|Duration||September 1 – December 17, 1979|
|Start date||December 23, 1979|
|AFC Champions||Pittsburgh Steelers|
|NFC Champions||Los Angeles Rams|
|Super Bowl XIV|
|Date||January 20, 1980|
|Site||Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California|
|Date||January 27, 1980|
The 1979 NFL season was the 60th regular season of the National Football League. The season ended with Super Bowl XIV when the Pittsburgh Steelers repeated as champions by defeating the Los Angeles Rams 31–19 at the Rose Bowl. The Steelers became the first team to win back-to-back Super Bowls twice. It was also the 20th anniversary of the American Football League.
- 1 Major rule changes
- 2 New Officials
- 3 Division Races
- 4 Final standings
- 5 Playoffs
- 6 Statistical leaders
- 7 Awards
- 8 Draft
- 9 Coaches
- 10 Notes
- 11 References
Major rule changes
- Whenever the quarterback is sacked, the clock will be stopped for at least five seconds and then restarted again. (The stoppage was eliminated effective the 2014 NFL season.)
- If a fair catch is made, or signaled and awarded to a team because of interference, on the last play of a half or overtime, the period can be extended and the team can run one play from scrimmage or attempt a fair catch kick.
- Defensive linemen can wear numbers 90 to 99.
- Centers are included as the interior offensive linemen in the uniform numbering system.
- Players are prohibited from wearing torn or altered equipment. Tear-away jerseys are banned.
- During kickoffs, punts, and field goal attempts, players on the receiving team cannot block below the waist.
- The zone in which crackback blocks are prohibited is extended from 3 yards on either side of the line of scrimmage to 5.
- Players cannot use their helmets to butt, spear, or ram an opponent. Any player who uses the crown or the top of his helmet unnecessarily will be called for unnecessary roughness.
- In order to prevent incidents such as the Holy Roller game, the following change is made: If an offensive player fumbles during a fourth down play, or during any down played after the two-minute warning in a half or overtime, only the fumbling player can recover and/or advance the ball. This change is known as the "Ken Stabler rule" after the Oakland Raiders quarterback who made the infamous play in the Holy Roller game. In officiating circles, it's known as the "Markbreit rule" after Jerry Markbreit, who was the referee for that game.
- Referees were outfitted with black identifying hats, while all other officials continued to wear white hats.
- For the first time, each official's position was identified on his shirt. The position was abbreviated on the front pocket of the shirt and then spelled out on the back above the number.
- The numbering system for officials was altered, with officials numbered separately by position rather than as an entire group, making duplicate numbers among officials common.
- Uprights were extended to 30 feet above the crossbar.
Jerry Seeman was promoted to referee succeeding Don Wedge who returned to being a deep wing official, primarily as a back judge. Seeman served as a crew chief for 12 seasons, working Super Bowl XXIII and Super Bowl XXV before leaving the field to succeed Art McNally as NFL Vice President of Officiating from 1991-2001.
Starting in 1978, ten teams qualified for the playoffs: the winners of each of the divisions, and two wild-card teams in each conference.
National Football Conference
|Week||NFC East||NFC Central||NFC West||Wild Card||Wild Card|
|1||Dallas, Philadelphia||1–0||3 teams||1–0||Atlanta||1–0|
|2||Dallas||2–0||Tampa Bay, Chicago||2–0||Atlanta||2–0|
|3||Dallas||3–0||Tampa Bay||3–0||Atlanta, L.A.||2–1|
|4||Dallas, Philadelphia, Washington||3–1||Tampa Bay||4–0||Atlanta, L.A.||2–2||Chicago||2–2||Minnesota||2–2|
|5||Dallas, Philadelphia, Washington||4–1||Tampa Bay||5–0||L.A.||3–2||Minnesota||3–2||4 teams||2–3|
|6||Dallas, Philadelphia||5–1||Tampa Bay||5–1||L.A.||4–2||Washington||4–2||3 teams||3–3|
|7||Dallas, Philadelphia||6–1||Tampa Bay||5–2||L.A.||4–3||Washington||5–2||5 teams||3–4|
|8||Dallas||7–1||Tampa Bay||6–2||L.A., New Orleans||4–4||Philadelphia, Washington||6–2||Minnesota||4–4|
|9||Dallas||7–2||Tampa Bay||7–2||L.A.||5–4||Philadelphia, Washington||6–3||4 teams||4–5|
|10||Dallas||8–2||Tampa Bay||7–3||L.A., New Orleans||5–5||Philadelphia, Washington||6–4||Chicago||5–5|
|11||Dallas||8–3||Tampa Bay||8–3||New Orleans||6–5||Philadelphia, Washington||7–4||Chicago||6–5|
|12||Dallas, Philadelphia, Washington||8–4||Tampa Bay||9–3||L.A., New Orleans||6–6||Chicago||7–5||Giants, Minnesota||5–7|
|13||Philadelphia||9–4||Tampa Bay||9–4||L.A., New Orleans||7–6||Dallas, Washington||8–5||Chicago||7–6|
|14||Philadelphia||10–4||Tampa Bay||9–5||L.A.||8–6||Dallas, Washington||9–5||Chicago||8–6|
|15||Dallas, Philadelphia, Washington||10–5||Tampa Bay, Chicago||9–6||L.A.||9–6||Minnesota, New Orleans||7–8||Giants||6–9|
|16||Dallas||11–5||Tampa Bay||10–6||Los Angeles||9–7||Philadelphia||11–5||Chicago||10–6|
American Football Conference
|Week||AFC East||AFC Central||AFC West||Wild Card||Wild Card|
|1||Miami||1–0||3 teams||1–0||4 teams||1–0|
|2||Miami||2–0||Pittsburgh, Cleveland||2–0||San Diego||2–0|
|3||Miami||3–0||Pittsburgh, Cleveland||3–0||San Diego||3–0||New England, Houston, Denver||2–1|
|4||Miami||4–0||Pittsburgh, Cleveland||4–0||San Diego, Denver||3–1||New England, Houston||3–1||Buffalo, Kansas City||2–2|
|5||Miami||4–1||Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Houston||4–1||San Diego||4–1||New England, Denver, Buffalo, Kansas City||3–2||Jets, Oakland||2–3|
|6||Miami, New England||4–2||Pittsburgh||5–1||San Diego, Denver, Kansas City||4–2||Cleveland, Houston||4–2||Buffalo, Oakland||3–3|
|7||Miami, New England||5–2||Pittsburgh, Houston||5–2||San Diego, Denver||5–2||Cleveland, Kansas City, Oakland||4–3||Buffalo, Jets||3–4|
|8||New England||6–2||Pittsburgh||6–2||San Diego||6–2||Miami, Cleveland, Houston, Denver||5–3||Jets, Kansas City, Oakland||4–4|
|9||Miami, New England||6–3||Pittsburgh||7–2||San Diego, Denver||6–3||Cleveland, Houston||6–3||Oakland||5–4|
|10||New England||7–3||Pittsburgh||8–2||San Diego, Denver||7–3||Cleveland, Houston||7–3||Miami, Oakland||6–4|
|11||Miami, New England||7–4||Pittsburgh||9–2||San Diego, Denver||8–3||Houston||8–3||Cleveland||7–4|
|12||New England||8–4||Pittsburgh, Houston||9–3||San Diego, Denver||9–3||Cleveland||8–4||Miami||7–5|
|13||Miami, New England||8–5||Pittsburgh, Houston||10–3||San Diego||10–3||Denver||9–4||Cleveland||8–5|
|14||Miami||9–5||Pittsburgh||11–3||San Diego, Denver||10–4||Houston||10–4||Cleveland||9–5|
|15||Miami||10–5||Pittsburgh, Houston||11–4||San Diego||11–4||Denver||10–5||Cleveland, Oakland||9–6|
- San Diego was the top AFC playoff seed based on head-to-head victory over Pittsburgh (1–0).
- Seattle finished ahead of Oakland in the AFC West based on head-to-head sweep (2–0).
- Dallas finished ahead of Philadelphia in the NFC East based on better conference record (10–2 to Eagles’ 9–3).
- Tampa Bay finished ahead of Chicago in the NFC Central based on a better division record (6–2 to Bears’ 5–3).
- Chicago was the second NFC Wild Card ahead of Washington based on better net points in all games (57 to Redskins” 53).
- Tom Flores replaced a retired John Madden as head coach of the Oakland Raiders
- Ray Perkins replaced John McVay as head coach of the New York Giants
- Bill Walsh replaced Fred O'Connor as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers
- Ron Erhardt replaced Chuck Fairbanks as head coach of the New England Patriots
|Dec. 30 – Texas Stadium|
|NFC Wild Card Game||NFC Championship|
|Dec. 23 – Veterans Stadium||Jan. 6 – Tampa Stadium|
|Dec. 29 – Tampa Stadium|
|4||Philadelphia||27||2||Tampa Bay||0||Super Bowl XIV|
|Jan. 20 – Rose Bowl|
|Dec. 29 – San Diego Stadium|
|AFC Wild Card Game||AFC Championship||A2||Pittsburgh||31|
|Dec. 23 – Astrodome||Jan. 6 – Three Rivers Stadium|
|Dec. 30 – Three Rivers Stadium|
- NOTE: The Dallas Cowboys (the NFC 1 seed) did not play the Philadelphia Eagles (the 4 seed) in the Divisional playoff round because both teams were in the same division.
|Points scored||Pittsburgh Steelers (416)|
|Total yards gained||Pittsburgh Steelers (6,258)|
|Yards rushing||New York Jets (2,646)|
|Yards passing||San Diego Chargers (3,915)|
|Fewest points allowed||Tampa Bay Buccaneers (237)|
|Fewest total yards allowed||Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3,949)|
|Fewest rushing yards allowed||Denver Broncos (1,693)|
|Fewest passing yards allowed||Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2,076)|
|Most Valuable Player||Earl Campbell, Running Back, Houston Oilers|
|Coach of the Year||Jack Pardee, Washington|
|Offensive Player of the Year||Earl Campbell, Running Back, Houston Oilers|
|Defensive Player of the Year||Lee Roy Selmon, Defensive End, Tampa Bay|
|Offensive Rookie of the Year||Ottis Anderson, Running Back, St. Louis Cardinals|
|Defensive Rookie of the Year||Jim Haslett, Linebacker, Buffalo|
|Man of the Year Award||Joe Greene, Defensive Tackle, Pittsburgh|
|Comeback Player of the Year||Larry Csonka, Running Back, Miami|
|Super Bowl Most Valuable Player||Terry Bradshaw, Quarterback, Pittsburgh|
American Football Conference
- Baltimore Colts: Ted Marchibroda
- Buffalo Bills: Chuck Knox
- Cincinnati Bengals: Homer Rice
- Cleveland Browns: Sam Rutigliano
- Denver Broncos: Red Miller
- Houston Oilers: Bum Phillips
- Kansas City Chiefs: Marv Levy
- Miami Dolphins: Don Shula
- New England Patriots: Ron Erhardt
- New York Jets: Walt Michaels
- Oakland Raiders: Tom Flores
- Pittsburgh Steelers: Chuck Noll
- San Diego Chargers: Don Coryell
- Seattle Seahawks: Jack Patera
National Football Conference
- Atlanta Falcons: Leeman Bennett
- Chicago Bears: Neill Armstrong
- Dallas Cowboys: Tom Landry
- Detroit Lions: Monte Clark
- Green Bay Packers: Bart Starr
- Los Angeles Rams: Ray Malavasi
- Minnesota Vikings: Bud Grant
- New Orleans Saints: Dick Nolan
- New York Giants: Ray Perkins
- Philadelphia Eagles: Dick Vermeil
- San Francisco 49ers: Bill Walsh
- St. Louis Cardinals: Bud Wilkinson (13 games) and Larry Wilson (3 games)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: John McKay
- Washington Redskins: Jack Pardee
- "Colts open Super Bowl defense". September 6, 2007.
the Steelers, the only team to ever repeat twice as Super Bowl champions
- "Steelers History: A Tradition of Excellence". Steelers.com. Archived from the original on February 18, 2010. Retrieved September 21, 2014.
Yet another standard was set the following year when the 1979 Steelers defeated the Los Angeles Rams, 31-19, in Super Bowl XIV to make them ... the only team to win back-to-back Super Bowls twice
- Rules of the Name, or How The Emmitt Rule Became The Emmitt Rule Archived September 30, 2010, at the Wayback Machine (URL last accessed March 1, 2006)