|Duration||September 7 – December 22, 1980|
|Start date||December 28, 1980|
|AFC Champions||Oakland Raiders|
|NFC Champions||Philadelphia Eagles|
|Super Bowl XV|
|Date||January 25, 1981|
|Site||Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana|
|Date||February 1, 1981|
The 1980 NFL season was the 61st regular season of the National Football League.
Prior to the season in March 1980, fellow NFL owners voted against the proposed move by the Raiders from Oakland, California to Los Angeles. Raiders team owner Al Davis along with the Los Angeles Coliseum sued the NFL charging that they had violated antitrust laws. A verdict in the trial would not be decided until before the 1982 NFL season and thus the 1980 and 1981 Raiders would continue to play in Oakland while awaiting a judgement.
Meanwhile, the season ended at Super Bowl XV played on January 25, 1981, in New Orleans, Louisiana, with these same Oakland Raiders defeating the Philadelphia Eagles 27–10, making them the first Wild Card team ever to win the Super Bowl.
In 1979, Raiders owner Al Davis announced his intention to move the Raiders to Los Angeles. Negotiations between Davis and the Oakland Coliseum regarding potential improvements to the facility came to an end in February 1980. At the NFL's annual meeting on March 10, 1980, team owners voted 22–0 against allowing the move, with the Raiders not participating and five teams abstaining. Davis announced he would ignore the vote and move the team anyway.
The Raiders played the entire 1980 season in Oakland. At a Monday Night Football game against the Denver Broncos on December 1, 1980, Raider fans protested by entering the Oakland Coliseum five minutes after the start of the game and holding up signs stating "Save Our Raiders" at each half's 2-minute warning. By some estimates, “almost two-thirds” of the Coliseum's seats had been empty at the game's kickoff.
The announced move was involved in four lawsuits: the Los Angeles Coliseum Commission sued the NFL charging antitrust violations, the NFL sued the Raiders charging breach of contract, Raider season ticket holders filed a class-action lawsuit, and the City of Oakland filed for eminent domain of the team.
In May 1982, a jury ruled that the NFL had violated antitrust law by attempting to prevent the move. In April 1983, after the team's first season in Los Angeles, a separate jury awarded the Raiders $35 million in damages.
The 1980 NFL Draft was held from April 29 to 30, 1980 at New York City's Sheraton Hotel. With the first pick, the Detroit Lions selected running back Billy Sims from the University of Oklahoma.
The league added a 15th officiating crew, promoting Bob McElwee to referee. The league previously had 15 crews in 1976 (when the league expanded to 28 teams) and 1977. After referee Bernie Ulman retired after the 1977 season, the league used only 14 crews for the 1978 and 1979 seasons, requiring all 14 of them to be on hand for the weekly workload of 14 games.
Teams can take a time-out (if available) to prevent the runoff.
From 1978 to 1989, ten teams qualified for the playoffs: the winners of each of the divisions, and two wild-card teams in each conference. These are the leaders for each playoff slot, week by week. Teams listed in Week 16 indicate playoff participants.
|Week||NFC East||NFC Central||NFC West||Wild Card||Wild Card|
|1||3 teams||1–0||4 teams||1–0||San Francisco||1–0|
|2||Philadelphia||2–0||Detroit, Tampa Bay||2–0||San Francisco||2–0|
|3||Philadelphia||3–0||Detroit||3–0||San Francisco||3–0||Dallas, Tampa Bay, Minnesota||2–1|
|4||Philadelphia, Dallas||3–1||Detroit||4–0||San Francisco||3–1||Philadelphia, Dallas||3–1||4 teams||2–2|
|5||Philadelphia, Dallas||4–1||Detroit||4–1||S.F., L.A., Atlanta||3–2||Philadelphia, Dallas||4–1||S.F., L.A., Atlanta||3–2|
|6||Philadelphia, Dallas||5–1||Detroit||5–1||Los Angeles||4–2||Philadelphia, Dallas||5–1||Minnesota, S.F., Atlanta||3–3|
|8||Philadelphia||7–1||Detroit||5–3||L.A., Atlanta||5–3||Dallas||6–2||L.A., Atlanta||5–3|
|9||Philadelphia||8–1||Detroit||6–3||L.A., Atlanta||6–3||Dallas||7–2||L.A., Atlanta||6–3|
|11||Philadelphia||10–1||Detroit, Minnesota||6–5||Atlanta||8–3||Dallas||8–3||Los Angeles||7–4|
|13||Philadelphia||11–2||Detroit, Minnesota||7–6||Atlanta||10–3||Dallas||10–3||Los Angeles||9–4|
|14||Philadelphia, Dallas||11–3||Minnesota||8–6||Atlanta||11–3||Philadelphia, Dallas||11–3||Los Angeles||9–5|
|Week||AFC East||AFC Central||AFC West||Wild Card||Wild Card|
|1||3 teams||1–0||Pittsburgh||1–0||S.D., Oakland||1–0|
|3||Buffalo||3–0||Pittsburgh, Houston||2–1||San Diego||3–0||Pitt., Hou., Miami, N.E., Oak.||2–1|
|4||Buffalo||4–0||Pittsburgh, Houston||3–1||San Diego||4–0||4 teams||3–1||Baltimore, Cleveland, Oak., Seattle||2–2|
|5||Buffalo||5–0||Pittsburgh||4–1||San Diego||4–1||New England||4–1||Miami, Baltimore, Houston, Seattle||3–2|
|6||Buffalo, N.E.||5–1||Pittsburgh||4–2||San Diego||4–2||Buffalo, N.E.||5–1||Baltimore||4–2|
|7||New England||6–1||Pittsburgh, Cle., Hou.||4–3||San Diego||5–2||Buffalo||5–2||6 teams||4–3|
|8||Buffalo, N.E.||6–2||Cleveland, Houston||5–3||S.D., Oakland||5–3||Buffalo, N.E.||6–2||4 teams||5–3|
|9||New England||7–2||Cleveland, Houston||6–3||S.D., Oakland||6–3||5 teams||6–3||Baltimore, Pittsburgh||5–4|
|10||Buffalo, N.E.||7–3||Cleveland, Houston||7–3||Oakland||7–3||4 teams||7–3||Pittsburgh, San Diego||6–4|
|11||Buffalo||8–3||Houston||8–3||Oakland||8–3||4 teams||7–4||Miami, Baltimore, Denver||6–5|
|12||Buffalo||9–3||Cleveland, Houston||8–4||S.D., Oakland||8–4||5 teams||8–4||Pittsburgh, Denver||7–5|
|13||Buffalo||9–4||Cleveland||9–4||S.D., Oakland||9–4||S.D., Oakland||9–4||New England, Pittsburgh, Houston||8–5|
|14||Buffalo||10–4||Cleveland||10–4||S.D., Oakland||9–5||S.D., Oak., Hou.||9–5||N.E., Pittsburgh||8–6|
|15||Buffalo||10–5||Cleveland, Houston||10–5||S.D., Oakland||10–5||Cle., Hou., S.D., Oak.||10–5||N.E., Pittsburgh||9–6|
Highlights of the 1980 season included:
Main article: 1980–81 NFL playoffs
|Jan 4 – Cleveland Stadium|
|Dec 28 – Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum||Jan 11 – Jack Murphy Stadium|
|Jan 3 – Jack Murphy Stadium|
|Jan 25 – Louisiana Superdome|
|Wild Card playoffs||A4||Oakland||27|
|Jan 4 – Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium|
|Super Bowl XV|
|Dec 28 – Texas Stadium||Jan 11 – Veterans Stadium|
|Jan 3 – Veterans Stadium|
|Points scored||Dallas Cowboys (454)|
|Total yards gained||San Diego Chargers (6,410)|
|Yards rushing||Los Angeles Rams (2,799)|
|Yards passing||San Diego Chargers (4,531)|
|Fewest points allowed||Philadelphia Eagles (222)|
|Fewest total yards allowed||Buffalo Bills (4,101)|
|Fewest rushing yards allowed||Detroit Lions (1,599)|
|Fewest passing yards allowed||Washington Redskins (2,171)|
|Most Valuable Player||Brian Sipe, quarterback, Cleveland|
|Coach of the Year||Chuck Knox, Buffalo|
|Offensive Player of the Year||Earl Campbell, running back, Houston Oilers|
|Defensive Player of the Year||Lester Hayes, cornerback, Oakland|
|Offensive Rookie of the Year||Billy Sims, running back, Detroit|
|Defensive Rookie of the Year||Buddy Curry & Al Richardson, linebackers, Atlanta|
|Man of the Year||Harold Carmichael, wide receiver, Philadelphia|
|Comeback Player of the Year||Jim Plunkett, quarterback, Oakland|
|Super Bowl Most Valuable Player||Jim Plunkett, quarterback, Oakland|
The Los Angeles Rams moved from Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to Anaheim Stadium
This was the third year under the league's four-year broadcast contracts with ABC, CBS, and NBC to televise Monday Night Football, the NFC package, and the AFC package, respectively. Phyllis George returned to The NFL Today, replacing Jayne Kennedy (who had previously replaced George in 1978).
NBC made history with an announcerless telecast of the December 20, nationally televised Saturday game between the New York Jets and the Miami Dolphins. With both teams out of playoff contention during the last week of the regular season, NBC executive Don Ohlmeyer used this as a one-shot experiment in an attempt to boost ratings.