1972 National Football League season
Regular season
DurationSeptember 17 – December 17, 1972
Playoffs
Start dateDecember 23, 1972
AFC ChampionsMiami Dolphins
NFC ChampionsWashington Redskins
Super Bowl VII
DateJanuary 14, 1973
SiteLos Angeles Memorial Coliseum
ChampionsMiami Dolphins
Pro Bowl
DateJanuary 21, 1973
SiteTexas Stadium, Irving, Texas
1972 NFL season is located in the United States
Colts
Colts
Patriots
Patriots
Bills
Bills
Dolphins
Dolphins
Jets
Jets
Bengals
Bengals
Browns
Browns
Oilers
Oilers
Steelers
Steelers
Broncos
Broncos
Chiefs
Chiefs
Raiders
Raiders
Chargers
Chargers
AFC teams:
Yellow ffff00 pog.svg
West,
DeepPink pog.svg
Central,
Green pog.svg
East
1972 NFL season is located in the United States
Cowboys
Cowboys
Giants
Giants
Eagles
Eagles
Cardinals
Cardinals
Redskins
Redskins
Bears
Bears
Lions
Lions
Packers
Packers
Vikings
Vikings
Falcons
Falcons
Rams
Rams
Saints
Saints
49ers
49ers
NFC teams:
Yellow ffff00 pog.svg
West,
DeepPink pog.svg
Central,
Green pog.svg
East

The 1972 NFL season was the 53rd regular season of the National Football League. The Miami Dolphins became the first (and to date the only) NFL team to finish a championship season undefeated and untied when they beat the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl VII. The Dolphins not only led the NFL in points scored, while their defense led the league in fewest points allowed, the roster also featured two running backs who gained 1,000 rushing yards in the same season.[1]

Colts and Rams exchange owners

On July 13, Robert Irsay and Willard Keland bought the Los Angeles Rams from the estate of Dan Reeves and transferred ownership to Carroll Rosenbloom, in exchange for ownership of the Baltimore Colts.[2][3][4]

Draft

The 1972 NFL Draft was held from February 1 to 2, 1972 at New York City’s Essex House. With the first pick, the Buffalo Bills selected defensive end Walt Patulski from the University of Notre Dame.

New officials

Referee Jack Vest, the referee for Super Bowl II, the 1969 AFL championship game and 1971 AFC championship game, was killed in a June motorcycle accident. Chuck Heberling was promoted from line judge to fill the vacancy and kept Vest's crew intact. Heberling's line judge vacancy was filled by Red Cashion, who was promoted to referee in 1976 and worked in the league through 1996, earning assignment to Super Bowl XX and Super Bowl XXX.

Major rule changes

Division races

From 1970 through 2002, there were three divisions (East, Central and West) 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, common opponents records, and conference play.

National Football Conference

Week East Central West Wild Card
1 Dallas, St. Louis, Washington 1–0–0 Detroit, Green Bay 1–0–0 Atlanta, San Francisco, Los Angeles 1–0–0 5 teams 1–0–0
2 Dallas, Washington 2–0–0 Minnesota 1–1–0 Los Angeles 1–0–1 Dallas, Washington 2–0–0
3 Washington 2–1–0 Detroit, Green Bay 2–1–0 Atlanta, San Francisco 2–1–0 3 teams 2–1–0
4 Washington 3–1–0 Detroit* 3–1–0 Los Angeles 2–1–1 2 teams 3–1–0
5 Washington 4–1–0 Green Bay 4–1–0 Los Angeles 3–1–1 Dallas 4–1–0
6 Washington 5–1–0 Green Bay* 4–2–0 Los Angeles 4–1–1 4 teams 4–2–0
7 Washington 6–1–0 Green Bay* 4–3–0 Los Angeles 4–2–1 Dallas 5–2–0
8 Washington 7–1–0 Green Bay* 5–3–0 Los Angeles 5–2–1 Dallas 6–2–0
9 Washington 8–1–0 Green Bay 6–3–0 Los Angeles 5–3–1 Dallas 7–2–0
10 Washington 9–1–0 Green Bay 7–3–0 Los Angeles* 5–4–1 Dallas 8–2–0
11 Washington 10–1–0 Green Bay* 7–4–0 San Francisco 6–4–1 Dallas 8–3–0
12 Washington 11–1–0 Green Bay 8–4–0 Atlanta 7–5–0 Dallas 9–3–0
13 Washington 11–2–0 Green Bay 9–4–0 San Francisco 7–5–1 Dallas 10–3–0
14 Washington 11–3–0 Green Bay 10–4–0 San Francisco 8–5–1 Dallas 10–4–0

American Football Conference

Week East Cent West Wild Card
1 Miami, NY Jets 1–0–0 Cincinnati, Pittsburgh 1–0–0 Denver 1–0–0 Miami, NY Jets 1–0–0
2 Miami, NY Jets 2–0–0 Cincinnati 2–0–0 Oakland, Denver, Kansas City, San Diego 1–1–0 Miami, NY Jets 2–0–0
3 Miami 3–0–0 Cleveland 2–1–0 Kansas City 2–1–0 Pittsburgh, San Diego, Cincinnati, NY Jets 2–1–0
4 Miami 4–0–0 Cincinnati 3–1–0 Kansas City 3–1–0 San Diego* 2–1–1
5 Miami 5–0–0 Cincinnati 4–1–0 Oakland 3–1–1 NY Jets* 3–2–0
6 Miami 6–0–0 Cincinnati* 4–2–0 Oakland 3–2–1 Pittsburgh* 4–2–0
7 Miami 7–0–0 Cincinnati* 5–2–0 Oakland 4–2–1 Pittsburgh* 5–2–0
8 Miami 8–0–0 Pittsburgh 6–2–0 Kansas City 5–3–0 Cleveland* 5–3–0
9 Miami 9–0–0 Pittsburgh 7–2–0 Oakland 5–3–1 Cleveland* 6–3–0
10 Miami 10–0–0 Cleveland 7–3–0 Oakland 6–3–1 Pittsburgh 7–3–0
11 Miami 11–0–0 Cleveland 8–3–0 Oakland 7–3–1 Pittsburgh 8–3–0
12 Miami 12–0–0 Pittsburgh 9–3–0 Oakland 8–3–1 Cleveland 8–4–0
13 Miami 13–0–0 Pittsburgh 10–3–0 Oakland 9–3–1 Cleveland 9–4–0
14 Miami 14–0–0 Pittsburgh 11–3–0 Oakland 10–3–1 Cleveland 10–4–0

Final standings


Playoffs

Main article: 1972–73 NFL playoffs

Note: Prior to the 1975 season, the home teams in the playoffs were decided based on a yearly rotation. Had the playoffs been seeded, the divisional matchups in the AFC would not have changed, but undefeated Miami would have had home field advantage for the AFC championship game. The NFC divisional matchups would have been #4 wild card Dallas, ineligible to play Washington, at #2 Green Bay and #3 San Francisco at #1 Washington.
Dec 24 – Miami Orange Bowl
WC Cleveland 14
Dec 31 – Three Rivers Stadium
East Miami 20
AFC
East Miami 21
Dec 23 – Three Rivers Stadium
Cent. Pittsburgh 17
AFC Championship
West Oakland 7
Jan 14 – Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
Cent. Pittsburgh 13
Divisional playoffs
AFC Miami 14
Dec 23 – Candlestick Park
NFC Washington 7
Super Bowl VII
WC Dallas 30
Dec 31 – RFK Stadium
West San Francisco 28
NFC
WC Dallas 3
Dec 24 – RFK Stadium
East Washington 26
NFC Championship
Cent. Green Bay 3
East Washington 16


Awards

Most Valuable Player Larry Brown, running back, Washington
Coach of the Year Don Shula, Miami
Offensive Player of the Year Larry Brown, running back, Washington
Defensive Player of the Year Joe Greene, defensive tackle, Pittsburgh
Offensive Rookie of the Year Franco Harris, running back, Pittsburgh
Defensive Rookie of the Year Willie Buchanon, cornerback, Green Bay
Man of the Year Willie Lanier, linebacker, Kansas
Comeback Player of the Year Earl Morrall, quarterback, Miami
Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Jake Scott, safety, Miami

Coaching changes

Offseason

In-season

Stadium changes

Uniform changes

References

  1. ^ 100 Things Braves Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die: Revised and Updated, Jack Wilkinson, Triumph Books, Chicago, 2019, ISBN 978-1-62937-694-3, p.3
  2. ^ "Colts owner trades club for Rams". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. July 14, 1972. p. 1, part 2.
  3. ^ "Colts' owner now sole owner of Rams". The Bulletin. (Bend, Oregon). UPI. July 14, 1972. p. 12.
  4. ^ Maule, Tex (August 14, 1972). "Nay on the neighs, yea on the baas". Sports Illustrated. p. 67.
  5. ^ "Owners give offense big seven-yard boost". Rome News-Tribune. Georgia. Associated Press. March 24, 1972. p. 6A.