|Duration||September 21 – December 21, 1975|
|Start date||December 27, 1975|
|AFC Champions||Pittsburgh Steelers|
|NFC Champions||Dallas Cowboys|
|Super Bowl X|
|Date||January 18, 1976|
|Site||Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida|
|Date||January 26, 1976|
|Site||Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans|
The 1975 NFL season was the 56th regular season of the National Football League. It was the first NFL season without a tie game. The league made two significant changes to increase the appeal of the game:
- The surviving clubs with the best regular season records were made the home teams for each playoff round. Previously, game sites rotated by division.
- The league pioneered the use of equipping referees with wireless microphones to announce penalties and clarify complex and/or unusual rulings to both fans and the media.
Instead of a traditional Thanksgiving Day game hosted by the Dallas Cowboys, the league scheduled a Buffalo Bills at St. Louis Cardinals contest. This was the first season since 1966 that the Cowboys did not play on that holiday.
Major rule changes
- After a fourth down incomplete pass goes in or through the end zone, the other team will take possession at the previous line of scrimmage. Previously, it resulted in a touchback.
- The penalty for pass interference on the offensive team is reduced from 15 yards to 10.
- If there are fouls by both teams on the same play but one results in a player ejection, the penalties will still offset but the player will still be ejected.
- Referees were equipped with wireless microphones to announce penalties and clarify complex and/or unusual rulings to both fans and the media. The NFL thus became the first professional league in North America to adopt this technology.
Jerry Seeman, who would go on to serve as referee for Super Bowl XXIII and Super Bowl XXV before a 10-year tenure as the NFL's Director of Officiating from 1991-2001, was hired as a line judge. Fred Swearingen, the referee in the 1972 Raiders-Steelers playoff game which produced the Immaculate Reception, was demoted to his former position, field judge. Gene Barth, the line judge on Jim Tunney's crew the previous four seasons, was promoted.
- Detroit moved into the Pontiac Silverdome.
- New Orleans moved into the Louisiana Superdome.
- The New York Giants played their home games at Shea Stadium, which they shared for 1975 with the New York Jets.
Starting in 1970, through 2001, there were three divisions (Eastern, Central and Western) in each conference. The winners of each division, and a fourth “wild card” team based on the best non-division winner, qualified for the playoffs. The tiebreaker rules were changed to start with head-to-head competition, followed by division records, records against common records, and records in conference play.
National Football Conference
|1||4 teams||1–0–0||Detroit, Minnesota||1–0–0||4 teams||0–1–0||4 teams||1–0–0|
|2||Dallas, Washington||2–0–0||Detroit, Minnesota||2–0–0||Los Angeles||1–1–0||2 teams||2–0–0|
|3||Dallas||3–0–0||Minnesota||3–0–0||Los Angeles||2–1–0||3 teams||2–1–0|
|4||Dallas||4–0–0||Minnesota||4–0–0||Los Angeles||3–1–0||Washington, Detroit||2–1–0|
|5||Dallas||4–1–0||Minnesota||5–0–0||Los Angeles||4–1–0||St. Louis, Detroit||2–1–0|
|8||Washington*||6–2–0||Minnesota||8–0–0||Los Angeles||6–2–0||St. Louis||6–2–0|
|9||St. Louis||7–2–0||Minnesota||9–0–0||Los Angeles||7–2–0||Dallas, Detroit, Washington||6–3–0|
|10||St. Louis||8–2–0||Minnesota||10–0–0||Los Angeles||8–2–0||Dallas||7–3–0|
|11||Dallas*||8–3–0||Minnesota||10–1–0||Los Angeles||9–2–0||St. Louis||8–3–0|
|12||St. Louis||9–3–0||Minnesota||11–1–0||Los Angeles||10–2–0||Dallas||8–4–0|
|13||St. Louis||10–3–0||Minnesota||11–2–0||Los Angeles||11–2–0||Dallas||9–4–0|
|14||St. Louis||11–3–0||Minnesota||12–2–0||Los Angeles||12–2–0||Dallas||10–4–0|
American Football Conference
|1||Baltimore, Buffalo||1–0–0||3 teams||1–0–0||Denver, Oakland||1–0–0||4 teams||1–0–0|
|2||Buffalo||2–0–0||Cincinnati, Houston||2–0–0||Denver, Oakland||2–0–0||2 teams||2–0–0|
- Baltimore finished ahead of Miami in the AFC East based on head-to-head sweep (2–0).
- N.Y. Jets finished ahead of New England in the AFC East based on head-to-head sweep (2–0).
- Minnesota was the top NFC playoff seed based on point rating system (Vikings were 1st in NFC in points scored and 2nd in NFC in points allowed for a combined rating of 3 while Rams were 5th in NFC in points scored and 1st in NFC in points allowed for a combined rating of 6).
- Chicago finished ahead of Green Bay in the NFC Central based on better division record (2–4 to Packers’ 1–5).
|Divisional Playoffs||Conference Championship Games||Super Bowl X|
|December 28 – Metropolitan Stadium|
|January 4 – L.A. Memorial Coliseum|
|December 27 – L.A. Memorial Coliseum|
|2) Los Angeles||7|
|3) St. Louis||23|
|January 18 – Miami Orange Bowl|
|2) Los Angeles||35|
|December 28 – Oakland Coliseum|
|January 4 – Three Rivers Stadium|
|December 27 – Three Rivers Stadium|
*Pittsburgh (the AFC 1 seed) did not play Cincinnati (the 4 seed) in the Divisional playoff round because both teams were in the same division.
The 1975 NFL Draft was held from January 28 to 29, 1975 at New York City's Hilton at Rockefeller Center. With the first pick, the Atlanta Falcons selected quarterback Steve Bartkowski from the University of California.
- Atlanta Falcons: Marion Campbell began his first full season as head coach. He replaced Norm Van Brocklin, who was fired after starting the 1974 season at 2–6.
- Baltimore Colts: Ted Marchibroda joined the Colts as head coach. Howard Schnellenberger was fired after three games into the 1974 season, and General Manager Joe Thomas then served for the remainder of the season.
- Chicago Bears: Abe Gibron was fired and replaced by Jack Pardee.
- Cleveland Browns: Forrest Gregg replaced the fired Nick Skorich.
- Green Bay Packers: Dan Devine left to join the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Former Packers quarterback Bart Starr was named to replace Devine.
- Houston Oilers: Bum Phillips replaced Sid Gillman.
- Kansas City Chiefs: Hank Stram, the team's only head coach in franchise history, was relived of his duties. Paul Wiggin was named as the team's new head coach.
- New Orleans Saints: John North was fired after a 1-5 start to the season. Ernie Hefferle then served as interim.
- New York Jets: Charley Winner was fired nine games into the season after only posting two wins. Offensive coordinator Ken Shipp served as interim for the last five games.