1994 NFL season

The 1994 NFL season was the 75th regular season of the National Football League. To honor the NFL's 75th season, a special anniversary logo was designed and each player wore a patch on their jerseys with this logo throughout the season. Also, a selection committee of media and league personnel named a special NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team, honoring the best NFL players from the first 75 seasons.

1994 National Football League season
NFL 75th season anniversary logo
Regular season
DurationSeptember 4, 1994 – December 26, 1994
Start dateDecember 31, 1994
AFC ChampionsSan Diego Chargers
NFC ChampionsSan Francisco 49ers
Super Bowl XXIX
DateJanuary 29, 1995
SiteJoe Robbie Stadium, Miami, Florida
ChampionsSan Francisco 49ers
Pro Bowl
DateFebruary 5, 1995
SiteAloha Stadium

The Phoenix Cardinals changed their name to “Arizona Cardinals” in an attempt to widen their appeal to the entire state of Arizona instead of just the Phoenix area. The name was initially resisted by team owner Bill Bidwill.

This marked the last season until 2016 that the city of Los Angeles had an NFL team and the last one until 2017 that the city had two. Both the Rams and the Raiders left the city following the season. The Rams moved east to St. Louis, Missouri after being in Los Angeles for 49 years, while the Raiders left after twelve seasons to return to their previous home in Oakland, California. The Rams eventually returned in 2016 after failing to reach an agreement with St. Louis on a new stadium.

This was also the first season that the then eight-year old Fox network televised NFL games; the network had started its own sports division a year prior. Fox took over the National Football Conference package from CBS, who would return to televising the NFL in 1998. The league also signed an exclusivity agreement with the new direct broadcast satellite (DBS) service DirecTV to launch NFL Sunday Ticket, a satellite television subscription service that offers every regular season NFL game. The package remains exclusive to DirecTV to this day.

The season ended with Super Bowl XXIX when San Francisco defeated San Diego 49–26 at Joe Robbie Stadium. This was the first season of the 1990s to not feature the Buffalo Bills in the Super Bowl.

This was also the first time in which Christmas Day fell on a Sunday during the regular season. The league established the practice to move most of that weekend's games to the Saturday afternoon of Christmas Eve. Every NFL season afterwards with Christmas Day on a Sunday has followed this same scheduling format. Prior to the 1990 introduction of the bye week, Christmas had fallen within the postseason. In years in which Christmas was on a Sunday, that weekend's games would be split between Saturday, December 24 and Monday, December 26.

The NFL's salary cap was implemented this season.[1]

Player movementEdit



  • April 14, 1994: Houston traded quarterback Warren Moon to Minnesota.[4]
  • April 24, 1994: Minnesota traded defensive end Chris Doleman as a part of a package involving draft picks to Atlanta.[5]
  • July 12, 1994: Detroit traded safety William White to Kansas City.[6]



The 1994 NFL Draft was held from April 24 to 25, 1994. With the first pick, the Cincinnati Bengals selected defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson from Ohio State.

Major rule changesEdit

A package of changes were adopted to increase offensive production and scoring:

  • The two-point conversion after touchdowns is adopted.[8] However, the defensive two-point conversion would not be adopted until the 2015 season; instead a two-point conversion automatically was blown dead and ruled as "no good" as soon as the defense gained possession of the ball.
  • The spot of the kickoff is moved from the 35-yard line to the 30-yard line;[8] this rule change was reverted prior to the 2011 season.
  • The "neutral zone infraction" foul is adopted. A play is automatically dead before the snap when a defensive player enters the neutral zone and causes an offensive player to react.
  • After a field goal is missed, the defensive team takes possession of the ball at the spot of the kick (instead of at the line of scrimmage) or the 20-yard line, whichever is farther from the goal line.[8]
  • During field goal attempts and extra point tries, players on the receiving team cannot block below the waist.
  • The referee shall announce the end of each quarter on his microphone. Prior to 1994, an official (the line judge from 1965 up to 1993) fired a starter's pistol to signal the end of a period.


American BowlEdit

A series of four pre-season games that were held at sites outside the United States. On July 31, the Los Angeles Raiders defeated Denver at Estadi Olímpic in Barcelona. On August 7, Minnesota defeated Kansas City at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo. On August 13, the New York Giants defeated San Diego at Olympiastadion in Berlin. On August 15, Houston defeated Dallas at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.

Hall of Fame GameEdit

The Pro Football Hall of Fame Game, in which Atlanta defeated San Diego, was played on July 30 at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio, the same city where the league was founded. The 1994 Hall of Fame Class included Tony Dorsett, Bud Grant, Jimmy Johnson, Leroy Kelly, Jackie Smith and Randy White.

Regular seasonEdit

Scheduling formulaEdit

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

Highlights of the 1994 season included:

Final standingsEdit


  • Miami finished ahead of New England in the AFC East based on head-to-head sweep (2–0).
  • Kansas City finished ahead of L.A. Raiders in the AFC West based on head-to-head sweep (2–0).
  • Green Bay was the first NFC Wild Card based on best head-to-head record (3–1) vs. Detroit (2–2) and Chicago (1–3) and better conference record (8–4) than the New York Giants (6–6).
  • Detroit was the second NFC Wild Card based on better division record (4–4) than Chicago (3–5) and head-to-head victory over N.Y. Giants (1–0).
  • Chicago was the third NFC Wild Card based on better record against common opponents (4–4) than N.Y. Giants (3–5).
  • New Orleans finished ahead of Atlanta in the NFC West based on head-to-head sweep (2–0).


Dec. 31 – Joe Robbie Stadium Jan. 8 – Jack Murphy Stadium
6 Kansas City 17
3 Miami 21
3 Miami 27 Jan. 15 – Three Rivers Stadium
2 San Diego 22
Jan. 1 – Cleveland Stadium 2 San Diego 17
Jan. 7 – Three Rivers Stadium
1 Pittsburgh 13
5 New England 13 AFC Championship
4 Cleveland 9
4 Cleveland 20 Jan. 29 – Joe Robbie Stadium
1 Pittsburgh 29
Wild Card playoffs
Divisional playoffs
Dec. 31 – Lambeau Field A2 San Diego 26
Jan. 8 – Texas Stadium
N1 San Francisco 49
5 Detroit 12 Super Bowl XXIX
4 Green Bay 9
4 Green Bay 16 Jan. 15 – Candlestick Park
2 Dallas 35
Jan. 1 – Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome 2 Dallas 28
Jan. 7 – Candlestick Park
1 San Francisco 38
6 Chicago 35 NFC Championship
6 Chicago 15
3 Minnesota 18
1 San Francisco 44

Statistical leadersEdit


Points scored San Francisco 49ers (505)
Total yards gained Miami Dolphins (6,078)
Yards rushing Pittsburgh Steelers (2,180)
Yards passing New England Patriots (4,444)
Fewest points allowed Cleveland Browns (204)
Fewest total yards allowed Dallas Cowboys (4,313)
Fewest rushing yards allowed Minnesota Vikings (1,090)
Fewest passing yards allowed Dallas Cowboys (2,752)


Scoring John Carney, San Diego Chargers (135 points)
Touchdowns Emmitt Smith, Dallas Cowboys (22 TDs)
Most field goals made John Carney, San Diego Chargers, and Fuad Reveiz, Minnesota Vikings (34 FGs)
Rushing Barry Sanders, Detroit Lions (1,883 yards)
Passing Steve Young, San Francisco 49ers (112.8 rating)
Passing touchdowns Steve Young, San Francisco 49ers (35 TDs)
Pass receiving Cris Carter, Minnesota Vikings (122 catches)
Pass receiving yards Jerry Rice, San Francisco 49ers (1,499)
Punt returns Brian Mitchell, Washington Redskins (14.1 average yards)
Kickoff returns Mel Gray, Detroit Lions (28.4 average yards)
Interceptions Eric Turner, Cleveland Browns, and Aeneas Williams, Arizona Cardinals (9)
Punting Sean Landeta, Los Angeles Rams (44.8 average yards)
Sacks Kevin Greene, Pittsburgh Steelers (14)


Most Valuable Player Steve Young, Quarterback, San Francisco 49ers
Coach of the Year Bill Parcells, New England Patriots
Offensive Player of the Year Barry Sanders, Running back, Detroit Lions
Defensive Player of the Year Deion Sanders, Cornerback, San Francisco 49ers
Offensive Rookie of the Year Marshall Faulk, Running back, Indianapolis Colts
Defensive Rookie of the Year Tim Bowens, Defensive tackle, Miami Dolphins
Comeback Player of the Year Dan Marino, Quarterback, Miami Dolphins
NFL Man of the Year Award Junior Seau, Linebacker, San Diego Chargers
Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Steve Young, Quarterback, San Francisco 49ers

Coaching changesEdit



Stadium changesEdit

This was the final season of selected Green Bay Packers home games in Milwaukee. Recent upgrades to Lambeau Field started to make it more lucrative for the team to play full-time in Green Bay, while Milwaukee County Stadium was becoming outdated for football.

The home of the Indianapolis Colts, the Hoosier Dome, was renamed the RCA Dome after RCA acquired the naming rights

The Seattle Seahawks played their first three regular season home games at Husky Stadium because the Kingdome, the Seahawks' regular home field, was undergoing repairs for damaged tiles on its roof. The Seahawks returned to Husky for the 2000 and 2001 seasons while their new stadium was under construction.


Throwback uniforms and gamesEdit

The league honored its 75th season by having each team wear throwback uniforms during selected games. The designs varied widely in their accuracy; many of them were not completely accurate for a number of reasons:

  • Although no attempt was made to simulate obsolete leather helmets (which were phased out in the 1950s), teams simulating uniforms from the era of leather headgear (Bears, Cardinals, Lions, Packers, Redskins, Steelers) simply removed all decals and striping from their regular hard-shell helmets.
  • All jerseys displayed the players' last names on the back, though this practice did not become standard until 1970.[10]
  • The Buffalo Bills and New York Jets' otherwise accurate throwbacks used different colored helmets than their historic uniforms used, being red and green, respectively, instead of white. The Dallas Cowboys wore their then-current helmets with their throwbacks. The Cowboys and the Bills would later adopt a more accurate representation of their 1960s throwbacks as their alternative uniform, while the Jets would move to a style similar to their throwbacks but with a darker shade of green and green facemasks full-time in 1998.
  • In some instances the fonts and typestyles used were only approximate matches at best. The San Diego Chargers and Houston Oilers' throwbacks averted this, being completely accurate replications, including typefaces, of their first uniforms in 1960. The Chargers and the Oilers' successors, the Tennessee Titans, wore these throwbacks again for the American Football League's 50th anniversary celebration during the 2009 season.
  • The Cleveland Browns were the only team to not acquire throwbacks or alter any part of the uniform they had. They passed off their all white uniforms as "1964 throwbacks" to honor the Browns 1964 NFL Championship since with the exception of white facemasks, the 1994 all white uniform were similar in design to the 1964 uniform. Many believe Art Modell did this because of the four NFL Championships (1950, 1954, 1955 and 1964) the 1964 team was the only one that Paul Brown was not the Head Coach of and having throwbacks honoring any of the other Browns Championship Teams would be acknowledging Brown, something Modell would not do because of their antagonistic relationship dating back to when Modell purchased the team.
  • On-field officials working these throwback games wore flat caps similar to the ones that NFL officials wore back in the 1920s, but still had on their regular striped shirts instead of the white dress shirts worn during that era.

Some teams occasionally wore their throwbacks in additional games during the season, and the San Francisco 49ers wore them through the Super Bowl. They proved to be so popular that the New York Giants followed the lead of the Jets (who went back to their 1960s logo in 1998) and eventually returned to wearing them full-time, with very slight modifications, in 2000. After the NFL modified its rules to allow teams to wear alternate jerseys in 2002, the San Diego Chargers selected their throwbacks as their third uniforms.

Instead of wearing their throwbacks in additional games, the Dallas Cowboys celebrated their back-to-back Super Bowl titles by wearing "Double-Star" white alternative jerseys during Thanksgiving and through the playoffs. Similar to their throwbacks, they had blue sleeves and blue stars on each shoulder, but it was the modern star design with white lines and blue borders.

Wholesale team changesEdit

  • The Denver Broncos added trim to the nameplates to match the numbers on both regular jerseys: blue trim on the orange jerseys and orange trim on the white jerseys.
  • The Miami Dolphins adopted a new style of numbers on their jerseys: white numbers with orange trim on their aqua jerseys and aqua numbers with orange trim on their white jerseys.
  • The New England Patriots switched from red to white numbers on their blue jerseys; gray to red facemasks; and a different red-blue design on the pants stripping.
  • The Seattle Seahawks adopted a thinner font for their jersey numbers.

External linksEdit


  1. ^ "The NFL Salary Cap Turns 25: How it Began and Where It Is Now". AthlonSports.com. August 9, 2019. Retrieved February 6, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q "1994 NFL Transactions. Signings - July". National Football League. Retrieved March 15, 2021.
  3. ^ "1994 NFL Transactions. Signings - August". National Football League. Retrieved March 15, 2021.
  4. ^ "PRO FOOTBALL; Vikings Near On a Deal To Acquire Oilers' Moon". New York Times: By Frank Litsky, April 14, 1994. Retrieved December 3, 2020.
  5. ^ "PRO FOOTBALL; The Bengals Land a Big One And Select Wilkinson at No. 1". New York Times: By Frank Litsky, April 25, 1994. Retrieved December 3, 2020.
  6. ^ "1994 NFL Transactions. Trades - July". National Football League. Retrieved December 8, 2020.
  7. ^ Anderson, Dave. of The Times; L.T. Decides 'It's Time For Me to Go', The New York Times, January 16, 1994, accessed March 23, 2008.
  8. ^ a b c "NFL takes step in pulling foot out". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. March 23, 1994. p. C1.
  9. ^ 100 Things Dolphins Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die, Armando Salguero, Triumph Books, Chicago, 2020, ISBN 978-1-62937-722-3, p.157
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 21, 2010. Retrieved October 1, 2008.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)