1995 NFL season

Last updated

1995 National Football League season
Regular season
DurationSeptember 3 – December 25, 1995
Playoffs
Start dateDecember 30, 1995
AFC Champions Pittsburgh Steelers
NFC Champions Dallas Cowboys
Super Bowl XXX
DateJanuary 28, 1996
Site Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, Arizona
Champions Dallas Cowboys
Pro Bowl
DateFebruary 4, 1996
Site Aloha Stadium
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Colts
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Patriots
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Bills
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Dolphins
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Jets
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Bengals
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Browns
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Oilers
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Steelers
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Jaguars
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Broncos
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Chiefs
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Raiders
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Chargers
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Seahawks
AFC teams: Yellow ffff00 pog.svg West, DeepPink pog.svg Central, Green pog.svg East
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Cowboys
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Giants
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Eagles
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Cardinals
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Redskins
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Bears
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Lions
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Packers
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Vikings
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Buccaneers
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Falcons
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Rams
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Saints
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49ers
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Panthers
NFC teams: Yellow ffff00 pog.svg West, DeepPink pog.svg Central, Green pog.svg East

The 1995 NFL season was the 76th regular season of the National Football League. The league expanded to 30 teams with the addition of the Carolina Panthers and the Jacksonville Jaguars. The two expansion teams were slotted into the two remaining divisions that previously had only four teams (while the other four had five teams): the AFC Central (Jaguars) and the NFC West (Panthers).

Contents

Meanwhile, the two teams in Los Angeles relocated to other cities: the Rams transferred to St. Louis and the Raiders moved back to Oakland; this would be the start of a 20-year absence for the NFL in Los Angeles. During the course of the season it emerged that the Cleveland Browns would relocate to Baltimore for the 1996 season. The Raiders’ move was not announced until after the schedule had been announced, which resulted in a problem in the third week of the season when both the Raiders and the San Francisco 49ers had games scheduled to air on NBC which ended up overlapping each other. The Raiders game was rescheduled for 10:00 AM PDT in case they were to relocate and NBC was given the doubleheader so that both Bay Area teams had their games televised locally.

The season ended with Super Bowl XXX, when the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 27–17 at Sun Devil Stadium. They became the first team in NFL history to win three Super Bowls in four years. This season was Miami Dolphins head coach Don Shula’s last season as coach.

Player movement

Transactions

Retirements

Draft

The 1995 NFL draft was held from April 22 to 23, 1995 at New York City's Theater at Madison Square Garden. With the first pick, the Cincinnati Bengals selected running back Ki-Jana Carter from Penn State University.

Expansion Draft

The 1995 NFL expansion draft was held on February 15, 1995. [3] The Jacksonville Jaguars held the first pick overall, while the Carolina Panthers were second, alternating picks as the existing teams made six players available for selection,. [4] The Panthers ultimately picked 35 players, while the Jaguars picked 31. With the first selection in the Expansion Draft, the Jaguars selected quarterback Steve Beuerlein from the Arizona Cardinals. Selecting second, the Panthers obtained cornerback Rod Smith from the New England Patriots.

New referees

Mike Carey and Walt Coleman were promoted to referee; Carey became the second African-American referee in NFL history following Johnny Grier, who was promoted in 1988. Dale Hamer had to sit out the 1995 season to recover from open heart surgery, while league expansion from 28 to 30 teams required an additional officiating crew.

Major rule changes

Preseason

American Bowl

A series of National Football League pre-season exhibition games that were held at sites outside the United States. Two games were contested in 1995.

DateWinning TeamScoreLosing TeamScoreStadiumCity
August 6, 1995 Denver Broncos 24 San Francisco 49ers 10 Tokyo Dome Flag of Japan.svg Tokyo
August 12, 1995 Buffalo Bills 9 Dallas Cowboys 7 SkyDome Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Toronto

Hall of Fame Game

The Pro Football Hall of Fame Game featured the NFL's newest expansions teams, as the Carolina Panthers defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 20-14, was played on July 29, and held at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio, the same city where the league was founded. The 1995 Hall of Fame Class included Jim Finks, Henry Jordan, Steve Largent, Lee Roy Selmon and Kellen Winslow

Regular season

Scheduling formula

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

Highlights of the 1995 season included:

Final standings

Tiebreakers

Playoffs

Dec 31 – Lambeau Field Jan 6 – 3Com Park
6 Atlanta 20
3Green Bay27
3 Green Bay 37Jan 14 – Texas Stadium
2 San Francisco 17
NFC
Dec 30 – Veterans Stadium 3Green Bay27
Jan 7 – Texas Stadium
1Dallas38
5 Detroit 37NFC Championship
4Philadelphia11
4 Philadelphia 58Jan 28 – Sun Devil Stadium
1 Dallas 30
Wild Card playoffs
Divisional playoffs
Dec 31 – Jack Murphy Stadium N1Dallas27
Jan 7 – Arrowhead Stadium
A2Pittsburgh17
5 Indianapolis 35 Super Bowl XXX
5Indianapolis10
4 San Diego 20Jan 14 – Three Rivers Stadium
1 Kansas City 7
AFC
Dec 30 – Rich Stadium 5Indianapolis16
Jan 6 – Three Rivers Stadium
2Pittsburgh20
6 Miami 22AFC Championship
3Buffalo21
3 Buffalo 37
2 Pittsburgh 40

Milestones

The following players set all-time records during the season:

Most touchdowns, seasonEmmitt Smith, Dallas (25)
Most passing attempts, career Dan Marino, Miami (6,531 at the end of the season)
Most passes completed, careerDan Marino, Miami (3,913 at the end of the season)
Most passing yards, careerDan Marino, Miami (48,841 at the end of the season)
Most touchdown passes, careerDan Marino, Miami (352 at the end of the season)
Most pass receptions, careerJerry Rice, San Francisco (942 at the end of the season)
Most pass receiving yards gained, careerJerry Rice, San Francisco (15,123 at the end of the season)

Statistical leaders

Team

Points scoredSan Francisco 49ers (457)
Total yards gainedDetroit Lions (6,113)
Yards rushingKansas City Chiefs (2,222)
Yards passingSan Francisco 49ers (4,608)
Fewest points allowedKansas City Chiefs (241)
Fewest total yards allowedSan Francisco 49ers (4,398)
Fewest rushing yards allowedSan Francisco 49ers (1,061)
Fewest passing yards allowedNew York Jets (2,740)

Individual

Scoring Emmitt Smith, Dallas (150 points)
TouchdownsEmmitt Smith, Dallas (25 TDs)
Most field goals made Norm Johnson, Pittsburgh (34 FGs)
RushingEmmitt Smith, Dallas (1,773 yards)
Passing Jim Harbaugh, Indianapolis (100.7 rating)
Passing touchdowns Brett Favre, Green Bay (38 TDs)
Pass receiving Herman Moore, Detroit (123 catches)
Pass receiving yards Jerry Rice, San Francisco (1,848)
Punt returnsDavid Palmer, Minnesota (13.2 average yards)
Kickoff returnsRon Carpenter, New York Jets (27.7 average yards)
InterceptionsOrlando Thomas, Minnesota (9)
PuntingRick Tuten, Seattle (45.0 average yards)
SacksBryce Paup, Buffalo (17.5)

The 1995 season produced four of the top twenty highest single-season totals for receiving yards. Two of the top five teams receiving yard totals of all time – Jerry Rice's 1,848 & Isaac Bruce's 1,781 – were recorded in 1995. Detroit Lions receiver Herman Moore gained 1,686 yards (6th highest all time) and Dallas Cowboys receiver Michael Irvin gained 1,603 yards (11th most in NFL history).

Awards

Most Valuable Player Brett Favre, quarterback, Green Bay
Coach of the Year Ray Rhodes, Philadelphia
Offensive Player of the Year Brett Favre, quarterback, Green Bay
Defensive Player of the Year Bryce Paup, linebacker, Buffalo
Offensive Rookie of the Year Curtis Martin, running back, New England
Defensive Rookie of the Year Hugh Douglas, defensive end, New York Jets
NFL Comeback Player of the Year Jim Harbaugh, quarterback, Indianapolis and Garrison Hearst, running back, Arizona
NFL Man of the Year Award Boomer Esiason, quarterback, NY Jets
Super Bowl most valuable player Larry Brown, cornerback, Dallas

Coaching changes

Offseason

In-season

Stadium changes

Uniform changes

Television

This was the second year under the league's four-year broadcast contracts with ABC, Fox, NBC, TNT, and ESPN. ABC, Fox, and NBC continued to televise Monday Night Football , the NFC package, the AFC package, respectively. Sunday night games aired on TNT during the first half of the season, and ESPN during the second half of the season.

NBC renamed its pregame show as simply The NFL on NBC. The then-recently retired quarterback Joe Montana joined the show as an analyst, alongside Greg Gumbel, Mike Ditka, and Joe Gibbs. Phil Simms and Paul Maguire joined Dick Enberg as NBC's lead broadcast team, replacing Bob Trumpy.

Verne Lundquist replaced Gary Bender as TNT's play-by-play announcer. TNT also renamed its pregame show as Pro Football Tonight, with Vince Cellini as its host.

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 "1995 NFL Transactions. Trades – July". National Football League. Retrieved March 10, 2021.
  2. "April 18: The day Joe Montana said goodbye to football – By Bud Geracie". Mercury News. Retrieved December 3, 2020.
  3. Smith, Timothy W. (February 16, 1995). "Expansion Teams Pick Big Names, No Names". The New York Times . Retrieved September 23, 2008.
  4. "NFL NOTES: Familiar Names on Expansion Draft List". San Francisco Chronicle . Associated Press. January 18, 1995. Archived from the original on October 4, 2008. Retrieved September 23, 2008.
  5. Kleinfield, N. R. (May 26, 2010). "Meadowlands in February? Watch for Snowballs". The New York Times . Retrieved October 24, 2012.