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1970 National Football League season
Regular season
Duration September 18, 1970–December 20, 1970
Playoffs
Start date December 26, 1970
AFC Champions Baltimore Colts
NFC Champions Dallas Cowboys
Super Bowl V
Date January 17, 1971
Site Miami Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida
Champions Baltimore Colts
Pro Bowl
Date January 24, 1971
Site Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
National Football League seasons
 < 1969 1971 > 

The 1970 NFL season was the 51st regular season of the National Football League, and the first one after the AFL-NFL Merger.

The merger forced a realignment between the combined league's clubs. Because there were 16 NFL teams and 10 AFL teams, three teams needed to transfer to balance the two new conferences at 13 teams each. The Baltimore Colts, Cleveland Browns, and the Pittsburgh Steelers agreed to join the other AFL teams to form the American Football Conference (AFC). The remaining NFL teams formed the National Football Conference (NFC). The conferences were divided into three divisions: East, Central, and West. The two Eastern divisions had five teams; the other four divisions had four teams each. The realignment discussions were so contentious that at one point team names were pulled out of a hat.

The 26-team league began to use an eight-team playoff format, four from each conference, that included the three division winners and a wild card team, the second-place team with the best record. The season concluded with the Colts defeating the Dallas Cowboys 16–13 in Super Bowl V, the first Super Bowl played for the NFL Championship. The game was held at the Orange Bowl in Miami, and was the first Super Bowl played on artificial turf.

To televise their games, the combined league retained the services of CBS and NBC, who were previously the primary broadcasters of the NFL and the AFL, respectively. It was then decided that CBS would televise all NFC teams (including playoff games) while NBC all AFC teams. For interconference games, CBS would broadcast them if the visiting team was from the NFC and NBC would carry them when the visitors were from the AFC. The two networks also divided up the Super Bowl on a yearly rotation.

Meanwhile, with the debut of Monday Night Football on ABC in September 21, 1970, the league became the first professional sports league in the United States to have a regular series of nationally televised games in prime-time.

The Chicago Bears' first home game of the season against the Philadelphia Eagles was played at Northwestern University's Dyche Stadium as part of an experiment. Before the season, the league demanded that the Bears find a new home field because the seating capacity of their then-current home, Wrigley Field, was less than 50,000. Ultimately, a deal to make Dyche Stadium as the Bears' new home fell through and the team moved to Soldier Field in 1971.

On November 8, New Orleans Saints placekicker Tom Dempsey kicked a 63-yard field goal (still the NFL record as of the 2009 NFL Season as the Saints beat the Detroit Lions 19-17.

Contents

Major rule changes

  • The NFL rules become the standardized rules for the merged league, including the rule that a point after touchdown is worth one point, (that is, no two-point conversion). The AFL had had the two-point conversion, which would not be adopted in the NFL until 1994.
  • The official game clock is the stadium's scoreboard clock, an AFL innovation.
  • Rules are added to place last names on the back of players' jerseys. The AFL had had names on jerseys, the pre-merger NFL teams did not.

Division races

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.

The New York Giants lost their last regular-season game. Had they won that game, they would have tied for first place in the NFC East division and taken the division championship on a tie-breaker; then, the tie-breakers would have led to a coin toss between Dallas and Detroit for the NFC wild card.

National Football Conference

Week Eastern Central Western Wild Card
1 DALLAS 1-0-0 3 teams 1-0-0 3 teams 1-0-0 4 teams 1-0-0
2 DALLAS 2-0-0 3 teams 2-0-0 2 teams 2-0-0 3 teams 2-0-0
3 ST. LOUIS* 2-1-0 DETROIT 3-0-0 LOS ANGELES 3-0-0 6 teams 2-1-0
4 ST. LOUIS* 3-1-0 DETROIT* 3-1-0 SAN FRANCISCO* 3-1-0 4 teams 3-1-0
5 ST. LOUIS 4-1-0 DETROIT* 4-1-0 LOS ANGELES 4-1-0 MINNESOTA 4-1-0
6 ST. LOUIS* 4-2-0 DETROIT* 5-1-0 SAN FRANCISCO 4-1-1 MINNESOTA 5-1-0
7 ST. LOUIS* 5-2-0 MINNESOTA 6-1-0 SAN FRANCISCO 5-1-1 3 teams 5-2-0
8 ST. LOUIS 6-2-0 MINNESOTA 7-1-0 SAN FRANCISCO 6-1-1 LOS ANGELES 5-2-1
9 ST. LOUIS 7-2-0 MINNESOTA 8-1-0 SAN FRANCISCO 7-1-1 N.Y. GIANTS 6-3-0
10 ST. LOUIS 7-2-1 MINNESOTA 9-1-0 SAN FRANCISCO 7-2-1 LOS ANGELES 6-3-1
11 ST. LOUIS 8-2-1 MINNESOTA 9-2-0 LOS ANGELES* 7-3-1 SAN FRANCISCO 7-3-1
12 ST. LOUIS 8-3-1 MINNESOTA 10-2-0 LOS ANGELES* 8-3-1 SAN FRANCISCO 8-3-1
13 N.Y. GIANTS* 9-4-0 MINNESOTA 11-2-0 SAN FRANCISCO 9-3-1 DALLAS* 9-4-0
14 DALLAS 10-4-0 MINNESOTA 12-2-0 SAN FRANCISCO 10-3-1 DETROIT 10-4-0

American Football Conference

Week Eastern Central Western Wild Card
1 2 teams 1-0-0 3 teams 1-0-0 DENVER 1-0-0 3 teams 1-0-0
2 4 teams 1-1-0 3 teams 1-1-0 DENVER 2-0-0 6 teams 1-1-0
3 BALTIMORE* 2-1-0 2 teams 2-1-0 DENVER 3-0-0 2 teams 2-1-0
4 BALTIMORE* 3-1-0 CLEVELAND 3-1-0 DENVER 3-1-0 MIAMI 3-1-0
5 BALTIMORE* 4-1-0 CLEVELAND 3-2-0 DENVER 4-1-0 MIAMI 4-1-0
6 BALTIMORE 5-1-0 CLEVELAND 4-2-0 DENVER 4-2-0 MIAMI 4-2-0
7 BALTIMORE 6-1-0 CLEVELAND 4-3-0 OAKLAND 3-2-2 DENVER 4-3-0
8 BALTIMORE 7-1-0 CLEVELAND* 4-4-0 OAKLAND 4-2-2 KANSAS CITY 4-3-1
9 BALTIMORE 7-1-1 CLEVELAND* 4-5-0 OAKLAND 5-2-2 KANSAS CITY 5-3-1
10 BALTIMORE 7-2-1 CLEVELAND 5-5-0 OAKLAND 6-2-2 KANSAS CITY 5-3-2
11 BALTIMORE 8-2-1 CLEVELAND* 5-6-0 OAKLAND* 6-3-2 KANSAS CITY 6-3-2
12 BALTIMORE 9-2-1 CLEVELAND* 6-6-0 OAKLAND* 7-3-2 KANSAS CITY 7-3-2
13 BALTIMORE 10-2-1 CINCINNATI 7-6-0 OAKLAND 6-3-2 MIAMI 9-4-0
14 BALTIMORE 11-2-1 CINCINNATI 8-6-0 OAKLAND 8-4-2 MIAMI 10-4-0

Final standings

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

AFC East
Team W L T PCT PF PA
y-Baltimore Colts 11 2 1 .846 321 234
x-Miami Dolphins 10 4 0 .714 297 228
New York Jets 4 10 0 .286 255 286
Buffalo Bills 3 10 1 .231 204 337
Boston Patriots 2 12 0 .143 149 361
AFC Central
Team W L T PCT PF PA
y-Cincinnati Bengals 8 6 0 .571 312 255
Cleveland Browns 7 7 0 .500 286 265
Pittsburgh Steelers 5 9 0 .357 210 272
Houston Oilers 3 10 1 .231 217 352
AFC West
Team W L T PCT PF PA
y-Oakland Raiders 8 4 2 .667 300 293
Kansas City Chiefs 7 5 2 .583 272 244
San Diego Chargers 5 6 3 .455 282 278
Denver Broncos 5 8 1 .385 253 264
NFC East
Team W L T PCT PF PA
y-Dallas Cowboys 10 4 0 .714 299 221
New York Giants 9 5 0 .643 301 270
St. Louis Cardinals 8 5 1 .615 325 228
Washington Redskins 6 8 0 .429 297 314
Philadelphia Eagles 3 10 1 .231 241 332
NFC Central
Team W L T PCT PF PA
y-Minnesota Vikings 12 2 0 .857 335 143
x-Detroit Lions 10 4 0 .714 347 202
Green Bay Packers 6 8 0 .429 196 293
Chicago Bears 6 8 0 .429 256 261
NFC West
Team W L T PCT PF PA
y-San Francisco 49ers 10 3 1 .769 352 267
Los Angeles Rams 9 4 1 .692 325 202
Atlanta Falcons 4 8 2 .333 206 261
New Orleans Saints 2 11 1 .154 172 347


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Tiebreakers

  • Green Bay finished ahead of Chicago in the NFC Central based on better division record (2–4 to Bears' 1–5).

Playoffs

Note: Prior to the 1975 season, the home teams in the playoffs were decided based on a yearly rotation.
Divisional Playoffs Conf. Championship Games Super Bowl V
                   
December 27 - Oakland Coliseum        
 Miami Dolphins  14
January 3 - Memorial Stadium
 Oakland Raiders  21  
 Oakland Raiders  17
December 26 - Memorial Stadium
   Baltimore Colts  27  
 Cincinnati Bengals  0
January 17 – Miami Orange Bowl
 Baltimore Colts  17  
 Baltimore Colts  16
December 26 - Cotton Bowl
   Dallas Cowboys  13
 Detroit Lions  0
January 3 - Kezar Stadium
 Dallas Cowboys  5  
 Dallas Cowboys  17
December 27 - Metropolitan Stadium
   San Francisco 49ers  10  
 San Francisco 49ers  17
 Minnesota Vikings  14  

References

  • NFL Record and Fact Book (ISBN 1-932994-36-X)
  • NFL History 1961-1970 (Last accessed December 4, 2005)
  • 1970 season in details
  • Total Football: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League (ISBN 0-06-270174-6)
1970 NFL season
AFC East Central West East Central West NFC
Baltimore Cincinnati Denver Dallas Chicago Atlanta
Boston Cleveland Kansas City NY Giants Detroit Los Angeles
Buffalo Houston Oakland Philadelphia Green Bay New Orleans
Miami Pittsburgh San Diego St. Louis Minnesota San Francisco
NY Jets Washington
1970 NFL DraftNFL PlayoffsPro BowlSuper Bowl V

1970 National Football League season
Regular season
Duration September 18, 1970–December 20, 1970
Playoffs
Start date December 26, 1970
AFC Champions Baltimore Colts
NFC Champions Dallas Cowboys
Super Bowl V
Date January 17, 1971
Site Miami Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida
Champions Baltimore Colts
Pro Bowl
Date January 24, 1971
Site Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
National Football League seasons
 < 1969 1971 > 

The 1970 NFL season was the 51st regular season of the National Football League, and the first one after the AFL-NFL Merger.

The merger forced a realignment between the combined league's clubs. Because there were 16 NFL teams and 10 AFL teams, three teams needed to transfer to balance the two new conferences at 13 teams each. The Baltimore Colts, Cleveland Browns, and the Pittsburgh Steelers agreed to join all ten AFL teams to form the American Football Conference (AFC). The remaining NFL teams formed the National Football Conference (NFC). The conferences were divided into three divisions: East, Central, and West. The two Eastern divisions had five teams; the other four divisions had four teams each. The realignment discussions were so contentious that at one point team names were pulled out of a hat.

The 26-team league began to use an eight-team playoff format, four from each conference, that included the three division winners and a wild card team, the second-place team with the best record. The season concluded with the Colts defeating the Dallas Cowboys 16–13 in Super Bowl V, the first Super Bowl played for the NFL Championship. The game was held at the Orange Bowl in Miami, and was the first Super Bowl played on artificial turf.

To televise their games, the combined league retained the services of CBS and NBC, who were previously the primary broadcasters of the NFL and the AFL, respectively. It was then decided that CBS would televise all NFC teams (including playoff games) while NBC all AFC teams. For interconference games, CBS would broadcast them if the visiting team was from the NFC and NBC would carry them when the visitors were from the AFC. The two networks also divided up the Super Bowl on a yearly rotation.

Meanwhile, with the debut of Monday Night Football on ABC in September 21, 1970, the league became the first professional sports league in the United States to have a regular series of nationally televised games in prime-time.

The Chicago Bears' first home game of the season against the Philadelphia Eagles was played at Northwestern University's Dyche Stadium as part of an experiment. Before the season, the league demanded that the Bears find a new home field because the seating capacity of their then-current home, Wrigley Field, was less than 50,000. Ultimately, a deal to make Dyche Stadium as the Bears' new home fell through and the team moved to Soldier Field in 1971.

On November 8, New Orleans Saints placekicker Tom Dempsey kicked a 63-yard field goal (still the NFL record as of the 2009 NFL Season) as the Saints beat the Detroit Lions 19-17.

Contents

Major rule changes

  • The NFL rules become the standardized rules for the merged league, including the rule that a point after touchdown is worth one point, (that is, no two-point conversion). The AFL had had the two-point conversion, which would not be adopted in the NFL until 1994.
  • The official game clock is the stadium's scoreboard clock, an AFL innovation.
  • Rules are added to place last names on the back of players' jerseys. The AFL had had names on jerseys, the pre-merger NFL teams did not.

Division races

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.

The New York Giants lost their last regular-season game. Had they won that game, they would have tied for first place in the NFC East division and taken the division championship on a tie-breaker; then, the tie-breakers would have led to a coin toss between Dallas and Detroit for the NFC wild card.

National Football Conference

Week Eastern Central Western Wild Card
1 DALLAS 1-0-0 3 teams 1-0-0 3 teams 1-0-0 4 teams 1-0-0
2 DALLAS 2-0-0 3 teams 2-0-0 2 teams 2-0-0 3 teams 2-0-0
3 ST. LOUIS* 2-1-0 DETROIT 3-0-0 LOS ANGELES 3-0-0 6 teams 2-1-0
4 ST. LOUIS* 3-1-0 DETROIT* 3-1-0 SAN FRANCISCO* 3-1-0 4 teams 3-1-0
5 ST. LOUIS 4-1-0 DETROIT* 4-1-0 LOS ANGELES 4-1-0 MINNESOTA 4-1-0
6 ST. LOUIS* 4-2-0 DETROIT* 5-1-0 SAN FRANCISCO 4-1-1 MINNESOTA 5-1-0
7 ST. LOUIS* 5-2-0 MINNESOTA 6-1-0 SAN FRANCISCO 5-1-1 3 teams 5-2-0
8 ST. LOUIS 6-2-0 MINNESOTA 7-1-0 SAN FRANCISCO 6-1-1 LOS ANGELES 5-2-1
9 ST. LOUIS 7-2-0 MINNESOTA 8-1-0 SAN FRANCISCO 7-1-1 N.Y. GIANTS 6-3-0
10 ST. LOUIS 7-2-1 MINNESOTA 9-1-0 SAN FRANCISCO 7-2-1 LOS ANGELES 6-3-1
11 ST. LOUIS 8-2-1 MINNESOTA 9-2-0 LOS ANGELES* 7-3-1 SAN FRANCISCO 7-3-1
12 ST. LOUIS 8-3-1 MINNESOTA 10-2-0 LOS ANGELES* 8-3-1 SAN FRANCISCO 8-3-1
13 N.Y. GIANTS* 9-4-0 MINNESOTA 11-2-0 SAN FRANCISCO 9-3-1 DALLAS* 9-4-0
14 DALLAS 10-4-0 MINNESOTA 12-2-0 SAN FRANCISCO 10-3-1 DETROIT 10-4-0

American Football Conference

Week Eastern Central Western Wild Card
1 2 teams 1-0-0 3 teams 1-0-0 DENVER 1-0-0 3 teams 1-0-0
2 4 teams 1-1-0 3 teams 1-1-0 DENVER 2-0-0 6 teams 1-1-0
3 BALTIMORE* 2-1-0 2 teams 2-1-0 DENVER 3-0-0 2 teams 2-1-0
4 BALTIMORE* 3-1-0 CLEVELAND 3-1-0 DENVER 3-1-0 MIAMI 3-1-0
5 BALTIMORE* 4-1-0 CLEVELAND 3-2-0 DENVER 4-1-0 MIAMI 4-1-0
6 BALTIMORE 5-1-0 CLEVELAND 4-2-0 DENVER 4-2-0 MIAMI 4-2-0
7 BALTIMORE 6-1-0 CLEVELAND 4-3-0 OAKLAND 3-2-2 DENVER 4-3-0
8 BALTIMORE 7-1-0 CLEVELAND* 4-4-0 OAKLAND 4-2-2 KANSAS CITY 4-3-1
9 BALTIMORE 7-1-1 CLEVELAND* 4-5-0 OAKLAND 5-2-2 KANSAS CITY 5-3-1
10 BALTIMORE 7-2-1 CLEVELAND 5-5-0 OAKLAND 6-2-2 KANSAS CITY 5-3-2
11 BALTIMORE 8-2-1 CLEVELAND* 5-6-0 OAKLAND* 6-3-2 KANSAS CITY 6-3-2
12 BALTIMORE 9-2-1 CLEVELAND* 6-6-0 OAKLAND* 7-3-2 KANSAS CITY 7-3-2
13 BALTIMORE 10-2-1 CINCINNATI 7-6-0 OAKLAND 6-3-2 MIAMI 9-4-0
14 BALTIMORE 11-2-1 CINCINNATI 8-6-0 OAKLAND 8-4-2 MIAMI 10-4-0

Final standings

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

AFC East
TeamWLTPCTPFPA
y-Baltimore Colts 1121.846321234
x-Miami Dolphins 1040.714297228
New York Jets 4100.286255286
Buffalo Bills 3101.231204337
Boston Patriots 2120.143149361
AFC Central
TeamWLTPCTPFPA
y-Cincinnati Bengals 860.571312255
Cleveland Browns 770.500286265
Pittsburgh Steelers 590.357210272
Houston Oilers 3101.231217352
AFC West
TeamWLTPCTPFPA
y-Oakland Raiders 842.667300293
Kansas City Chiefs 752.583272244
San Diego Chargers 563.455282278
Denver Broncos 581.385253264
NFC East
TeamWLTPCTPFPA
y-Dallas Cowboys 1040.714299221
New York Giants 950.643301270
St. Louis Cardinals 851.615325228
Washington Redskins 680.429297314
Philadelphia Eagles 3101.231241332
NFC Central
TeamWLTPCTPFPA
y-Minnesota Vikings 1220.857335143
x-Detroit Lions 1040.714347202
Green Bay Packers 680.429196293
Chicago Bears 680.429256261
NFC West
TeamWLTPCTPFPA
y-San Francisco 49ers 1031.769352267
Los Angeles Rams 941.692325202
Atlanta Falcons 482.333206261
New Orleans Saints 2111.154172347

Tiebreakers

  • Green Bay finished ahead of Chicago in the NFC Central based on better division record (2–4 to Bears' 1–5).

Playoffs

Note: Prior to the 1975 season, the home teams in the playoffs were decided based on a yearly rotation.
Divisional Playoffs Conf. Championship Games Super Bowl V
                   
December 27 - Oakland Coliseum        
 Miami Dolphins  14
January 3 - Memorial Stadium
 Oakland Raiders  21  
 Oakland Raiders  17
December 26 - Memorial Stadium
     Baltimore Colts  27  
 Cincinnati Bengals  0
January 17 – Miami Orange Bowl
 Baltimore Colts  17  
 Baltimore Colts  16
December 26 - Cotton Bowl    
   Dallas Cowboys  13
 Detroit Lions  0
January 3 - Kezar Stadium
 Dallas Cowboys  5  
 Dallas Cowboys  17
December 27 - Metropolitan Stadium
     San Francisco 49ers  10  
 San Francisco 49ers  17
 Minnesota Vikings  14  
 

References

1970 NFL season
AFC East Central West East Central West NFC
Baltimore Cincinnati Denver Dallas Chicago Atlanta
Boston Cleveland Kansas City NY Giants Detroit Los Angeles
Buffalo Houston Oakland Philadelphia Green Bay New Orleans
Miami Pittsburgh San Diego St. Louis Minnesota San Francisco
NY Jets Washington
1970 NFL Draft • NFL Playoffs • Pro BowlSuper Bowl V

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