1975 NFL season

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1975 National Football League season
Regular 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
Champions Pittsburgh Steelers
Pro Bowl
Date January 26, 1976
Site Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans

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:

  1. The surviving clubs with the best regular season records were made the home teams for each playoff round. Previously, game sites rotated by division.
  2. The league pioneered the use of equipping referees with wireless microphones to announce penalties and clarify complex and/or unusual rulings to both fans and the media.

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.

The season ended with Super Bowl X when the Pittsburgh Steelers repeated as champions by defeating the Dallas Cowboys 21–17 at the Orange Bowl in Miami.

Major rule changes

  • After a fourth down incomplete pass goes in or through the end zone, the other team will take possession at the previous line of scrimmage. Previously, it resulted in a touchback.
  • The penalty for pass interference on the offensive team is reduced from 15 yards to 10.
  • If there are fouls by both teams on the same play but one results in a player ejection, the penalties will still offset but the player will still be ejected.
  • Referees were equipped with wireless microphones to announce penalties and clarify complex and/or unusual rulings to both fans and the media. The NFL thus became the first professional league in North America to adopt this technology.

New officials

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.

Stadium changes

Division races

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.

National Football Conference

Week Eastern Central Western Wild Card
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
6 Dallas 5–1–0 Minnesota 6–0–0 Los Angeles 5–1–0 Washington* 4–2–0
7 Dallas* 5–2–0 Minnesota 7–0–0 Los Angeles 6–1–0 Washington* 5–2–0
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

American Football Conference

Week Eastern Central Western Wild Card
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
3 Buffalo 3–0–0 Cincinnati 3–0–0 Oakland 3–0–0 5 teams 2–1–0
4 Buffalo 4–0–0 Cincinnati 4–0–0 Oakland 3–1–0 Pittsburgh* 3–1–0
5 Buffalo* 4–1–0 Cincinnati 5–0–0 Denver* 3–2–0 Pittsburgh* 4–1–0
6 Miami 5–1–0 Cincinnati 6–0–0 Oakland 4–2–0 Houston 5–1–0
7 Miami 6–1–0 Pittsburgh* 6–1–0 Oakland 5–2–0 Cincinnati* 6–1–0
8 Miami 7–1–0 Pittsburgh* 7–1–0 Oakland 5–2–0 Cincinnati* 7–1–0
9 Miami 7–2–0 Pittsburgh* 8–1–0 Oakland 7–2–0 Cincinnati* 8–1–0
10 Miami 7–3–0 Pittsburgh 9–1–0 Oakland 8–2–0 Cincinnati 8–2–0
11 Miami 8–3–0 Pittsburgh 10–1–0 Oakland 9–2–0 Cincinnati 9–2–0
12 Miami 9–3–0 Pittsburgh 11–1–0 Oakland 10–2–0 Cincinnati 10–2–0
13 Baltimore* 9–4–0 Pittsburgh 12–1–0 Oakland 10–3–0 Cincinnati 10–3–0
14 Baltimore 10–4–0 Pittsburgh 12–2–0 Oakland 11–3–0 Cincinnati 11–3–0

Final standings


  • Baltimore finished ahead of Miami in the AFC East based on head-to-head sweep (2–0).
  • N.Y. Jets finished ahead of New England in the AFC East based on head-to-head sweep (2–0).
  • Minnesota was the top NFC playoff seed based on point rating system (Vikings were 1st in NFC in points scored and 2nd in NFC in points allowed for a combined rating of 3 while Rams were 5th in NFC in points scored and 1st in NFC in points allowed for a combined rating of 6).
  • Chicago finished ahead of Green Bay in the NFC Central based on better division record (2–4 to Packers’ 1–5).


Divisional Playoffs Conference Championship Games Super Bowl X
December 28 – Metropolitan Stadium
4) Dallas 17
January 4 – L.A. Memorial Coliseum
1) Minnesota 14
4) Dallas 37
December 27 – L.A. Memorial Coliseum
2) Los Angeles 7
3) St. Louis 23
January 18 – Miami Orange Bowl
2) Los Angeles 35
N4) Dallas 17
December 28 – Oakland Coliseum
A1) Pittsburgh 21
4) Cincinnati 28
January 4 – Three Rivers Stadium
2)*Oakland 31
2) Oakland 10
December 27 – Three Rivers Stadium
1) Pittsburgh 16
3) Baltimore 10
1)*Pittsburgh 28

*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.

Coaching changes




  • 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)
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