The 1984 NFL season produced an all-time great champion in San Francisco, an all-time passing season from Dan Marino, a terrific AFC West race and the emergence of John Elway, Mike Ditka’s Bears and Bill Parcells’ Giants, all of whom would be at center stage for the balance of the decade. This series of articles tell the story of this excellent NFL season through the eyes of its most significant teams…
*San Francisco went 15-1 and as great as Joe Montana was, the defense was even better and is extremely underrated in the annals of NFL history. Miami got an MVP season from Dan Marino, who sets records with 48 touchdown passes and over 5,000 yards passing.
*The defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Raiders got stiff challenges from Denver and Seattle in the AFC West. In fact, they got more than a challenge, they were dethroned in the division by the Broncos, while the Seahawks eliminated the Raiders in the wild-card round. All three teams played at a high level all year long.
*Ditka and Parcells each made their playoffs for the first time and each won a game. The Giants backed into the playoffs as a wild-card, but upset the Los Angeles Rams before bowing out in San Francisco. Ditka’s Bears did even better—they won a division and upset the two-time defending NFC champion Washington Redskins, reaching the NFC Championship Game.
*And speaking of surprise conference championship game appearances, how about the Pittsburgh Steelers. A pedestrian team, the Steelers were 8-7, but saved by a bad division. They upset the Raiders in the final week to get in the playoffs and upset the Broncos a week late to reach the AFC title game.
*The Los Angeles Rams, behind the Hall of Fame legs of Eric Dickerson, made the playoffs before suffering that surprise loss to the Rams. And just as big a story is who didn’t make the playoffs–when the Dallas Cowboys lost on the final Monday Night of the season it meant the postseason would not have the self-proclaimed “America’s Team” for the first time since 1974.
The articles below tell the game-by-game story of these 11 significant teams–the ten playoff qualifiers, along with the Cowboys. Dig in, and enjoy how the season looked as it was unfolding.