|Duration||September 3 – December 25, 1995|
|Start date||December 30, 1995|
|AFC Champions||Pittsburgh Steelers|
|NFC Champions||Dallas Cowboys|
|Super Bowl XXX|
|Date||January 28, 1996|
|Site||Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, Arizona|
|Date||February 4, 1996|
The 1995 NFL season was the 76th regular season of the National Football League. The league expanded to 30 teams with the addition of the Carolina Panthers and the Jacksonville Jaguars. The two expansion teams were slotted into the two remaining divisions that previously had only four teams (while the other four had five teams): the AFC Central (Jaguars) and the NFC West (Panthers).
Meanwhile, the two teams in Los Angeles relocated to other cities: the Rams transferred to St. Louis and the Raiders moved back to Oakland; this would be the start of a 20-year absence for the NFL in Los Angeles. During the course of the season it emerged that the Cleveland Browns would relocate to Baltimore for the 1996 season. The Raiders’ move was not announced until after the schedule had been announced, which resulted in a problem in the third week of the season when both the Raiders and the San Francisco 49ers had games scheduled to air on NBC which ended up overlapping each other. The Raiders game was rescheduled for 10:00 AM PDT in case they were to relocate and NBC was given the doubleheader so that both Bay Area teams had their games televised locally.
The season ended with Super Bowl XXX, when the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 27–17 at Sun Devil Stadium. They became the first team in NFL history to win three Super Bowls in four years. This season was Miami Dolphins head coach Don Shula’s last season as coach.
The 1995 NFL draft was held from April 22 to 23, 1995 at New York City's Theater at Madison Square Garden. With the first pick, the Cincinnati Bengals selected running back Ki-Jana Carter from Penn State University.
The 1995 NFL expansion draft was held on February 15, 1995. The Jacksonville Jaguars held the first pick overall, while the Carolina Panthers were second, alternating picks as the existing teams made six players available for selection,. The Panthers ultimately picked 35 players, while the Jaguars picked 31. With the first selection in the Expansion Draft, the Jaguars selected quarterback Steve Beuerlein from the Arizona Cardinals. Selecting second, the Panthers obtained cornerback Rod Smith from the New England Patriots.
Mike Carey and Walt Coleman were promoted to referee; Carey became the second African-American referee in NFL history following Johnny Grier, who was promoted in 1988. Dale Hamer had to sit out the 1995 season to recover from open heart surgery, while league expansion from 28 to 30 teams required an additional officiating crew.
A series of National Football League pre-season exhibition games that were held at sites outside the United States. Two games were contested in 1995.
|Date||Winning Team||Score||Losing Team||Score||Stadium||City|
|August 6, 1995||Denver Broncos||24||San Francisco 49ers||10||Tokyo Dome||Tokyo|
|August 12, 1995||Buffalo Bills||9||Dallas Cowboys||7||SkyDome||Toronto|
The Pro Football Hall of Fame Game, featured the NFL's newest expansions teams, as the Carolina Panthers defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 20-14, was played on July 29, and held at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio, the same city where the league was founded. The 1995 Hall of Fame Class included Jim Finks, Henry Jordan, Steve Largent, Lee Roy Selmon and Kellen Winslow
Highlights of the 1995 season included:
Main article: 1995–96 NFL playoffs
|Dec 31 – Lambeau Field||Jan 6 – 3Com Park|
|3||Green Bay||37||Jan 14 – Texas Stadium|
|Dec 30 – Veterans Stadium||3||Green Bay||27|
|Jan 7 – Texas Stadium|
|4||Philadelphia||58||Jan 28 – Sun Devil Stadium|
|Wild Card playoffs|
|Dec 31 – Jack Murphy Stadium||N1||Dallas||27|
|Jan 7 – Arrowhead Stadium|
|5||Indianapolis||35||Super Bowl XXX|
|4||San Diego||20||Jan 14 – Three Rivers Stadium|
|Dec 30 – Rich Stadium||5||Indianapolis||16|
|Jan 6 – Three Rivers Stadium|
The following players set all-time records during the season:
|Most touchdowns, season||Emmitt Smith, Dallas (25)|
|Most passing attempts, career||Dan Marino, Miami (6,531 at the end of the season)|
|Most passes completed, career||Dan Marino, Miami (3,913 at the end of the season)|
|Most passing yards, career||Dan Marino, Miami (48,841 at the end of the season)|
|Most touchdown passes, career||Dan Marino, Miami (352 at the end of the season)|
|Most pass receptions, career||Jerry Rice, San Francisco (942 at the end of the season)|
|Most pass receiving yards gained, career||Jerry Rice, San Francisco (15,123 at the end of the season)|
|Points scored||San Francisco 49ers (457)|
|Total yards gained||Detroit Lions (6,113)|
|Yards rushing||Kansas City Chiefs (2,222)|
|Yards passing||San Francisco 49ers (4,608)|
|Fewest points allowed||Kansas City Chiefs (241)|
|Fewest total yards allowed||San Francisco 49ers (4,398)|
|Fewest rushing yards allowed||San Francisco 49ers (1,061)|
|Fewest passing yards allowed||New York Jets (2,740)|
|Scoring||Emmitt Smith, Dallas (150 points)|
|Touchdowns||Emmitt Smith, Dallas (25 TDs)|
|Most field goals made||Norm Johnson, Pittsburgh (34 FGs)|
|Rushing||Emmitt Smith, Dallas (1,773 yards)|
|Passing||Jim Harbaugh, Indianapolis (100.7 rating)|
|Passing touchdowns||Brett Favre, Green Bay (38 TDs)|
|Pass receiving||Herman Moore, Detroit (123 catches)|
|Pass receiving yards||Jerry Rice, San Francisco (1,848)|
|Punt returns||David Palmer, Minnesota (13.2 average yards)|
|Kickoff returns||Ron Carpenter, New York Jets (27.7 average yards)|
|Interceptions||Orlando Thomas, Minnesota (9)|
|Punting||Rick Tuten, Seattle (45.0 average yards)|
|Sacks||Bryce Paup, Buffalo (17.5)|
The 1995 season produced four of the top twenty highest single-season totals for receiving yards. Two of the top five teams receiving yard totals of all time – Jerry Rice's 1,848 & Isaac Bruce's 1,781 – were recorded in 1995. Detroit Lions receiver Herman Moore gained 1,686 yards (6th highest all time) and Dallas Cowboys receiver Michael Irvin gained 1,603 yards (11th most in NFL history).
|Most Valuable Player||Brett Favre, quarterback, Green Bay|
|Coach of the Year||Ray Rhodes, Philadelphia|
|Offensive Player of the Year||Brett Favre, quarterback, Green Bay|
|Defensive Player of the Year||Bryce Paup, linebacker, Buffalo|
|Offensive Rookie of the Year||Curtis Martin, running back, New England|
|Defensive Rookie of the Year||Hugh Douglas, defensive end, New York Jets|
|NFL Comeback Player of the Year||Jim Harbaugh, quarterback, Indianapolis and Garrison Hearst, running back, Arizona|
|NFL Man of the Year Award||Boomer Esiason, quarterback, NY Jets|
|Super Bowl most valuable player||Larry Brown, cornerback, Dallas|
This was the second year under the league's four-year broadcast contracts with ABC, Fox, NBC, TNT, and ESPN. ABC, Fox, and NBC continued to televise Monday Night Football, the NFC package, the AFC package, respectively. Sunday night games aired on TNT during the first half of the season, and ESPN during the second half of the season.
NBC renamed its pregame show as simply The NFL on NBC. The then-recently retired quarterback Joe Montana joined the show as an analyst, alongside Greg Gumbel, Mike Ditka, and Joe Gibbs. Phil Simms and Paul Maguire joined Dick Enberg as NBC's lead broadcast team, replacing Bob Trumpy.
Verne Lundquist replaced Gary Bender as TNT's play-by-play announcer. TNT also renamed its pregame show as Pro Football Tonight, with Vince Cellini as its host.