|1973 National Football League season|
|Duration||September 16 – December 16, 1973|
|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|
|Date||January 20, 1974|
|National Football League seasons
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.
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 linemen 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. Previously, 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.
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
|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|
American Football Conference
|1||Tie: (Buf, Mia)||1–0–0||Tie: (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|
W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, PCT= Winning Percentage, PF= Points For, PA = Points Against
wild card berth, – clinched division title– clinched
|New England Patriots||5||9||0||.357||258||300|
|New York Jets||4||10||0||.286||240||306|
|Kansas City Chiefs||7||5||2||.571||231||192|
|San Diego Chargers||2||11||1||.179||188||386|
|St. Louis Cardinals||4||9||1||.321||286||365|
|New York Giants||2||11||1||.179||226||362|
|Green Bay Packers||5||7||2||.429||202||259|
|y-Los Angeles Rams||12||2||0||.857||388||178|
|San Francisco 49ers||5||9||0||.357||262||319|
|New Orleans Saints||5||9||0||.357||163||312|
- 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).
- Main article: 1973–74 NFL 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|
|December 30 – Texas Stadium|
|December 23 – Texas Stadium|
|Los Angeles Rams||16|
|January 13 – Rice Stadium|
|December 22 – Oakland Coliseum|
|December 30 – Miami Orange Bowl|
|December 23 – Miami Orange Bowl|
|Most Valuable Player||O.J. Simpson, Running Back, Buffalo|
|Coach of the Year||Chuck Knox, L.A. Rams|
|Offensive Player of the Year||O.J. Simpson, Running Back, Buffalo|
|Defensive Player of the Year||Dick Anderson, Safety, Miami|
|Offensive Rookie of the Year||Chuck Foreman, Running Back, Minnesota|
|Defensive Rookie of the Year||Wally Chambers, Defensive Tackle, Chicago|
- 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)
Template:1973 NFL season by team
Early Era (1920-1969)
|1920 • 1921 • 1922 • 1923 • 1924 • 1925 • 1926 • 1927 • 1928 • 1929|
|Modern Era (1970-present)|
|1970 • 1971 • 1972 • 1973 • 1974 • 1975 • 1976 • 1977 • 1978 • 1979|