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1989 NFL season

Updated: 2017-05-24T05:25Z
1989 National Football League season
Regular season
DurationSeptember 10 – December 25, 1989
Start dateDecember 31, 1989
AFC ChampionsDenver Broncos
NFC ChampionsSan Francisco 49ers
Super Bowl XXIV
DateJanuary 28, 1990
SiteLouisiana Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
ChampionsSan Francisco 49ers
Pro Bowl
DateFebruary 4, 1990
SiteAloha Stadium

The 1989 NFL season was the 70th regular season of the National Football League. Before the season, NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle announced his retirement. Paul Tagliabue was eventually chosen to succeed him.

Due to damage caused by the Loma Prieta earthquake to Candlestick Park, the New England PatriotsSan Francisco 49ers game on October 22 was played at Stanford Stadium in Stanford.

The season ended with Super Bowl XXIV where the 49ers defeated the Denver Broncos 55-10 at the Louisiana Superdome.

Major rule changes

  • After a foul that occurs inside the last two minutes of the first half and inside the last five minutes of the second half or overtime, the game clock will start at the snap, instead of when the ball is spotted and the Referee signals it is ready to be played.
  • New rules were enacted, including loss of timeouts or five-yard penalties, to handle the problem of crowd noise when it becomes too loud for the offensive team to hear its signals.
  • If a receiver and a defender eventually establish joint control of a pass, the ball will be awarded to whoever was the first player to establish control of the ball.
  • While not a rule "change" per se, the "hurry up offense" was recognized as fully legal, and penalties for delay of game would be called against teams whose defenders faked injuries in order to slow down the tempo, unless those teams called for timeouts.

Final standings

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

AFC East
(3) Buffalo Bills970.563409317
Indianapolis Colts880.500298301
Miami Dolphins880.500331379
New England Patriots5110.313297391
New York Jets4120.250253411
AFC Central
(2) Cleveland Browns961.594334254
(4) Houston Oilers970.563365412
(5) Pittsburgh Steelers970.563265326
Cincinnati Bengals880.500404285
AFC West
(1) Denver Broncos1150.688362226
Kansas City Chiefs871.531318286
Los Angeles Raiders880.500315297
Seattle Seahawks790.438241327
San Diego Chargers6100.375266290
NFC East
(2) New York Giants1240.750348252
(4) Philadelphia Eagles1150.688342274
Washington Redskins1060.625386308
Phoenix Cardinals5110.313258377
Dallas Cowboys1150.063204393
NFC Central
(3) Minnesota Vikings1060.625351275
Green Bay Packers1060.625362356
Detroit Lions790.438312364
Chicago Bears6100.375358377
Tampa Bay Buccaneers5110.313320419
NFC West
(1) San Francisco 49ers1420.875442253
(5) Los Angeles Rams1150.688426344
New Orleans Saints970.563386301
Atlanta Falcons3130.188279437


  • Indianapolis finished ahead of Miami in the AFC East based on better conference record (7–5 vs. Dolphins' 6–8).
  • Houston finished ahead of Pittsburgh in the AFC Central based on head-to-head sweep (2–0).
  • Philadelphia was first NFC Wild Card ahead of L.A. Rams based on better record against common opponents (6–3 to Rams' 5–4).
  • Minnesota finished ahead of Green Bay in the NFC Central based on better division record (6–2 vs. Packers' 5–3).


NOTE: The San Francisco 49ers (the NFC 1 seed) did not play the Los Angeles Rams (the 5 seed) in the Divisional playoff round because both teams were in the same division.
Divisional Playoffs
  Jan. 7 – Giants Stadium    
NFC Wild Card GameNFC Championship
 5 LA Rams 19*
Dec. 31 – Veterans Stadium  Jan. 14 – Candlestick Park
 2* NY Giants 13 
 5 LA Rams 21 5 LA Rams 3
Jan. 6 – Candlestick Park
 4 Philadelphia 7   1 San Francisco 30 Super Bowl XXIV
 3 Minnesota 13
  Jan. 28 – Louisiana Superdome
 1* San Francisco 41 
 N1 San Francisco 55
Jan. 6 – Cleveland Stadium
AFC Wild Card GameAFC Championship  A1 Denver 10
 3 Buffalo 30
Dec. 31 – Astrodome  Jan. 14 – Mile High Stadium
 2 Cleveland 34 
 5 Pittsburgh 26* 2 Cleveland 21
Jan. 7 – Mile High Stadium
 4 Houston 23   1 Denver 37 
 5 Pittsburgh 23
 1 Denver 24 
* Indicates overtime victory

Statistical leaders


Points scoredSan Francisco 49ers (442)
Total yards gainedSan Francisco 49ers (6,268)
Yards rushingCincinnati Bengals (2,483)
Yards passingWashington Redskins (4,349)
Fewest points allowedDenver Broncos (226)
Fewest total yards allowedMinnesota Vikings (4,184)
Fewest rushing yards allowedNew Orleans Saints (1,326)
Fewest passing yards allowedMinnesota Vikings (2,501)


Most Valuable PlayerJoe Montana, Quarterback, San Francisco
Coach of the YearLindy Infante, Green Bay
Offensive Player of the YearJoe Montana, Quarterback, San Francisco
Defensive Player of the YearKeith Millard, Defensive Tackle, Minnesota
Offensive Rookie of the YearBarry Sanders, Running Back, Detroit
Defensive Rookie of the YearDerrick Thomas, Linebacker, Kansas City


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