1993 NFL season

The 1993 NFL season was the 74th regular season of the National Football League. It was the only season in league history where all NFL teams were scheduled to play their 16-game schedule over a span of 18 weeks (the league again played 16 games over 18 weeks in 2001, but this was not planned and instead was caused by the postponement of a week of games due to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks). After the success of expanding the regular season to a period of 17 weeks in 1990, the league hoped this new schedule would generate even more revenue. This was also done to avoid scheduling playoff games on January 1 and competing with college football bowl games. However, teams felt that having two weeks off during the regular season was too disruptive for their weekly routines, and thus it reverted to 17 weeks immediately after the season ended.

1993 National Football League season
Regular season
DurationSeptember 5, 1993 (1993-09-05) – January 3, 1994
Start dateJanuary 8, 1994
AFC ChampionsBuffalo Bills
NFC ChampionsDallas Cowboys
Super Bowl XXVIII
DateJanuary 30, 1994
SiteGeorgia Dome, Atlanta, Georgia
ChampionsDallas Cowboys
Pro Bowl
DateFebruary 6, 1994
SiteAloha Stadium

On March 1, 1993, the current free agent system was introduced to the league.[1]

When new TV contracts were signed in December 1993, CBS lost their rights to broadcasting NFC games to the then seven-year old Fox Network, which had just started its own sports division. The new contract took effect in the 1994 season, ending a 37 year association with the NFL for CBS.

The season ended with Super Bowl XXVIII when the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Buffalo Bills 30–13 for the second consecutive season at the Georgia Dome. This remains the only time both Super Bowl participants have been the same in successive seasons. The Cowboys became the first team to win a Super Bowl after losing their first two regular season games. This game also marked the fourth consecutive Super Bowl loss by the Bills, who remain the only team to reach four straight Super Bowls.

Player movementEdit


  • On April 6, 1993, Reggie White was signed by the Green Bay Packers and agreed to terms on a four-year contract worth $17 million.[2]
  • June 9: The Kansas City Chiefs signed Los Angeles Raiders running back Marcus Allen.[3]


  • March 17, 1993: The Cincinnati Bengals traded Boomer Esiason to the New York Jets.[4]
  • April 20, 1993: Joe Montana was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs and signed a $10 million contract over three years.[5]
  • August 17: The Chicago Bears trade John Roper and Markus Paul to the Dallas Cowboys[6]
  • August 20: The Minnesota Vikings trade quarterback Rich Gannon to Washington.[6]
  • August 24: The Denver Broncos trade wide receiver Vance Johnson to the Minnesota Vikings [6]
  • August 26: The Phoenix Cardinals traded wide receiver Ernie Jones to the Los Angeles Rams.[6]
  • August 30: The Atlanta Falcons traded punter Tim Kalal to the Green Bay Packers.[6]
  • August 30: The Kansas City Chiefs trade running back Barry Word to the Minnesota Vikings.[6]
  • August 30: The Kansas City Chiefs trade guard Rich Baldinger to the New England Patriots.[6]
  • October 5: The Los Angeles Rams trade tight end Jim Price to the Dallas Cowboys.[7]
  • October 12: The Atlanta Falcons trade running back Eric Dickerson and cornerback Bruce Pickens to the Green Bay Packers.[7]
  • October 13: The Los Angeles Raiders trade special teams player Elvis Patterson to the Dallas Cowboys,[7] along with a seventh round pick (#216-Toddrick McIntosh), in exchange for a fifth round (#159-Roosevelt Patterson) and a seventh round draft choice (#217-Rob Holmberg).[8]
  • October 19: The Pittsburgh Steelers traded running back Tim Worley to the Chicago Bears.[7]


The 1993 NFL Draft was held from April 25 to 26, 1993 at New York City's Marriott Marquis. With the first pick, the New England Patriots selected quarterback Drew Bledsoe from Washington State University.

New refereeEdit

Ron Blum, a line judge from 1985 to 92, was promoted to referee to replace Pat Haggerty, who retired after the 1992 season. In 28 seasons in the NFL, Haggerty was selected as the referee Super Bowl XIII in 1979, XVI in 1982, and XIX in 1985.

Major rule changesEdit

  • The Play Clock (the time limit the offensive team has to snap the ball between plays) was reduced from 45 seconds to 40 seconds (the time interval after time outs and other administrative stoppages remained 25 seconds).
  • Ineligible receiver down field prior to a forward pass foul was added.
  • The passer could now legally throw a pass away, without any offensive player having a chance to catch the ball, as long as they are out of the pocket and the ball lands beyond the line of scrimmage.
  • The player taking a snap from the center, upon receiving the ball, can immediately throw the football directly into the ground (i.e. spike) to stop the game clock.
  • The NFL added an extra (second) bye week into the season for each team. The extra bye week was removed in 1994.[9]


American BowlEdit

A series of NFL pre-season exhibition games were held at four varying sites outside the United States, with three in Europe and one in Japan.

Date Winning Team Score Losing Team Score Stadium City
August 1, 1993 New Orleans Saints 28 Philadelphia Eagles 16 Tokyo Dome   Tokyo
August 1, 1993 San Francisco 49ers 21 Pittsburgh Steelers 14 Estadi Olímpic   Barcelona
August 7, 1993 Minnesota Vikings 20 Buffalo Bills 6 Olympiastadion   Berlin
August 8, 1993 Dallas Cowboys 13 Detroit Lions 13 Wembley Stadium   London

Regular seasonEdit

Scheduling formulaEdit

AFC East vs NFC East
AFC Central vs NFC West
AFC West vs NFC Central

Highlights of the 1993 season included:

  • Thanksgiving: Two games were played on Thursday, November 25, featuring Chicago at Detroit and Miami at Dallas, with Chicago and Miami winning.

Final standingsEdit


  • Buffalo was the top AFC playoff seed based on head-to-head victory over Houston (1–0).
  • Denver was the second AFC Wild Card ahead of Pittsburgh and Miami, based on better conference record (8–4 to Steelers’ 7–5 to Dolphins’ 6–6).
  • Pittsburgh was the third AFC Wild Card based on head-to-head victory over Miami (1–0).
  • San Francisco was the second NFC playoff seed based on head-to-head victory over Detroit (1–0).
  • Minnesota finished ahead of Green Bay in the NFC Central based on head-to-head sweep (2–0).


Jan. 9 – Giants Stadium Jan. 15 – Candlestick Park
5 Minnesota 10
4 NY Giants 3
4 NY Giants 17 Jan. 23 – Texas Stadium
2 San Francisco 44
Jan. 8 – Pontiac Silverdome 2 San Francisco 21
Jan. 16 – Texas Stadium
1 Dallas 38
6 Green Bay 28 NFC Championship
6 Green Bay 17
3 Detroit 24 Jan. 30 – Georgia Dome
1 Dallas 27
Wild Card playoffs
Divisional playoffs
Jan. 8 – Arrowhead Stadium N1 Dallas 30
Jan. 16 – Astrodome
A1 Buffalo 13
6 Pittsburgh 24 Super Bowl XXVIII
3 Kansas City 28
3 Kansas City 27* Jan. 23 – Rich Stadium
2 Houston 20
Jan. 9 – Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 3 Kansas City 13
Jan. 15 – Rich Stadium
1 Buffalo 30
5 Denver 24 AFC Championship
4 LA Raiders 23
4 LA Raiders 42
1 Buffalo 29

* Indicates overtime victory


Most Valuable Player Emmitt Smith, Running Back, Dallas
Coach of the Year Dan Reeves, NY Giants
Offensive Player of the Year Jerry Rice, Wide Receiver, San Francisco
Defensive Player of the Year Rod Woodson, Cornerback, Pittsburgh
Offensive Rookie of the Year Jerome Bettis, Running Back, LA Rams
Defensive Rookie of the Year Dana Stubblefield, Defensive tackle, San Francisco
NFL Comeback Player of the Year Marcus Allen, Running Back, Kansas City
NFL Man of the Year Derrick Thomas, Linebacker, Kansas City
Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Emmitt Smith, Running Back, Dallas

Coaching changesEdit

Uniform changesEdit

  • The New England Patriots introduced new uniforms, changing their primary color from red to royal blue, and their white helmets and pants to silver. They also replaced the "Pat Patriot" helmet logo with the later-coined "Flying Elvis", a gray face of a minuteman that fans felt resembled the profile of a young Elvis Presley.

External linksEdit


  1. ^ Springer, Steve (March 2, 1993). "Freedom Comes to NFL : Pro football: On first day of free agency, 484 players become eligible to sign with new teams". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 2, 2018.
  2. ^ "April 6, 1993: 17 million reasons convince Reggie White". archive.jsonline.com. Retrieved May 18, 2017.
  3. ^ Teicher, Adam (April 20, 2018). "Three things you might not know about Joe Montana trade". ESPN.com. Retrieved December 22, 2019.
  4. ^ "1993 NFL Transactions: Trades - March". nfl.com. Retrieved November 30, 2020.
  5. ^ Grathoff, Pete (January 5, 2019). "Joe Montana likes the Chiefs' chances of winning the Super Bowl". The Kansas City Star. Retrieved December 22, 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g "1993 NFL Transactions. Trades - August". National Football League. Retrieved December 3, 2020.
  7. ^ a b c d "1993 NFL Transactions. Trades - October". National Football League. Retrieved December 3, 2020.
  8. ^ "SPORTS PEOPLE: FOOTBALL; Raiders Deal Patterson". The New York Times. October 14, 1993.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 27, 2017. Retrieved April 30, 2018.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)