1993 NFL season

1993 National Football League season
Regular season
Duration September 5, 1993 (1993-09-05) – January 3, 1994
Start date January 8, 1994
AFC Champions Buffalo Bills
NFC Champions Dallas Cowboys
Super Bowl XXVIII
Date January 30, 1994
Site Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Georgia
Champions Dallas Cowboys
Pro Bowl
Date February 6, 1994
Site Aloha Stadium

The 1993 NFL season was the 74th regular season of the National Football League. It was the only season in league history where all NFL teams played their 16-game schedule over a span of 18 weeks. After the success of expanding the regular season to a period of 17 weeks in 1990, the league hoped this new schedule would generate even more revenue. This was also done to avoid scheduling playoff games on January 1 and competing with college football bowl games. However, teams felt that having two weeks off during the regular season was too disruptive for their weekly routines, and thus it reverted to 17 weeks immediately after the season ended.

On March 1, 1993, the current free agent system was introduced to the league.[1]

When new TV contracts were signed in December 1993, CBS lost their rights to broadcasting NFC games to the then-fledgling Fox Network.

The season ended with Super Bowl XXVIII when the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Buffalo Bills 30–13 for the second consecutive season at the Georgia Dome. This remains the only time both Super Bowl participants have been the same in successive seasons. The Cowboys became the first team to win a Super Bowl after losing their first two regular season games. This game also marked the fourth consecutive Super Bowl loss by the Bills.

Major rule changes

  • The Play Clock (the time limit the offensive team has to snap the ball between plays) was reduced from 45 seconds to 40 seconds (the time interval after time outs and other administrative stoppages remained 25 seconds).
  • Ineligible receiver down field prior to a forward pass foul was added.
  • The passer could now legally throw a pass away, without any offensive player having a chance to catch the ball, as long as they are out of the pocket and the ball lands beyond the line of scrimmage.
  • The player taking a snap from the center, upon receiving the ball, can immediately throw the football directly into the ground to stop the game clock.
  • The NFL added an extra (second) bye week into the season for each team. The extra bye week was removed in 1994.[2]

Final regular season standings


  • Buffalo was the top AFC playoff seed based on head-to-head victory over Houston (1–0).
  • Denver was the second AFC Wild Card ahead of Pittsburgh and Miami, based on better conference record (8–4 to Steelers’ 7–5 to Dolphins’ 6–6).
  • Pittsburgh was the third AFC Wild Card based on head-to-head victory over Miami (1–0).
  • San Francisco was the second NFC playoff seed based on head-to-head victory over Detroit (1–0).
  • Minnesota finished ahead of Green Bay in the NFC Central based on head-to-head sweep (2–0).


Jan. 9 – Giants Stadium   Jan. 15 – Candlestick Park          
 5  Minnesota  10
 4  NY Giants  3
 4  NY Giants  17     Jan. 23 – Texas Stadium
 2  San Francisco  44  
Jan. 8 – Pontiac Silverdome  2  San Francisco  21
Jan. 16 – Texas Stadium
   1  Dallas  38  
 6  Green Bay  28 NFC Championship
 6  Green Bay  17
 3  Detroit  24   Jan. 30 – Georgia Dome
 1  Dallas  27  
Wild card playoffs  
Divisional playoffs
Jan. 8 – Arrowhead Stadium  N1  Dallas  30
Jan. 16 – Astrodome
   A1  Buffalo  13
 6  Pittsburgh  24 Super Bowl XXVIII
 3  Kansas City  28
 3  Kansas City  27*     Jan. 23 – Rich Stadium
 2  Houston  20  
Jan. 9 – Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum  3  Kansas City  13
Jan. 15 – Rich Stadium
   1  Buffalo  30  
 5  Denver  24 AFC Championship
 4  LA Raiders  23
 4  LA Raiders  42  
 1  Buffalo  29  

* Indicates overtime victory

Coaching changes


Most Valuable PlayerEmmitt Smith, Running Back, Dallas
Coach of the YearDan Reeves, NY Giants
Offensive Player of the YearJerry Rice, Wide Receiver, San Francisco
Defensive Player of the YearRod Woodson, Cornerback, Pittsburgh
Offensive Rookie of the YearJerome Bettis, Running Back, LA Rams
Defensive Rookie of the YearDana Stubblefield, Defensive tackle, San Francisco
NFL Comeback Player of the YearMarcus Allen, Running Back, LA Raiders
NFL Man of the YearDerrick Thomas, Linebacker, Kansas
Super Bowl Most Valuable PlayerEmmitt Smith, Running Back, Dallas


The 1993 NFL Draft was held from April 25 to 26, 1993 at New York City's Marriott Marquis. With the first pick, the New England Patriots selected quarterback Drew Bledsoe from Washington State University.


  1. Springer, Steve (March 2, 1993). "Freedom Comes to NFL : Pro football: On first day of free agency, 484 players become eligible to sign with new teams". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 2, 2018.
  2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 27, 2017. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
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