1990 NFL season

1990 National Football League season
Regular season
Duration September 9 – December 31, 1990
Start date January 5, 1991
AFC Champions Buffalo Bills
NFC Champions New York Giants
Super Bowl XXV
Date January 27, 1991
Site Tampa Stadium, Tampa, Florida
Champions New York Giants
Pro Bowl
Date February 3, 1991
Site Aloha Stadium

The 1990 NFL season was the 71st regular season of the National Football League. To increase revenue, the league changed the regular season so that all NFL teams would play their 16-game schedule over a 17-week period. Furthermore, the playoff format was expanded from 10 teams to 12 teams by adding another wild card from each conference, thus adding two more contests to the postseason schedule; this number remains in use now.

This was also the first full season for Paul Tagliabue as the Commissioner, after taking over from Pete Rozelle midway through the previous season.

ABC was given the rights to televise the two additional playoff games. Meanwhile, Turner's TNT network started to broadcast Sunday night games for the first half of the season.

On October 8, the league announced that the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Award would be named the Pete Rozelle Trophy.[1] The season ended with Super Bowl XXV when the New York Giants defeated the Buffalo Bills 20-19 at Tampa Stadium. This would be the first Super Bowl loss for Buffalo. They would lose the next three Super Bowls as well.

Late in the season, with the Gulf War looming closer, the NFL announced that starting in Week 16 (and continuing until Super Bowl XXV), the league would add American flag decals to the back of the helmet.[2] The flag would return on a permanent basis in 2001 following the September 11 attacks.

Major rule changes

Final regular season standings

W = Wins, L = Losses, PCT = Winning Percentage, PF= Points For, PA = Points Against

Clinched playoff seeds are marked in parentheses and shaded in green. No ties occurred this season.

AFC East
(1) Buffalo Bills 133.813428263
(4) Miami Dolphins 124.750336242
Indianapolis Colts 79.438281353
New York Jets 610.375295345
New England Patriots 115.063181446
AFC Central
(3) Cincinnati Bengals 97.563360352
(6) Houston Oilers 97.563405307
Pittsburgh Steelers 97.563292240
Cleveland Browns 313.188228462
AFC West
(2) Los Angeles Raiders 124.750337268
(5) Kansas City Chiefs 115.688369257
Seattle Seahawks 97.563306286
San Diego Chargers 610.375315281
Denver Broncos 511.313331374
NFC East
(2) New York Giants 133.813335211
(4) Philadelphia Eagles 106.625396299
(5) Washington Redskins 106.625381301
Dallas Cowboys 79.438244308
Phoenix Cardinals 511.313268396
NFC Central
(3) Chicago Bears 115.688348280
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 610.375264367
Detroit Lions 610.375373413
Green Bay Packers 610.375271347
Minnesota Vikings 610.375351326
NFC West
(1) San Francisco 49ers 142.875353239
(6) New Orleans Saints 88.500274275
Los Angeles Rams 511.313345412
Atlanta Falcons 511.313348365



Jan. 6 – Riverfront Stadium   Jan. 13 – L.A. Memorial Coliseum          
 6  Houston  14
 3  Cincinnati  10
 3  Cincinnati  41     Jan. 20 – Rich Stadium
 2  LA Raiders  20  
Jan. 5 – Joe Robbie Stadium  2  LA Raiders  3
Jan. 12 – Rich Stadium
   1  Buffalo  51  
 5  Kansas City  16 AFC Championship
 4  Miami  34
 4  Miami  17   Jan. 27 – Tampa Stadium
 1  Buffalo  44  
Jan. 6 – Soldier Field  A1  Buffalo  19
Jan. 13 – Giants Stadium
   N2  NY Giants  20
 6  New Orleans  6 Super Bowl XXV
 3  Chicago  3
 3  Chicago  16     Jan. 20 – Candlestick Park
 2  NY Giants  31  
Jan. 5 – Veterans Stadium  2  NY Giants  15
Jan. 12 – Candlestick Park
   1  San Francisco  13  
 5  Washington  20 NFC Championship
 5  Washington  10
 4  Philadelphia  6  
 1  San Francisco  28  

Statistical leaders


Points scoredBuffalo Bills (428)
Total yards gainedHouston Oilers (6,222)
Yards rushingPhiladelphia Eagles (2,556)
Yards passingHouston Oilers (4,805)
Fewest points allowedNew York Giants (211)
Fewest total yards allowedPittsburgh Steelers (4,115)
Fewest rushing yards allowedPhiladelphia Eagles (1,169)
Fewest passing yards allowedPittsburgh Steelers (2,500)


Most Valuable PlayerJoe Montana, Quarterback, San Francisco
Coach of the YearJimmy Johnson, Dallas
Offensive Player of the YearWarren Moon, Quarterback, Houston Oilers
Defensive Player of the YearBruce Smith, Defensive End, Buffalo
Offensive Rookie of the YearEmmitt Smith, Running Back, Dallas
Defensive Rookie of the YearMark Carrier, Safety, Chicago


  1. "NFL History by Decade: 1981–1990". NFL.com. Archived from the original on October 6, 2008. Retrieved October 18, 2008.
  2. http://articles.latimes.com/1990-12-20/sports/sp-9743_1_flag-decals
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