Harman Patil (Editor)

1982 NFL season

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AFC Champions  Miami Dolphins
Champions  Washington Redskins
Champion  Washington Redskins
NFC Champions  Washington Redskins
Site  Aloha Stadium
Start date  1982
1982 NFL season assetsnydailynewscompolopolyfs1236575814425
Duration  September 12 – January 3, 1983
Site  Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California
Similar  1981 NFL season, 1983 NFL season, 1984 NFL season, 1980 NFL season, 1986 NFL season

The 1982 NFL season was the 63rd regular season of the National Football League. A 57-day-long players' strike reduced the 1982 season from a 16-game schedule per team to an abbreviated nine game schedule. Because of the shortened season, the NFL adopted a special 16-team playoff tournament; division standings were ignored (although each division except the NFC West sent at least two teams to the playoffs, and the NFC Central sent four of five). Eight teams from each conference were seeded 1–8 based on their regular season records. Two teams qualified for the playoffs despite losing records (the Cleveland Browns and the Detroit Lions). The season ended with Super Bowl XVII when the Washington Redskins defeated the Miami Dolphins 27-17 at the Rose Bowl.


Before the season, a verdict was handed down against the league in the trial brought by the Oakland Raiders and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum back in 1980. The jury ruled that the NFL violated antitrust laws when it declined to approve the proposed move by the team from Oakland, California to Los Angeles. Thus, the league was forced to let the officially renamed Los Angeles Raiders play in the second largest city in the United States, returning football to Los Angeles proper following a two-year absence (the Los Angeles Rams left the Coliseum for Anaheim Stadium in Orange County in 1980).

For the start of the 1982 season, the Minnesota Vikings moved from Metropolitan Stadium to the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.

Major rule changes

  • The penalty for incidental grabbing of a facemask that is committed by the defensive team is changed from 5 yards and an automatic first down to just 5 yards.
  • The penalties for illegally kicking, batting, or punching the ball are changed from 15 yards to 10 yards.
  • The league discontinued the 1979 numbering system for officials, with officials numbered separately by position, and reverted to the original system where each NFL official was assigned a different number. Also the officials' position was now abbreviated on the back of the uniform instead of being spelled out.
  • This was the first season that the NFL began having the sack as an official statistic.
  • Final standings

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

    Clinched playoff seeds are marked in parentheses and shaded in green


  • AFC
  • Miami finished ahead of Cincinnati based on better conference record (6–1 to Bengals' 6–2).
  • Pittsburgh finished ahead of San Diego based on better record against common opponents (3–1 to Chargers' 2–1) after N.Y. Jets were bumped to the 6th seed from three-way tie based on conference record (Pittsburgh and San Diego 5–3 to Jets' 2–3).
  • Cleveland finished ahead of Buffalo and Seattle based on better conference record (4–3 to Bills' 3–3 to Seahawks' 3–5).
  • Buffalo finished ahead of Seattle based on better conference record (3–3 to Seahawks' 3–5).
  • NFC
  • Minnesota (4–1), Atlanta (4–3), St. Louis (5–4), Tampa Bay (3–3) seeds were determined by best won-lost record in conference games.
  • Detroit finished ahead of New Orleans and the N.Y. Giants based on best conference record (4–4 to Saints' 3–5 to Giants' 3–5).
  • San Francisco finished ahead of Chicago, and Chicago finished ahead of Philadelphia, based on conference record (49ers' 2–3 to Bears' 2–5 to Eagles' 1–5).
  • Playoffs

    Bold type indicates the winning team.

    Until this season, no team ever reached the post-season with a losing record. The Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions both made playoff appearances with 4–5 records. It would be 28 years before another team with a losing record would make the post-season (however, this would be accomplished in a full season).


    1982 NFL season Wikipedia