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1983 NFL season

Updated: 2017-06-16T21:49Z
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 28, 1984
SiteAloha Stadium

The 1983 NFL season was the 64th regular season of the National Football League. The season ended with Super Bowl XVIII when the Los Angeles Raiders defeated the Washington Redskins 38-9 at Tampa Stadium in Florida.

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 to end 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 when 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 ejection if they do.

Regular Season games not broadcast by Network TV

DateTimeTeamsLocal TVAnnouncers
October 9, 19834:00 PM EDTKansas City @ Los Angeles RaidersWDAF-TV (Kansas City area)
(blacked out in Los Angeles area)
Don Fortune (play-by-play)
Len Dawson (analyst)

Division Races

Starting in 1978, 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

1Cowboys, Eagles1–03 teams1–03 teams1–0
2Cowboys2–04 teams1–1Rams2–0
3Cowboys3–0Vikings, Packers2–14 teams2–1
4Cowboys4–0Vikings3–149ers3–1Redskins3–16 teams2–2
5Cowboys5–0Vikings, Packers3–249ers4–1Redskins4–15 teams3–2
6Cowboys6–0Vikings4–23 teams4–2Redskins5–14 teams4–2
7Cowboys7–0Vikings5–249ers, Rams5–23 teams5–23 teams4–3
8Cowboys7–1Vikings6–249ers6–2Redskins6–2Saints, Rams5–3
9Cowboys8–1Vikings6–349ers6–3Redskins7–2Saints, Rams5–4
10Cowboys9–1Vikings6–43 teams6–4Redskins8–23 teams6–4
11Cowboys, Redskins9–2Vikings, Packers6–549ers, Rams7–4Cowboys, Redskins9–249ers, Rams7–4
12Cowboys, Redskins10–2Vikings7–549ers, Rams7–5Cowboys, Redskins10–249ers, Rams7–5
13Cowboys, Redskins11–2Vikings, Lions7–6Rams8–5Cowboys, Redskins11–2Lions, Vikings7–6
14Cowboys, Redskins12–2Lions8–649ers, Rams8–6Cowboys, Redskins12–249ers, Rams8–6
15Redskins13–2Lions, Packers8–749ers9–6Cowboys12–34 teams8–7
16Washington14–2Detroit9–7San Francisco10–6Dallas12–4Los Angeles9–7

American Football Conference

13 teams1–04 teams0–13 teams1–0
2Dolphins2–0Steelers, Browns1–1Raiders, Broncos2–0
3Dolphins, Bills2–1Steelers, Browns2–1Raiders3–06 teams2–1
4Dolphins, Bills3–1Browns3–1Raiders4–03 teams3–16 teams2–2
54 teams3–2Steelers, Browns3–2Raiders4–17 teams3–24 teams2–3
6Bills, Colts4–2Steelers, Browns4–2Raiders5–14 teams4–25 teams3–3
7Bills5–2Steelers5–2Raiders5–2Dolphins, Colts4–3Browns, Seahawks4–3
8Dolphins, Bills5–3Steelers6–2Raiders6–2Dolphins, Bills5–3Broncos5–3
9Dolphins, Bills6–3Steelers7–2Raiders, Broncos6–3Dolphins, Bills6–3Raiders, Broncos6–3
10Dolphins7–3Steelers8–2Raiders7–3Bills, Colts6–4Seahawks, Broncos6–4
11Dolphins, Bills7–4Steelers9–2Raiders8–3Dolphins, Bills7–45 teams6–5
12Dolphins8–4Steelers9–3Raiders9–33 teams7–53 teams6–5
13Dolphins9–4Steelers9–4Raiders10–3Browns8–53 teams7–6
14Dolphins10–4Steelers9–5Raiders11–33 teams8–64 teams7–7
15Dolphins11–4Steelers10–5Raiders11–4Broncos9–64 teams8–7
16Miami12–4Pittsburgh10–6Los Angeles12–4Seattle9–7Denver9–7

Final standings

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

AFC East
(2) Miami Dolphins1240.750389250
New England Patriots880.500274289
Buffalo Bills880.500283351
Baltimore Colts790.438264354
New York Jets790.438313331
AFC Central
(3) Pittsburgh Steelers1060.625355303
Cleveland Browns970.563356342
Cincinnati Bengals790.438346302
Houston Oilers2140.125288460
AFC West
(1) Los Angeles Raiders1240.750442338
(4) Seattle Seahawks970.563403397
(5) Denver Broncos970.563302327
San Diego Chargers6100.375358462
Kansas City Chiefs6100.375386367
NFC East
(1) Washington Redskins1420.875541332
(4) Dallas Cowboys1240.750479360
St. Louis Cardinals871.531374428
Philadelphia Eagles5110.313233322
New York Giants3121.219267347
NFC Central
(3) Detroit Lions970.563347286
Green Bay Packers880.500429439
Chicago Bears880.500311301
Minnesota Vikings880.500316348
Tampa Bay Buccaneers2140.125241380
NFC West
(2) San Francisco 49ers1060.625432293
(5) Los Angeles Rams970.563361344
New Orleans Saints880.500319337
Atlanta Falcons790.438370389


  • Los Angeles Raiders was the first AFC seed over Miami based on head-to-head sweep (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 (5–5 to Bears' 4–6).


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.
Divisional Playoffs
  Dec. 31 – Candlestick Park    
NFC Wild Card GameNFC Championship
 3 Detroit 23
Dec. 26 – Texas Stadium  Jan. 8 – Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium
 2 San Francisco 24 
 5 LA Rams 24 2 San Francisco 21
Jan. 1 – Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium
 4 Dallas 17   1 Washington 24 Super Bowl XVIII
 5 LA Rams 7
  Jan. 22 – Tampa Stadium
 1 Washington 51 
 N1 Washington 9
Dec. 31 – Miami Orange Bowl
AFC Wild Card GameAFC Championship  A1 LA Raiders 38
 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 
 3 Pittsburgh 10
 1* LA Raiders 38 

Statistical leaders


Points scoredWashington Redskins (541)
Total yards gainedSan Diego Chargers (6,197)
Yards rushingChicago Bears (2,727)
Yards passingSan Diego Chargers (4,661)
Fewest points allowedMiami Dolphins (250)
Fewest total yards allowedCincinnati Bengals (4,327)
Fewest rushing yards allowedWashington Redskins (1,289)
Fewest passing yards allowedNew Orleans Saints (2,691)


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

Most Touchdowns, SeasonJohn Riggins, Washington (24)
Most Rushing Touchdowns, SeasonJohn Riggins, Washington (24)
Most Punt Return Yards, SeasonGreg Pruitt, Los Angeles Raiders (666)
Most Total Field Goals Made, SeasonAli Haji-Sheikh, New York Giants (35)


Most Valuable PlayerJoe Theismann, Quarterback, Washington
Coach of the YearJoe Gibbs, Washington
Offensive Player of the YearJoe Theismann, Quarterback, Washington
Defensive Player of the YearDoug Betters, Defensive End, Miami
Offensive Rookie of the YearEric Dickerson, Running Back, LA Rams
Defensive Rookie of the YearVernon Maxwell, Linebacker, Baltimore Colts


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