1970 NFL season

1970 NFL season

Infobox NFL
year = 1970
NFLchampion = Baltimore Colts
regular_season = September 18 1970 - December 20 1970
playoffs_start = December 26 1970
AFCchampion = Baltimore Colts
NFCchampion = Dallas Cowboys
sb_name = V
sb_date = January 17 1971
sb_site = Miami Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida
pb_date = January 24 1971
pb_site = Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

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's 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.

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 the two-point conversion, which would not be adopted to the NFL until 1994.
*The official game clock is the stadium's scoreboard clock.
*Rules are added to place last names on the back of players' jerseys. The AFL 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 tiebraker rules were changed to start with head-to-head competition, followed by division records, common opponents records, and conference play.

National Football Conference


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


:Note: Prior to the 1975 season, the home teams in the playoffs were decided based on a yearly rotation.Round8
RD1=Divisional Playoffs
RD2=Conf. Championship Games
RD3=Super Bowl V
December 27 - Oakland Coliseum|Miami Dolphins|14|Oakland Raiders|21
December 26 - Memorial Stadium|Cincinnati Bengals|0|Baltimore Colts|17
December 26 - Cotton Bowl|Detroit Lions|0|Dallas Cowboys |5
December 27 - Metropolitan Stadium|San Francisco 49ers |17|Minnesota Vikings|14
January 3 - Memorial Stadium|Oakland Raiders|17|Baltimore Colts|27
January 3 - Kezar Stadium|Dallas Cowboys|17|San Francisco 49ers|10
January 17Miami Orange Bowl|Baltimore Colts|16|Dallas Cowboys|13


* "NFL Record and Fact Book" (ISBN 1-932994-36-X)
* [http://www.nfl.com/history/chronology/1961-1970 NFL History 1961-1970] (Last accessed December 4, 2005)
* [http://nflhistory.net/linescores/pdf/1970.pdf 1970 season in details]
* "Total Football: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League" (ISBN 0-06-270174-6)

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