1979 NFL season

Last updated

1979 National Football League season
Regular season
DurationSeptember 1 – December 17, 1979
Start dateDecember 23, 1979
AFC Champions Pittsburgh Steelers
NFC Champions Los Angeles Rams
Super Bowl XIV
DateJanuary 20, 1980
Site Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California
Champions Pittsburgh Steelers
Pro Bowl
DateJanuary 27, 1980
Site Aloha Stadium
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AFC teams: Yellow ffff00 pog.svg West, DeepPink pog.svg Central, Green pog.svg East
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NFC teams: Yellow ffff00 pog.svg West, DeepPink pog.svg Central, Green pog.svg East
The Steelers playing the Rams in Super Bowl XIV. 1986 Jeno's Pizza - 46 - Terry Bradshaw.jpg
The Steelers playing the Rams in Super Bowl XIV.

The 1979 NFL season was the 60th regular season of the National Football League. The season ended with Super Bowl XIV when the Pittsburgh Steelers repeated as champions by defeating the Los Angeles Rams 31–19 at the Rose Bowl. The Steelers became the first team to win back-to-back Super Bowls twice. [1] [2]



The 1979 NFL Draft was held from May 3 to 4, 1979 at New York City's Waldorf Astoria New York. With the first pick, the Buffalo Bills selected linebacker Tom Cousineau from the Ohio State University.

New Officials

Jerry Seeman was promoted to referee succeeding Don Wedge who returned to being a deep wing official, primarily as a back judge, where he continued to officiate through 1995. Seeman served as a crew chief for 12 seasons, working Super Bowl XXIII and Super Bowl XXV before leaving the field to succeed Art McNally as NFL Vice President of Officiating from 1991 to 2001.

Major rule changes

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.

National Football Conference

Week NFC East NFC Central NFC West Wild Card Wild Card
1 Dallas, Philadelphia 1–03 teams1–0 Atlanta 1–0
2Dallas2–0 Tampa Bay, Chicago 2–0Atlanta2–0
3Dallas3–0Tampa Bay3–0Atlanta, L.A. 2–1
4Dallas, Philadelphia, Washington 3–1Tampa Bay4–0Atlanta, L.A.2–2Chicago2–2 Minnesota 2–2
5Dallas, Philadelphia, Washington4–1Tampa Bay5–0L.A.3–2Minnesota3–24 teams2–3
6Dallas, Philadelphia5–1Tampa Bay5–1L.A.4–2Washington4–23 teams3–3
7Dallas, Philadelphia6–1Tampa Bay5–2L.A.4–3Washington5–25 teams3–4
8Dallas7–1Tampa Bay6–2L.A., New Orleans 4–4Philadelphia, Washington6–2Minnesota4–4
9Dallas7–2Tampa Bay7–2New Orleans5–4Philadelphia, Washington6–34 teams4–5
10Dallas8–2Tampa Bay7–3L.A., New Orleans5–5Philadelphia, Washington6–4Chicago5–5
11Dallas8–3Tampa Bay8–3New Orleans6-5Philadelphia, Washington7–4Chicago6–5
12Dallas, Philadelphia, Washington8–4Tampa Bay9–3L.A., New Orleans6–6Chicago7–5 Giants, Minnesota5–7
13Philadelphia9–4Tampa Bay9–4L.A., New Orleans7–6Dallas, Washington8–5Chicago7–6
14Philadelphia10–4Tampa Bay9–5L.A.8–6Dallas, Washington9–5Chicago8–6
15Dallas, Philadelphia, Washington10–5Tampa Bay, Chicago9–6L.A.9–6Minnesota, New Orleans7–8Giants6–9
16 Dallas 11–5 Tampa Bay 10–6 Los Angeles 9–7 Philadelphia 11–5 Chicago 10–6

American Football Conference

Week AFC East AFC Central AFC West Wild Card Wild Card
1 Miami 1–03 teams1–04 teams1–0
2Miami2–0 Pittsburgh, Cleveland 2–0 San Diego 2–0
3Miami3–0Pittsburgh, Cleveland3–0San Diego3–03 teams2–1
4Miami4–0Pittsburgh, Cleveland4–0San Diego, Denver 3–1 New England, Houston 3–1 Buffalo, Kansas City 2–2
5Miami4–1Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Houston4–1San Diego4–14 teams3–2 Jets, Oakland 2–3
6Miami, N.E.4–2Pittsburgh5–1S.D., Denver, Kansas City4–2Cleveland, Houston4–2Buffalo, Oakland3–3
7Miami, N.E.5–2Pittsburgh, Houston5–2San Diego, Denver5–23 teams4–3Buffalo, Jets3–4
8New England6–2Pittsburgh6–2San Diego6–24 teams5–33 teams4–4
9Miami, N.E.6–3Pittsburgh7–2San Diego, Denver6–3Cleveland, Houston6–3Oakland5–4
10New England7–3Pittsburgh8–2San Diego, Denver7–3Cleveland, Houston7–3Miami, Oakland6–4
11Miami, N.E.7–4Pittsburgh9–2San Diego, Denver8–3Houston8–3Cleveland7–4
12New England8–4Pittsburgh, Houston9–3San Diego, Denver9–3Cleveland8–4Miami7–5
13Miami, N.E.8–5Pittsburgh, Houston10–3San Diego10–3Denver9–4Cleveland8–5
14Miami9–5Pittsburgh11–3San Diego, Denver10–4Houston10–4Cleveland9–5
15Miami10–5Pittsburgh, Houston11–4San Diego11–4Denver10–5Cleveland, Oakland9–6
16 Miami 10–6 Pittsburgh 12–4 San Diego 12–4 Houston 11–5 Denver 10–6

Final standings



The Buccaneers playing against the Eagles in 1979 NFC Divisional Playoff Game. 1986 Jeno's Pizza - 20 - Cecil Johnson.jpg
The Buccaneers playing against the Eagles in 1979 NFC Divisional Playoff Game.
Dec 30 – Texas Stadium
3 Los Angeles 21
Dec 23 – Veterans Stadium Jan 6 – Tampa Stadium
1* Dallas 19
5 Chicago 173Los Angeles9
Dec 29 – Tampa Stadium
4 Philadelphia 272Tampa Bay0
NFC Championship
Jan 20 – Rose Bowl
2* Tampa Bay 24
Divisional playoffs
Wild Card playoffsN3Los Angeles19
Dec 29 – San Diego Stadium
Super Bowl XIV
Dec 23 – Astrodome Jan 6 – Three Rivers Stadium
1 San Diego 14
5 Denver 74Houston30
Dec 30 – Three Rivers Stadium
4 Houston 132Pittsburgh27
AFC Championship
3 Miami 14
2 Pittsburgh 34

Note: The Dallas Cowboys (the NFC 1 seed) did not play the Philadelphia Eagles (the 4 seed) in the Divisional playoff round because both teams were in the same division.

Statistical leaders


Points scoredPittsburgh Steelers (416)
Total yards gainedPittsburgh Steelers (6,258)
Yards rushingNew York Jets (2,646)
Yards passingSan Diego Chargers (3,915)
Fewest points allowedTampa Bay Buccaneers (237)
Fewest total yards allowedTampa Bay Buccaneers (3,949)
Fewest rushing yards allowedDenver Broncos (1,693)
Fewest passing yards allowedTampa Bay Buccaneers (2,076)


Most Valuable Player Earl Campbell, running back, Houston Oilers
Coach of the Year Jack Pardee, Washington
Offensive Player of the Year Earl Campbell, running back, Houston Oilers
Defensive Player of the Year Lee Roy Selmon, defensive end, Tampa Bay
Offensive Rookie of the Year Ottis Anderson, running back, St. Louis Cardinals
Defensive Rookie of the Year Jim Haslett, linebacker, Buffalo
Man of the Year Award Joe Greene, defensive tackle, Pittsburgh
Comeback Player of the Year Larry Csonka, running back, Miami
Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Terry Bradshaw, quarterback, Pittsburgh

Coaching changes



Uniform changes


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

Fran Tarkenton began serving as a fill-in color commentator for ABC, while Bryant Gumbel became the sole host of NBC's pregame show NFL '79 . [4]

Dick Enberg and Merlin Olsen replaced Curt Gowdy and John Brodie as NBC's lead commentary team. Rather than demote Gowdy, NBC traded him away to CBS for Don Criqui. With Pat Summerall and Tom Brookshier remaining as CBS' lead commentary team, and Vin Scully and George Allen as the #2 team, Gowdy was paired with Hank Stram as the network's #3 team. [5]


  1. "Colts open Super Bowl defense". September 6, 2007. the Steelers, the only team to ever repeat twice as Super Bowl champions
  2. "Steelers History: A Tradition of Excellence". Steelers.com. Archived from the original on February 18, 2010. Retrieved September 21, 2014. Yet another standard was set the following year when the 1979 Steelers defeated the Los Angeles Rams, 31-19, in Super Bowl XIV to make them ... the only team to win back-to-back Super Bowls twice
  3. Rules of the Name, or How The Emmitt Rule Became The Emmitt Rule Archived September 30, 2010, at the Wayback Machine (URL last accessed March 1, 2006)
  4. Brulia, Tim. "A CHRONOLOGY OF PRO FOOTBALL ON TELEVISION: Part 2" (PDF). Pro Football Researchers.
  5. "Once upon a time, NBC traded Curt Gowdy for Don Criqui". Awful Announcing. October 8, 2014.

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