|1990 National Football League season|
|Duration||September 9, 1990–December 31, 1990|
|Start date||January 5, 1991|
|AFC Champions||Buffalo Bills|
|NFC Champions||New York Giants|
|Super Bowl XXV|
|Date||January 27, 1991|
|Site||Tampa Stadium, Tampa, Florida|
|Champions||New York Giants|
|Date||February 3, 1991|
|National Football League seasons
The 1990 NFL season was the 71st regular season of the National Football League. To increase revenue, the league changed the regular season so that all NFL teams would play their 16-game schedule over a 17-week period. Furthermore, the playoff format was expanded from 10 teams to 12 teams by adding another wild card from each conference, thus adding two more contests to the postseason tournament.
On October 8, the league announced that the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Award would be named the Pete Rozelle Trophy. The season ended with Super Bowl XXV when the New York Giants defeated the Buffalo Bills.
Major rule changes
- The rule for unnecessary roughness penalties is clarified so that any player who butts, spears, or rams an opponent can be ejected from the game.
- The penalty for an illegal forward pass beyond the line of scrimmage is enforced from the spot where any part of the passer's body is beyond the line when the ball is released.
- The following changes are made to try to speed up the game:
- The time interval on the Play Clock (the time limit the offensive team has to snap the ball between plays) after time outs and other administrative stoppages has been reduced from 30 seconds to 25 seconds (the time interval between plays remains the same at 45 seconds).
- Whenever a player goes out of bounds, outside of the last two minutes of the first half and outside of the last five minutes of the second half, the Game clock immediately starts when the ball is spotted for the next play and the Referee signals it is ready for play.
- Outside of the last two minutes of the first half and outside of the last five minutes of the second half, the Game clock also starts following all declined penalties.
Final regular season standings
W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, PCT = Winning Percentage, PF= Points For, PA = Points Against
Clinched playoff seeds are marked in parentheses and shaded in green
|(1) Buffalo Bills||13||3||0||.813||428||263|
|(4) Miami Dolphins||12||4||0||.750||336||242|
|New York Jets||6||10||0||.375||295||345|
|New England Patriots||1||15||0||.063||181||446|
|(3) Cincinnati Bengals||9||7||0||.563||360||352|
|(6) Houston Oilers||9||7||0||.563||405||307|
|(2) Los Angeles Raiders||12||4||0||.750||337||268|
|(5) Kansas City Chiefs||11||5||0||.688||369||257|
|San Diego Chargers||6||10||0||.375||315||281|
|(2) New York Giants||13||3||0||.813||335||211|
|(4) Philadelphia Eagles||10||6||0||.625||396||299|
|(5) Washington Redskins||10||6||0||.625||381||301|
|(3) Chicago Bears||11||5||0||.688||348||280|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||6||10||0||.375||264||367|
|Green Bay Packers||6||10||0||.375||271||347|
|(1) San Francisco 49ers||14||2||0||.875||353||239|
|(6) New Orleans Saints||8||8||0||.500||274||275|
|Los Angeles Rams||5||11||0||.313||345||412|
- Cincinnati finished ahead of Houston and Pittsburgh in the AFC Central based on best head-to-head record (3-1 to Oilers' 2-2 to Steelers' 1-3).
- Houston was the third AFC Wild Card based on better conference record (8-4) than Seattle (7-5) and Pittsburgh (6-6).
- Philadelphia finished ahead of Washington in the NFC East based on better division record (5-3 to Redskins' 4-4).
- Tampa Bay was second in NFC Central based on best head-to-head record (5-1) against Detroit (2-4), Green Bay (3-3), and Minnesota (2-4).
- Detroit finished third in the NFC Central based on best net division points (minus 8) against Green Bay (minus 40).
- Green Bay finished ahead of Minnesota in the NFC Central based on better conference record (5-7 to Vikings' 4-8).
- The L.A. Rams finished ahead of Atlanta in the NFC West based on net points in division (plus 1 to Falcons' minus 31).
- Home team in capitals
- Wild-Card playoffs: MIAMI 17, Kansas City 16; CINCINNATI 41, Houston 14
- Divisional playoffs: BUFFALO 44, Miami 34; L.A. RAIDERS 20, Cincinnati 10
- AFC Championship: BUFFALO 51, L.A. Raiders 3 at Rich Stadium, Buffalo, New York, January 20, 1991
- Wild-Card playoffs: Washington 20, PHILADELPHIA 6; CHICAGO 16, New Orleans 6
- Divisional playoffs: SAN FRANCISCO 28, Washington 10; N.Y. GIANTS 31, Chicago 3
- NFC Championship: N.Y. Giants 15, SAN FRANCISCO 13 at Candlestick Park, San Francisco, California, January 20, 1991
- Super Bowl XXV: N.Y. Giants (NFC) 20, Buffalo (AFC) 19, at Tampa Stadium, Tampa, Florida, January 27, 1991
|Most Valuable Player||Joe Montana, Quarterback, San Francisco|
|Coach of the Year||Jimmy Johnson, Dallas|
|Offensive Player of the Year||Warren Moon, Quarterback, Houston Oilers|
|Defensive Player of the Year||Bruce Smith, Defensive End, Buffalo|
|Offensive Rookie of the Year||Emmitt Smith, Running Back, Dallas|
|Defensive Rookie of the Year||Mark Carrier, Safety, Chicago|
- NFL Record and Fact Book (ISBN 1-932994-36-X)
- NFL History 1981-1990 (Last accessed December 8, 2007)
- 1990 season in details
- Total Football: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League (ISBN 0-06-270174-6)