|Duration||September 3 – December 19, 1983|
|Start date||December 24, 1983|
|AFC Champions||Los Angeles Raiders|
|NFC Champions||Washington Redskins|
|Super Bowl XVIII|
|Date||January 22, 1984|
|Site||Tampa Stadium, Tampa, Florida|
|Champions||Los Angeles Raiders|
|Date||January 28, 1984|
The 1983 NFL season was the 64th regular season of the National Football League. The season ended with Super Bowl XVIII when the Los Angeles Raiders defeated the Washington Redskins 38–9 at Tampa Stadium in Florida.
Major rule changes
- In the last 30 seconds of a half (but not overtime), with the defensive team behind with no more time outs, a defensive foul cannot prevent the half to end except for the normal options that are available to the offensive team.
- Pass interference will not be called if there was incidental contact, or if when players make simultaneous attempts to catch, tip, block, or bat the ball.
- Players may not use a helmet, that is no longer worn by anyone, as a weapon to strike or hit an opponent; they risk disqualification if they do. This rule was instituted after Raiders defensive end Lyle Alzado swung a helmet at New York Jets tackle Chris Ward during a playoff game the previous season.
From 1978 to 1981 & this season to 1989, ten teams qualified for the playoffs: the winners of each of the divisions, and two wild-card teams in each conference. The two wild cards would meet for the right to face whichever of the three division winners had the best overall record. The tiebreaker rules were based on head-to-head competition, followed by division records, common opponents records, and conference play.
National Football Conference
|1||Cowboys, Eagles||1–0||3 teams||1–0||3 teams||1–0|
|3||Cowboys||3–0||Vikings, Packers||2–1||4 teams||2–1|
|5||Cowboys||5–0||Vikings, Packers||3–2||49ers||4–1||Redskins||4–1||5 teams||3–2|
|6||Cowboys||6–0||Vikings||4–2||3 teams||4–2||Redskins||5–1||4 teams||4–2|
|7||Cowboys||7–0||Vikings||5–2||49ers, Rams||5–2||3 teams||5–2||3 teams||4–3|
|10||Cowboys||9–1||Vikings||6–4||3 teams||6–4||Redskins||8–2||3 teams||6–4|
|11||Cowboys, Redskins||9–2||Vikings, Packers||6–5||49ers, Rams||7–4||Cowboys, Redskins||9–2||49ers, Rams||7–4|
|12||Cowboys, Redskins||10–2||Vikings||7–5||49ers, Rams||7–5||Cowboys, Redskins||10–2||49ers, Rams||7–5|
|13||Cowboys, Redskins||11–2||Vikings, Lions||7–6||Rams||8–5||Cowboys, Redskins||11–2||Lions, Vikings||7–6|
|14||Cowboys, Redskins||12–2||Lions||8–6||49ers, Rams||8–6||Cowboys, Redskins||12–2||49ers, Rams||8–6|
|15||Redskins||13–2||Lions, Packers||8–7||49ers||9–6||Cowboys||12–3||4 teams||8–7|
|16||Washington||14–2||Detroit||9–7||San Francisco||10–6||Dallas||12–4||Los Angeles||9–7|
American Football Conference
|1||3 teams||1–0||4 teams||0–1||3 teams||1–0|
|2||Dolphins||2–0||Steelers, Browns||1–1||Raiders, Broncos||2–0|
|3||Dolphins, Bills||2–1||Steelers, Browns||2–1||Raiders||3–0||6 teams||2–1|
|4||Dolphins, Bills||3–1||Browns||3–1||Raiders||4–0||3 teams||3–1||6 teams||2–2|
|5||4 teams||3–2||Steelers, Browns||3–2||Raiders||4–1||7 teams||3–2||4 teams||2–3|
|6||Bills, Colts||4–2||Steelers, Browns||4–2||Raiders||5–1||4 teams||4–2||5 teams||3–3|
|7||Bills||5–2||Steelers||5–2||Raiders||5–2||Dolphins, Colts||4–3||Browns, Seahawks||4–3|
|8||Dolphins, Bills||5–3||Steelers||6–2||Raiders||6–2||Dolphins, Bills||5–3||Broncos||5–3|
|9||Dolphins, Bills||6–3||Steelers||7–2||Raiders, Broncos||6–3||Dolphins, Bills||6–3||Raiders, Broncos||6–3|
|10||Dolphins||7–3||Steelers||8–2||Raiders||7–3||Bills, Colts||6–4||Seahawks, Broncos||6–4|
|11||Dolphins, Bills||7–4||Steelers||9–2||Raiders||8–3||Dolphins, Bills||7–4||5 teams||6–5|
|12||Dolphins||8–4||Steelers||9–3||Raiders||9–3||3 teams||7–5||3 teams||6–5|
|14||Dolphins||10–4||Steelers||9–5||Raiders||11–3||3 teams||8–6||4 teams||7–7|
- Los Angeles Raiders was the first AFC seed over Miami based on head-to-head victory (1–0).
- Seattle was the first AFC Wild Card ahead of Denver based on better division record (5–3 to Broncos’ 3–5) after Cleveland was eliminated from the three-way tie based on head-to-head record (Seattle and Denver 2–1 to Browns’ 0–2).
- New England finished ahead of Buffalo in the AFC East based on head-to-head sweep (2–0).
- Baltimore finished ahead of N.Y. Jets in the AFC East based on better conference record (5–9, .357 to Jets’ 4–8, .333).
- San Diego finished ahead of Kansas City in the AFC West based on head-to-head sweep (2–0).
- Minnesota ended up in fourth place in the NFC Central after being eliminated from the three-way tie based on conference record (Chicago 7–7 and Green Bay 6–6 to Vikings’ 4–8).
- Green Bay finished ahead of Chicago in the NFC Central based on better record against common opponents (4–4 to Bears’ 3–5).
- NOTE: The Los Angeles Raiders (the AFC 1 seed) did not play the Seattle Seahawks (the 4 seed) in the Divisional playoff round because both teams were in the same division.
|Dec. 31 – Candlestick Park|
|NFC Wild Card Game||NFC Championship|
|Dec. 26 – Texas Stadium||Jan. 8 – Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium|
|5||LA Rams||24||2||San Francisco||21|
|Jan. 1 – Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium|
|4||Dallas||17||1||Washington||24||Super Bowl XVIII|
|Jan. 22 – Tampa Stadium|
|Dec. 31 – Miami Orange Bowl|
|AFC Wild Card Game||AFC Championship||A1||LA Raiders||38|
|Dec. 24 – Kingdome||Jan. 8 – Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum|
|Jan. 1 – Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum|
- Kansas City Chiefs running back Joe Delaney dies after attempting to rescue three boys who were drowning in a makeshift swimming pool at a construction site.
The following players set all-time records during the season:
|Most Touchdowns, Season||John Riggins, Washington (24)|
|Most Rushing Touchdowns, Season||John Riggins, Washington (24)|
|Most Punt Return Yards, Season||Greg Pruitt, Los Angeles Raiders (666)|
|Most Total Field Goals Made, Season||Ali Haji-Sheikh, New York Giants (35)|
|Points scored||Washington Redskins (541)|
|Total yards gained||San Diego Chargers (6,197)|
|Yards rushing||Chicago Bears (2,727)|
|Yards passing||San Diego Chargers (4,661)|
|Fewest points allowed||Miami Dolphins (250)|
|Fewest total yards allowed||Cincinnati Bengals (4,327)|
|Fewest rushing yards allowed||Washington Redskins (1,289)|
|Fewest passing yards allowed||New Orleans Saints (2,691)|
|Most Valuable Player||Joe Theismann, Quarterback, Washington|
|Coach of the Year||Joe Gibbs, Washington|
|Offensive Player of the Year||Joe Theismann, Quarterback, Washington|
|Defensive Player of the Year||Doug Betters, Defensive End, Miami|
|Offensive Rookie of the Year||Eric Dickerson, Running Back, LA Rams|
|Defensive Rookie of the Year||Vernon Maxwell, Linebacker, Baltimore Colts|
|Man of the Year||Rolf Benirschke, Placekicker, San Diego|
|Comeback Player of the Year||Billy Johnson, Wide Receiver, Atlanta|
|Super Bowl Most Valuable Player||Marcus Allen, Running Back, LA Raiders|
- Atlanta Falcons: Dan Henning replaced the fired Leeman Bennett.
- Buffalo Bills: Kay Stephenson replaced Chuck Knox, who left the team to join the Seattle Seahawks.
- Kansas City Chiefs: Marv Levy was fired and replaced by John Mackovic.
- New York Giants: Ray Perkins was replaced by Bill Parcells.
- New York Jets: Walt Michaels resigned and was replaced by Joe Walton.
- Los Angeles Rams: Ray Malavasi was fired and replaced by John Robinson.
- Philadelphia Eagles: Dick Vermeil resigned and was replaced by Marion Campbell.
- Seattle Seahawks: Chuck Knox joined the Seahawks after resigning from the Bills. Seattle had fired Jack Patera after the team lost their first two games in 1982. Mike McCormack, the team's director of football operations, took over as interim for the remainder of that season.
- Houston Oilers: Ed Biles was fired after the team lost their first six games. Defensive coordinator Chuck Studley took over as interim.
- The Seattle Seahawks revised their jerseys for the first time since joining the NFL in 1976. The new jerseys moved the TV numbers from the sleeves to the shoulders, with the helmet logo duplicated on the sleeves.
Regular season game not broadcast by Network TV
|October 9, 1983||4:00 PM EDT||Kansas City @ Los Angeles Raiders||KCTV-TV (Kansas City area)
(blacked out in Los Angeles area)
|Don Fortune (play-by-play)|
Len Dawson (analyst)