1980 NFL season

The 1980 NFL season was the 61st regular season of the National Football League.

Prior to the season in March 1980, fellow NFL owners voted against the proposed move by the Raiders from Oakland, California to Los Angeles. Raider team owner Al Davis along with the Los Angeles Coliseum sued the NFL charging that they had violated antitrust laws. A verdict in the trial would not be decided until before the 1982 NFL season; however, the planned move to Los Angeles went through that very season.

Meanwhile, the season ended at Super Bowl XV played on January 25, 1981, in New Orleans, Louisiana, with these same Oakland Raiders defeating the Philadelphia Eagles 27–10, making them the first Wild Card team ever to win the Super Bowl.[1]

1980 National Football League season
Regular season
DurationSeptember 7 – December 22, 1980
Start dateDecember 28, 1980
AFC ChampionsOakland Raiders
NFC ChampionsPhiladelphia Eagles
Super Bowl XV
DateJanuary 25, 1981
SiteLouisiana Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
ChampionsOakland Raiders
Pro Bowl
DateFebruary 1, 1981
SiteAloha Stadium
1986 Jeno's Pizza - 25 - Archie Manning (cropped)
Archie Manning attempting a pass for the New Orleans Saints against the L.A. Rams in 1980.

Major rule changes

  • A ten-second runoff will be implemented when a team commits the following actions to conserve time within the last minute of either half or overtime (later changed to after the two-minute warning in the 2017 NFL season):
    • Fouls by either team that prevents the snap (e.g. false start, encroachment, etc.)
    • Intentional grounding
    • Illegal forward pass thrown from beyond the line of scrimmage
    • Throwing a backward pass out of bounds
    • Spiking or throwing the ball in the field of play after a down has ended, except after a touchdown
    • Any other intentional foul that causes the clock to stop.
    • Any excess time-out taken for injuries by either team.

Teams can take a time-out (if available) to prevent the runoff.[2]

  • Players are prohibited from striking, swinging, or clubbing to the head, face, or neck. The personal foul could be called whether or not the initial contact was made below the neck.
  • A "Guidelines for Captains" section was added to the rules.

Oakland Raiders announce future move to Los Angeles in defiance of NFL vote

In 1979, Raider owner Al Davis announced his intention to move the Raiders to Los Angeles. Negotiations between Davis and the Oakland Coliseum regarding potential improvements to the facility came to an end in February 1980. At the NFL’s annual meeting on March 10, 1980, team owners voted 22-0 against allowing the move, with the Raiders not participating and five teams abstaining. Davis announced he would ignore the vote and move the team anyway.[3]

The Raiders played the entire 1980 season in Oakland. At a Monday Night Football game against the Denver Broncos on December 1, 1980, Raider fans protested by entering the Oakland Coliseum five minutes after the start of the game and holding up signs stating "Save Our Raiders" at each half's 2-minute warning. By some estimates, “almost two-thirds” of the Coliseum's seats had been empty at the game's kickoff.[3]

The announced move was involved in four lawsuits: the Los Angeles Coliseum Commission sued the NFL charging antitrust violations, the NFL sued the Raiders charging breach of contract, Raider season ticket holders filed a class-action lawsuit, and the City of Oakland filed for eminent domain of the team.[3]

In May 1982, a jury ruled that the NFL had violated antitrust law by attempting to prevent the move. In April 1983, after the team's first season in Los Angeles, a separate jury awarded the Raiders $35 million in damages.[3]

Division Races

From 1978 to 1989, ten teams qualified for the playoffs: the winners of each of the divisions, and two wild-card teams in each conference. These are the leaders for each playoff slot, week by week. Teams listed in Week 16 indicate playoff participants.

National Football Conference

Week NFC East NFC Central NFC West Wild Card Wild Card
1 3 teams 1–0 4 teams 1–0 San Francisco 1–0
2 Philadelphia 2–0 Detroit, Tampa Bay 2–0 San Francisco 2–0
3 Philadelphia 3–0 Detroit 3–0 San Francisco 3–0 Dallas, Tampa Bay, Minnesota 2–1
4 Philadelphia, Dallas 3–1 Detroit 4–0 San Francisco 3–1 Philadelphia, Dallas 3–1 4 teams 2–2
5 Philadelphia, Dallas 4–1 Detroit 4–1 San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta 3–2 Philadelphia, Dallas 4–1 San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta 3–2
6 Philadelphia, Dallas 5–1 Detroit 5–1 Los Angeles 4–2 Philadelphia, Dallas 5–1 Minnesota, San Francisco, Atlanta 3–3
7 Philadelphia 6–1 Detroit 5–2 Los Angeles 5–2 Dallas 5–2 Atlanta 4–3
8 Philadelphia 7–1 Detroit 5–3 Los Angeles, Atlanta 5–3 Dallas 6–2 Los Angeles, Atlanta 5–3
9 Philadelphia 8–1 Detroit 6–3 Los Angeles, Atlanta 6–3 Dallas 7–2 Los Angeles, Atlanta 6–3
10 Philadelphia 9–1 Detroit 6–4 Atlanta 7–3 Dallas 7–3 Los Angeles 6–4
11 Philadelphia 10–1 Detroit, Minnesota 6–5 Atlanta 8–3 Dallas 8–3 Los Angeles 7–4
12 Philadelphia 11–1 Detroit 7–5 Atlanta 9–3 Dallas 9–3 Los Angeles 8–4
13 Philadelphia 11–2 Detroit, Minnesota 7–6 Atlanta 10–3 Dallas 10–3 Los Angeles 9–4
14 Philadelphia, Dallas 11–3 Minnesota 8–6 Atlanta 11–3 Philadelphia, Dallas 11–3 Los Angeles 9–5
15 Philadelphia 12–3 Minnesota 9–6 Atlanta 12–3 Dallas 11–4 Los Angeles 10–5
16 Philadelphia 12–4 Minnesota 9–7 Atlanta 12–4 Dallas 12–4 Los Angeles 11–5

American Football Conference

Week AFC East AFC Central AFC West Wild Card Wild Card
1 3 teams 1–0 Pittsburgh 1–0 San Diego, Oakland 1–0
2 Buffalo 2–0 Pittsburgh 2–0 San Diego 2–0
3 Buffalo 3–0 Pittsburgh, Houston 2–1 San Diego 3–0 Pittsburgh, Houston, Miami, New England, Oakland 2–1
4 Buffalo 4–0 Pittsburgh, Houston 3–1 San Diego 4–0 Pittsburgh, Houston, Miami, New England 3–1 Baltimore, Cleveland, Oakland, Seattle 2–2
5 Buffalo 5–0 Pittsburgh 4–1 San Diego 4–1 New England 4–1 Miami, Baltimore, Houston, Seattle 3–2
6 Buffalo, New England 5–1 Pittsburgh 4–2 San Diego 4–2 Buffalo, New England 5–1 Baltimore 4–2
7 New England 6–1 Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Houston 4–3 San Diego 5–2 Buffalo 5–2 6 teams 4–3
8 Buffalo, New England 6–2 Cleveland, Houston 5–3 San Diego, Oakland 5–3 Buffalo, New England 6–2 Cleveland, Houston, San Diego, Oakland 5–3
9 New England 7–2 Cleveland, Houston 6–3 San Diego, Oakland 6–3 Buffalo, Cleveland, Houston, San Diego, Oakland 6–3 Baltimore, Pittsburgh 5–4
10 Buffalo, New England 7–3 Cleveland, Houston 7–3 Oakland 7–3 Buffalo, New England, Cleveland, Houston 7–3 Pittsburgh, San Diego 6–4
11 Buffalo 8–3 Houston 8–3 Oakland 8–3 New England, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, San Diego 7–4 Miami, Baltimore, Denver 6–5
12 Buffalo 9–3 Cleveland, Houston 8–4 San Diego, Oakland 8–4 New England, Cleveland, Houston, San Diego, Oakland 8–4 Pittsburgh, Denver 7–5
13 Buffalo 9–4 Cleveland 9–4 San Diego, Oakland 9–4 San Diego, Oakland 9–4 New England, Pittsburgh, Houston 8–5
14 Buffalo 10–4 Cleveland 10–4 San Diego, Oakland 9–5 San Diego, Oakland, Houston 9–5 New England, Pittsburgh 8–6
15 Buffalo 10–5 Cleveland, Houston 10–5 San Diego, Oakland 10–5 Cleveland, Houston, San Diego, Oakland 10–5 New England, Pittsburgh 9–6
16 Buffalo 11–5 Cleveland 11–5 San Diego 11–5 Oakland 11–5 Houston 11–5

Final standings

AFC East
Buffalo Bills(3) 11 5 0 .688 4–4 8–4 320 260 W1
New England Patriots 10 6 0 .625 6–2 9–3 441 325 W2
Miami Dolphins 8 8 0 .500 3–5 4–8 266 305 L1
Baltimore Colts 7 9 0 .438 5–3 6–8 355 387 L3
New York Jets 4 12 0 .250 2–6 3–9 302 395 W1
AFC Central
Cleveland Browns(2) 11 5 0 .688 4–2 8–4 357 310 W1
Houston Oilers(5) 11 5 0 .688 4–2 7–5 295 251 W3
Pittsburgh Steelers 9 7 0 .563 2–4 5–7 352 313 L1
Cincinnati Bengals 6 10 0 .375 2–4 4–8 244 312 L1
AFC West
San Diego Chargers(1) 11 5 0 .688 6–2 9–3 418 327 W2
Oakland Raiders(4) 11 5 0 .688 6–2 9–3 364 306 W2
Kansas City Chiefs 8 8 0 .500 4–4 6–8 319 336 W1
Denver Broncos 8 8 0 .500 3–5 5–7 310 323 W1
Seattle Seahawks 4 12 0 .250 1–7 3–9 291 408 L9
NFC East
Philadelphia Eagles(2) 12 4 0 .750 6–2 9–3 384 222 L1
Dallas Cowboys(4) 12 4 0 .750 6–2 9–3 454 311 W1
Washington Redskins 6 10 0 .375 4–4 5–7 261 293 W3
St. Louis Cardinals 5 11 0 .313 2–6 4–10 299 350 L2
New York Giants 4 12 0 .250 2–6 3–9 249 425 L2
NFC Central
Minnesota Vikings(3) 9 7 0 .563 5–3 8–4 317 308 L1
Detroit Lions 9 7 0 .563 5–3 9–5 334 272 W2
Chicago Bears 7 9 0 .438 5–3 7–5 304 264 W1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 5 10 1 .344 1–6–1 4–7–1 271 341 L3
Green Bay Packers 5 10 1 .344 3–4–1 4–7–1 231 371 L4
NFC West
Atlanta Falcons(1) 12 4 0 .750 5–1 10–2 405 272 L1
Los Angeles Rams(5) 11 5 0 .688 5–1 9–3 424 289 W2
San Francisco 49ers 6 10 0 .375 2–4 4–8 320 415 L2
New Orleans Saints 1 15 0 .063 0–6 0–12 291 487 L1


  • Cleveland finished ahead of Houston in the AFC Central based on better conference record (8–4 to Oilers’ 7–5).
  • San Diego finished ahead of Oakland in the AFC West based on better net points in division games (plus 60 net points to Raiders’ plus 37).
  • San Diego was the top AFC playoff seed based on better conference record than Cleveland and Buffalo (9–3 to Browns’ 8–4 and Bills’ 8–4).
  • Cleveland was the second AFC playoff seed based on better record against common opponents (5–2 to Bills’ 5–3).
  • Oakland was the first AFC Wild Card based on better conference record than Houston (9–3 to Oilers’ 7–5).
  • Kansas City finished ahead of Denver in the AFC West based on head-to-head sweep (2–0).
  • Philadelphia finished ahead of Dallas in the NFC East based on better net points in division games (plus 84 net points to Cowboys’ plus 50).
  • Atlanta was the top NFC playoff seed based on head-to-head victory over Philadelphia (1–0).
  • Minnesota finished ahead of Detroit in the NFC Central based on better conference record (8–4 to Lions' 9–5).
  • Tampa Bay finished ahead of Green Bay in the NFC Central based on better head-to-head record (1–0–1 to Packers' 0–1–1).


NOTE: The San Diego Chargers (the AFC 1 seed) did not play the Oakland Raiders (the 4 seed) in the Divisional playoff round because both teams were in the same division.
Divisional Playoffs
    Jan. 4 – Cleveland Stadium        
AFC Wild Card Game AFC Championship
 4  Oakland  14
Dec. 28 – Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum     Jan. 11 – Jack Murphy Stadium
 2*  Cleveland  12  
 5  Houston  7  4  Oakland  34
Jan. 3 – Jack Murphy Stadium
 4  Oakland  27      1  San Diego  27   Super Bowl XV
 3  Buffalo  14
    Jan. 25 – Louisiana Superdome
 1*  San Diego  20  
 A4  Oakland  27
Jan. 4 – Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium
NFC Wild Card Game NFC Championship    N2  Philadelphia  10
 4  Dallas  30
Dec. 28 – Texas Stadium     Jan. 11 – Veterans Stadium
 1  Atlanta  27  
 5  Los Angeles  13  4  Dallas  7
Jan. 3 – Veterans Stadium
 4  Dallas  34      2  Philadelphia  20  
 3  Minnesota  16
 2  Philadelphia  31  

Statistical leaders


Points scored Dallas Cowboys (454)
Total yards gained San Diego Chargers (6,410)
Yards rushing Los Angeles Rams (2,799)
Yards passing San Diego Chargers (4,531)
Fewest points allowed Philadelphia Eagles (222)
Fewest total yards allowed Buffalo Bills (4,101)
Fewest rushing yards allowed Detroit Lions (1,599)
Fewest passing yards allowed Washington Redskins (2,171)


Most Valuable Player Brian Sipe, Quarterback, Cleveland
Coach of the Year Chuck Knox, Buffalo
Offensive Player of the Year Earl Campbell, Running back, Houston Oilers
Defensive Player of the Year Lester Hayes, Cornerback, Oakland
Offensive Rookie of the Year Billy Sims, Running back, Detroit
Defensive Rookie of the Year Buddy Curry & Al Richardson, Linebackers, Atlanta
Man of the Year Harold Carmichael, Wide Receiver, Philadelphia
Comeback Player of the Year Jim Plunkett, Quarterback, Oakland
Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Jim Plunkett, Quarterback, Oakland


The 1980 NFL Draft was held from April 29 to 30, 1980 at New York City's Sheraton Hotel. With the first pick, the Detroit Lions selected running back Billy Sims from the University of Oklahoma.


American Football Conference

National Football Conference


  1. ^ "NFL.com: Super Bowl XV Recap". Retrieved January 16, 2014.
  2. ^ Total Football: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League (First ed.). 1997. p. 1585. ISBN 0-06-270170-3.
  3. ^ a b c d Raiders fans reliving the Los Angeles nightmare, The Press Democrat, Phil Barber, Dec. 14, 2015.


  • NFL Record and Fact Book (ISBN 1-932994-36-X)
  • NFL History 1971–1980 (Last accessed December 4, 2005)
  • Total Football: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League (ISBN 0-06-270174-6)
1980 Miami Dolphins season

The 1980 Miami Dolphins season was the 15th year of existence for the Miami Dolphins franchise. Quarterback Bob Griese retired after the season, following a 14-year career with the Dolphins. However, in Griese's final season the Dolphins would only play mediocre football finishing in third place with an 8-8 record.

1980 New York Giants season

The 1980 New York Giants season was the franchise's 56th season in the National Football League. The Giants finished in last place in the National Football Conference East Division with a 4–12 record. One highlight was a Week 10 win over the Dallas Cowboys, which snapped an eight-game losing streak.

1980 Seattle Seahawks season

The 1980 Seattle Seahawks season was the team's fifth season in the National Football League.

The 1980 season was a strange season for the Seattle Seahawks. The team started off 4–3, then lost the remaining nine games of the season. They accumulated four road wins, but lost all eight regular season home games. The offense struggled, especially after losing Sherman Smith to a knee injury for the season. With the running game struggling, the team gave up 52 sacks, up from 23 in 1979. The offense went from 7th to 21st. Even though the defense improved from 27th to 13th, the Seahawks still gave up 405 points.

Memorable moments included a 26–7 win in Houston, intercepting Kenny Stabler five times; a 17–16 win in Kansas City (their last at Arrowhead Stadium until 1990); and a 14–0 win in Washington, with the offense rushing for over 220 yards.

More indicative of the season were the home losses: a week 1 34–13 rout at home inflicted by the Chargers, a 37–31 loss to the New England Patriots, featuring several lead changes, as the Seattle defense could not hold on; losing to the Kansas City Chiefs 31–30, after going into the 4th quarter with a 23–10 lead, and the Chiefs intercepting Jim Zorn a season-high five times, leading to 17 KC points. The low point of the season was a 27–21 loss to a struggling New York Giants team, one which finished 4-12 (although one was over the Cowboys). On Thanksgiving Day, November 27, the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Seahawks 51–7, in Dallas, but many people believe the Giants loss was worse.

The successes of the 1978 and '79 seasons were long forgotten by season's end.

Bob McElwee

Robert T. "Bob" McElwee (born August 20, 1935 in Camden, New Jersey) is a former American football official, who served for 42 years, with 27 of those years in the National Football League (NFL) from 1976 to 2003. In the NFL, he wore the uniform number 95 for most of his career.

Chester Marcol

Czesław Bolesław "Chester" Marcol (born October 24, 1949 in Opole, Poland) is a former professional American football player. A placekicker for the Green Bay Packers from 1972 to 1980, he was inducted into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame in 1987.

Clark Gaines

Clark Daniel Gaines (born February 1, 1954) is a former American football running back in the National Football League (NFL). He was also a coach in the United States Football League (USFL). He played for the New York Jets and the Kansas City Chiefs over the course of his seven-year NFL career. Gaines was the running backs and special teams coach for the New Jersey Generals of the USFL.

Dave Roller

David Euell Roller (born October 28, 1949) is a former American football defensive tackle in the National Football League (NFL). Prior to his professional career, Roller played college football for the University of Kentucky, where he received multiple commendations for his athletic accomplishments, including induction into the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame. Roller was drafted by the New York Giants in the 13th round of the 1971 NFL Draft as the 330th overall pick. He played for the Giants for one season, before a brief stint playing in the World Football League. He returned to the NFL in 1975 with the Green Bay Packers, where he would go on to play for four seasons. He left Green Bay in 1979 to play for the Minnesota Vikings for two seasons before retiring from professional football. Altogether, Roller played in the NFL for seven seasons and appeared in 92 games.

Jeff Lee (American football)

Jeffrey Leroy Lee is a former wide receiver in the National Football League. He played with the St. Louis Cardinals during the 1980 NFL season.

Mr. Jeff Lee is currently a beloved elementary teacher in Racine Unified School District. In addition to this, he is the head football coach for one of the RUSD high school teams.

Jon Giesler

Jon William Giesler (born December 23, 1956) is a former American football player. He played 10 seasons, principally at the offensive left tackle position, for the Miami Dolphins of the National Football League (NFL) from 1979 to 1988. He played college football at the University of Michigan from 1975 to 1978.

Kirby Criswell

Kirby Lynn Criswell (born August 31, 1957) is a former linebacker for the St. Louis Cardinals in the NFL and a 2nd round draft pick in the 1980 NFL Draft.

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.

Mike Loyd

Charles Michael Loyd (born May 4, 1956) is a former American football quarterback in the National Football League. He was with the St. Louis Cardinals (1979–1980). He would appear in five games during the 1980 NFL season and start one game. Is currently the head football coach at Rogers High School in Rogers, Arkansas. Has also coached local legend Case Hampton for one year.

Miracle at the Met

The Miracle at the Met refers to the Minnesota Vikings' comeback win over the Cleveland Browns in Week 15 of the 1980 NFL season. The Vikings trailed 23–9 in the fourth quarter, but won after Vikings quarterback Tommy Kramer passed for two touchdowns to wide receiver Ahmad Rashad in the last two minutes, including a 46-yard Hail Mary pass caught with one hand on the last play of the game. The final play is also known as the "Miracle Catch." The Vikings won, 28–23.

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.

Ralph Clayton

Ralph Darrell Clayton (born September 29, 1958) is a former professional American football player. A native of Detroit, Michigan, Clayton played college football as a "wingback" for the University of Michigan from 1976 to 1979 and was the leading receiver for the Michigan Wolverines football team in both 1977 and 1978. After being selected by the New York Jets in the second round of the 1980 NFL Draft, Clayton missed the 1980 NFL season due to injury. He later signed with the St. Louis Cardinals and appeared in seven games for the Cardinals during the 1981 NFL season.

Randy Logan

Randolph "Randy" Logan (born May 1, 1951) is a former American football player. He played 11 seasons as a free safety in the National Football League (NFL) for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1973 to 1983. He was a second-team All-NFL player in 1980, and his streak of 159 consecutive games is the second longest in Eagles history. Logan played college football at the University of Michigan from 1970 to 1972 where he was selected as a consensus first-team defensive back on the 1972 College Football All-America Team.

Stan Javie

Stanley "Stan" Javie (December 7, 1919 – December 30, 2002) was an American football official in the National Football League (NFL) for 30 years until the conclusion of the 1980 NFL season. Working as a back judge, Javie was assigned four Super Bowls; Super Bowl II, Super Bowl VIII, Super Bowl X, and Super Bowl XIV; one of the first officials to reach such an achievement. Javie was also notable for being one of the few officials to wear eyeglasses/sunglasses on the playing field during a game. Javie wore the number 29 for the majority of his career. For the 1979 and 1980 NFL seasons, Javie wore the number 6.

He graduated from St. John's High School, Philadelphia and later coached three sports at that school for several years. In addition, Javie was a basketball coach at Malvern Preparatory School, while serving as a football and basketball official. Stan Javie was inducted the National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame on June 23, 2011, in Troy, Michigan.

Tom Seabron

Thomas Hall Seabron Jr. (born May 24, 1957) is a former American football player. He played college football for the University of Michigan from 1975 to 1978 and professional football in the National Football League (NFL) for the San Francisco 49ers (1979–1980) and St. Louis Cardinals (1980).

Vickey Ray Anderson

Vickey Ray Anderson is a former running back in the National Football League, Canadian Football League and United States Football League.

1980 NFL season
Early era
Modern era

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