1988 NFL season

Last updated

1988 National Football League season
Regular season
DurationSeptember 4 – December 19, 1988
Playoffs
Start dateDecember 24, 1988
AFC Champions Cincinnati Bengals
NFC Champions San Francisco 49ers
Super Bowl XXIII
DateJanuary 22, 1989
Site Joe Robbie Stadium, Miami
Champions San Francisco 49ers
Pro Bowl
DateJanuary 29, 1989
Site Aloha Stadium
Quarterback Warren Moon (left) and running back Mike Rozier (right) of the Houston Oilers were among the league's top passers and rushers, respectively. Warren Moon and Mike Rozier 1987.jpg
Quarterback Warren Moon (left) and running back Mike Rozier (right) of the Houston Oilers were among the league's top passers and rushers, respectively.

The 1988 NFL season was the 69th regular season of the National Football League. The Cardinals relocated from St. Louis, Missouri to the Phoenix, Arizona area becoming the Phoenix Cardinals but remained in the NFC East division. The playoff races came down to the regular season's final week, with the Seattle Seahawks winning the AFC West by one game, and the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers winning their respective divisions in a five-way tie, with the New Orleans Saints and New York Giants losing the NFC Wild Card berth to the Los Angeles Rams on tiebreakers.

Contents

This season marked the final coaching season for the legendary Tom Landry.

The season ended with Super Bowl XXIII when the San Francisco 49ers defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 20–16 at the Joe Robbie Stadium in Florida.

Transactions

Retirements

Draft

The 1988 NFL Draft was held from April 24 to 25, 1988 at New York City’s Marriott Marquis. With the first pick, the Atlanta Falcons selected linebacker Aundray Bruce from the University of Auburn.

Officiating changes

Johnny Grier became the first African-American in NFL history to be promoted to referee. [2] Grier replaced long time referee Bob Frederic, who retired in the offseason. Grier was the field judge in the previous season's Super Bowl XXII, which was the same game that Doug Williams of the Washington Redskins became the first African-American quarterback to win the Super Bowl.

Major rule changes

1988 deaths

Preseason

American Bowl

A series of National Football League pre-season exhibition games that were held at sites outside the United States, the only American Bowl game in 1988 was held at London's Wembley Stadium.

DateWinning TeamScoreLosing TeamScoreStadiumCity
July 31, 1988 Miami Dolphins 27 San Francisco 49ers 21 Wembley Stadium Flag of the United Kingdom.svg London

Regular season

Scheduling formula

    Inter-conference
AFC East vs NFC Central
AFC Central vs NFC East
AFC West vs NFC West

Highlights of the 1988 season included:

Final standings

Tiebreakers

NOTE: Rams-Giants-Saints conference record tiebreaker: best winning percentage (2nd figure shown in parenthesis) vs same-conference opponents. NY Giants had finished 5th in NFC East in 1987. Because of two then-existing situations, division alignment as well as team-vs-team scheduling, any 5th place team would in the following season play 14 in-conference and 2 out-of-conference teams. For 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th place teams, it would have been 12 in-conference and 4 out-of-conference teams. This was the NFL's reason for breaking ties in this type situation by percentage rather than by simple won-loss.

Playoffs

A ticket for the AFC Championship Game between the Bengals and the Bills. 1989 AFC Championship Game - Buffalo Bills at Cincinnati Bengals 1989-01-08 (ticket).jpg
A ticket for the AFC Championship Game between the Bengals and the Bills.
NOTE: The Cincinnati Bengals (the AFC 1 seed) did not play the Houston Oilers (the 5 seed), nor did the Chicago Bears (the NFC 1 seed) play the Minnesota Vikings (the 4 seed), in the Divisional playoff round because those teams were in the same division.
Jan. 1 – Rich Stadium
5Houston10
Dec. 24 – Cleveland Stadium Jan. 8 – Riverfront Stadium
2* Buffalo 17
AFC
5 Houston 242Buffalo10
Dec. 31 – Riverfront Stadium
4 Cleveland 231Cincinnati21
AFC Championship
3 Seattle 13
Jan. 22 – Joe Robbie Stadium
1* Cincinnati 21
Divisional playoffs
Wild Card playoffsA1Cincinnati16
Jan. 1 – Candlestick Park
N2San Francisco20
Super Bowl XXIII
4Minnesota9
Dec. 26 – Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome Jan. 8 – Soldier Field
2* San Francisco 34
NFC
5 LA Rams 172San Francisco28
Dec. 31 – Soldier Field
4 Minnesota 281Chicago3
NFC Championship
3 Philadelphia 12
1* Chicago 20

Statistical leaders

Team

Points scoredCincinnati Bengals (448)
Total yards gainedCincinnati Bengals (6,057)
Yards rushingCincinnati Bengals (2,710)
Yards passingMiami Dolphins (4,516)
Fewest points allowedChicago Bears (215)
Fewest total yards allowedMinnesota Vikings (4,091)
Fewest rushing yards allowedChicago Bears (1,326)
Fewest passing yards allowedKansas City Chiefs (2,434)

Awards

Most Valuable Player Boomer Esiason, Quarterback, Cincinnati
Coach of the Year Mike Ditka, Chicago
Offensive Player of the Year Roger Craig, Running back, San Francisco
Defensive Player of the Year Mike Singletary, Linebacker, Chicago
Offensive Rookie of the Year John Stephens, Running back, New England
Defensive Rookie of the Year Erik McMillan, Safety, NY Jets
NFL Comeback Player of the Year Greg Bell, Running Back, LA Rams
NFL Man of the Year Steve Largent, Wide Receiver, Seattle
Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Jerry Rice, Wide Receiver, San Francisco

Coaching changes

Offseason

In-season

Stadium changes

The relocated Phoenix Cardinals moved from Busch Memorial Stadium in St. Louis to Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona

Uniform changes

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References

  1. "Sports People; 2 Steelers Retire". New York Times. Retrieved December 3, 2020.
  2. "African-Americans in Pro Football". Pro Football Hall of Fame . Retrieved March 28, 2019.
  3. "Alan Ameche dies". The Hour. (Norwalk, Connecticut). Associated Press. August 9, 1988. p. 38.
  4. "Alan Ameche dies of heart problems". Reading Eagle. (Pennsylvania). news services. August 9, 1988. p. 13.
  5. "Falcon David Croudip Dies; Cocaine Cocktail Suspected". Los Angeles Times . October 10, 1988 via Newspapers.com.
  6. 1988 NY Times obituary for Art Rooney