The 1975 NFL season was the 56th regular season of the National Football League. It was the first NFL season without a tie game. The league made two significant changes to increase the appeal of the game:
Instead of a traditional Thanksgiving Day game hosted by the Dallas Cowboys, the league scheduled a Buffalo Bills at St. Louis Cardinals contest. This was the first season since 1966 that the Cowboys did not play on that holiday.
|1975 National Football League season|
|Duration||September 21 – December 21, 1975|
|Start date||December 27, 1975|
|AFC Champions||Pittsburgh Steelers|
|NFC Champions||Dallas Cowboys|
|Super Bowl X|
|Date||January 18, 1976|
|Site||Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida|
|Date||January 26, 1976|
|Site||Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans|
Jerry Seeman, who would go on to serve as referee for Super Bowl XXIII and Super Bowl XXV before a 10-year tenure as the NFL's Director of Officiating from 1991-2001, was hired as a line judge. Fred Swearingen, the referee in the 1972 Raiders-Steelers playoff game which produced the Immaculate Reception, was demoted to his former position, field judge. Gene Barth, the line judge on Jim Tunney's crew the previous four seasons, was promoted.
Starting in 1970, through 2001, 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, records against common records, and records in conference play.
|1||4 teams||1–0–0||Detroit, Minnesota||1–0–0||4 teams||0–1–0||4 teams||1–0–0|
|2||Dallas, Washington||2–0–0||Detroit, Minnesota||2–0–0||Los Angeles||1–1–0||2 teams||2–0–0|
|3||Dallas||3–0–0||Minnesota||3–0–0||Los Angeles||2–1–0||3 teams||2–1–0|
|4||Dallas||4–0–0||Minnesota||4–0–0||Los Angeles||3–1–0||Washington, Detroit||2–1–0|
|5||Dallas||4–1–0||Minnesota||5–0–0||Los Angeles||4–1–0||St. Louis, Detroit||2–1–0|
|8||Washington*||6–2–0||Minnesota||8–0–0||Los Angeles||6–2–0||St. Louis||6–2–0|
|9||St. Louis||7–2–0||Minnesota||9–0–0||Los Angeles||7–2–0||Dallas, Detroit, Washington||6–3–0|
|10||St. Louis||8–2–0||Minnesota||10–0–0||Los Angeles||8–2–0||Dallas||7–3–0|
|11||Dallas*||8–3–0||Minnesota||10–1–0||Los Angeles||9–2–0||St. Louis||8–3–0|
|12||St. Louis||9–3–0||Minnesota||11–1–0||Los Angeles||10–2–0||Dallas||8–4–0|
|13||St. Louis||10–3–0||Minnesota||11–2–0||Los Angeles||11–2–0||Dallas||9–4–0|
|14||St. Louis||11–3–0||Minnesota||12–2–0||Los Angeles||12–2–0||Dallas||10–4–0|
|1||Baltimore, Buffalo||1–0–0||3 teams||1–0–0||Denver, Oakland||1–0–0||4 teams||1–0–0|
|2||Buffalo||2–0–0||Cincinnati, Houston||2–0–0||Denver, Oakland||2–0–0||2 teams||2–0–0|
|Divisional Playoffs||Conference Championship Games||Super Bowl X|
|December 28 – Metropolitan Stadium|
|January 4 – L.A. Memorial Coliseum|
|December 27 – L.A. Memorial Coliseum|
|2) Los Angeles||7|
|3) St. Louis||23|
|January 18 – Miami Orange Bowl|
|2) Los Angeles||35|
|December 28 – Oakland Coliseum|
|January 4 – Three Rivers Stadium|
|December 27 – Three Rivers Stadium|
*Pittsburgh (the AFC 1 seed) did not play Cincinnati (the 4 seed) in the Divisional playoff round because both teams were in the same division.
|Most Valuable Player||Fran Tarkenton, Quarterback, Minnesota Vikings|
|Coach of the Year||Ted Marchibroda, Baltimore Colts|
|Offensive Player of the Year||Fran Tarkenton, Quarterback, Minnesota Vikings|
|Defensive Player of the Year||Mel Blount, Cornerback, Pittsburgh Steelers|
|Offensive Rookie of the Year||Mike Thomas, Running Back, Washington Redskins|
|Defensive Rookie of the Year||Robert Brazile, Linebacker, Houston Oilers|
|Man of the Year||Ken Anderson, Quarterback, Cincinnati Bengals|
|Comeback Player of the Year||Dave Hampton, Running Back, Atlanta Falcons|
|Super Bowl Most Valuable Player||Lynn Swann, Wide Receiver, Pittsburgh Steelers|
The 1975 NFL Draft was held from January 28 to 29, 1975 at New York City's Hilton at Rockefeller Center. With the first pick, the Atlanta Falcons selected quarterback Steve Bartkowski from the University of California.
Charlie Wade is a former wide receiver in the National Football League. He was drafted in the seventeenth round of the 1973 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins and later first played with the Chicago Bears the following year. During the 1975 NFL season he played with the Green Bay Packers before spending a season away from the NFL. He would play his final season with the Kansas City Chiefs.Dennis Franklin
Dennis E. Franklin (born August 24, 1953) is a former professional American football player who was drafted by the Detroit Lions of the National Football League (NFL) in the 1975 NFL Draft. Prior to playing for the NFL he played college football as a quarterback at the University of Michigan from 1971 to 1974. He was the starting quarterback for the Michigan Wolverines from 1972 to 1974. He was recruited by Michigan after starring for the Massillon High School football team in Ohio. Franklin is known as Michigan's first black quarterback.Ernie Janet
Ernie Janet (born July 22, 1949) is a former guard in the National Football League.Gil Chapman
Gil Chapman (born August 23, 1953) is a former American football player, politician and businessman.
Chapman became one of the leading scorers in the history of New Jersey high school football while playing for Thomas Jefferson High School in Elizabeth, New Jersey from 1968 to 1970. In 1970, he was picked by Parade magazine as the "Number 1 Player in America." He has also been selected as one of New Jersey's top ten offensive football players of the 20th Century.
From 1972 to 1974, he played college football for the University of Michigan under head coach Bo Schembechler. During his three years at Michigan, he scored 18 touchdowns and gained over 2,500 total yards, including 1,090 return yards, 919 rushing yards and 517 rushing yards. At the conclusion of his career, he held Michigan's all-time records for career kickoff return yardage (640) and single-game kickoff return yardage (125 against Illinois in 1972).
Chapman played professional football for the New Orleans Saints during the 1975 NFL season. As a rookie, he ranked fifth in the NFL with 12.2 yards per punt return and tenth with 804 total return yards.
After retiring from football, Chapman served from 1978 to 1983 on the City Council in Elizabeth, New Jersey, the first African-American to hold any elected office in the city. He worked in management and sales for the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority from 1979 to 1984, including several years as the operations manager of Giants Stadium. From 1986 to 2009, he owned and operated a Ford Motor Company dealership on Staten Island, New York.Hise Austin
Hise Austin is a former defensive back and wide receiver in the National Football League.Jewish Guild
The Jewish Guild is a social club in suburban Johannesburg, South Africa, that was founded in the late 19th century. In its heyday, they fielded a football side that came runners up in the South African cup competition and even fielded the world renowned player George Best.John Madden
John Madden (born April 10, 1936) is a former American football coach and sportscaster. He won a Super Bowl as head coach of the Oakland Raiders, and after retiring from coaching became a well-known color commentator for NFL telecasts. In 2006, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in recognition of his coaching career. He is also widely known for the long-running Madden NFL video game series he has endorsed and fronted since 1988. Madden worked as a color analyst for all four major networks: CBS (1979–1993), Fox (1994–2001), ABC (2002–2005), and NBC (2006–2009).
Madden has also written several books and has served as a commercial pitchman for various products and retailers. He retired from broadcasting on April 16, 2009 to spend more time with his family.John Mazur
John Edward Mazur (June 17, 1930 – November 1, 2013) was an American football player and coach. He was a quarterback for the University of Notre Dame and also served as head coach for the New England Patriots from 1970 to 1972.Johnnie Gray
Johnnie Lee Gray (born December 18, 1953) is an American retired professional football player. Gray was a safety in the National Football League with the Green Bay Packers.Kent Gaydos
Kent Gaydos is a former wide receiver in the National Football League.Len Garrett
Len Garrett is a former tight end in the National Football League.Levi Johnson
Levi Johnson (born October 30, 1950 in Corpus Christi, Texas) was a cornerback who played five seasons for the Detroit Lions in the National Football League. He had 21 interceptions in less than five years as an NFL player, returning three for touchdowns.Johnson led the Lions with five interceptions during the 1973 NFL season and the 1974 NFL season, returning two for touchdowns in 1974, including one on Thanksgiving Day against the Denver Broncos.He added another touchdown during the 1975 NFL season against the Green Bay Packers. During the season-opener, he blocked two punts and fell on one in the end zone for the score. Teammate Larry Ball picked up Johnson's other blocked punt and returned it 34 yards for another touchdown.Johnson had a career-high six interceptions in 1976, and was second on the team that season, one behind James Hunter. He also scored the final touchdown of his career, picking off Jim Zorn of the expansion Seattle Seahawks and returning it 70 yards for the score.Johnson had two interceptions in the 1977 NFL season's third game, against the Philadelphia Eagles, but sustained a knee injury and never played again in the NFL.List of Monday Night Football results (1970–89)
Beginning in the 1970 NFL season, the National Football League began scheduling a weekly regular season game on Monday night before a national television audience. From 1970 to 2005, the ABC television network carried these games, with the ESPN cable television network taking over beginning in September 2006. Listed below are games played from 1970 to 1989.Mercedes-Benz Superdome
The Mercedes-Benz Superdome, often referred to simply as the Superdome, is a domed sports and exhibition venue located in the Central Business District of New Orleans, Louisiana, United States. It primarily serves as the home venue for the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League (NFL), the home stadium for the Sugar Bowl, New Orleans Bowl in college football and the longtime rivalry football game of the SWAC Conference’s Southern University and Grambling State University, known as the Bayou Classic (held yearly, every Thanksgiving Weekend). It also houses their schools’ Battle of the Bands between The Southern University "The Human Jukebox" and Grambling State’s Tiger Marching Band. Plans were drawn up in 1967 by the New Orleans modernist architectural firm of Curtis and Davis and the building opened as the Louisiana Superdome in 1975. Its steel frame covers a 13-acre (5.3 ha) expanse and the 273-foot (83 m) dome is made of a lamellar multi-ringed frame and has a diameter of 680 feet (210 m), making it the largest fixed domed structure in the world. It is adjacent to the Smoothie King Center.
Because of the building's size and location in one of the major tourist destinations of the United States, the Superdome routinely hosts major sporting events, including the Super Bowl, College Football Championship Game, and the Final Four in college basketball. The stadium was also the long-time home of the Tulane Green Wave football team of Tulane University until 2014 (when they returned on-campus at Yulman Stadium) and was the home venue of the New Orleans Jazz of the National Basketball Association (NBA) from 1975 until 1979.
The Superdome gained international attention of a different type in 2005 when it housed thousands of people seeking shelter from Hurricane Katrina. The building suffered extensive damage as a result of the storm, and was closed for many months afterward. It was eventually decided the building would be fully refurbished and reopened in time for the Saints' 2006 home opener on September 25.
On October 3, 2011, it was announced that German automaker Mercedes-Benz purchased naming rights to the stadium. The new name took effect on October 23, 2011.Pat Peppler
Albert Patterson Peppler (April 16, 1922 – June 23, 2015) was an American football coach and executive who worked for teams that won five National Football League (NFL) titles. He may be best remembered for serving as head coach of the NFL's Atlanta Falcons during the final nine games of the 1976 NFL season.Steve Broussard (punter)
Steve Broussard is a former punter in the National Football League.Super Bowl IX
Super Bowl IX was an American football game played between the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Pittsburgh Steelers and the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Minnesota Vikings to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 1974 season. The game was played on January 12, 1975, at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Steelers defeated the Vikings by the score of 16–6 to win their first Super Bowl championship.This game matched two of the NFL's best defenses and two future Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterbacks. Led by quarterback Terry Bradshaw and the Steel Curtain defense, the Steelers advanced to their first Super Bowl after posting a 10–3–1 regular season record and playoff victories over the Buffalo Bills and the Oakland Raiders. The Vikings were led by quarterback Fran Tarkenton and the Purple People Eaters defense; they advanced to their second consecutive Super Bowl and third overall after finishing the regular season with a 10–4 record and defeating the St. Louis Cardinals and the Los Angeles Rams in the playoffs.
The first half of Super Bowl IX was a defensive struggle, with the lone score being the first safety in Super Bowl history when Tarkenton was downed in his own end zone. The Steelers then recovered a fumble on the second half kickoff, and scored on fullback Franco Harris's 9-yard run. The Vikings cut the score, 9–6, early in the fourth quarter by recovering a blocked punt in Pittsburgh's end zone for a touchdown, but the Steelers then drove 66 yards on their ensuing possession to score on Larry Brown's 4-yard touchdown reception to put the game out of reach.
In total, the Steelers limited the Vikings to Super Bowl record lows of nine first downs, 119 total offensive yards, 17 rushing yards, and no offensive scores (Minnesota's only score came on a blocked punt, and they did not even score on the extra point attempt). The Steelers accomplished this despite losing starting linebackers Andy Russell and Jack Lambert, who were injured and replaced by Ed Bradley and Loren Toews for most of the second half. On the other hand, Pittsburgh had 333 yards of total offense. Harris, who ran for a Super Bowl record 158 yards (more than the entire Minnesota offense) and a touchdown, was named the Super Bowl's Most Valuable Player.Thomas Jefferson High School (New Jersey)
Thomas Jefferson High School was an all-boys public high school in Elizabeth, in Union County, New Jersey, United States, which operated as part of the Elizabeth Public Schools. The school opened in 1929 at which time Battin High School became an all-girls school. The school operated on a single-sex basis for 48 years until the end of the 1976–77 school year, ending its status as one half of the state's only pair of public high schools operated separately for male and female students.In 1957, district officials stated that the inability to determine attendance zones for the two comprehensive high schools after Thomas Jefferson High School opened in 1929 combined with the expansive shop facilities in the new building, led the district to decide to split students by sex, with girls at Battin and boys at Thomas Jefferson.The school closed at the end of the 1976–77 school year, after the Elizabeth High School complex was completed and all of the district's students, male and female, were accommodated at the new four-building facility, ending the city's status as "the only community in the state with separate public high schools for boys and girls". The $29.3 million project included renovations to Thomas Jefferson High School, which was integrated into the new complex. The Battin High School building, together with the four existing junior high schools, was repurposed as a middle school for grades six through eight.Walt Michaels
Walter Edward Michaels (born October 16, 1929) is a former professional football player and coach who is best remembered for his six-year tenure as head coach of the NFL's New York Jets from 1977 to 1982. In 1977, Michaels was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame and, in 1997 he was inducted into the National Polish American Sports Hall of Fame.
1975 NFL season