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1988 National Football League season
Regular season
Duration September 4, 1988-December 19, 1988
Playoffs
Start date December 24, 1988
AFC Champions Cincinnati Bengals
NFC Champions San Francisco 49ers
Super Bowl XXIII
Date January 22, 1989
Site Joe Robbie Stadium, Miami, Florida
Champions San Francisco 49ers
Pro Bowl
Date January 29, 1989
Site Aloha Stadium
National Football League seasons
 < 1987 1989 > 

The 1988 NFL season was the 69th regular season of the National Football League. The Cardinals relocated from St. Louis, Missouri to the Phoenix, Arizona area becoming the Phoenix Cardinals but remained in the NFC East division.

This season marked the final coaching season for the legendary Tom Landry.

The season ended with Super Bowl XXIII when the San Francisco 49ers defeated the Cincinnati Bengals.

Contents

Major rule changes

  • A standard system of two time intervals between plays are established (and would be timed using the play clock): For normal plays, the offensive team has 45 seconds to snap the ball after the previous play is signaled dead. After time outs and other administrative stoppages, the time limit is 30 seconds beginning after the Referee signals that the ball is ready to resume play.
  • If a fumble occurs during an extra point attempt, only the fumbling player can recover and/or advance the ball. This change closes a loophole in the "Stabler Fumble Rule" that was enacted during the 1979 NFL season in reaction to the Holy Roller Game.
  • The penalty for "Running into the kicker" is changed from five yards and a first down to just 5 yards.
  • Referees were outfitted with white hats while all other officials wore black hats, which was the standard practice in college and high school football. From 1979 through 1987, referees wore black hats while all other officials wore white hats.

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-Buffalo Bills 12 4 0 .750 329 237
Indianapolis Colts 9 7 0 .563 354 315
New England Patriots 9 7 0 .563 250 284
New York Jets 8 7 1 .531 372 354
Miami Dolphins 6 10 0 .375 319 380
AFC Central
Team W L T PCT PF PA
y-Cincinnati Bengals 12 4 0 .750 448 329
x-Cleveland Browns 10 6 0 .625 304 288
x-Houston Oilers 10 6 0 .625 424 365
Pittsburgh Steelers 5 11 0 .313 336 421
AFC West
Team W L T PCT PF PA
y-Seattle Seahawks 9 7 0 .563 339 329
Denver Broncos 8 8 0 .500 327 352
Los Angeles Raiders 7 9 0 .438 325 369
San Diego Chargers 6 10 0 .375 231 332
Kansas City Chiefs 4 11 1 .281 254 320
NFC East
Team W L T PCT PF PA
y-Philadelphia Eagles 10 6 0 .625 379 319
New York Giants 10 6 0 .625 359 304
Washington Redskins 7 9 0 .438 345 387
Phoenix Cardinals 7 9 0 .438 344 398
Dallas Cowboys 3 13 0 .188 265 381
NFC Central
Team W L T PCT PF PA
y-Chicago Bears 12 4 0 .750 312 215
x-Minnesota Vikings 11 5 0 .688 406 233
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 5 11 0 .313 261 350
Detroit Lions 4 12 0 .250 220 313
Green Bay Packers 4 12 0 .250 240 315
NFC West
Team W L T PCT PF PA
y-San Francisco 49ers 10 6 0 .625 369 294
x-Los Angeles Rams 10 6 0 .625 407 293
New Orleans Saints 10 6 0 .625 312 283
Atlanta Falcons 5 11 0 .313 244 315


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Tiebreakers

  • Cincinnati was the top AFC playoff seed ahead of Buffalo based on head-to-head victory (1–0).
  • Indianapolis finished ahead of New England in the AFC East based on better record against common opponents (7–5 to Patriots' 6–6).
  • Cleveland finished ahead of Houston in the AFC Central based on better division record (4–2 to Oilers' 3–3).
  • San Francisco was the second NFC playoff seed ahead of Philadelphia on better record against common opponents (6–3 to Eagles' 5–4).
  • Philadelphia finished first in the NFC East based on head-to-head sweep of N.Y. Giants (2–0).
  • Washington finished third in the NFC East based on better division record (4–4) than Phoenix (3–5).
  • Detroit finished fourth in the NFC Central based on head-to-head sweep of Green Bay (2–0).
  • San Francisco finished first in the NFC West based on better head-to-head record (3–1) against L.A. Rams (2–2) and New Orleans (1–3).
  • L.A. Rams finished second in the NFC West based on better division record (4–2) than New Orleans (3–3), and earned the last NFC Wild Card based on better conference record (8–4) than N.Y. Giants (9–5) and New Orleans (6–6).

Playoffs

Home team in capitals

AFC

  • Wild-Card playoff: Houston 24, CLEVELAND 23
  • Divisional playoffs: CINCINNATI 21, Seattle 13; BUFFALO 17, Houston 10
  • AFC Championship: CINCINNATI 21, Buffalo 10 at Riverfront Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio, January 8, 1989

NFC

  • Wild-Card playoff: MINNESOTA 28, L.A. Rams 17
  • Divisional playoffs: CHICAGO 20, Philadelphia 12; SAN FRANCISCO 34, Minnesota 9
  • NFC Championship: San Francisco 28, CHICAGO 3 at Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois, January 8, 1989

Super Bowl

References

  • NFL Record and Fact Book (ISBN 1-932994-36-X)
  • NFL History 1981-1990 (Last accessed December 4, 2005)
  • 1988 season in details
  • Total Football: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League (ISBN 0-06-270174-6)
1988 NFL season
AFC East Central West East Central West NFC
Buffalo Cincinnati Denver Dallas Chicago Atlanta
Indianapolis Cleveland Kansas City NY Giants Detroit LA Rams
Miami Houston LA Raiders Philadelphia Green Bay New Orleans
New England Pittsburgh San Diego Phoenix Minnesota San Francisco
NY Jets Seattle Washington Tampa Bay
1988 NFL DraftNFL PlayoffsPro BowlSuper Bowl XXIII

1988 National Football League season
Regular season
Duration September 4, 1988-December 19, 1988
Playoffs
Start date December 24, 1988
AFC Champions Cincinnati Bengals
NFC Champions San Francisco 49ers
Super Bowl XXIII
Date January 22, 1989
Site Joe Robbie Stadium, Miami, Florida
Champions San Francisco 49ers
Pro Bowl
Date January 29, 1989
Site Aloha Stadium
National Football League seasons
 < 1987 1989 > 

The 1988 NFL season was the 69th regular season of the National Football League. The Cardinals relocated from St. Louis, Missouri to the Phoenix, Arizona area becoming the Phoenix Cardinals but remained in the NFC East division.

This season marked the final coaching season for the legendary Tom Landry.

The season ended with Super Bowl XXIII when the San Francisco 49ers defeated the Cincinnati Bengals.

Contents

Major rule changes

  • A standard system of two time intervals between plays are established (and would be timed using the play clock): For normal plays, the offensive team has 45 seconds to snap the ball after the previous play is signaled dead. After time outs and other administrative stoppages, the time limit is 30 seconds beginning after the Referee signals that the ball is ready to resume play.
  • If a fumble occurs during an extra point attempt, only the fumbling player can recover and/or advance the ball. This change closes a loophole in the "Stabler Fumble Rule" that was enacted during the 1979 NFL season in reaction to the Holy Roller Game.
  • The penalty for "Running into the kicker" is changed from five yards and a first down to just 5 yards.
  • Referees were outfitted with white hats while all other officials wore black hats, which was the standard practice in college and high school football. From 1979 through 1987, referees wore black hats while all other officials wore white hats.

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-Buffalo Bills 1240.750329237
Indianapolis Colts 970.563354315
New England Patriots 970.563250284
New York Jets 871.531372354
Miami Dolphins 6100.375319380
AFC Central
TeamWLTPCTPFPA
y-Cincinnati Bengals 1240.750448329
x-Cleveland Browns 1060.625304288
x-Houston Oilers 1060.625424365
Pittsburgh Steelers 5110.313336421
AFC West
TeamWLTPCTPFPA
y-Seattle Seahawks 970.563339329
Denver Broncos 880.500327352
Los Angeles Raiders 790.438325369
San Diego Chargers 6100.375231332
Kansas City Chiefs 4111.281254320
NFC East
TeamWLTPCTPFPA
y-Philadelphia Eagles 1060.625379319
New York Giants 1060.625359304
Washington Redskins 790.438345387
Phoenix Cardinals 790.438344398
Dallas Cowboys 3130.188265381
NFC Central
TeamWLTPCTPFPA
y-Chicago Bears 1240.750312215
x-Minnesota Vikings 1150.688406233
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 5110.313261350
Detroit Lions 4120.250220313
Green Bay Packers 4120.250240315
NFC West
TeamWLTPCTPFPA
y-San Francisco 49ers 1060.625369294
x-Los Angeles Rams 1060.625407293
New Orleans Saints 1060.625312283
Atlanta Falcons 5110.313244315

Tiebreakers

  • Cincinnati was the top AFC playoff seed ahead of Buffalo based on head-to-head victory (1–0).
  • Indianapolis finished ahead of New England in the AFC East based on better record against common opponents (7–5 to Patriots' 6–6).
  • Cleveland finished ahead of Houston in the AFC Central based on better division record (4–2 to Oilers' 3–3).
  • San Francisco was the second NFC playoff seed ahead of Philadelphia on better record against common opponents (6–3 to Eagles' 5–4).
  • Philadelphia finished first in the NFC East based on head-to-head sweep of N.Y. Giants (2–0).
  • Washington finished third in the NFC East based on better division record (4–4) than Phoenix (3–5).
  • Detroit finished fourth in the NFC Central based on head-to-head sweep of Green Bay (2–0).
  • San Francisco finished first in the NFC West based on better head-to-head record (3–1) against L.A. Rams (2–2) and New Orleans (1–3).
  • L.A. Rams finished second in the NFC West based on better division record (4–2) than New Orleans (3–3), and earned the last NFC Wild Card based on better conference record (8–4) than N.Y. Giants (9–5) and New Orleans (6–6).

Playoffs

Home team in capitals

AFC

  • Wild-Card playoff: Houston 24, CLEVELAND 23
  • Divisional playoffs: CINCINNATI 21, Seattle 13; BUFFALO 17, Houston 10
  • AFC Championship: CINCINNATI 21, Buffalo 10 at Riverfront Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio, January 8, 1989

NFC

  • Wild-Card playoff: MINNESOTA 28, L.A. Rams 17
  • Divisional playoffs: CHICAGO 20, Philadelphia 12; SAN FRANCISCO 34, Minnesota 9
  • NFC Championship: San Francisco 28, CHICAGO 3 at Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois, January 8, 1989

Super Bowl

References

1988 NFL season
AFC East Central West East Central West NFC
Buffalo Cincinnati Denver Dallas Chicago Atlanta
Indianapolis Cleveland Kansas City NY Giants Detroit LA Rams
Miami Houston LA Raiders Philadelphia Green Bay New Orleans
New England Pittsburgh San Diego Phoenix Minnesota San Francisco
NY Jets Seattle Washington Tampa Bay
1988 NFL Draft • NFL Playoffs • Pro BowlSuper Bowl XXIII

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