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1979 National Football League season
Regular season
Duration September 1, 1979 - 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 defeated the Los Angeles Rams. It was also the 20th anniversary of the American Football League.

Major rule changesEdit

  • 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.
  • 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.[1]
  • 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.

Division RacesEdit

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 ConferenceEdit

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 L.A. 9-7 Philadelphia 11-5 Chicago 10-6

American Football ConferenceEdit

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 standingsEdit

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
TeamWLTPCTPFPA
y-Miami Dolphins 1060.625341257
New England Patriots 970.563411326
New York Jets 880.500337383
Buffalo Bills 790.438268279
Baltimore Colts 5110.313271351
AFC Central
TeamWLTPCTPFPA
y-Pittsburgh Steelers 1240.750416262
x-Houston Oilers 1150.688362331
Cleveland Browns 970.563359352
Cincinnati Bengals 4120.250337421
AFC West
TeamWLTPCTPFPA
y-San Diego Chargers 1240.750411246
x-Denver Broncos 1060.625289262
Seattle Seahawks 970.563378372
Oakland Raiders 970.563365337
Kansas City Chiefs 790.438238262
NFC East
TeamWLTPCTPFPA
y-Dallas Cowboys 1150.688371313
x-Philadelphia Eagles 1150.688339282
Washington Redskins 1060.625348295
New York Giants 6100.375237323
St. Louis Cardinals 5110.313307358
NFC Central
TeamWLTPCTPFPA
y-Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1060.625273237
x-Chicago Bears 1060.625306249
Minnesota Vikings 790.438259337
Green Bay Packers 5110.313246316
Detroit Lions 2140.125219365
NFC West
TeamWLTPCTPFPA
y-Los Angeles Rams 970.563323309
New Orleans Saints 880.500370360
Atlanta Falcons 6100.375300388
San Francisco 49ers 2140.125308416

TiebreakersEdit

  • 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).

PlayoffsEdit

Home team in capitals

AFCEdit

  • 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

NFCEdit

  • 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 BowlEdit

AwardsEdit

Most Valuable PlayerEarl Campbell, Running Back, Houston Oilers
Coach of the YearJack Pardee, Washington
Offensive Player of the YearEarl Campbell, Running Back, Houston Oilers
Defensive Player of the YearLee Roy Selmon, Defensive End, Tampa Bay
Offensive Rookie of the YearOttis Anderson, Running Back, St. Louis Cardinals
Defensive Rookie of the YearJim Haslett, Linebacker, Buffalo

NotesEdit

  1. Rules of the Name, or How The Emmitt Rule Became The Emmitt Rule (URL last accessed March 1, 2006)

ReferencesEdit

1979 NFL seasonv · d · e
AFC East Central West East Central West NFC
Baltimore Cincinnati Denver Dallas Chicago Atlanta
Buffalo Cleveland Kansas City NY Giants Detroit Los Angeles
Miami Houston Oakland Philadelphia Green Bay New Orleans
New England Pittsburgh San Diego St. Louis Minnesota San Francisco
NY Jets Seattle Washington Tampa Bay
1979 NFL DraftNFL PlayoffsPro BowlSuper Bowl XIV
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