1979 NFL season

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1979 National Football League season
Regular season
Duration September 1 – December 17, 1979
Playoffs
Start date December 23, 1979
AFC Champions Pittsburgh Steelers
NFC Champions Los Angeles Rams
Super Bowl XIV
Date January 20, 1980
Site Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California
Champions Pittsburgh Steelers
Pro Bowl
Date January 27, 1980
Site Aloha Stadium
National Football League seasons
 < 1978 1980 > 

The 1979 NFL season was the 60th regular season of the National Football League. The season ended with Super Bowl XIV when the Pittsburgh Steelers repeated as champions by defeating Los Angeles Rams, becoming the first team to win back-to-back Super Bowls twice.[1][2] It was also the 20th anniversary of the American Football League.

Major rule changes[edit]

  • Whenever the quarterback is sacked, the clock will be stopped for at least five seconds and then restarted again.
  • If a fair catch is made, or signaled and awarded to a team because of interference, on the last play of a half, the period can be extended and the team can run one play from scrimmage or attempt a fair catch kick.
  • Defensive linemen can wear numbers 90 to 99.
  • Centers are included as the interior offensive linemen in the uniform numbering system.
  • Players are prohibited from wearing torn or altered equipment. Tear-away jerseys are banned.
  • During kickoffs, punts, and field goal attempts, players on the receiving team cannot block below the waist.
  • The zone in which crackback blocks are prohibited is extended from 3 yards on either side of the line of scrimmage to 5.
  • Players cannot use their helmets to butt, spear, or ram an opponent. Any player who uses the crown or the top of his helmet unnecessarily will be called for unnecessary roughness.
  • In order to prevent incidents such as the Holy Roller game, the following change is made: If an offensive player fumbles during a fourth down play, or during any down played after the two-minute warning in a half, only the fumbling player can recover and/or advance the ball. This change is known as the "Ken Stabler rule" after the Oakland Raiders quarterback who made the infamous play in the Holy Roller game.[3]
  • Referees were outfitted with black identifying hats, while all other officials continued to wear white hats.
  • For the first time, each official's position was identified on his shirt. The position was abbreviated on the front pocket of the shirt and then spelled out on the back above the number.
  • The numbering system for officials was altered, with officials numbered separately by position rather than as an entire group, making duplicate numbers among officials common.
  • Uprights were extended to 30 feet above the crossbar.

Division Races[edit]

Starting in 1978, ten teams qualified for the playoffs: the winners of each of the divisions, and two wild-card teams in each conference.

National Football Conference[edit]

Week NFC East NFC Central NFC West Wild Card Wild Card
1 Dallas, Philadelphia 1–0 3 teams 1–0 Atlanta 1–0
2 Dallas 2–0 Tampa Bay, Chicago 2–0 Atlanta 2–0
3 Dallas 3–0 Tampa Bay 3–0 Atlanta, L.A. 2–1
4 Dallas, Philadelphia, Washington 3–1 Tampa Bay 4–0 Atlanta, L.A. 2–2 Chicago 2–2 Minnesota 2–2
5 Dallas, Philadelphia, Washington 4–1 Tampa Bay 5–0 L.A. 3–2 Minnesota 3–2 4 teams 2–3
6 Dallas, Philadelphia 5–1 Tampa Bay 5–1 L.A. 4–2 Washington 4–2 3 teams 3–3
7 Dallas, Philadelphia 6–1 Tampa Bay 5–2 L.A. 4–3 Washington 5–2 5 teams 3–4
8 Dallas 7–1 Tampa Bay 6–2 L.A., New Orleans 4–4 Philadelphia, Washington 6–2 Minnesota 4–4
9 Dallas 7–2 Tampa Bay 7–2 L.A. 5–4 Philadelphia, Washington 6–3 4 teams 4–5
10 Dallas 8–2 Tampa Bay 7–3 L.A., New Orleans 5–5 Philadelphia, Washington 6–4 Chicago 5–5
11 Dallas 8–3 Tampa Bay 8–3 New Orleans 6–5 Philadelphia, Washington 7–4 Chicago 6–5
12 Dallas, Philadelphia, Washington 8–4 Tampa Bay 9–3 L.A., New Orleans 6–6 Chicago 7–5 Giants, Minnesota 5–7
13 Philadelphia 9–4 Tampa Bay 9–4 L.A., New Orleans 7–6 Dallas, Washington 8–5 Chicago 7–6
14 Philadelphia 10–4 Tampa Bay 9–5 L.A. 8–6 Dallas, Washington 9–5 Chicago 8–6
15 Dallas, Philadelphia, Washington 10–5 Tampa Bay, Chicago 9–6 L.A. 9–6 Minnesota, New Orleans 8–7 Giants 6–9
16 DALLAS 11–5 TAMPA BAY 10–6 LOS ANGELES 9–7 PHILADELPHIA 11–5 CHICAGO 10–6

American Football Conference[edit]

Week AFC East AFC Central AFC West Wild Card Wild Card
1 Miami 1–0 3 teams 1–0 4 teams 1–0
2 Miami 2–0 Pittsburgh, Cleveland 2–0 San Diego 2–0
3 Miami 3–0 Pittsburgh, Cleveland 3–0 San Diego 3–0 New England, Houston, Denver 2–1
4 Miami 4–0 Pittsburgh, Cleveland 4–0 San Diego, Denver 3–1 New England, Houston 3–1 Buffalo, Kansas City 2–2
5 Miami 4–1 Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Houston 4–1 San Diego 4–1 New England, Denver, Buffalo, Kansas City 3–2 Jets, Oakland 2–3
6 Miami, New England 4–2 Pittsburgh 5–1 San Diego, Denver, Kansas City 4–2 Cleveland, Houston 4–2 Buffalo, Oakland 3–3
7 Miami, New England 5–2 Pittsburgh, Houston 5–2 San Diego, Denver 5–2 Cleveland, Kansas City, Oakland 4–3 Buffalo, Jets 3–4
8 New England 6–2 Pittsburgh 6–2 San Diego 6–2 Miami, Cleveland, Houston, Denver 5–3 Jets, Kansas City, Oakland 4–4
9 Miami, New England 6–3 Pittsburgh 7–2 San Diego, Denver 6–3 Cleveland, Houston 6–3 Oakland 5–4
10 New England 7–3 Pittsburgh 8–2 San Diego, Denver 7–3 Cleveland, Houston 7–3 Miami, Oakland 6–4
11 Miami, New England 7–4 Pittsburgh 9–2 San Diego, Denver 8–3 Houston 8–3 Cleveland 7–4
12 New England 8–4 Pittsburgh, Houston 9–3 San Diego, Denver 9–3 Cleveland 8–4 Miami 7–5
13 Miami, New England 8–5 Pittsburgh, Houston 10–3 San Diego 10–3 Denver 9–4 Cleveland 8–5
14 Miami 9–5 Pittsburgh 11–3 San Diego, Denver 10–4 Houston 10–4 Cleveland 9–5
15 Miami 10–5 Pittsburgh, Houston 11–4 San Diego 11–4 Denver 10–5 Cleveland, Oakland 9–6
16 MIAMI 10–6 PITTSBURGH 12–4 SAN DIEGO 12–4 HOUSTON 11–5 DENVER 10–6

Final standings[edit]

W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, PCT = Winning Percentage, PF= Points For, PA = Points Against

  x  – clinched wild card berth,   y  – clinched division title

AFC East
Team W L T PCT PF PA
y-Miami Dolphins 10 6 0 .625 341 257
New England Patriots 9 7 0 .563 411 326
New York Jets 8 8 0 .500 337 383
Buffalo Bills 7 9 0 .438 268 279
Baltimore Colts 5 11 0 .313 271 351
AFC Central
Team W L T PCT PF PA
y-Pittsburgh Steelers 12 4 0 .750 416 262
x-Houston Oilers 11 5 0 .688 362 331
Cleveland Browns 9 7 0 .563 359 352
Cincinnati Bengals 4 12 0 .250 337 421
AFC West
Team W L T PCT PF PA
y-San Diego Chargers 12 4 0 .750 411 246
x-Denver Broncos 10 6 0 .625 289 262
Seattle Seahawks 9 7 0 .563 378 372
Oakland Raiders 9 7 0 .563 365 337
Kansas City Chiefs 7 9 0 .438 238 262
NFC East
Team W L T PCT PF PA
y-Dallas Cowboys 11 5 0 .688 371 313
x-Philadelphia Eagles 11 5 0 .688 339 282
Washington Redskins 10 6 0 .625 348 295
New York Giants 6 10 0 .375 237 323
St. Louis Cardinals 5 11 0 .313 307 358
NFC Central
Team W L T PCT PF PA
y-Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10 6 0 .625 273 237
x-Chicago Bears 10 6 0 .625 306 249
Minnesota Vikings 7 9 0 .438 259 337
Green Bay Packers 5 11 0 .313 246 316
Detroit Lions 2 14 0 .125 219 365
NFC West
Team W L T PCT PF PA
y-Los Angeles Rams 9 7 0 .563 323 309
New Orleans Saints 8 8 0 .500 370 360
Atlanta Falcons 6 10 0 .375 300 388
San Francisco 49ers 2 14 0 .125 308 416


Tiebreakers[edit]

  • San Diego was the top AFC playoff seed based on head-to-head victory over Pittsburgh (1–0).
  • Seattle finished ahead of Oakland in the AFC West based on head-to-head sweep (2–0).
  • Dallas finished ahead of Philadelphia in the NFC East based on better conference record (10–2 to Eagles' 9–3).
  • Tampa Bay finished ahead of Chicago in the NFC Central based on a better division record (6–2 to Bears' 5–3).
  • Chicago was the second NFC Wild Card ahead of Washington based on better net points in all games (57 to Redskins' 53).

Coaching Changes[edit]

Playoffs[edit]

Home team in capitals

AFC[edit]

  • Wild-Card playoff: HOUSTON 13, Denver 7
  • Divisional playoffs: Houston 17, SAN DIEGO 14; PITTSBURGH 34, Miami 14
  • AFC Championship: PITTSBURGH 27, Houston 13 at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, January 6, 1980

NFC[edit]

  • Wild-Card playoff: PHILADELPHIA 27, Chicago 17
  • Divisional playoffs: TAMPA BAY 24, Philadelphia 17; Los Angeles 21, DALLAS 19
  • NFC Championship: Los Angeles 9, TAMPA BAY 0 at Tampa Stadium, Tampa, Florida, January 6, 1980

Super Bowl[edit]

Awards[edit]

Most Valuable Player Earl Campbell, Running Back, Houston Oilers
Coach of the Year Jack Pardee, Washington
Offensive Player of the Year Earl Campbell, Running Back, Houston Oilers
Defensive Player of the Year Lee Roy Selmon, Defensive End, Tampa Bay
Offensive Rookie of the Year Ottis Anderson, Running Back, St. Louis Cardinals
Defensive Rookie of the Year Jim Haslett, Linebacker, Buffalo

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Colts open Super Bowl defense". September 6, 2007. the Steelers, the only team to ever repeat twice as Super Bowl champions 
  2. ^ "Steelers History: A Tradition of Excellence". Steelers.com. Retrieved September 21, 2014. Yet another standard was set the following year when the 1979 Steelers defeated the Los Angeles Rams, 31-19, in Super Bowl XIV to make them ... the only team to win back-to-back Super Bowls twice 
  3. ^ Rules of the Name, or How The Emmitt Rule Became The Emmitt Rule (URL last accessed March 1, 2006)

References[edit]