The 1982 NFL season was the strangest in the league’s history. A player’s strike after two games interrupted the season and it didn’t resume until November. When the league picked up on the Sunday prior to Thanksgiving, there was only time for a nine-game schedule. A decision was made to abolish divisional distinctions, expand the playoffs and just seed each conference 1 thru 8.
The result was a first round of the postseason that had a March Madness feel to it, with four games on both Saturday and Sunday, and jammed into what were then two timeslots (prime-time playoff games were still a ways off into the future).
This blog compilation focuses on the seasons of the league’s six most consequential teams, with a game-by-game narrative of each one. Each article exists individually on TheSportsNotebook.com and has been modestly edited to eliminate obvious redundancies. Playoff games are told in detail from the perspective of the team that won and treated as an epilogue for the team that lost.
You’ll read about the following…
*How the Washington Redskins, in the second year under Joe Gibbs, won the franchise’s first Super Bowl behind the running of big John Riggins.
*The Miami Dolphins made it to a Super Bowl behind a stingy defense, but were held back by offensive shortcomings that led them to draft Dan Marino the following spring.
*The Dallas Cowboys made the NFC Championship Game for a third straight year, but another loss began the gradual descent of the Tom Landry era.
*The New York Jets stepped up and made an AFC Championship Game, with a good defense and some great play from running back Freeman McNeil.
*The Raiders moved to Los Angeles and added two fantastic rookies in Marcus Allen and Howie Long. They rolled to a 1-seed in the AFC before suffering an upset to the Jets.
*The Green Bay Packers made the playoffs for the only time in the nine-year coaching tenure of Bart Starr behind an aggressive passing game led by quarterback Lynn Dickey and talented receivers in James Lofton and John Jefferson.
The articles below tell the story of the 1982 NFL season through the eyes of its six most consequential teams…