National Football League
The National Football League is a professional American football league consisting of 32 teams, divided between the National Football Conference and the American Football Conference. The NFL is one of the four major professional sports leagues in North America, the highest professional level of American football in the world; the NFL's 17-week regular season runs from early September to late December, with each team playing 16 games and having one bye week. Following the conclusion of the regular season, six teams from each conference advance to the playoffs, a single-elimination tournament culminating in the Super Bowl, held in the first Sunday in February, is played between the champions of the NFC and AFC; the NFL was formed in 1920 as the American Professional Football Association before renaming itself the National Football League for the 1922 season. The NFL agreed to merge with the American Football League in 1966, the first Super Bowl was held at the end of that season. Today, the NFL has the highest average attendance of any professional sports league in the world and is the most popular sports league in the United States.
The Super Bowl is among the biggest club sporting events in the world and individual Super Bowl games account for many of the most watched television programs in American history, all occupying the Nielsen's Top 5 tally of the all-time most watched U. S. television broadcasts by 2015. The NFL's executive officer is the commissioner; the players in the league belong to the National Football League Players Association. The team with the most NFL championships is the Green Bay Packers with thirteen; the current NFL champions are the New England Patriots, who defeated the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII for their sixth Super Bowl championship. On August 20, 1920, a meeting was held by representatives of the Akron Pros, Canton Bulldogs, Cleveland Indians, Dayton Triangles at the Jordan and Hupmobile auto showroom in Canton, Ohio; this meeting resulted in the formation of the American Professional Football Conference, a group who, according to the Canton Evening Repository, intended to "raise the standard of professional football in every way possible, to eliminate bidding for players between rival clubs and to secure cooperation in the formation of schedules".
Another meeting was held on September 17, 1920 with representatives from teams from four states-Akron, Canton and Dayton from Ohio. The league was renamed to the American Professional Football Association; the league elected Jim Thorpe as its first president, consisted of 14 teams. The Massillon Tigers from Massillon, Ohio was at the September 17 meeting, but did not field a team in 1920. Only two of these teams, the Decatur Staleys and the Chicago Cardinals, remain. Although the league did not maintain official standings for its 1920 inaugural season and teams played schedules that included non-league opponents, the APFA awarded the Akron Pros the championship by virtue of their 8–0–3 record; the first event occurred on September 26, 1920 when the Rock Island Independents defeated the non-league St. Paul Ideals 48–0 at Douglas Park. On October 3, 1920, the first full week of league play occurred; the following season resulted in the Chicago Staleys controversially winning the title over the Buffalo All-Americans.
On June 24, 1922, the APFA changed its name to the National Football League. In 1932, the season ended with the Chicago Bears and the Portsmouth Spartans tied for first in the league standings. At the time, teams were ranked on a single table and the team with the highest winning percentage at the end of the season was declared the champion; this method had been used since the league's creation in 1920, but no situation had been encountered where two teams were tied for first. The league determined that a playoff game between Chicago and Portsmouth was needed to decide the league's champion; the teams were scheduled to play the playoff game a regular season game that would count towards the regular season standings, at Wrigley Field in Chicago, but a combination of heavy snow and extreme cold forced the game to be moved indoors to Chicago Stadium, which did not have a regulation-size football field. Playing with altered rules to accommodate the smaller playing field, the Bears won the game 9–0 and thus won the championship.
Fan interest in the de facto championship game led the NFL, beginning in 1933, to split into two divisions with a championship game to be played between the division champions. The 1934 season marked the first of 12 seasons in which African Americans were absent from the league; the de facto ban was rescinded in 1946, following public pressure and coinciding with the removal of a similar ban in Major League Baseball. The NFL was always the foremost pro
Hugh Green (American football)
Hugh Donell Green is a former professional American football player, a linebacker in the National Football League for eleven seasons during the 1980s and 1990s. He played college football for the University of Pittsburgh, was recognized as a three-time consensus All-American. Green was selected in the first round of the 1981 NFL Draft, played professionally for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Miami Dolphins. Green was born in Mississippi, he attended North Natchez High School. Green attended the University of Pittsburgh, where he played defensive end for the University of Pittsburgh Panthers from 1977 to 1980, he was a three-time consensus first-team All-American and a second-team All-America selection as a freshman in 1977. He was a consensus four-time All-East selection as well. In the 4 years Green played, the Pittsburgh Panthers compiled a 39–8–1 record, winning three bowl games en route, his No. 99 jersey was retired at halftime of his final home game in the 1980 season. After the season, he played in both the Hula Japan Bowl All-star games.
Green left the university with 53 career sacks in his college career. According to USC and Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach John McKay, "Hugh Green is the most productive player at his position I have seen in college"; the table is a year-by-year showing of Green's defensive statistics. In 1980, Green won the Walter Camp Award, the Maxwell Award, the Lombardi Award and was the Sporting News Player of the Year, the UPI Player of the Year and finished second in the Heisman Trophy balloting, losing to running back George Rogers of the University of South Carolina. Green's second-place finish in the voting was the best a defensive specialist had attained until 1997, when Charles Woodson won the award. Green was selected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1996 and was named the fifth greatest college football player of All-Time by collegefootballnews.com. He was named to the all-time All-American team compiled by The Sporting News in 1983. In 2007, Green was ranked No. 14 on ESPN's Top 25 Players In College Football History list.
He was named to Sports Illustrated's College Football All-Century team in 1999. Green was selected as the seventh overall pick of the first round by the Buccaneers in the 1981 NFL Draft, he was a 1982 All-Pro and 1983 All-Pro and was elected to the Pro Bowl twice in his career, in 1982 and 1983. In his career he suffered several injuries, including a car accident in the middle of the 1984 season for a fracture near the eye, he was traded to the Miami Dolphins in the middle of the 1985 season. In the 1985 season he was on to a career-high in sacks and ended the season getting 7.5 while playing all 16 games despite the mid-season trade. In Miami, Green played six more solid seasons before retiring, he was a member of Don Shula's teams which were playoff contenders and Green was a starter on those teams, racking up 7.5 sacks in 1989, to tie a career-high, for example. Pro Football Reference.com JT-SW.com
Ottis Jerome "O. J." Anderson is a former American football running back who played professionally in the National Football League. He was named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year by the Associated Press with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1979, the MVP of Super Bowl XXV in 1991 when playing with the New York Giants, he played college football at the University of Miami. Anderson was raised in West Palm Beach, Florida, he was a football and track star at Forest Hill High School in West Palm Beach, Florida before graduating in 1975. He went on to attend the University of Miami on a full athletic scholarship and earned a degree in Physical Education. During his college career, Anderson broke Chuck Foreman's career rushing records at the University of Miami, becoming the first player to rush for more than 1,000 yards in the school's history his senior year with 1,266 yards, he was named The Sporting News and the American Football Coaches First Team All-American and received All-American honorable mentions by both AP and UPI and graduated in 1979 as the team's all-time leading rusher with 3,331 yards.
Anderson was selected in the first round of the 1979 NFL Draft, the 8th overall pick, by the St. Louis Cardinals, he had one of the greatest debut games in NFL history, rushing for 193 yards, just 1 yard shy of Alan Ameche's all-time record for an NFL debut His single season 1,605 rushing yard performance was one of the few bright spots in the Cardinals' 1979 season, when they finished 5-11. He earned the first of back-to-back Pro Bowl selections that year. In his first six seasons, Anderson rushed for over 1,000 yards in five seasons; the lone exception was in the 1982 strike-shortened season, when he rushed for 587 yards in eight games. The Cardinals made the playoffs in 1982, thanks to an expanded field due to the brevity of the season, it was the franchise's first postseason appearance since 1975 and last until 1998. Anderson rushed for 58 yards on eight carries against the Green Bay Packers in the team's lone playoff game. Injuries drastically decreased the number of games Anderson played each season, his explosiveness as a tailback.
After a year and a half, Stump Mitchell emerged as the Cards' top running back, the expendable Anderson was traded to the New York Giants in the middle of the 1986 season. He ended up deep in the Giants' depth chart. By this time in his career, it was clear that he was better used in goal line or short yardage situations. Anderson would rush for only six yards on seven carries in the 1986 playoffs, but did score a rushing touchdown in the Giants' victory over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXI. In his first two and a half seasons with New York, Anderson did not fumble once in his 100 offensive touches. In 1989, Anderson become the top running back for Bill Parcells' ball control offense and was named NFL Comeback Player of the Year, he scored a career-high 14 rushing touchdowns, rushed for 1,023 yards on 325 carries. He was the top running back for the Giants the following year, when they won Super Bowl XXV, was named Super Bowl MVP for his 102 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries; as a testament to the Giants' ball control strategy, their time of possession was double that of the Buffalo Bills, their opponents, in the first Super Bowl without a turnover.
Anderson is one of only four running backs in NFL history to score rushing touchdowns in two Super Bowls and win Super Bowl MVP. Anderson was replaced by Rodney Hampton in 1991, his last season was 1992. Anderson fumbled just three times in 739 touches as a Giant, from 1987–1992; when he retired, Anderson ranked seventh in rushing eighth in rushing yards. At the 2014 season, Anderson was ranked 18th in career rushing touchdowns and is one of 29 running backs in the history of the NFL to rush for more than 10,000 yards; the end of Anderson's 14-year football career in 1993 marked the beginning of his career in entrepreneurship and motivational speaking. Anderson has appeared on several major local and national radio and television shows, including the David Letterman Show and Good Morning America, he has experience as a broadcast analyst with WFAN for the New York Giants, has co-hosted three radio shows in St. Louis with former Cardinal teammates Theotis Brown, E. J. Junior and Roy Green respectively.
Anderson was a frequent guest on The Billy Taylor Show in New York City and contributed to an in-season weekly column, "Ask Ottis", in the Giants Insider publication. As president of Ottis J. Anderson Enterprises, Anderson is involved in several ventures and is involved with writing benefits for municipalities, school boards and held businesses in New Jersey. Anderson has been affiliated with many community organizations such as the United Way of America, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, the Deborah Hospital Foundation. Anderson is a member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity. Chris Cuomo of ABC News interviewed Anderson as part of One Moment in Time: The Life of Whitney Houston, a two-hour special on ABC shortly after the death of singer Whitney Houston. In Super Bowl XXV, Houston performed "The Star-Spangled Banner", Anderson and then-Giants quarterback Jeff Hostetler, along with then-Buffalo Bills quarterback Frank Reich, reflected on Houston's performance in that game.
Anderson appeared on Comedy Central's Tosh.0 during the Crying Giants' Fan Web Redemption. Anderson has endorsed Inc. synthetic turf for sports fields. In 2017
In American football and Canadian football, a sack occurs when the quarterback is tackled behind the line of scrimmage before he can throw a forward pass, when the quarterback is tackled behind the line of scrimmage in the "pocket" and his intent is unclear, or when a passer runs out of bounds behind the line of scrimmage due to defensive pressure. This occurs if the opposing team's defensive line, linebackers or defensive backs are able to apply pass pressure to get past blocking players of the offensive team, or if the quarterback is unable to find a back to hand the ball off to or an available eligible receiver to catch the ball, allowing the defense a longer opportunity to tackle the quarterback. Performing a sack is advantageous for the defending team as the offense loses a down, the line of scrimmage retreats several yards. Better for the defense is a sack causing the quarterback to fumble the ball at or behind the line of scrimmage. A quarterback, pressured but avoids a sack can still be adversely affected by being forced to hurry.
In the National Football League, it is possible to record a sack for zero yards. The QB must pass the statistical line of scrimmage to avoid the sack. If a passer is sacked in his own end zone, the result is a safety and the defending team is awarded two points, unless the football is fumbled and either recovered in the end zone by the defense for a touchdown or recovered by either team outside the end zone. To be considered a sack the quarterback must intend to throw a forward pass. If the play is designed for the quarterback to rush the ball, any loss is subtracted from the quarterback's rushing total. If the quarterback's intent is not obvious, statisticians use certain criteria, such as the offensive line blocking scheme, to decide. Unique situations where a loss reduces a quarterback's rushing total are "kneel downs". A player will receive credit for half of a sack when multiple players contribute to the sacking of a quarterback if more than two players contributed. In the NFL yards lost on the play are added as negative yardage to the team's passing totals.
NCAA continues to subtract sack yardage from individual rushing totals. The term "sack" was first popularized by Hall of Fame defensive end Deacon Jones in the 1960s, who felt that a sack devastated the offense in the same way that a city was devastated when it was sacked. According to former NFL coach Marv Levy, it was Washington Redskins coach George Allen who coined the term when referring to Dallas Cowboys quarterback Craig Morton. Allen purportedly stated before a game, "Before we play those Dallas Cowboys, we’re going to take that Morton salt and pour him into a sack." Prior to "sack", the term "dump" was used, the NFL's statistical office recorded all sacks under "dumping the passer". The NFL only began to keep track of times passers lost yardage in 1961 and no credit was given to the defensive player responsible until 1982. Researcher John Turney of the Pro Football Researchers Association estimated that Jones recorded 173½ sacks in his career. Controversial NFL rule changes made for the 2018 season prohibit tacklers landing on the quarterback after making a sack, with the punishment being a roughing the passer penalty.
Of all forms of defensive pressure against the opposition's passer, sacks provide the most immediate impact by ending the offensive play. However, quarterbacks sometimes avoid a sack by throwing an incomplete pass or risking an interception. According to Football Outsiders, a quarterback hurry is the most common form of pass pressure. In the 2009 NFL season, there were 1,106 sacks and 3,268 hurries, a hurried quarterback averaged fewer yards per pass play compared to the average pass play; these records are from 1982 onwards, the year the NFL started recording sacks. NFL single-season sacks: 22.5, Michael Strahan, 2001 NFL career sacks: 200, Bruce Smith, 1985–2003 NFL single-game sacks: 7, Derrick Thomas, November 11, 1990 vs. Seattle Seahawks NFL sacks, rookie season: 14.5, Jevon Kearse, 1999 NFL seasons with 20 or more sacks: 2, J. J. Watt, 2012 & 2014 NFL most consecutive games recording a sack: 69, Tampa Bay, 1999–2003 NFL career sacks taken: 525, Brett Favre, 1991–2010 NFL single-season sacks taken: 76, David Carr, 2002 NFL game sacks taken: 12, Warren Moon, September 29, 1985 and Donovan McNabb, September 30, 2007 NFL Super Bowl most sacks in a single game, 12 Carolina vs. Denver, 50 NFL Super Bowl most sacks by a player in a single game, 3Reggie White – Green Bay vs.
New England, XXXI Darnell Dockett – Arizona vs. Pittsburgh, XLIII Kony Ealy – Carolina vs. Denver, 50 Grady Jarrett – Atlanta vs. New England, LINFL Super Bowl most sacks, career 4.5, Charles Haley – 5 games San Francisco XXIII, XXIV, Dallas XXVII, XXVIII, XXX List of National Football League annual sacks leaders List of National Football League career sacks leaders The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game – non-fiction book by Michael Lewis Sack Story, an article describing the controversy over the sack record Pro-football-reference.com enumeration of career sack leaders
Robert Perry Golic is an American former college and professional football player, television actor, radio personality and sports commentator. Golic played defensive tackle in the National Football League for fourteen seasons from 1979 to 1992, he played professionally for the New England Patriots, Cleveland Browns, Los Angeles Raiders. He attended the University of Notre Dame, where he was recognized as an All-American for college football and two-time All-American for wrestling, he is the older brother of Mike Golic from ESPN's now defunct morning show Mike & Mike and ESPN's new show Golic and Wingo along with his nephew Mike Golic Jr.. Golic was born in Ohio to Catherine and Louis Robert "Bob" Golic; the Golics are of Slovenian descent. He has two brothers and Mike, who played in the NFL. Golic's father went by the nickname Bob; the elder Golic had a 7-year professional playing career in the Canadian Football League from 1956–1962. He played for Montreal Alouettes and Saskatchewan Roughriders.
He won the Grey Cup with Hamilton in 1957. Louis Robert Golic died on Friday, June 2013, from heart failure. Golic attended St. Joseph's High School, at the time an all-boys school in Cleveland, where he played high school football. Golic was an accomplished high school wrestler. In 1975, he won the Ohio high school heavyweight championship, beating Harold Smith of Canton McKinley, a future Olympian, he defeated future NFL player Tom Cousineau from cross-town all-boys school rival St. Edward High School in the tournament semifinals; the match between Golic and Cousineau, who would go on to place third, has been called "one of the most memorable" in the tournament's history. Cousineau would go to be two-time All-American at linebacker at Ohio State. Golic and Cousineau would become teammates in the NFL with the Browns. Golic received a football scholarship to attend the University of Notre Dame, where he wrestled, he played for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team from 1975 to 1978. He was a member of the 1977 NCAA National Champion football team.
He was selected as a first-team All-American for the 1977 season, a unanimous first-team All-American in 1978. Golic was one of nation's top wrestlers with a three-year record of 54-4-1, finishing third in NCAA meet in 1976 and fourth in 1977, he was named a two-time All-American for Notre Dame as a heavyweight wrestler, capturing fourth place at the 1977 NCAA tournament and third place in 1978. He graduated from Notre Dame in 1979 with a B. A. in Management. The New England Patriots chose Golic, as a linebacker, in the second round of the 1979 NFL Draft, he played for the Patriots from 1979 to 1981. Golic was cut by the Patriots going into the 1982 season and claimed on waivers by the Cleveland Browns; the Browns moved him from Linebacker to Nose Tackle. After seven years with the Browns, Golic relocated to the Los Angeles Raiders thru Plan B Free Agency where he played his last four NFL seasons. Golic was a 3-time Pro Bowler: 1986, 1987 while playing with the Cleveland Browns. After retiring from football, Golic pursued an acting career.
He appeared in Saved by the Bell: The College Years, playing the role of Mike Rogers, the resident adviser of Cal U, the fictional college attended by the cast. He appeared in the role for the NBC made-for-TV-movie Saved by the Bell: Wedding in Las Vegas in 1994. From 1996 until 1998, Golic was one of the members of the original Home and Family when it aired on The Family Channel. Golic hosted sports talk radio programs and did sports reporting for TV stations in Los Angeles. In 2004, Golic returned to Northeast Ohio to host the afternoon drive time radio talk show on WNIR 100.1 FM in Akron. He is a football analyst for WOIO Channel 19 in Cleveland. Golic opened a bar in downtown Cleveland's Warehouse District; the restaurant closed in June 2014. Golic was the Vice President of Football Operations for the Lingerie Football League expansion team, the Cleveland Crush until operations were ceased in 2015. Golic is the older brother of Mike Golic, a former NFL football player, is a radio host ESPN Radio's Golic and Wingo.
His nephews are Mike Golic Jr. as of April 4, 2016, Golic Jr. is the co-host of First and Last and who once played football for the New Orleans Saints, Jake, who entered Notre Dame in 2009. Mike Golic is a spokesperson for Nutrisystem after losing more than 50 lbs on the diet. Golic lives with his family in Ohio, he has 3 children. His wife Karen was a ballerina and Raiderette, he performed The Nutcracker with her at the Akron Civic Theatre in Akron, Ohio in 2006. Official website Golic's Sports Bar and Grille Bob Golic at Pro-Football-Reference.com Bob Golic on IMDb
College football is American football played by teams of student athletes fielded by American universities and military academies, or Canadian football played by teams of student athletes fielded by Canadian universities. It was through college football play that American football rules first gained popularity in the United States. Unlike most other sports in North America, no minor league farm organizations exist in American or Canadian football. Therefore, college football is considered to be the second tier of American football in the United States and Canadian football in Canada. However, in some areas of the country, college football is more popular than professional football, for much of the early 20th century, college football was seen as more prestigious than professional football, it is in college football where a player's performance directly impacts his chances of playing professional football. The best collegiate players will declare for the professional draft after three to four years of collegiate competition, with the NFL holding its annual draft every spring in which 256 players are selected annually.
Those not selected can still attempt to land an NFL roster spot as an undrafted free agent. After the emergence of the professional National Football League, college football remained popular throughout the U. S. Although the college game has a much larger margin for talent than its pro counterpart, the sheer number of fans following major colleges provides a financial equalizer for the game, with Division I programs — the highest level — playing in huge stadiums, six of which have seating capacity exceeding 100,000 people. In many cases, college stadiums employ bench-style seating, as opposed to individual seats with backs and arm rests; this allows them to seat more fans in a given amount of space than the typical professional stadium, which tends to have more features and comforts for fans.. College athletes, unlike players in the NFL, are not permitted by the NCAA to be paid salaries. Colleges are only allowed to provide non-monetary compensation such as athletic scholarships that provide for tuition and books.
Modern North American football has its origins in various games, all known as "football", played at public schools in Great Britain in the mid-19th century. By the 1840s, students at Rugby School were playing a game in which players were able to pick up the ball and run with it, a sport known as Rugby football; the game was taken to Canada by British soldiers stationed there and was soon being played at Canadian colleges. The first documented gridiron football match was played at University College, a college of the University of Toronto, November 9, 1861. One of the participants in the game involving University of Toronto students was William Mulock Chancellor of the school. A football club was formed at the university soon afterward, although its rules of play at this stage are unclear. In 1864, at Trinity College a college of the University of Toronto, F. Barlow Cumberland and Frederick A. Bethune devised rules based on rugby football. Modern Canadian football is regarded as having originated with a game played in Montreal, in 1865, when British Army officers played local civilians.
The game gained a following, the Montreal Football Club was formed in 1868, the first recorded non-university football club in Canada. Early games appear to have had much in common with the traditional "mob football" played in Great Britain; the games remained unorganized until the 19th century, when intramural games of football began to be played on college campuses. Each school played its own variety of football. Princeton University students played a game called "ballown" as early as 1820. A Harvard tradition known as "Bloody Monday" began in 1827, which consisted of a mass ballgame between the freshman and sophomore classes. In 1860, both the town police and the college authorities agreed; the Harvard students responded by going into mourning for a mock figure called "Football Fightum", for whom they conducted funeral rites. The authorities held firm and it was a dozen years before football was once again played at Harvard. Dartmouth played its own version called "Old division football", the rules of which were first published in 1871, though the game dates to at least the 1830s.
All of these games, others, shared certain commonalities. They remained "mob" style games, with huge numbers of players attempting to advance the ball into a goal area by any means necessary. Rules were simple and injury were common; the violence of these mob-style games led to a decision to abandon them. Yale, under pressure from the city of New Haven, banned the play of all forms of football in 1860. American football historian Parke H. Davis described the period between 1869 and 1875 as the'Pioneer Period'. On November 6, 1869, Rutgers University faced Princeton University in the first-ever game of intercollegiate football, it was played with a round ball and, like all early games, used a set of rules suggested by Rutgers captain William J. Leggett, based
1979 NFL season
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 the 20th anniversary of the American Football League. Whenever the quarterback is sacked, the clock will be stopped for at least five seconds and restarted again. 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 altered equipment. Tear-away jerseys are banned. During kickoffs 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 can not use their helmets to 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, 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 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 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, two wild-card teams in each conference. San Diego was the top AFC playoff seed based on head-to-head victory over Pittsburgh. Seattle finished ahead of Oakland in the AFC West based on head-to-head sweep. Dallas finished ahead of Philadelphia in the NFC East based on better conference record.
Tampa Bay finished ahead of Chicago in the NFC Central based on a better division record. Chicago was the second NFC Wild Card ahead of Washington based on better net points in all games. 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 NOTE: The Dallas Cowboys did not play the Philadelphia Eagles in the Divisional playoff round because both teams were in the same division; the 1979 NFL Draft was held from May 3 to 1979 at New York City's Waldorf Astoria New York. With the first pick, the Buffalo Bills selected linebacker Tom Cousineau from Ohio State University. Cincinnati Bengals: Homer Rice began his first full season as the team's head coach, he replaced Bill Johnson after the Bengals started the 1978 season at 0–5. Oakland Raiders: John Madden retired and was replaced by Tom Flores.
New England Patriots: Ron Erhardt was named as permanent head coach. The team had suspended Chuck Fairbanks for the last regular season game in 1978. Fairbanks had been in talks all that season to join the University of Colorado Buffaloes, breaching his contract with the Patriots. Coordinators Erhardt and Hank Bullough took over as co-interim head coaches for that final 1978 game. Fairbanks was reinstated as head coach two weeks for the Divisional Playoffs, but left in the off-season to join Colorado. New York Giants: John McVay was fired and replaced by Ray Perkins. San Diego Chargers: Don Coryell began his first full season as Chargers head coach, he replaced Tommy Prothro, fired after a 1–3 start in 1978. San Francisco 49ers: Bill Walsh was hired as the new 49ers head coach. Pete McCulley was fired after a 1–8 start in 1978, Fred O'Connor served as interim for the last seven games. St. Louis Cardinals: Bud Wilkinson was fired after the team started the season at 3–10; the team's personal director Larry Wilson served as interim for the last three games.
NFL Record and Fact Book NFL History 1971–1980 Total Football: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League