1983 NFL season

Last updated

1983 NFL season
Regular season
DurationSeptember 3 – December 19, 1983
Start dateDecember 24, 1983
AFC Champions Los Angeles Raiders
NFC Champions Washington Redskins
Super Bowl XVIII
DateJanuary 22, 1984
Site Tampa Stadium, Tampa, Florida
Champions Los Angeles Raiders
Pro Bowl
DateJanuary 29, 1984
Site Aloha Stadium
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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.


Player movement





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

1983 deaths

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

WeekEastCentralWestWild CardWild Card
1 Cowboys, Eagles 1–03 teams1–03 teams1–0
2Cowboys2–04 teams1–1 Rams 2–0
3Cowboys3–0 Vikings, Packers 2–14 teams2–1
4Cowboys4–0Vikings3–1 49ers 3–1 Redskins 3–16 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
8Cowboys7–1Vikings6–249ers6–2Redskins6–2 Saints, 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, Lions 7–6Rams8–5Cowboys, Redskins11–2Lions, Vikings7–6
14Cowboys, Redskins12–2Lions8–649ers, Rams8–6Cowboys, Redskins12–249ers, Rams8–6
15Redskins13–2Lions, Packers8–749ers9–6Cowboys12–34 teams8–7
16 Redskins 14–2 Lions 9–7 49ers 10–6 Cowboys 12–4 Rams 9–7

American Football Conference

WeekEastCentralWestWild CardWild Card
13 teams1–04 teams0–13 teams1–0
2 Dolphins 2–0 Steelers, Browns 1–1 Raiders, Broncos 2–0
3Dolphins, Bills 2–1Steelers, 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, Colts 4–2Steelers, Browns4–2Raiders5–14 teams4–25 teams3–3
7Bills5–2Steelers5–2Raiders5–2Dolphins, Colts4–3Browns, Seahawks 4–3
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
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:

Final standings



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 242San Francisco21
Jan 1 – RFK Stadium
4 Dallas 171Washington24
NFC Championship
5LA Rams7
Jan 22 – Tampa Stadium
1 Washington 51
Divisional playoffs
Wild Card playoffsN1Washington9
Dec 31 – Miami Orange Bowl
A1LA Raiders38
Super Bowl XVIII
Dec 24 – Kingdome Jan 8 – Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
2* Miami 20
5 Denver 74Seattle14
Jan 1 – Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
4 Seattle 311LA Raiders30
AFC Championship
3 Pittsburgh 10
1* LA Raiders 38

Notable events


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 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)


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


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

DateTimeTeamsLocal TVAnnouncers
October 9, 19833:00 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)

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  1. Teresa Varley (January 11, 2019). "His Swann song". steelers.com. 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.