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1983 NFL season

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1983 National Football League season
Regular season
DurationSeptember 3 – December 19, 1983
Start dateDecember 24, 1983
AFC ChampionsLos Angeles Raiders
NFC ChampionsWashington Redskins
Super Bowl XVIII
DateJanuary 22, 1984
SiteTampa Stadium, Tampa, Florida
ChampionsLos Angeles Raiders
Pro Bowl
DateJanuary 29, 1984
SiteAloha Stadium
1983 NFL season is located in the United States
AFC teams: West, Central, East
1983 NFL season is located in the United States
NFC teams: West, Central, East

The 1983 NFL season was the 64th regular season of the National Football League. The Colts played their final season in Baltimore before the team's relocation to Indianapolis the following season. The season ended with Super Bowl XVIII when the Los Angeles Raiders defeated the Washington Redskins 38–9 at Tampa Stadium in Florida.

YouTube Encyclopedic

  • 1/5
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  • 1983-11-20 NFL '83 Halftime
  • 1983 Los Angeles Raiders Team Season Highlights "Just Win, Baby" & NFL '83
  • 1983 NFL Draft part 1
  • 1983-11-13 NFL Today Halftime
  • The Greatest NFL Draft of All-Time | NFL Vault Stories


Player movement



  • May 2, 1983: The Baltimore Colts traded John Elway for Chris Hinton, backup quarterback Mark Herrmann, and a first-round pick in the 1984 Draft, which turned into offensive lineman Ron Solt.



The 1983 NFL Draft was held from April 26 to 27, 1983 at New York City's Sheraton Hotel. With the first pick, the Baltimore Colts selected quarterback John Elway from Stanford University.

Major rule changes

  • In the last 30 seconds of a half (but not overtime), with the defensive team behind with no more time outs, a defensive foul cannot prevent the half from ending except for the normal options that are available to the offensive team.
  • Pass interference will not be called if there was incidental contact, or if players make simultaneous attempts to catch, tip, block, or bat the ball.
  • Players may not use a helmet, that is no longer worn by anyone, as a weapon to strike or hit an opponent; they risk disqualification if they do. This rule was instituted after Raiders defensive end Lyle Alzado swung a helmet at New York Jets tackle Chris Ward during a playoff game the previous season.

1983 deaths

  • June 25, 1983: Larry Gordon, the Miami Dolphins first round pick in the 1976 NFL Draft, died from heart failure[2]
  • October 31, 1983: George Halas, the owner of the Chicago Bears dies of cancer at the age of 88 years old.
  • December 16, 1983 Doug Kotar, Running Back for the New York Giants, died from an inoperable brain tumor.[3]

Division races

From 1978 to 1981 and this season to 1989, ten teams qualified for the playoffs: the winners of each of the divisions, and two wild-card teams in each conference. The two wild cards would meet for the right to face whichever of the three division winners had the best overall record. The tiebreaker rules were based on head-to-head competition, followed by division records, common opponents records, and conference play.

National Football Conference

Week East Central West Wild Card Wild Card
1 Cowboys, Eagles 1–0 3 teams 1–0 3 teams 1–0
2 Cowboys 2–0 4 teams 1–1 Rams 2–0
3 Cowboys 3–0 Vikings, Packers 2–1 4 teams 2–1
4 Cowboys 4–0 Vikings 3–1 49ers 3–1 Redskins 3–1 6 teams 2–2
5 Cowboys 5–0 Vikings, Packers 3–2 49ers 4–1 Redskins 4–1 5 teams 3–2
6 Cowboys 6–0 Vikings 4–2 3 teams 4–2 Redskins 5–1 4 teams 4–2
7 Cowboys 7–0 Vikings 5–2 49ers, Rams 5–2 3 teams 5–2 3 teams 4–3
8 Cowboys 7–1 Vikings 6–2 49ers 6–2 Redskins 6–2 Saints, Rams 5–3
9 Cowboys 8–1 Vikings 6–3 49ers 6–3 Redskins 7–2 Saints, Rams 5–4
10 Cowboys 9–1 Vikings 6–4 3 teams 6–4 Redskins 8–2 3 teams 6–4
11 Cowboys, Redskins 9–2 Vikings, Packers 6–5 49ers, Rams 7–4 Cowboys, Redskins 9–2 49ers, Rams 7–4
12 Cowboys, Redskins 10–2 Vikings 7–5 49ers, Rams 7–5 Cowboys, Redskins 10–2 49ers, Rams 7–5
13 Cowboys, Redskins 11–2 Vikings, Lions 7–6 Rams 8–5 Cowboys, Redskins 11–2 Lions, Vikings 7–6
14 Cowboys, Redskins 12–2 Lions 8–6 49ers, Rams 8–6 Cowboys, Redskins 12–2 49ers, Rams 8–6
15 Redskins 13–2 Lions, Packers 8–7 49ers 9–6 Cowboys 12–3 4 teams 8–7
16 Redskins 14–2 Lions 9–7 49ers 10–6 Cowboys 12–4 Rams 9–7

American Football Conference

Week East Central West Wild Card Wild Card
1 3 teams 1–0 4 teams 0–1 3 teams 1–0
2 Dolphins 2–0 Steelers, Browns 1–1 Raiders, Broncos 2–0
3 Dolphins, Bills 2–1 Steelers, Browns 2–1 Raiders 3–0 6 teams 2–1
4 Dolphins, Bills 3–1 Browns 3–1 Raiders 4–0 3 teams 3–1 6 teams 2–2
5 4 teams 3–2 Steelers, Browns 3–2 Raiders 4–1 7 teams 3–2 4 teams 2–3
6 Bills, Colts 4–2 Steelers, Browns 4–2 Raiders 5–1 4 teams 4–2 5 teams 3–3
7 Bills 5–2 Steelers 5–2 Raiders 5–2 Dolphins, Colts 4–3 Browns, Seahawks 4–3
8 Dolphins, Bills 5–3 Steelers 6–2 Raiders 6–2 Dolphins, Bills 5–3 Broncos 5–3
9 Dolphins, Bills 6–3 Steelers 7–2 Raiders, Broncos 6–3 Dolphins, Bills 6–3 Raiders, Broncos 6–3
10 Dolphins 7–3 Steelers 8–2 Raiders 7–3 Bills, Colts 6–4 Seahawks, Broncos 6–4
11 Dolphins, Bills 7–4 Steelers 9–2 Raiders 8–3 Dolphins, Bills 7–4 5 teams 6–5
12 Dolphins 8–4 Steelers 9–3 Raiders 9–3 3 teams 7–5 3 teams 6–5
13 Dolphins 9–4 Steelers 9–4 Raiders 10–3 Browns 8–5 3 teams 7–6
14 Dolphins 10–4 Steelers 9–5 Raiders 11–3 3 teams 8–6 4 teams 7–7
15 Dolphins 11–4 Steelers 10–5 Raiders 11–4 Broncos 9–6 4 teams 8–7
16 Dolphins 12–4 Steelers 10–6 Raiders 12–4 Seahawks 9–7 Broncos 9–7

Regular season

Scheduling formula

AFC East vs NFC West
AFC Central vs NFC Central
AFC West vs NFC East

Highlights of the 1983 season included:

  • Thanksgiving: Two games were played on Thursday, November 24, featuring Pittsburgh at Detroit and St. Louis at Dallas, with Detroit and Dallas winning.

Final standings


  • Los Angeles Raiders was the first AFC seed over Miami based on head-to-head victory (1–0).
  • Seattle was the first AFC Wild Card ahead of Denver based on better division record (5–3 to Broncos’ 3–5) after Cleveland was eliminated from the three-way tie based on head-to-head record (Seattle and Denver 2–1 to Browns’ 0–2).
  • New England finished ahead of Buffalo in the AFC East based on head-to-head sweep (2–0).
  • Baltimore finished ahead of N.Y. Jets in the AFC East based on better conference record (5–9, .357 to Jets’ 4–8, .333).
  • San Diego finished ahead of Kansas City in the AFC West based on head-to-head sweep (2–0).
  • Minnesota ended up in fourth place in the NFC Central after being eliminated from the three-way tie based on conference record (Chicago 7–7 and Green Bay 6–6 to Vikings’ 4–8).
  • Green Bay finished ahead of Chicago in the NFC Central based on better record against common opponents (4–4 to Bears’ 3–5).


Note: The Los Angeles Raiders (the AFC 1 seed) did not play the Seattle Seahawks (the 4 seed) in the Divisional playoff round because both teams were in the same division.
Dec 31 – Candlestick Park
3 Detroit 23
Dec 26 – Texas Stadium Jan 8 – RFK Stadium
2 San Francisco 24
5 LA Rams 24 2 San Francisco 21
Jan 1 – RFK Stadium
4 Dallas 17 1 Washington 24
NFC Championship
5 LA Rams 7
Jan 22 – Tampa Stadium
1 Washington 51
Divisional playoffs
Wild Card playoffs N1 Washington 9
Dec 31 – Miami Orange Bowl
A1 LA Raiders 38
Super Bowl XVIII
4 Seattle 27
Dec 24 – Kingdome Jan 8 – Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
2* Miami 20
5 Denver 7 4 Seattle 14
Jan 1 – Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
4 Seattle 31 1 LA Raiders 30
AFC Championship
3 Pittsburgh 10
1* LA Raiders 38

Notable events

  • Kansas City Chiefs running back Joe Delaney dies after attempting to rescue three boys who were drowning in a makeshift swimming pool at a construction site in Monroe, Louisiana.
  • LA Raiders Super Bowl win would be the AFC's last win until the 1997 season when the Denver Broncos defeated the Green Bay Packers.


The following players set all-time records during the season:

Most touchdowns, season John Riggins, Washington (24)
Most rushing touchdowns, season John Riggins, Washington (24)
Most punt return yards, season Greg Pruitt, Los Angeles Raiders (666)
Most total field goals made, season Ali Haji-Sheikh, New York Giants (35)

Statistical leaders


Points scored Washington Redskins (541)
Total yards gained San Diego Chargers (6,197)
Yards rushing Chicago Bears (2,727)
Yards passing San Diego Chargers (4,661)
Fewest points allowed Miami Dolphins (250)
Fewest total yards allowed Cincinnati Bengals (4,327)
Fewest rushing yards allowed Washington Redskins (1,289)
Fewest passing yards allowed New Orleans Saints (2,691)


Most Valuable Player Joe Theismann, quarterback, Washington
Coach of the Year Joe Gibbs, Washington
Offensive Player of the Year Joe Theismann, quarterback, Washington
Defensive Player of the Year Doug Betters, defensive end, Miami
Offensive Rookie of the Year Eric Dickerson, running back, LA Rams
Defensive Rookie of the Year Vernon Maxwell, linebacker, Baltimore Colts
Man of the Year Rolf Benirschke, placekicker, San Diego
Comeback Player of the Year Billy Johnson, wide receiver, Atlanta
Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Marcus Allen, running back, LA Raiders

Coaching changes



Stadium changes

Schaefer Stadium is renamed Sullivan Stadium after New England Patriots founder and owner Billy Sullivan

Uniform changes

  • The New Orleans Saints' jersey numbers were slightly modified, adding a thin inner border which matched the jersey color between the gold outer border and the number itself, similar to the numbers on the San Diego Chargers' jerseys.
  • The Seattle Seahawks revised their jerseys for the first time since joining the NFL in 1976. The new jerseys moved the TV numbers from the sleeves to the shoulders, with the helmet logo duplicated on the sleeves and the jersey collars gaining striping trim. The face masks also changed from gray to blue.




This was the second year under the league's five-year broadcast contracts with ABC, CBS, and NBC to televise Monday Night Football, the NFC package, and the AFC package, respectively.[4]

O. J. Simpson replaced Fran Tarkenton as ABC's fill-in color commentator. Howard Cosell then ignited racial controversy during the broadcast of the September 5 MNF game between the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins when his commentary on Alvin Garrett, an African American wide receiver for Washington, included a reference to "That little monkey".[5] The fallout contributed to Cosell's decision to leave MNF after the season.

Regular season game not broadcast by Network TV

Date Time Teams Local TV Announcers
October 9, 1983 3:00 PM CDT Kansas City Chiefs @ Los Angeles Raiders KCTV-TV (Kansas City area)
(blacked out in Los Angeles area)
Don Fortune (play-by-play)
Len Dawson (analyst)


  1. ^ Teresa Varley (January 11, 2019). "His Swann song". Retrieved March 3, 2021.
  2. ^ 100 Things Dolphins Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die, Armando Salguero, Triumph Books, Chicago, 2020, ISBN 978-1-62937-722-3, p.185
  3. ^ "5 New York Giants are pallbearers for Doug Kotar - UPI Archives".
  4. ^ Quinn, Kevin G. (2011). The Economics of the National Football League: The State of the Art. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 338. ISBN 978-1-4419-6289-8.
  5. ^ "Ex Redskin Alvin Garrett Recalls Remarkable Cosell". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 1, 2022.
This page was last edited on 3 December 2023, at 06:53
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