1988 NFL season

1988 National Football League season
Regular season
Duration September 4 – December 19, 1988
Start date December 24, 1988
AFC Champions Cincinnati Bengals
NFC Champions San Francisco 49ers
Super Bowl XXIII
Date January 22, 1989
Site Joe Robbie Stadium, Miami
Champions San Francisco 49ers
Pro Bowl
Date January 29, 1989
Site Aloha Stadium
Quarterback Warren Moon (left) and running back Mike Rozier (right) of the Houston Oilers were among the league's top passers and rushers, respectively.

The 1988 NFL season was the 69th regular season of the National Football League. The Cardinals relocated from St. Louis, Missouri to the Phoenix, Arizona area becoming the Phoenix Cardinals but remained in the NFC East division. Playoff races came down to the season's final day, with the Seattle Seahawks winning the AFC West by one game, and the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers winning their respective divisions in a five-way tie, with the New Orleans Saints and New York Giants losing the NFC Wild Card berth to the Los Angeles Rams on tiebreakers.

This season marked the final coaching season for the legendary Tom Landry.

The season ended with Super Bowl XXIII when the San Francisco 49ers defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 20-16 at the Joe Robbie Stadium in Florida.

Major rule changes

Final standings

W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, PCT = Winning Percentage, PF= Points For, PA = Points Against

AFC East
(2) Buffalo Bills 1240.750329237
Indianapolis Colts 970.563354315
New England Patriots 970.563250284
New York Jets 871.531372354
Miami Dolphins 6100.375319380
AFC Central
(1) Cincinnati Bengals 1240.750448329
(4) Cleveland Browns 1060.625304288
(5) Houston Oilers 1060.625424365
Pittsburgh Steelers 5110.313336421
AFC West
(3) Seattle Seahawks 970.563339329
Denver Broncos 880.500327352
Los Angeles Raiders 790.438325369
San Diego Chargers 6100.375231332
Kansas City Chiefs 4111.281254320
NFC East
(3) Philadelphia Eagles 1060.625379319
New York Giants 1060.625359304
Washington Redskins 790.438345387
Phoenix Cardinals 790.438344398
Dallas Cowboys 3130.188265381
NFC Central
(1) Chicago Bears 1240.750312215
(4) Minnesota Vikings 1150.688406233
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 5110.313261350
Detroit Lions 4120.250220313
Green Bay Packers 4120.250240315
NFC West
(2) San Francisco 49ers 1060.625369294
(5) Los Angeles Rams 1060.625407293
New Orleans Saints 1060.625312283
Atlanta Falcons 5110.313244315



Divisional Playoffs
    Jan. 1 – Rich Stadium        
AFC Wild Card Game AFC Championship
 5  Houston  10
Dec. 24 – Cleveland Stadium     Jan. 8 – Riverfront Stadium
 2*  Buffalo  17  
 5  Houston  24  2  Buffalo  10
Dec. 31 – Riverfront Stadium
 4  Cleveland  23      1  Cincinnati  21   Super Bowl XXIII
 3  Seattle  13
    Jan. 22 – Joe Robbie Stadium
 1*  Cincinnati  21  
 A1  Cincinnati  16
Jan. 1 – Candlestick Park
NFC Wild Card Game NFC Championship    N2  San Francisco  20
 4  Minnesota  9
Dec. 26 – Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome     Jan. 8 – Soldier Field
 2*  San Francisco  34  
 5  LA Rams  17  2  San Francisco  28
Dec. 31 – Soldier Field
 4  Minnesota  28      1  Chicago  3  
 3  Philadelphia  12
 1*  Chicago  20  

Statistical leaders


Points scoredCincinnati Bengals (448)
Total yards gainedCincinnati Bengals (6,057)
Yards rushingCincinnati Bengals (2,710)
Yards passingMiami Dolphins (4,516)
Fewest points allowedChicago Bears (215)
Fewest total yards allowedMinnesota Vikings (4,091)
Fewest rushing yards allowedChicago Bears (1,326)
Fewest passing yards allowedKansas City Chiefs (2,434)


Most Valuable PlayerBoomer Esiason, Quarterback, Cincinnati
Coach of the YearMike Ditka, Chicago
Offensive Player of the YearRoger Craig, Running back, San Francisco
Defensive Player of the YearMike Singletary, Linebacker, Chicago
Offensive Rookie of the YearJohn Stephens, Running back, New England
Defensive Rookie of the YearErik McMillan, Safety, NY Jets


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