1989 NFL season

The 1989 NFL season was the 70th regular season of the National Football League. Before the season, NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle announced his retirement. Paul Tagliabue was eventually chosen to succeed him, taking over on November 5.

Due to damage caused by the Loma Prieta earthquake to Candlestick Park, the New England Patriots at San Francisco 49ers game on October 22 was played at Stanford Stadium in Stanford.

The season ended with Super Bowl XXIV where the 49ers defeated the Denver Broncos 55–10 at the Louisiana Superdome.

1989 National Football League season
Regular season
DurationSeptember 10 – December 25, 1989
Start dateDecember 31, 1989
AFC ChampionsDenver Broncos
NFC ChampionsSan Francisco 49ers
Super Bowl XXIV
DateJanuary 28, 1990
SiteLouisiana Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
ChampionsSan Francisco 49ers
Pro Bowl
DateFebruary 4, 1990
SiteAloha Stadium

Major rule changes

  • After a foul that occurs inside the last two minutes of the first half and inside the last five minutes of the second half or overtime, the game clock will start at the snap, instead of when the ball is spotted and the Referee signals it is ready to be played.
  • New rules were enacted, including loss of timeouts or five-yard penalties, to handle the problem of crowd noise when it becomes too loud for the offensive team to hear its signals.
  • If a receiver and a defender eventually establish joint control of a pass, the ball will be awarded to whoever was the first player to establish control of the ball.
  • While not a rule “change” per se, the “hurry up offense” was recognized as fully legal, and penalties for delay of game would be called against teams whose defenders faked injuries in order to slow down the tempo, unless those teams called for timeouts.

Referee changes

Fred Silva retired during the 1989 off-season. He joined the NFL in 1968 as a line judge before being promoted to referee in 1969. Games that he officiated include Super Bowl XIV and the Freezer Bowl.

Dale Hamer and Howard Roe were promoted to referee. In addition to replacing Silva, an extra 16th officiating crew was added to help handle the weekly workload of 14 games.

Final standings

AFC East
Buffalo Bills(3) 9 7 0 .563 6–2 8–4 409 317 W1
Indianapolis Colts 8 8 0 .500 4–4 7–5 298 301 L1
Miami Dolphins 8 8 0 .500 4–4 6–8 331 379 L2
New England Patriots 5 11 0 .313 4–4 5–7 297 391 L3
New York Jets 4 12 0 .250 2–6 3–9 253 411 L3
AFC Central
Cleveland Browns(2) 9 6 1 .594 3–3 6–5–1 334 254 W2
Houston Oilers(4) 9 7 0 .563 3–3 6–6 365 412 L2
Pittsburgh Steelers(5) 9 7 0 .563 1–5 6–6 265 326 W3
Cincinnati Bengals 8 8 0 .500 5–1 6–6 404 285 L1
AFC West
Denver Broncos(1) 11 5 0 .688 6–2 9–3 362 226 L1
Kansas City Chiefs 8 7 1 .531 3–5 6–7–1 307 286 W1
Los Angeles Raiders 8 8 0 .500 3–5 6–6 315 297 L2
Seattle Seahawks 7 9 0 .438 4–4 7–5 241 327 L1
San Diego Chargers 6 10 0 .375 4–4 4–8 266 290 W2
NFC East
New York Giants(2) 12 4 0 .750 6–2 8–4 348 252 W3
Philadelphia Eagles(4) 11 5 0 .688 7–1 8–4 342 274 W1
Washington Redskins 10 6 0 .625 4–4 8–4 386 308 W5
Phoenix Cardinals 5 11 0 .313 2–6 4–8 258 377 L6
Dallas Cowboys 1 15 0 .063 1–7 1–13 204 393 L7
NFC Central
Minnesota Vikings(3) 10 6 0 .625 6–2 8–4 362 356 W1
Green Bay Packers 10 6 0 .625 5–3 10–4 362 275 W2
Detroit Lions 7 9 0 .438 4–4 6–6 312 364 W5
Chicago Bears 6 10 0 .375 2–6 4–8 358 377 L6
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 5 11 0 .313 3–5 5–7 320 419 L4
NFC West
San Francisco 49ers(1) 14 2 0 .875 5–1 10–2 442 253 W5
Los Angeles Rams(5) 11 5 0 .688 4–2 8–4 426 344 W2
New Orleans Saints 9 7 0 .563 3–3 5–7 386 301 W3
Atlanta Falcons 3 13 0 .188 0–6 1–11 279 437 L7


  • Indianapolis finished ahead of Miami in the AFC East based on better conference record (7–5 vs. Dolphins' 6–8).
  • Houston finished ahead of Pittsburgh in the AFC Central based on head-to-head sweep (2–0).
  • Philadelphia was first NFC Wild Card ahead of L.A. Rams based on better record against common opponents (7–3 to Rams' 5–4).
  • Minnesota finished ahead of Green Bay in the NFC Central based on better division record (6–2 vs. Packers' 5–3).


NOTE: The San Francisco 49ers (the NFC 1 seed) did not play the Los Angeles Rams (the 5 seed) in the Divisional playoff round because both teams were in the same division.
Divisional Playoffs
    Jan. 7 – Giants Stadium        
NFC Wild Card Game NFC Championship
 5  LA Rams  19*
Dec. 31 – Veterans Stadium     Jan. 14 – Candlestick Park
 2  NY Giants  13  
 5  LA Rams  21  5  LA Rams  3
Jan. 6 – Candlestick Park
 4  Philadelphia  7      1  San Francisco  30   Super Bowl XXIV
 3  Minnesota  13
    Jan. 28 – Louisiana Superdome
 1  San Francisco  41  
 N1  San Francisco  55
Jan. 6 – Cleveland Stadium
AFC Wild Card Game AFC Championship    A1  Denver  10
 3  Buffalo  30
Dec. 31 – Astrodome     Jan. 14 – Mile High Stadium
 2  Cleveland  34  
 5  Pittsburgh  26*  2  Cleveland  21
Jan. 7 – Mile High Stadium
 4  Houston  23      1  Denver  37  
 5  Pittsburgh  23
 1  Denver  24  
* Indicates overtime victory

Statistical leaders


Points scored San Francisco 49ers (442)
Total yards gained San Francisco 49ers (6,268)
Yards rushing Cincinnati Bengals (2,483)
Yards passing Washington Redskins (4,349)
Fewest points allowed Denver Broncos (226)
Fewest total yards allowed Minnesota Vikings (4,184)
Fewest rushing yards allowed New Orleans Saints (1,326)
Fewest passing yards allowed Minnesota Vikings (2,501)


Most Valuable Player Joe Montana, Quarterback, San Francisco
Coach of the Year Lindy Infante, Green Bay
Offensive Player of the Year Joe Montana, Quarterback, San Francisco
Defensive Player of the Year Keith Millard, Defensive Tackle, Minnesota
Offensive Rookie of the Year Barry Sanders, Running Back, Detroit
Defensive Rookie of the Year Derrick Thomas, Linebacker, Kansas City
NFL Comeback Player of the Year Ottis Anderson, Running Back, NY Giants
NFL Man of the Year Warren Moon, Quarterback, Houston
Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Joe Montana, Quarterback, San Francisco


The 1989 NFL Draft was held from April 23 to 24, 1989 at New York City's Marriott Marquis. With the first pick, the Dallas Cowboys selected quarterback Troy Aikman from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Coaching changes




  • NFL Record and Fact Book (ISBN 1-932994-36-X)
  • NFL History 1981–1990 (Last accessed December 4, 2005)
  • Total Football: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League (ISBN 0-06-270174-6)
1989 Seattle Seahawks season

The 1989 Seattle Seahawks season was the team's 14th season with the National Football League. The season marked the end of an era for the team, as the last original Seahawk remaining, wide receiver Steve Largent, retired after the season as the NFL's all-time reception leader up to that time.

Chris Mohr

Christopher Garrett Mohr (born May 11, 1966 in Atlanta, Georgia) is a former American football punter. Mohr grew up in Thomson, Georgia, where he played football at Briarwood Academy. He was recruited by the University of Alabama, where he was the team's starting punter for three years. After being named the Southeastern Conference's best punter his senior year, he spent the 1989 NFL season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and was their punter the entire season. He spent one season with the Montreal Machine of the World League of American Football before being signed by the Buffalo Bills. Mohr was with the Bills from 1991 to 2000, during which time he appeared in three Super Bowls with the team—Super Bowl XXVI, Super Bowl XXVII, and Super Bowl XXVIII. He signed with his hometown Atlanta Falcons before the 2001 NFL season, where he played for four years before being waived in 2005. He was signed by the Washington Redskins before the 2005 NFL season began, but was cut a few days later. He officially retired from the NFL in 2007 by signing a one-day contract with the Buffalo Bills. Mohr has four boys. Garrett, Harrison, Quinn and Chapman. Garrett Mohr, his oldest son, is currently a NFL free agent.

Of note is that Mohr, along with Casey Beathard, co-wrote "I See Me" for country singer Travis Tritt, which appeared on Tritt's album My Honky Tonk History.

Dave Rimington

David Brian Rimington (born May 22, 1960) is a former American college and professional football player who was a center in the National Football League (NFL) for seven seasons during the 1980s. Rimington played college football for the University of Nebraska, where he was two-time consensus All-American and received several awards recognizing him as the best college lineman in the country. He was selected in the first round of the 1983 NFL Draft and played professionally for the Cincinnati Bengals and Philadelphia Eagles of the NFL. Rimington is the namesake of the Rimington Trophy, which is awarded annually to the nation's top collegiate center. Rimington was announced as the interim athletic director of Nebraska on September 26, 2017.

David Arnold (American football)

David Paul Arnold (born November 21, 1966) is a former American football player. He played college football as a defensive back for the University of Michigan from 1985 to 1988. He played professional football in the National Football League (NFL) for the Pittsburgh Steelers during the 1989 NFL season.

Dick Hantak

Dick Hantak (born c. 1938) was an American football official in the National Football League (NFL) for 25 years between 1978 and 2003. He began his NFL officiating career as a back judge and became a referee eight years later. During his career, he officiated in two Super Bowls, Super Bowl XVII in 1983 as a back judge and later as a referee in Super Bowl XXVII in 1993, both at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California and selected as an alternate for Super Bowl XXXII in 1998. He was one of the first officials to wear a three-digit uniform number, wearing number 105 except for 1979-81, when officials were numbered separately by position.

Hantak was most notable for being involved in a game that would result in the elimination of the excessive crowd noise rule from the NFL because of the actions during an exhibition game preceding the 1989 NFL season between the Cincinnati Bengals and New Orleans Saints at the Louisiana Superdome. Prior to the snap to begin a play, Bengals quarterback Boomer Esiason constantly complained to Hantak about the loud crowd noise inside of the dome and would embellish his reactions in protest over the newly created rule. Esiason would later admit that he was put up to the task by then head coach Sam Wyche.Hantak was also involved in a humorous incident during a 1996 game between Pittsburgh and Carolina. On a punt the ball landed in the endzone and the Carolina mascot Sir Purr downed it, unaware the ball was live. While Steelers coach Bill Cowher was laughing, Hantak told Sir Purr not to do it again.

Dick ended his distinguished officiating career with a playoff game on January 11, 2003 between the Oakland Raiders and New York Jets.

As of the 2006 NFL season, Hantak serves as an NFL replay official, working on-site in the video officiating booth.

Hantak is a 1960 graduate of Southeast Missouri State University and was a member of Sigma Tau Gamma.

George Winslow (American football)

George Winslow (born July 28, 1963) is a former punter in the National Football League. He first played with the Cleveland Browns during the 1987 NFL season. After a year away from the NFL, he played with the New Orleans Saints during the 1989 NFL season.

Joe Mickles

Joseph Nathan Mickles (born December 25, 1965 in Birmingham, Alabama) is a former American football running back. He played in the National Football League for the Washington Redskins in 1989 NFL season and the San Diego Chargers in the 1990 season. He played college football at the University of Mississippi from 1985 to 1988 and scored a touchdown in the team's 20-17 win over Texas Tech in the 1986 Independence Bowl. He was drafted in the twelfth round of the 1989 NFL Draft.

Kurt Becker

Kurt Frank Becker (born December 22, 1958) is a former American football player. He played college football as an offensive guard at the University of Michigan from 1978 to 1981, was selected as a first-team All-American in 1981, and played professional football in the National Football League (NFL) for the Chicago Bears (1982-1988, 1990) and the Los Angeles Rams (1989).

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.

Mark Messner

Mark W. Messner (born December 29, 1965) is a former American football player. Messner played college football for the University of Michigan. He started every game, 49 in all, at defensive tackle for Michigan from 1985 to 1988. He was the first position player ever to be selected as a first-team All-Big Ten Conference player all four years. He was selected as a first-team All-American by the Sporting News in 1987 and was a consensus All-American in 1988. He set still holds Michigan records for quarterback sacks in a game (5), career tackles for loss (70), and career sacks (36). He was inducted into the University of Michigan Athletic Hall of Honor in 2014.

Messner later played in the National Football League (NFL) as a linebacker for the Los Angeles Rams during the 1989 NFL season. He sustained a serious knee injury in the 1989-90 NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers and never played in another game.

Mike Ariey

Mike Ariey is a former offensive tackle in the National Football League.

NES Play Action Football

NES Play Action Football is a football video game for the Nintendo Entertainment System. It was developed by TOSE, published by Nintendo, and was released in 1990. The game was also ported to the Game Boy as Play Action Football, and received a follow up on the Super NES titled Super Play Action Football in 1992.

It was released on the Wii Virtual Console in North America on September 10, 2007. The Virtual Console version was available as a Club Nintendo bonus download from August 19 to September 2, 2012.

Peter Shorts

John Peter Shorts (born July 12, 1966) is a former defensive tackle in the National Football League. He was a member of the New England Patriots during the 1989 NFL season. Shorts grew up in the small town of Clinton, Wisconsin and went to Clinton High School (Clinton, Wisconsin)

Reggie Dupard

Jon Reginald Dupard (born October 30, 1963) is a former American football running back. He played five seasons in the National Football League. Dupard was selected 26th overall in the 1986 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots. He played for the Patriots until he was traded to the Washington Redskins midway through the 1989 NFL season. Dupard prepped at John Curtis Christian High School in River Ridge, Louisiana, and went on to play at Southern Methodist University. He was drafted one spot behind his college teammate Roderick Jones.

Tom Dooley (American football)

Robert Thomas "Tom" Dooley Jr. (September 15, 1934 – May 9, 2018) was an American football official for 32 years with 14 of those years in the National Football League (NFL) from 1978 to 1992 as a line judge and referee. Dooley was assigned Super Bowl XV in 1981 as a line judge. In the NFL, he wore the uniform numbers 103 and 6.

Tommy Robison

Tommy Robison is a former player in the National Football League.

Tony Eason

Charles Carroll "Tony" Eason IV (born October 8, 1959) is a former quarterback. He played college football for the University of Illinois (1980–1982) and professional football for the New England Patriots (1983–1989) and New York Jets (1989–1990).

Undra Johnson

Undra Jerome Johnson (born January 8, 1966) is a former American football running back in the National Football League for the Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, and the Dallas Cowboys.

William Harris (American football)

William Harris was a tight end in the National Football League.

1989 NFL season
Early era
Modern era

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