new home field, Schaefer Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
The Chicago Bears moved their home games to Soldier Field. The Dallas Cowboys moved during the season to Texas Stadium. The Philadelphia Eagles moved their games to Veterans Stadium. The San Francisco 49ers moved into Candlestick Park.
11 teams played their home games on artificial turf in 1971. This was up from 7 teams in the NFL in 1970. The teams were: Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Houston, Miami, New England, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis and San Francisco.
Major rule change
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. (More tiebreakers were provided in 1971 because, in 1970, reversing just one game's outcome would have led to a coin toss between Dallas and Detroit for the NFC wild-card berth.)
W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, PCT= Winning Percentage, PF= Points For, PA = Points Against
x – clinched wild card berth, y – clinched division title
Note: Prior to 1972, the NFL did not include tie games when calculating a team's winning percentage in the official standings