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1973 National Football League season
Regular season
Duration September 16, 1973 - December 16, 1973
Playoffs
Start date December 22, 1973
AFC Champions Miami Dolphins
NFC Champions Minnesota Vikings
Super Bowl VIII
Date January 13, 1974
Site Rice Stadium, Houston, Texas
Champions Miami Dolphins
Pro Bowl
Date January 20, 1974
Site Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri
National Football League seasons
 < 1972 1974 > 

The 1973 NFL season was the 54th regular season of the National Football League. The season featured O.J. Simpson becoming the first man to rush for 2,000 yards in one season. The season ended with Super Bowl VIII when the Miami Dolphins defeated the Minnesota Vikings.

Contents

Major rule changes

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Jersey numbering system

  • A jersey numbering system is adopted (players who played in the 1972 NFL season are grandfathered in):
    • 1-19: Quarterbacks and specialists
    • 20-49: Running backs and defensive backs
    • 50-59: Centers and linebackers
    • 60-79: Defensive linemen and offensive linemen other than centers
    • 80-89: Wide receivers and tight ends
    • Numbers 0, 00, and 90-99 are no longer allowed to be issued, even though these numbers were rarely issued anyways. Numbers 90-99 would be allowed again in 1984 for defensive lineman and linebackers in addition to the above mentioned numbers.
  • Defensive players cannot jump or stand on a teammate while trying to block a kick.
  • The clock is to start at the snap following a change of possession.
  • If there is a foul by the offensive team, and it is followed by a change of possession, the period can be extended by one play by the other team.
  • If the receiving team commits a foul after the ball is kicked, possession will be presumed to have changed; the receiving team keeps the ball.

Division races

Starting in 1970, and until 2002, 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, common opponents records, and conference play.

National Football Conference

Week Eastern Central Western Wild Card
1 4 teams 1-0-0 2 teams 1-0-0 2 teams 1-0-0 5 teams 1-0-0
2 Tie (Dal, StL) 2-0-0 MINNESOTA 2-0-0 LOS ANGELES 2-0-0 Tie (Dal, StL) 2-0-0
3 DALLAS 3-0-0 MINNESOTA 3-0-0 LOS ANGELES 3-0-0 ST. LOUIS 2-1-0
4 WASHINGTON* 3-1-0 MINNESOTA 5-0-0 LOS ANGELES 4-0-0 DALLAS 3-1-0
5 WASHINGTON 4-1-0 MINNESOTA 5-0-0 LOS ANGELES 5-0-0 DALLAS 3-2-0
6 WASHINGTON 5-1-0 MINNESOTA 6-0-0 LOS ANGELES 6-0-0 DALLAS 4-2-0
7 WASHINGTON 5-2-0 MINNESOTA 7-0-0 LOS ANGELES 6-1-0 DALLAS* 4-3-0
8 WASHINGTON* 5-3-0 MINNESOTA 8-0-0 LOS ANGELES 6-2-0 ATLANTA* 5-3-0
9 WASHINGTON* 6-3-0 MINNESOTA 9-0-0 LOS ANGELES 7-2-0 ATLANTA* 6-3-0
10 WASHINGTON* 7-3-0 MINNESOTA 9-1-0 LOS ANGELES 8-2-0 ATLANTA* 7-3-0
11 WASHINGTON 8-3-0 MINNESOTA 10-1-0 LOS ANGELES 9-2-0 ATLANTA 8-3-0
12 WASHINGTON* 9-3-0 MINNESOTA 10-2-0 LOS ANGELES 10-2-0 ATLANTA* 8-4-0
13 DALLAS* 9-4-0 MINNESOTA 11-2-0 LOS ANGELES 11-2-0 WASHINGTON 9-4-0
14 DALLAS 10-4-0 MINNESOTA 12-2-0 LOS ANGELES 12-2-0 WASHINGTON 10-4-0

American Football Conference

Week Eastern Central Western Wild Card
1 (Buf, Mia) 1-0-0 (Cle, Pit) 1-0-0 DENVER 1-0-0 2 teams 1-0-0
2 N.Y. JETS 1-1-0 PITTSBURGH 2-0-0 4 teams 1-1-0 7 teams 1-1-0
3 BUFFALO 2-1-0 PITTSBURGH 3-0-0 KANSAS CITY 2-1-0 3 teams 2-1-0
4 Tie (Buf, Mia) 3-1-0 PITTSBURGH 4-0-0 KANSAS CITY 3-1-0 Tie (Buf, Mia) 3-1-0
5 Tie (Buf, Mia) 4-1-0 PITTSBURGH 4-1-0 KANSAS CITY 3-1-1 Tie (Buf, Mia) 4-1-0
6 MIAMI 5-1-0 PITTSBURGH 5-1-0 KANSAS CITY 3-2-1 CINCINNATI* 4-2-0
7 MIAMI 6-1-0 PITTSBURGH 6-1-0 OAKLAND 4-2-1 BUFFALO 5-2-0
8 MIAMI 7-1-0 PITTSBURGH 7-1-0 OAKLAND 5-2-1 BUFFALO 5-3-0
9 MIAMI 8-1-0 PITTSBURGH 8-1-0 OAKLAND* 5-3-1 KANSAS CITY* 5-3-1
10 MIAMI 9-1-0 PITTSBURGH 8-2-0 KANSAS CITY 6-3-1 CLEVELAND 6-3-1
11 MIAMI 10-1-0 PITTSBURGH 8-3-0 DENVER 6-3-2 CLEVELAND 7-3-1
12 MIAMI 11-1-0 CINCINNATI* 8-4-0 OAKLAND 7-4-1 PITTSBURGH 8-4-0
13 MIAMI 11-2-0 CINCINNATI* 9-4-0 OAKLAND 8-3-1 PITTSBURGH 9-4-0
14 MIAMI 12-2-0 CINCINNATI* 10-4-0 OAKLAND 9-4-1 PITTSBURGH 10-4-0

Final standings

W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, PCT= Winning Percentage, PF= Points For, PA = Points Against

  x  - clinched wild card berth,   y  - clinched division title

AFC East
Team W L T PCT PF PA
y-Miami Dolphins 12 2 0 .857 343 150
Buffalo Bills 9 5 0 .643 259 230
New England Patriots 5 9 0 .357 258 300
New York Jets 4 10 0 .286 240 306
Baltimore Colts 4 10 0 .286 226 341
AFC Central
Team W L T PCT PF PA
y-Cincinnati Bengals 10 4 0 .714 286 231
x-Pittsburgh Steelers 10 4 0 .714 347 210
Cleveland Browns 7 5 2 .571 234 255
Houston Oilers 1 13 0 .071 199 447
AFC West
Team W L T PCT PF PA
y-Oakland Raiders 9 4 1 .679 292 175
Kansas City Chiefs 7 5 2 .571 231 192
Denver Broncos 7 5 2 .571 354 296
San Diego Chargers 2 11 1 .179 188 386
NFC East
Team W L T PCT PF PA
y-Dallas Cowboys 10 4 0 .714 382 203
x-Washington Redskins 10 4 0 .714 325 198
Philadelphia Eagles 5 8 1 .393 310 393
St. Louis Cardinals 4 9 1 .321 286 365
New York Giants 2 11 1 .179 226 362
NFC Central
Team W L T PCT PF PA
y-Minnesota Vikings 12 2 0 .857 296 168
Detroit Lions 6 7 1 .464 271 247
Green Bay Packers 5 7 2 .429 202 259
Chicago Bears 3 11 0 .214 195 334
NFC West
Team W L T PCT PF PA
y-Los Angeles Rams 12 2 0 .857 388 178
Atlanta Falcons 9 5 0 .643 318 224
San Francisco 49ers 5 9 0 .357 262 319
New Orleans Saints 5 9 0 .357 163 312


Tiebreakers

  • N.Y. Jets finished ahead of Baltimore in the AFC East based on head-to-head sweep (2-0).
  • Cincinnati finished ahead of Pittsburgh in the AFC Central based on better conference record (8-3 to Steelers' 7-4).
  • Kansas City finished ahead of Denver in the AFC West based on better division record (4-2 to Broncos' 3-2-1).
  • Dallas finished ahead of Washington in the NFC East based on better point differential in head-to-head games (13 points).
  • San Francisco finished ahead of New Orleans in the NFC West based on better division record (2-4 to Saints' 1-5).

Playoffs

Note: Prior to the 1975 season, the home teams in the playoffs were decided based on a yearly rotation.
Divisional Playoffs Conf. Championship Games Super Bowl VIII
                   
December 22 - Metropolitan Stadium        
 Washington Redskins  20
December 30 - Texas Stadium
 Minnesota Vikings  27  
 Minnesota Vikings  27
December 23 - Texas Stadium
     Dallas Cowboys  10  
 Los Angeles Rams  16
January 13 – Rice Stadium
 Dallas Cowboys  27  
 Minnesota Vikings  7
December 22 - Oakland Coliseum    
   Miami Dolphins  24
 Pittsburgh Steelers  14
December 30 - Miami Orange Bowl
 Oakland Raiders  33  
 Oakland Raiders  10
December 23 - Miami Orange Bowl
     Miami Dolphins  27  
 Cincinnati Bengals  16
 Miami Dolphins  34  
 

References

  • NFL Record and Fact Book (ISBN 1-932994-36-X)
  • NFL History 1971-1980 (Last accessed December 4, 2005)
  • 1973 season in details
  • Total Football: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League (ISBN 0-06-270174-6)
1973 NFL season
AFC East Central West East Central West NFC
Baltimore Cincinnati Denver Dallas Chicago Atlanta
Buffalo Cleveland Kansas City NY Giants Detroit Los Angeles
Miami Houston Oakland Philadelphia Green Bay New Orleans
New England Pittsburgh San Diego St. Louis Minnesota San Francisco
NY Jets Washington
1973 NFL DraftNFL PlayoffsPro BowlSuper Bowl VIII

1973 National Football League season
Regular season
Duration September 16, 1973 - December 16, 1973
Playoffs
Start date December 22, 1973
AFC Champions Miami Dolphins
NFC Champions Minnesota Vikings
Super Bowl VIII
Date January 13, 1974
Site Rice Stadium, Houston, Texas
Champions Miami Dolphins
Pro Bowl
Date January 20, 1974
Site Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri
National Football League seasons
 < 1972 1974 > 

The 1973 NFL season was the 54th regular season of the National Football League. The season featured O.J. Simpson becoming the first man to rush for 2,000 yards in one season. The season ended with Super Bowl VIII when the Miami Dolphins defeated the Minnesota Vikings.

Contents

Major rule changes

Jersey numbering system

  • A jersey numbering system is adopted (players who played in the 1972 NFL season are grandfathered in):
    • 1-19: Quarterbacks and specialists
    • 20-49: Running backs and defensive backs
    • 50-59: Centers and linebackers
    • 60-79: Defensive linemen and offensive linemen other than centers
    • 80-89: Wide receivers and tight ends
    • Numbers 0, 00, and 90-99 are no longer allowed to be issued, even though these numbers were rarely issued anyways. Numbers 90-99 would be allowed again in 1984 for defensive lineman and linebackers in addition to the above mentioned numbers.
  • Defensive players cannot jump or stand on a teammate while trying to block a kick.
  • The clock is to start at the snap following a change of possession. Previoulsy, the clock would start on a change of possession when the ball was spotted ready for play by the referee.
  • If there is a foul by the offensive team, and it is followed by a change of possession, the period can be extended by one play by the other team.
  • If the receiving team commits a foul after the ball is kicked, possession will be presumed to have changed; the receiving team keeps the ball.

Division races

Starting in 1970, and until 2002, 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, common opponents records, and conference play.

National Football Conference

Week Eastern Central Western Wild Card
1 4 teams 1-0-0 2 teams 1-0-0 2 teams 1-0-0 5 teams 1-0-0
2 Tie (Dal, StL) 2-0-0 MINNESOTA 2-0-0 LOS ANGELES 2-0-0 Tie (Dal, StL) 2-0-0
3 DALLAS 3-0-0 MINNESOTA 3-0-0 LOS ANGELES 3-0-0 ST. LOUIS 2-1-0
4 WASHINGTON* 3-1-0 MINNESOTA 5-0-0 LOS ANGELES 4-0-0 DALLAS 3-1-0
5 WASHINGTON 4-1-0 MINNESOTA 5-0-0 LOS ANGELES 5-0-0 DALLAS 3-2-0
6 WASHINGTON 5-1-0 MINNESOTA 6-0-0 LOS ANGELES 6-0-0 DALLAS 4-2-0
7 WASHINGTON 5-2-0 MINNESOTA 7-0-0 LOS ANGELES 6-1-0 DALLAS* 4-3-0
8 WASHINGTON* 5-3-0 MINNESOTA 8-0-0 LOS ANGELES 6-2-0 ATLANTA* 5-3-0
9 WASHINGTON* 6-3-0 MINNESOTA 9-0-0 LOS ANGELES 7-2-0 ATLANTA* 6-3-0
10 WASHINGTON* 7-3-0 MINNESOTA 9-1-0 LOS ANGELES 8-2-0 ATLANTA* 7-3-0
11 WASHINGTON 8-3-0 MINNESOTA 10-1-0 LOS ANGELES 9-2-0 ATLANTA 8-3-0
12 WASHINGTON* 9-3-0 MINNESOTA 10-2-0 LOS ANGELES 10-2-0 ATLANTA* 8-4-0
13 DALLAS* 9-4-0 MINNESOTA 11-2-0 LOS ANGELES 11-2-0 WASHINGTON 9-4-0
14 DALLAS 10-4-0 MINNESOTA 12-2-0 LOS ANGELES 12-2-0 WASHINGTON 10-4-0

American Football Conference

Week Eastern Central Western Wild Card
1 (Buf, Mia) 1-0-0 (Cle, Pit) 1-0-0 DENVER 1-0-0 2 teams 1-0-0
2 N.Y. JETS 1-1-0 PITTSBURGH 2-0-0 4 teams 1-1-0 7 teams 1-1-0
3 BUFFALO 2-1-0 PITTSBURGH 3-0-0 KANSAS CITY 2-1-0 3 teams 2-1-0
4 Tie (Buf, Mia) 3-1-0 PITTSBURGH 4-0-0 KANSAS CITY 3-1-0 Tie (Buf, Mia) 3-1-0
5 Tie (Buf, Mia) 4-1-0 PITTSBURGH 4-1-0 KANSAS CITY 3-1-1 Tie (Buf, Mia) 4-1-0
6 MIAMI 5-1-0 PITTSBURGH 5-1-0 KANSAS CITY 3-2-1 CINCINNATI* 4-2-0
7 MIAMI 6-1-0 PITTSBURGH 6-1-0 OAKLAND 4-2-1 BUFFALO 5-2-0
8 MIAMI 7-1-0 PITTSBURGH 7-1-0 OAKLAND 5-2-1 BUFFALO 5-3-0
9 MIAMI 8-1-0 PITTSBURGH 8-1-0 OAKLAND* 5-3-1 KANSAS CITY* 5-3-1
10 MIAMI 9-1-0 PITTSBURGH 8-2-0 KANSAS CITY 6-3-1 CLEVELAND 6-3-1
11 MIAMI 10-1-0 PITTSBURGH 8-3-0 DENVER 6-3-2 CLEVELAND 7-3-1
12 MIAMI 11-1-0 CINCINNATI* 8-4-0 OAKLAND 7-4-1 PITTSBURGH 8-4-0
13 MIAMI 11-2-0 CINCINNATI* 9-4-0 OAKLAND 8-3-1 PITTSBURGH 9-4-0
14 MIAMI 12-2-0 CINCINNATI* 10-4-0 OAKLAND 9-4-1 PITTSBURGH 10-4-0

Final standings

W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, PCT= Winning Percentage, PF= Points For, PA = Points Against

  x  - clinched wild card berth,   y  - clinched division title

AFC East
TeamWLTPCTPFPA
y-Miami Dolphins 1220.857343150
Buffalo Bills 950.643259230
New England Patriots 590.357258300
New York Jets 4100.286240306
Baltimore Colts 4100.286226341
AFC Central
TeamWLTPCTPFPA
y-Cincinnati Bengals 1040.714286231
x-Pittsburgh Steelers 1040.714347210
Cleveland Browns 752.571234255
Houston Oilers 1130.071199447
AFC West
TeamWLTPCTPFPA
y-Oakland Raiders 941.679292175
Kansas City Chiefs 752.571231192
Denver Broncos 752.571354296
San Diego Chargers 2111.179188386
NFC East
TeamWLTPCTPFPA
y-Dallas Cowboys 1040.714382203
x-Washington Redskins 1040.714325198
Philadelphia Eagles 581.393310393
St. Louis Cardinals 491.321286365
New York Giants 2111.179226362
NFC Central
TeamWLTPCTPFPA
y-Minnesota Vikings 1220.857296168
Detroit Lions 671.464271247
Green Bay Packers 572.429202259
Chicago Bears 3110.214195334
NFC West
TeamWLTPCTPFPA
y-Los Angeles Rams 1220.857388178
Atlanta Falcons 950.643318224
San Francisco 49ers 590.357262319
New Orleans Saints 590.357163312

Tiebreakers

  • N.Y. Jets finished ahead of Baltimore in the AFC East based on head-to-head sweep (2-0).
  • Cincinnati finished ahead of Pittsburgh in the AFC Central based on better conference record (8-3 to Steelers' 7-4).
  • Kansas City finished ahead of Denver in the AFC West based on better division record (4-2 to Broncos' 3-2-1).
  • Dallas finished ahead of Washington in the NFC East based on better point differential in head-to-head games (13 points).
  • San Francisco finished ahead of New Orleans in the NFC West based on better division record (2-4 to Saints' 1-5).

Playoffs

Note: Prior to the 1975 season, the home teams in the playoffs were decided based on a yearly rotation.
Divisional Playoffs Conf. Championship Games Super Bowl VIII
                   
December 22 - Metropolitan Stadium        
 Washington Redskins  20
December 30 - Texas Stadium
 Minnesota Vikings  27  
 Minnesota Vikings  27
December 23 - Texas Stadium
     Dallas Cowboys  10  
 Los Angeles Rams  16
January 13 – Rice Stadium
 Dallas Cowboys  27  
 Minnesota Vikings  7
December 22 - Oakland Coliseum    
   Miami Dolphins  24
 Pittsburgh Steelers  14
December 30 - Miami Orange Bowl
 Oakland Raiders  33  
 Oakland Raiders  10
December 23 - Miami Orange Bowl
     Miami Dolphins  27  
 Cincinnati Bengals  16
 Miami Dolphins  34  
 

References

1973 NFL season
AFC East Central West East Central West NFC
Baltimore Cincinnati Denver Dallas Chicago Atlanta
Buffalo Cleveland Kansas City NY Giants Detroit Los Angeles
Miami Houston Oakland Philadelphia Green Bay New Orleans
New England Pittsburgh San Diego St. Louis Minnesota San Francisco
NY Jets Washington
1973 NFL Draft • NFL Playoffs • Pro BowlSuper Bowl VIII

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