1985 NFL season

1985 National Football League season
Regular season
Duration September 8 – December 23, 1985
Start date December 28, 1985
AFC Champions New England Patriots
NFC Champions Chicago Bears
Super Bowl XX
Date January 26, 1986
Site Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
Champions Chicago Bears
Pro Bowl
Date February 2, 1986
Site Aloha Stadium

The 1985 NFL season was the 66th regular season of the National Football League. The season ended with Super Bowl XX when the Chicago Bears defeated the New England Patriots 46–10 at the Louisiana Superdome. The Bears became the second team in NFL history (after the previous season's San Francisco 49ers) to win 15 games in the regular season and 18 including the playoffs.

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.

Final standings

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

AFC East
(2) Miami Dolphins 1240.750428320
(4) New York Jets 1150.688393264
(5) New England Patriots 1150.688362290
Indianapolis Colts 5110.313320386
Buffalo Bills 2140.125200381
AFC Central
(3) Cleveland Browns 880.500287294
Cincinnati Bengals 790.438441437
Pittsburgh Steelers 790.438379355
Houston Oilers 5110.313284412
AFC West
(1) Los Angeles Raiders 1240.750354308
Denver Broncos 1150.688380329
Seattle Seahawks 880.500349303
San Diego Chargers 880.500467435
Kansas City Chiefs 6100.375317360
NFC East
(3) Dallas Cowboys 1060.625357333
(4) New York Giants 1060.625399283
Washington Redskins 1060.625297312
Philadelphia Eagles 790.438286310
St. Louis Cardinals 5110.313278414
NFC Central
(1) Chicago Bears 1510.938456198
Green Bay Packers 880.500337355
Minnesota Vikings 790.438346359
Detroit Lions 790.438307366
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2140.125294448
NFC West
(2) Los Angeles Rams 1150.688340277
(5) San Francisco 49ers 1060.625411263
New Orleans Saints 5110.313294401
Atlanta Falcons 4120.250282452


  • 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).


Divisional Playoffs
    Jan. 4 – Anaheim Stadium        
NFC Wild Card Game NFC Championship
 3  Dallas  0
Dec. 29 – Giants Stadium     Jan. 12 – Soldier Field
 2  LA Rams  20  
 5  San Francisco  3  2  LA Rams  0
Jan. 5 – Soldier Field
 4  NY Giants  17      1  Chicago  24   Super Bowl XX
 4  NY Giants  0
    Jan. 26 – Louisiana Superdome
 1  Chicago  21  
 N1  Chicago  46
Jan. 5 – Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
AFC Wild Card Game AFC Championship    A5  New England  10
 5  New England  27
Dec. 28 – Giants Stadium     Jan. 12 – Miami Orange Bowl
 1  LA Raiders  20  
 5  New England  26  5  New England  31
Jan. 4 – Miami Orange Bowl
 4  NY Jets  14      2  Miami  14  
 3  Cleveland  21
 2  Miami  24  

Statistical leaders


Points scoredSan Diego Chargers (467)
Total yards gainedSan Diego Chargers (6,535)
Yards rushingChicago Bears (2,761)
Yards passingSan Diego Chargers (4,870)
Fewest points allowedChicago Bears (198)
Fewest total yards allowedChicago Bears (4,315)
Fewest rushing yards allowedChicago Bears (1,319)
Fewest passing yards allowedWashington Redskins (2,746)


ScoringKevin Butler, Chicago Bears (144 points)
TouchdownsJoe Morris, New York Giants (21 TDs)
Most field goals madeGary Anderson, Pittsburgh Steelers (33 FGs)
Rushing attemptsGerald Riggs, Atlanta Falcons (397)
Rushing yardsMarcus Allen, Los Angeles Raiders (1,759 yards)
Rushing touchdownsJoe Morris, New York Giants (21 TDs)
Passes completedDan Marino, Miami Dolphins (336)
Pass attemptsJohn Elway, Denver Broncos (605)
Passing yardsDan Marino, Miami Dolphins (4,137 yards)
Passer ratingKen O'Brien, New York Jets (96.2 rating)
Passing touchdownsDan Marino, Miami Dolphins (30 TDs)
Pass receivingRoger Craig, San Francisco 49ers (92 catches)
Pass receiving yardsSteve Largent, Seattle Seahawks (1,287 yards)
Receiving touchdownsDaryl Turner, Seattle Seahawks (13 TDs)
Punt returnsIrving Fryar, New England Patriots (14.1 average yards)
Kickoff returnsRon Brown, Los Angeles Rams (32.8 average yards)
InterceptionsEverson Walls, Dallas Cowboys (9)
PuntingRohn Stark, Indianapolis Colts (45.9 average yards)
SacksRichard Dent, Chicago Bears (17.0)


The following players set all-time records during the season:

Most Kick Return Yards, SeasonBuster Rhymes, Minnesota (1,345)
Most Punt Return Yards, SeasonFulton Walker, Miami / Los Angeles Raiders (692)


Most Valuable PlayerMarcus Allen, Running Back, LA Raiders
Coach of the YearMike Ditka, Chicago
Offensive Player of the YearMarcus Allen, Running Back, LA Raiders
Defensive Player of the YearMike Singletary, Linebacker, Chicago
Offensive Rookie of the YearEddie Brown, Wide Receiver, Cincinnati
Defensive Rookie of the YearDuane Bickett, Linebacker, Indianapolis
Man of the YearDwight Stephenson, Center, Miami
Super Bowl Most Valuable PlayerRichard Dent, Defensive end, Chicago


The 1985 NFL Draft was held from April 30 to May 1, 1985 at New York City's Omni Park Central Hotel. With the first pick, the Buffalo Bills selected defensive end Bruce Smith from Virginia Tech University.


American Football Conference

National Football Conference


  • 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)
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