1974 NFL season

Last updated

1974 National Football League season
Regular season
DurationSeptember 15 – December 15, 1974
Start dateDecember 21, 1974
AFC Champions Pittsburgh Steelers
NFC Champions Minnesota Vikings
Super Bowl IX
DateJanuary 12, 1975
Site Tulane Stadium,
New Orleans, Louisiana
Champions Pittsburgh Steelers
Pro Bowl
DateJanuary 20, 1975
Site Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida

The 1974 NFL season was the 55th regular season of the National Football League. The season ended with Super Bowl IX when the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Minnesota Vikings. Players held a strike from July 1 until August 10, [1] prior to the regular season beginning; [2] only one preseason game (that year's College All-Star Game) was canceled, and the preseason contests were held with all-rookie rosters.



The 1974 NFL Draft was held from January 29 to 30, 1974 at New York City's Americana Hotel. With the first pick, the Dallas Cowboys selected defensive end Ed "Too Tall" Jones from the Tennessee State University.

New officials

There were two new referees in 1974, Cal Lepore and Gordon McCarter. Lepore replaced the retired John McDonough, the referee for Super Bowl IV and the NFL's longest game, the 1971 Christmas Day playoff between the Dolphins and Chiefs which lasted 82 minutes, 40 seconds. McCarter succeeded Jack Reader, who left the field to become chief lieutenant to NFL Director of Officiating Art McNally at league headquarters in New York.

Major rule changes

The following changes were adopted to add tempo and action to the game [3] [4] and to help counter the proposed changes announced by the World Football League to their games:

In addition to the on-field rule changes, the league eliminated the "future list" of players a team could sign without placing them on an active roster. The future list had been formalized by the league in 1965 and had informally existed for over a decade before that. The concept would return in 1977, renamed the practice squad.

Division races

From 1970 to 2001, there were three divisions (Eastern, Central and Western) in each conference. The winners of each division, and a fourth “wild card” team based on the best non-division winner, qualified for the playoffs. The tiebreaker rules were changed to start with head-to-head competition, followed by division records, records against common opponents, and records in conference play.

National Football Conference

WeekEasternCentralWesternWild Card
1St. Louis, Washington, Dallas1–0–0Chicago, Minnesota1–0–0Los Angeles, San Fran.1–0–04 teams1–0–0
2St. Louis2–0–0Minnesota2–0–0Los Angeles, San Fran.2–0–0Los Angeles, San Fran.2–0–0
3St. Louis3–0–0Minnesota3–0–0Los Angeles, San Fran.2–1–04 teams2–1–0
4St. Louis4–0–0Minnesota4–0–0Los Angeles3–1–0Philadelphia3–1–0
5St. Louis5–0–0Minnesota5–0–0Los Angeles3–2–0Philadelphia4–1–0
6St. Louis6–0–0Minnesota5–1–0Los Angeles4–2–0Philadelphia4–2–0
7St. Louis7–0–0Minnesota5–2–0Los Angeles5–2–0Washington4–3–0
8St. Louis7–1–0Minnesota6–2–0Los Angeles6–2–0Washington5–3–0
9St. Louis7–2–0Minnesota7–2–0Los Angeles7–2–0Washington6–3–0
10St. Louis8–2–0Minnesota7–3–0Los Angeles7–3–0Washington7–3–0
11St. Louis9–2–0Minnesota7–4–0Los Angeles8–3–0Washington8–3–0
12St. Louis9–3–0Minnesota8–4–0Los Angeles9–3–0Washington8–4–0
13St. Louis9–4–0Minnesota9–4–0Los Angeles9–4–0Washington9–4–0
14 St. Louis 10–4–0 Minnesota 10–4–0 Los Angeles 10–4–0 Washington 10–4–0

American Football Conference

WeekEasternCentralWesternWild Card
1Buffalo, New England1–0–0Pittsburgh, Houston, Cincinnati1–0–0Kansas City1–0–0Denver, Kansas City, San Diego1–0–0
2New England2–0–0Pittsburgh1–0–1Oakland*1–1–08 teams1–1–0
3New England3–0–0Cincinnati2–1–0Oakland*2–1–03 teams2–1–0
4New England4–0–0Cincinnati3–1–0Oakland3–1–0Pittsburgh2–1–1
5New England5–0–0Cincinnati4–1–0Oakland4–1–0Buffalo4–1–0
6Buffalo5–1–0Pittsburgh4–1–1Oakland5–1–0New England5–1–0
7Buffalo6–1–0Pittsburgh5–1–1Oakland6–1–0New England6–1–0
8Buffalo7–1–0Pittsburgh6–1–1Oakland7–1–0New England6–2–0
14 Miami 11–3–0 Pittsburgh 10–3–1 Oakland 12–2–0 Buffalo 9–5–0

Final standings



Note: Prior to the 1975 season, the home teams in the playoffs were decided based on a yearly rotation. Had the 1974 playoffs been seeded, the AFC divisional matchups would have been #3 Pittsburgh at #2 Miami and #4 wild card Buffalo at #1 Oakland; the NFC matchups would not have changed, although #1 Los Angeles would have had home field for the NFC championship game due to its head-to-head victory over #2 Minnesota in week 11.
Dec. 22 – Three Rivers Stadium
WC Buffalo 14
Dec. 29 - Oakland Coliseum
Cent. Pittsburgh 32
Dec. 21 – Oakland Coliseum
AFC Championship
East Miami 26
Jan. 12 - Tulane Stadium
West Oakland 28
Divisional playoffs
Dec. 22 – Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
Super Bowl IX
WC Washington 10
Dec. 29 - Metropolitan Stadium
West Los Angeles 19
WestLos Angeles10
Dec. 21 – Metropolitan Stadium
NFC Championship
East St. Louis 14
Cent. Minnesota 30


Most Valuable Player Ken Stabler, Quarterback, Oakland
Coach of the Year Don Coryell, St. Louis Cardinals
Offensive Player of the Year Ken Stabler, Quarterback, Oakland
Defensive Player of the Year Joe Greene, Defensive End, Pittsburgh
Offensive Rookie of the Year Don Woods, Running Back, San Diego
Defensive Rookie of the Year Jack Lambert, Linebacker, Pittsburgh
Man of the Year George Blanda, Quarterback, Oakland
Comeback Player of the Year Joe Namath, Quarterback, New York
Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Franco Harris Running Back, Pittsburgh

Coaching changes



Uniform changes

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  1. Seppy, Tom (August 12, 1974). "Players halt strike - for 2 weeks". St. Petersburg Times. Florida. Associated Press. p. 1C.
  2. "'Critical stage' for strike talks". St. Petersburg Times. Florida. AP, UPI wires. July 31, 1974. p. 1C.
  3. "NFL rule changes". Toledo Blade. Ohio. Associated Press. April 26, 1974. p. 26.
  4. "NFL rule changes bring mixed reactions". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. April 26, 1974. p. 1, part 2.