|Duration||September 12 –|
December 27, 1964
|East Champions||Cleveland Browns|
|West Champions||Baltimore Colts|
The 1964 NFL season was the 45th regular season of the National Football League. Before the season started, NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle reinstated Green Bay Packers running back Paul Hornung and Detroit Lions defensive tackle Alex Karras, who had been suspended for the 1963 season due to gambling.
Beginning this season, the home team in each game was allowed the option of wearing their white jerseys. Since 1957, league rules had mandated that the visiting team wear white and the home team wear colored jerseys. The NFL also increased the regular season roster limit from 37 to 40 active players, which would remain unchanged for a decade.
Active roster changes
Prior to the season, the NFL club owners voted to increase the regular season roster limit from 37 to 40 active players, the largest in league history up to that point. This standard would remain in place until the 1974 season.
New uniform rules
The 1964 season introduced a noteworthy change in uniform rules. While the league had dictated since 1957 that the home team must wear a colored jersey and the visitors a white one, teams were now given the option of wearing their white jerseys at home. As a result, the Browns (who wore white at home before 1957), Cardinals, Colts (except for one home game which was originally scheduled to be an away game), Cowboys, Rams, Redskins, Steelers (for one game vs. Rams) and Vikings (except for most of one game in which the Lions forgot to bring their blue jerseys) did so, while the rest reverted to home colors the following year. The Cardinals would not wear red at home until 1966, the Rams would not do so again until 1972, the Browns only once until 1975, and the Cowboys, aside from an unwilling use of their blue tops as the "home" team in Super Bowl V, have since continuously worn white at home. The Steelers would wear white at home for most home games from 1966 until 1969 (the first year of head coach Chuck Noll), but would not wear white as the "home" team until Super Bowl XL in 2005 and have not worn white in a game in Pittsburgh since Three Rivers Stadium opened in 1970.
The Western Conference race started with Baltimore losing its opener at Minnesota, 34–24. After that, the Colts went on an 11-game winning streak, taking the lead on October 4 with their 35–20 win over the Rams, and clinching a spot in the title game on November 22.
In the Eastern Conference, the Browns and the Cardinals played to a 33–33 tie on September 20, and were both 4–1–1 after six games. In Week Seven, Cleveland beat New York 42–20, while St. Louis fell to Dallas, 31–13. When the Cardinals beat the Browns 28–19 in Week Thirteen, they were only a game behind and needed a win and a Cleveland loss to have a chance for a playoff. St. Louis won, 36–34 in Philadelphia, but Cleveland also won, 52–20 over the Giants.
|1||4 teams (Det, GB, LA, Min)||1–0–0||3 teams (Cle, Phi, StL)||1–0–0|
|2||Tie (Det, LA)||1–0–1||Tie (Cle, StL)||1–0–1|
|3||Los Angeles Rams||2–0–1||Tie (Cle, StL)||2–0–1|
|4||Baltimore Colts||3–1–0||Tie (Cle, StL)||3–0–1|
|5||Baltimore Colts||4–1–0||Tie (Cle, StL)||3–1–1|
|6||Baltimore Colts||5–1–0||Tie (Cle, StL)||4–1–1|
|7||Baltimore Colts||6–1–0||Cleveland Browns||5–1–1|
|8||Baltimore Colts||7–1–0||Cleveland Browns||6–1–1|
|9||Baltimore Colts||8–1–0||Cleveland Browns||7–1–1|
|10||Baltimore Colts||9–1–0||Cleveland Browns||8–1–1|
|11||Baltimore Colts||10–1–0||Cleveland Browns||8–2–1|
|12||Baltimore Colts||11–1–0||Cleveland Browns||9–2–1|
|13||Baltimore Colts||11–2–0||Cleveland Browns||9–3–1|
|14||Baltimore Colts||12–2–0||Cleveland Browns||10–3–1|
Note: Tie games were not officially counted in the standings until 1972.
NFL Championship Game
The Playoff Bowl was between the conference runners-up, for third place in the league. This was its fifth year and it was played a week after the title game.
|Most Valuable Player||Johnny Unitas, Quarterback, Baltimore Colts|
|Coach of the Year||Don Shula, Baltimore Colts|
- 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)
- "Halas Plans More Attack". The Times-Picayune. New Orleans. July 14, 1964. sec. 2, p. 7.
- Finney, Peter (September 17, 1969). "Determining 40 Plus 7". New Orleans States-Item. New Orleans. p. 36.