1990 NFL season

Last updated

1990 National Football League season
Regular season
DurationSeptember 9 – December 31, 1990
Playoffs
Start dateJanuary 5, 1991
AFC Champions Buffalo Bills
NFC Champions New York Giants
Super Bowl XXV
DateJanuary 27, 1991
Site Tampa Stadium, Tampa, Florida
Champions New York Giants
Pro Bowl
DateFebruary 3, 1991
Site Aloha Stadium

The 1990 NFL season was the 71st regular season of the National Football League. To increase revenue, the league, for the first time since 1966, reinstated bye weeks, so that all NFL teams would play their 16-game schedule over a 17-week period. Furthermore, the playoff format was expanded from 10 teams to 12 teams by adding another wild card from each conference, thus adding two more contests to the postseason schedule; this format remained in use until 2019 (there were four division spots and two wild card spots available with realignment in 2002). During four out of the five previous seasons, at least one team with a 10–6 record missed the playoffs, including the 11–5 Denver Broncos in 1985; meanwhile, the 10–6 San Francisco 49ers won Super Bowl XXIII, leading for calls to expand the playoff format to ensure that 10–6 teams could compete for a Super Bowl win. Ironically, the first sixth-seeded playoff team would not have a 10–6 record, but instead, the New Orleans Saints, with an 8–8 record, took the new playoff spot.

Contents

This was also the first full season for Paul Tagliabue as the league's Commissioner, after taking over from Pete Rozelle midway through the previous season.

ABC was given the rights to televise the two additional playoff games. Meanwhile, Turner's TNT network started to broadcast Sunday night games for the first half of the season.

On October 8, the league announced that the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Award would be named the Pete Rozelle Trophy. [1] The season ended with Super Bowl XXV when the New York Giants defeated the Buffalo Bills 20–19 at Tampa Stadium. This would be the first Super Bowl appearance for Buffalo, who would represent the AFC in the next three Super Bowls.

Late in the season, with the Gulf War looming closer, the NFL announced that starting in Week 16 (and continuing until Super Bowl XXV), the league would add American flag decals to the back of the helmet. [2] The flag would return on a permanent basis in 2001 following the September 11 attacks.

Player movement

Transactions

Trades

Retirements

Draft

The 1990 NFL Draft was held from April 22 to 23, 1990 at New York City's Marriott Marquis. With the first pick, the Indianapolis Colts selected quarterback Jeff George from the University of Illinois. Selecting seventeenth overall, the Dallas Cowboys would draft Emmitt Smith, who would retire as the NFL's all-time leading rusher.

Officiating changes

Dick Jorgensen, who had been the referee in the previous season's Super Bowl XXIV, was diagnosed in May during the offseason with a rare blood disorder. [7] He died five months later on October 10. [8] For the remainder of the 1990 season, NFL officials wore a black armband on their left sleeve with the white number 60 to honor Jorgensen. [9]

Ben Dreith (a referee in the AFL from 1966-69, and the NFL since the merger) and Fred Wyant (a referee since 1971), were demoted to line judge. Dreith later filed a complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission after the league fired him after the 1990 season, citing age discrimination as the reason for both his demotion to line judge and his dismissal. [10] [11] Dreith and the NFL would later agree in 1993 to a $165,000 settlement, plus court costs and attorney fees. [12]

Gerald Austin, the side judge for Super Bowl XXIV, and Tom White, were promoted to referee. White became the first official to be promoted to referee after only one season of NFL experience since Jerry Markbreit in 1977 (Tommy Bell (1962) and Brad Allen (2014) were hired straight into the NFL as referees). After one season with having 16 officiating crews in 1989, it was reduced back to 15 crews in 1990 to handle the weekly workload of 14 games (if there were no teams with a bye week).

Ed Hochuli was hired as a back judge (now field judge) and assigned to Howard Roe's crew. Hochuli was promoted to referee two years later.

Major rule changes

1990 deaths

Members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame

Preseason

American Bowl

A series of National Football League pre-season exhibition games that were held at sites outside the United States, a total of four games were held in 1990.

DateWinning TeamScoreLosing TeamScoreStadiumCity
August 5, 1990 Denver Broncos 10 Seattle Seahawks 7 Tokyo Dome Flag of Japan.svg Tokyo
August 5, 1990 New Orleans Saints 17 Los Angeles Raiders 10 Wembley Stadium Flag of the United Kingdom.svg London
August 9, 1990 Pittsburgh Steelers 30 New England Patriots 14 Olympic Stadium Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Montreal
August 11, 1990 Los Angeles Rams 19 Kansas City Chiefs 3 Olympiastadion Flag of Germany.svg West Berlin

Regular season

Scheduling formula

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

Highlights of the 1990 season included:

Final standings

Tiebreakers

Playoffs

Jan. 6 – Riverfront Stadium Jan. 13 – Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
6 Houston 14
3Cincinnati10
3 Cincinnati 41Jan. 20 – Rich Stadium
2 LA Raiders 20
AFC
Jan. 5 – Joe Robbie Stadium 2LA Raiders3
Jan. 12 – Rich Stadium
1Buffalo51
5 Kansas City 16AFC Championship
4Miami34
4 Miami 17Jan. 27 – Tampa Stadium
1 Buffalo 44
Wild Card playoffs
Divisional playoffs
Jan. 6 – Soldier Field A1Buffalo19
Jan. 13 – Giants Stadium
N2NY Giants20
6 New Orleans 6 Super Bowl XXV
3Chicago3
3 Chicago 16Jan. 20 – Candlestick Park
2 NY Giants 31
NFC
Jan. 5 – Veterans Stadium 2NY Giants15
Jan. 12 – Candlestick Park
1San Francisco13
5 Washington 20NFC Championship
5Washington10
4 Philadelphia 6
1 San Francisco 28


Notable events

Records, milestones, and notable statistics

Week 3
Week 6
Week 10
Week 15

Statistical leaders

Team

Points scoredBuffalo Bills (428)
Total yards gainedHouston Oilers (6,222)
Yards rushingPhiladelphia Eagles (2,556)
Yards passingHouston Oilers (4,805)
Fewest points allowedNew York Giants (211)
Fewest total yards allowedPittsburgh Steelers (4,115)
Fewest rushing yards allowedPhiladelphia Eagles (1,169)
Fewest passing yards allowedPittsburgh Steelers (2,500)

Awards

Most Valuable Player Joe Montana, Quarterback, San Francisco
Coach of the Year Jimmy Johnson, Dallas
Offensive Player of the Year Warren Moon, Quarterback, Houston Oilers
Defensive Player of the Year Bruce Smith, Defensive End, Buffalo
Offensive Rookie of the Year Emmitt Smith, Running Back, Dallas
Defensive Rookie of the Year Mark Carrier, Safety, Chicago
NFL Man of the Year Mike Singletary, Linebacker, Chicago
NFL Comeback Player of the Year Barry Word, Running Back, Kansas City
Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Ottis Anderson, Running Back, NY Giants

Coaching changes

Offseason

In-season

Stadium changes

With New England Patriots founder Billy Sullivan no longer owning the team, having it sold to Victor Kiam in 1988 and Sullivan Stadium being taken over by Robert Kraft, the venue was renamed Foxboro Stadium.

Uniforms changes

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References

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  2. Services, From Times Wire (December 20, 1990). "THE SIDELINES : U.S. Flag to Grace NFL Helmets". Archived from the original on May 21, 2013. Retrieved May 5, 2018 via LA Times.
  3. Baker, Chris (October 17, 1991). "He Goes From Toast to Ghost, but Patterson Still Feels Special". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  4. Baker, Chris (November 25, 1991). "This Elvis Alive and Well on Special Teams : Raiders: Patterson picks up blocked punt and scores and also has key block on Brown's punt return for touchdown". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  5. "Dallas deals Walsh to New Orleans". articles.latimes.com. Associated Press. September 25, 1990. Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  6. "Ed 'Too Tall' Jones announces retirement". UPI. Retrieved November 30, 2020.
  7. "Illness-shortened careers". Reading Eagle. Pennsylvania. November 12, 1991. p. D12.
  8. "NFL referee Jorgensen dies". UPI. (archives). October 10, 1990. Retrieved October 5, 2015.
  9. Brulia, Tim. "NFL game officials uniforms: 1990". Gridiron Uniform Database. Retrieved October 7, 2015.
  10. "NFL ref says his age reason for demotion". Spokane Chronicle. (Washington). Associated Press. September 5, 1990. p. D2.
  11. "Former Referee Suing NFL" The Record (New Jersey) July 26, 1991, pp. D3
  12. "NFL Pays $165,000 To Ex-Ref: Age Discrimination Suit Finally Settled" Rocky Mountain News January 6, 1993, pp. 58
  13. "Darryl Usher, a reserve wide receiver and..." Los Angeles Times. February 25, 1990. Retrieved April 17, 2020.
  14. Bears rookie, companion killed in auto crash
  15. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved February 6, 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. Belock, Joe; ‘Sweet 16: Patriots and Panthers join ranks of NFL teams to begin season 10-0 ’; New York Daily News, November 24, 2015
  17. 1 2 Sports Illustrated. "Most NFL Single Game Sacks". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved December 3, 2017.
  18. "Individual Records: Passing". NFL Records. Archived from the original on May 13, 2008.