In the 1986 NFC Championship game, the Giants won the coin toss and chose to play the first quarter with the 15-30 mph winds at their backs instead of receiving the opening kickoff. The Redskins failed to make a first down on their first two drives, neither punt made it past midfield, and the Giants quickly had a 10-0 lead.
Even though the Giants kicked off to start the game, this did not mean that they would receive in the second half. The Redskins were given the same options the Giants were given for the first half, and they chose to receive over avoiding the wind. The Giants kicked off for both halves, and the Redskins went on to be shut out 17-0, never having kicked off in the game.
At least 8 other teams have gone an entire NFL game without having kicked off, which oddly has the Jets going two consecutive games without a kickoff against the Saints, an infrequent opponent at that.
The only way a team can be on this list and not be shut out is to score a safety, to score at the end of the first or second half or, in a nearly impossible scenario, to score the game-winning points in overtime. Highlighted below, the Bengals are the only known team to never kick off in a non-shutout when the Patriots took an intentional safety in the fourth quarter.
No kickoffs in an NFL game, one team
|Team||Opponent||Date||Final Score||Wind at kickoff||Coin toss winner/decision|
|Los Angeles Chargers||Dallas Texans||9/25/1960*||L 0-17||15 mph N||DAL elected to defend north|
|Houston Oilers||Dallas Texans||12/4/1960*||L 0-24||15-20 mph SW||DAL elected to defend south|
|Miami Dolphins||Kansas City Chiefs||10/8/1967*||L 0-41||15 mph NW||?|
|Seattle Seahawks||New England Patriots||10/9/1977||L 0-31||18 mph SE||SEA elected to receive;
in 2nd half, NE elected to kick off
|Washington Redskins||New York Giants||1/11/1987
|L 0-17||17 mph NW||NYG elected to defend east|
|San Diego Chargers||Denver Broncos||12/27/1987||L 0-24||22 mph N||DEN elected to defend north|
|New York Jets||New Orleans Saints||12/26/1992||L 0-20||12 mph W||NO elected to defend east|
|Cincinnati Bengals||New England Patriots||12/12/1993||L 2-7||20 mph NW||CIN elected to receive;
in 2nd half, NE elected to defend south
|New York Jets||New Orleans Saints||12/24/1995||L 0-12||25 mph NW||NO elected to defend east|
*AFL game; home teams in italics.