|Duration||September 12, 1982 – January 3, 1983|
|A player's strike shortened the regular season to 9 games.|
|Start date||January 8, 1983|
|AFC Champions||Miami Dolphins|
|NFC Champions||Washington Redskins|
|Super Bowl XVII|
|Date||January 30, 1983|
|Site||Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California|
|Date||February 6, 1983|
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 for seeding (although each division sent at least two teams, except the NFC West which had only one). 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 stadium.
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 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 the Los Angeles area 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.
September 18, 1982: The New Orleans Saints traded longtime starter Archie Manning to the Houston Oilers for offensive tackle Leon Gray.
The 1982 NFL Draft was held from April 27 to 28, 1982 at New York City's Sheraton Hotel. With the first pick, the New England Patriots selected defensive end Kenneth Sims from the University of Texas.
For the first time all Sunday afternoon games began in one of two windows: 1:00 p.m. ET/noon CT for early games, or 4:00 p.m. ET/1:00 p.m. PT for late games. From 1970 to 1981, most games began at 1 p.m. local time regardless of the home team (except in Denver, where the Broncos kick off at 2 p.m. MT). An exception to this rule was made for the Baltimore Colts, who were forced to begin Sunday home games no earlier than 2 p.m. Eastern due to a Baltimore ordinance, since repealed, which prohibited Sunday sporting events from beginning prior to that hour. That ordinance was cited by owner Robert Irsay as a burden and a factor in moving the franchise to Indianapolis in March 1984.
Players began a 57-day strike following the completion of Week 2 of the regular season. As a result of the impasse, games were simply cancelled until a settlement was reached (ultimately, Weeks 3 to 10). Upon reaching that settlement, the NFL announced that Weeks 11 to 16 would be played as scheduled, and the games originally scheduled for Week 3 of the season would be played following the completion of the resumed regular season as a new Week 17, with the playoffs pushed back one week. Later, the NFL decided to use the final week 17 to hold various intra-division games from cancelled Weeks 3 to 10 instead of merely playing the Week 3 games. This was done to increase attendance and to allow some teams to balance out home and away games, to the extent possible (either five home and four away, or four home and five away). Because the 1982 shortened season would include only nine regular season contests for each team, the NFL announced that the three divisions in each of the two conferences would be eliminated for the purpose of determining playoff qualifications, and the regular season would be followed by an expansion of the playoffs from 10 to 16 teams. With this, each conference had 14 teams competing for 8 playoff spots, with division standings being disregarded in favor of overall conference standings. The Washington Redskins were the Super Bowl winners.
Clinched playoff seeds are marked in parentheses and shaded in green
Main article: 1982–83 NFL playoffs
Each of the first three rounds of the playoffs was pushed back one week in order to make room for the new week 17, which was originally scheduled as the Wild Card weekend. This was possible because there was an idle week between the Conference Championship games and the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl was held as originally scheduled.
|Jan 9 – Riverfront Stadium|
|6||NY Jets||44||Jan 15 – Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum|
|Jan 8 – Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum||6||NY Jets||17|
|8||Cleveland||10||AFC||Jan 23 – Miami Orange Bowl|
|Jan 9 – Three Rivers Stadium||6||NY Jets||0|
|5||San Diego||31||Jan 16 – Miami Orange Bowl||AFC Championship|
|Jan 8 – Miami Orange Bowl||5||San Diego||13|
|2||Miami||28||Jan 30 – Rose Bowl|
|First Round playoffs||Second Round playoffs||A2||Miami||17|
|Jan 8 – Lambeau Field||Super Bowl XVII|
|6||St. Louis||16||Jan 16 – Texas Stadium|
|Jan 9 – Texas Stadium||3||Green Bay||26|
|Jan 22 – RFK Stadium|
|Jan 9 – Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome||2||Dallas||17|
|5||Atlanta||24||Jan 15 – RFK Stadium||NFC Championship|
|Jan 8 – RFK Stadium||4||Minnesota||7|
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).
The postseason would mark several "firsts" and "lasts" for several teams and players:
|Most Valuable Player||Mark Moseley, Placekicker, Washington|
|Coach of the Year||Joe Gibbs, Washington|
|Offensive Player of the Year||Dan Fouts, quarterback, San Diego|
|Defensive Player of the Year||Lawrence Taylor, linebacker, NY Giants|
|Offensive Rookie of the Year||Marcus Allen, running back, LA Raiders|
|Defensive Rookie of the Year||Chip Banks, linebacker, Cleveland|
|Man of the Year||Joe Theismann, quarterback, Washington|
|Comeback Player of the Year||Lyle Alzado, defensive end, LA Raiders|
|Super Bowl Most Valuable Player||John Riggins, running back, Washington|
ABC, CBS, and NBC each signed five-year contracts to renew their rights to broadcast Monday Night Football, the NFC package, and the AFC package, respectively. The major change was that ABC was allowed into the Super Bowl rotation beginning with Super Bowl XIX at the end of the 1984 season.
Len Berman replaced Bryant Gumbel as host on NBC's pregame show NFL '82. Pete Axthelm also joined the show as a studio analyst.
With games canceled during the players' strike, CBS sent Pat Summerall and John Madden, and some of their other regular NFL announcing crews, to instead call a few college football Division II and III games. NBC acquired the rights to air the Canadian Football League for those weeks, sending Dick Enberg and Merlin Olsen, and their other regular NFL announcing crews to those games.
During this season, the new Channel 4 in the United Kingdom began its coverage of the NFL which was to earn a substantial following during English soccer's low point of the mid-1980s. However, the first match shown - between the Dallas Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers - had been played some time before it was shown in the UK, because coverage began during the players' strike.