The Road To The Playoffs In The 1979 NFL Season

Read the story of the 1979 NFL season as told from the perspective of the 11 most consequential teams. Each section of this download consists of a discussion of each team’s key players and then a game-by-game narrative of their drive through the season.

The road was a little tougher than the previous year, but for the second straight season—and the fourth time in six years—the 1979 NFL season ended with the Pittsburgh Steelers winning the Super Bowl.

In addition to the season story of the Steelers, you’ll learn more about…

*The Los Angeles Rams, who improbably made the Super Bowl at 9-7 after missing throughout the decade with much better teams.

*The Houston Oilers, with powerful running back Earl Campbell, the league MVP, as they closed the gap on the Steelers in both the AFC Central and the conference as a whole…but not quite enough.

*The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who rode the dominance of defensive end LeRoy Selmon and the steadiness of running back Ricky Bell to the first playoff appearance in franchise history.

*The Dallas Cowboys, who won another NFC East title in thrilling fashion in the final year of the great Roger Staubach…only to suffer a stunning loss in the playoffs.

*The Miami Dolphins, who survived in the AFC East in what was the last year for Bob Griese as a regular starter.

*The San Diego Chargers came blazing onto the scene with an offense called “Air Coryell” after its head coach and poured on points throughout the season before an upset playoff loss

*The Philadelphia Eagles, who built on their first playoff appearance of the Super Bowl era in 1978 with an even stronger year in 1979, thanks to the running of Wilbert Montgomery.

*The Denver Broncos, who made the playoffs for the third straight year, but continued to decline from the Super Bowl level they were at in 1977.

*The Chicago Bears, as they made a late surge to a wild-card spot, including a stunning performance in the season finale to make their way in.

*And the Washington Redskins, who entered the final week of the season in position to win a division title and get the #1 seed in the NFC. But an unexpected confluence of events, concluding with the Redskins blowing two big leads in their own finale, left them out of the playoffs altogether.

These were the teams who defined the 1979 NFL season. Each team has its own game-by-game narrative published individually on and pulled together in a single download to tell the story of the season through the eyes of its best teams.