Major rule changes
- Whenever a team time out is called after the two-minute warning of each half or overtime, it should only last a minute instead of 90 seconds.
- A play is immediately dead anytime the quarterback performs a kneel-down (the quarterback immediately kneels down after receiving the snap) after the two-minute warning of each half, or whenever the player declares himself down by sliding feet first on the ground. The ball is then spotted at the point where the player touches the ground first.
- Pass interference is not to be called when a pass is clearly uncatchable.
- Both "Roughing the kicker" and "Running into the kicker" fouls are not to be called if the defensive player was blocked into the kicker.
- The definition of a valid fair catch signal is clearly defined as one arm that is fully extended above the head and waved from side to side.
- Goaltending (leaping up to deflect a kick as it passes through the goal posts) is illegal.
- The officials' uniform changed slightly. Instead of wearing black stirrups with two white stripes over white sanitary hose, the officials began wearing a one-piece sock similar to those worn by players, black with two white stripes on top and solid white on the bottom. These were first worn the previous season in Super Bowl XIX.
- Defensive backs were ruled to have an "equal right to the ball", meaning that pass interference would not be called if the defensive player was looking back attempting to intercept the ball, and that any contact with the receiver did not materially affect the receiver's ability to catch the ball.
W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, PCT = Winning Percentage, PF= Points For, PA = Points Against
- Los Angeles Raiders were the first AFC seed ahead of Miami based on better record against common opponents (5–1 to Dolphins' 4–2).
- N.Y. Jets were the first AFC Wild Card based on better conference record (9–3) than New England (8–4) and Denver (8–4).
- New England was the second AFC Wild Card ahead of Denver based on better record against common opponents (4–2 to Broncos' 3–3).
- Cincinnati finished ahead of Pittsburgh in the AFC Central based on head-to-head sweep (2–0).
- Seattle finished ahead of San Diego in the AFC West based on head-to-head sweep (2–0).
- Dallas finished ahead of N.Y. Giants and Washington in the NFC East based on better head-to-head record (4–0 to Giants' 1–3 and Redskins' 1–3).
- N.Y. Giants were the first NFC Wild Card based on better conference record (8–4) than San Francisco (7–5) and Washington (6–6).
- San Francisco was the second NFC Wild Card based on head-to-head victory over Washington (1–0).
- Minnesota finished ahead of Detroit in the NFC Central based on better division record (3–5 to Lions' 2–6).
|Points scored||San Diego Chargers (467)|
|Total yards gained||San Diego Chargers (6,535)|
|Yards rushing||Chicago Bears (2,761)|
|Yards passing||San Diego Chargers (4,870)|
|Fewest points allowed||Chicago Bears (198)|
|Fewest total yards allowed||Chicago Bears (4,315)|
|Fewest rushing yards allowed||Chicago Bears (1,319)|
|Fewest passing yards allowed||Washington Redskins (2,746)|
|Scoring||Kevin Butler, Chicago Bears (144 points)|
|Touchdowns||Joe Morris, New York Giants (21 TDs)|
|Most field goals made||Gary Anderson, Pittsburgh Steelers (33 FGs)|
|Rushing attempts||Gerald Riggs, Atlanta Falcons (397)|
|Rushing yards||Marcus Allen, Los Angeles Raiders (1,759 yards)|
|Rushing touchdowns||Joe Morris, New York Giants (21 TDs)|
|Passes completed||Dan Marino, Miami Dolphins (336)|
|Pass attempts||John Elway, Denver Broncos (605)|
|Passing yards||Dan Marino, Miami Dolphins (4,137 yards)|
|Passer rating||Ken O'Brien, New York Jets (96.2 rating)|
|Passing touchdowns||Dan Marino, Miami Dolphins (30 TDs)|
|Pass receiving||Roger Craig, San Francisco 49ers (92 catches)|
|Pass receiving yards||Steve Largent, Seattle Seahawks (1,287 yards)|
|Receiving touchdowns||Daryl Turner, Seattle Seahawks (13 TDs)|
|Punt returns||Irving Fryar, New England Patriots (14.1 average yards)|
|Kickoff returns||Ron Brown, Los Angeles Rams (32.8 average yards)|
|Interceptions||Everson Walls, Dallas Cowboys (9)|
|Punting||Rohn Stark, Indianapolis Colts (45.9 average yards)|
|Sacks||Richard Dent, Chicago Bears (17.0)|
The following players set all-time records during the season:
|Most Valuable Player||Marcus Allen, Running Back, LA Raiders|
|Coach of the Year||Mike Ditka, Chicago|
|Offensive Player of the Year||Marcus Allen, Running Back, LA Raiders|
|Defensive Player of the Year||Mike Singletary, Linebacker, Chicago|
|Offensive Rookie of the Year||Eddie Brown, Wide Receiver, Cincinnati|
|Defensive Rookie of the Year||Duane Bickett, Linebacker, Indianapolis|
|Man of the Year||Dwight Stephenson, Center, Miami|
|Super Bowl Most Valuable Player||Richard Dent, Defensive end, Chicago|
- NFL Record and Fact Book (ISBN 1-932994-36-X)
- NFL History 1981–1990 (Last accessed December 4, 2005)
- Total Football: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League (ISBN 0-06-270174-6)