1998 NFL season

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1998 National Football League season
Regular season
Duration September 6 – December 28, 1998
Playoffs
Start date January 2, 1999
AFC Champions Denver Broncos
NFC Champions Atlanta Falcons
Super Bowl XXXIII
Date January 31, 1999
Site Pro Player Stadium, Miami, Florida
Champions Denver Broncos
Pro Bowl
Date February 7, 1999
Site Aloha Stadium
National Football League seasons
 < 1997 1999 > 

The 1998 NFL season was the 79th regular season of the National Football League.

The Tennessee Oilers moved their home games from Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis to Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville, still awaiting construction on a new stadium (Adelphia Coliseum) in Nashville.

This was the first season that CBS held the rights to televise American Football Conference games, taking over the package from NBC. Meanwhile, this was the first time that ESPN broadcast all of the Sunday night games throughout the season (this was also the first season in which ESPN’s coverage used the Monday Night Football themes, before reverting to using an original theme in 2001).

Football Outsiders noted “1998 was the last hurrah for the great quarterbacks who came into the league in the 1980s. The top four QBs [statistically] were all over 35: Vinny Testaverde, Randall Cunningham, Steve Young, and John Elway. Troy Aikman, age 32, was fifth. Dan Marino was 11th in his last good year.”[1]

The season ended with Super Bowl XXXIII when the Denver Broncos defeated the Atlanta Falcons. The Broncos had won their first thirteen games, the best start since the undefeated 1972 Dolphins, and were tipped by some to have a realistic chance at winning the full nineteen games.[2][3] The Minnesota Vikings became the first team since the 1968 Baltimore Colts to win all but one of their regular season games and not win the Super Bowl.

Major rule changes[edit]

  • The officiating positions of back judge and field judge were swapped to become more consistent with college and high school football. The field judge is now 20 yards deep, positioned on the same sideline as the line judge, while the back judge is 25 yards from the line of scrimmage near the center of the field.
  • Tinted visors on players' facemasks are banned except for medical need.
  • A defensive player can no longer flinch before the snap in an attempt to draw movement from an offensive linemen.
  • A team will be penalized immediately for having 12 players in a huddle even if the 12th player goes straight to the sideline as the huddle breaks.
  • During the season, the rules regarding the coin toss were changed to where the visiting team must make the call before the coin is tossed instead of while it was in the air. On Thanksgiving, the game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Detroit Lions went to overtime. During the coin toss, Steelers running back Jerome Bettis was heard calling "tails" but referee Phil Luckett claimed he said "heads". The coin landed on tails, and the Lions won the toss and eventually the game on a Jason Hanson field goal. It was later revealed that Bettis had changed his mind during the call and was originally going to call "heads" but stopped. Thus, the rule change was adopted to prevent any further confusion.

1998 NFL Season Changes[edit]

Stadium changes[edit]

Uniform changes[edit]

1998 Coaching Changes[edit]

Final regular season standings[edit]

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

Clinched playoff seeds are marked in parentheses and shaded in green. No ties occurred this season.

AFC East
Team W L PCT PF PA
(2) New York Jets 12 4 .750 416 266
(4) Miami Dolphins 10 6 .625 321 265
(5) Buffalo Bills 10 6 .625 400 333
(6) New England Patriots 9 7 .563 337 329
Indianapolis Colts 3 13 .188 310 444
AFC Central
Team W L PCT PF PA
(3) Jacksonville Jaguars 11 5 .688 392 338
Tennessee Oilers 8 8 .500 330 320
Pittsburgh Steelers 7 9 .438 263 303
Baltimore Ravens 6 10 .375 269 335
Cincinnati Bengals 3 13 .188 268 452
AFC West
Team W L PCT PF PA
(1) Denver Broncos 14 2 .875 501 309
Oakland Raiders 8 8 .500 288 356
Seattle Seahawks 8 8 .500 372 310
Kansas City Chiefs 7 9 .438 327 363
San Diego Chargers 5 11 .313 241 342
NFC East
Team W L PCT PF PA
(3) Dallas Cowboys 10 6 .625 381 275
(6) Arizona Cardinals 9 7 .563 325 378
New York Giants 8 8 .500 287 309
Washington Redskins 6 10 .375 319 421
Philadelphia Eagles 3 13 .188 161 344
NFC Central
Team W L PCT PF PA
(1) Minnesota Vikings 15 1 .938 556 296
(5) Green Bay Packers 11 5 .688 408 319
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 8 8 .500 314 295
Detroit Lions 5 11 .313 306 378
Chicago Bears 4 12 .250 276 368
NFC West
Team W L PCT PF PA
(2) Atlanta Falcons 14 2 .875 442 289
(4) San Francisco 49ers 12 4 .750 479 328
New Orleans Saints 6 10 .375 305 359
Carolina Panthers 4 12 .250 336 413
St. Louis Rams 4 12 .250 285 378


Tiebreakers[edit]

  • Miami finished ahead of Buffalo in the AFC East based on better net division points (6 to Bills' 0).
  • Oakland finished ahead of Seattle in the AFC West based on head-to-head sweep (2–0).
  • Carolina finished ahead of St. Louis in the NFC West based on head-to-head sweep (2–0).

Playoffs[edit]

                                   
January 3, 1999 - Alltel Stadium   January 10 - Giants Stadium          
 6  New England  10
 3  Jacksonville  24
 3  Jacksonville  25     January 17 - Mile High Stadium
 2  New York Jets  34  
AFC
January 2, 1999 - Pro Player Stadium  2  New York Jets  10
January 9 - Mile High Stadium
   1  Denver  23  
 5  Buffalo  17 AFC Championship
 4  Miami  3
 4  Miami  24   January 31 - Pro Player Stadium
 1  Denver  38  
Wild Card Playoffs  
Divisional Playoffs
January 3, 1999 - 3Com Park at Candlestick Point  A1  Denver  34
January 9 - Georgia Dome
   N2  Atlanta  19
 5  Green Bay  27 Super Bowl XXXIII
 4  San Francisco  18
 4  San Francisco  30     January 17 - Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome
 2  Atlanta  20  
NFC
January 2, 1999 - Texas Stadium  2  Atlanta  30*
January 10 - Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome
   1  Minnesota  27  
 6  Arizona  20 NFC Championship
 6  Arizona  21
 3  Dallas  7  
 1  Minnesota  41  


* Indicates overtime victory

Statistical leaders[edit]

Team[edit]

Points scored Minnesota Vikings (556)
Total yards gained San Francisco 49ers (6,800)
Yards rushing San Francisco 49ers (2,544)
Yards passing Minnesota Vikings (4,328)
Fewest points allowed Miami Dolphins (265)
Fewest total yards allowed San Diego Chargers (4,208)
Fewest rushing yards allowed San Diego Chargers (1,140)
Fewest passing yards allowed Philadelphia Eagles (2,720)

Individual[edit]

Scoring Gary Anderson, Minnesota (164 points)
Touchdowns Terrell Davis, Denver (23 TDs)
Most field goals made Al Del Greco, Tennessee (36 FGs)
Rushing Terrell Davis, Denver (2,008 yards)
Passing Randall Cunningham, Minnesota, (106.0 rating)
Passing touchdowns Steve Young, San Francisco (36 TDs)
Pass receiving O.J. McDuffie, Miami (90 catches)
Pass receiving yards Antonio Freeman, Green Bay (1,424)
Receiving touchdowns Randy Moss, Minnesota (17 touchdowns)
Punt returns Deion Sanders, Dallas (15.6 average yards)
Kickoff returns Terry Fair, Detroit (28.0 average yards)
Interceptions Ty Law, New England (8)
Punting Craig Hentrich, Tennessee (47.2 average yards)
Sacks Michael Sinclair, Seattle (16.5)

Awards[edit]

Most Valuable Player Terrell Davis, Running Back, Denver
Coach of the Year Dan Reeves, Atlanta
Offensive Player of the Year Terrell Davis, Running Back, Denver
Defensive Player of the Year Reggie White, Defensive End, Green Bay
Offensive Rookie of the Year Randy Moss, Wide Receiver, Minnesota
Defensive Rookie of the Year Charles Woodson, Cornerback, Oakland
NFL Comeback Player of the Year Doug Flutie, Quarterback, Buffalo

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 1998 DVOA Ratings and Commentary
  2. ^ “Denver eyes 19–0, but there's no rush” in Minneapolis Star Tribune, November 16, 1998
  3. ^ Freeman, Mike; “Chasing Perfection and Taking Questions; Voluble Broncos Are 13–0 and Ready to Talk” in New York Times, December 9, 1998