1995 NFL season

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1995 National Football League season
Regular season
DurationSeptember 3 – December 25, 1995
Start dateDecember 30, 1995
AFC ChampionsPittsburgh Steelers
NFC ChampionsDallas Cowboys
Super Bowl XXX
DateJanuary 28, 1996
SiteSun Devil Stadium, Tempe, Arizona
ChampionsDallas Cowboys
Pro Bowl
DateFebruary 4, 1996
SiteAloha Stadium
1995 NFL season is located in the United States
AFC teams: West, Central, East
1995 NFL season is located in the United States
NFC teams: West, Central, East

The 1995 NFL season was the 76th regular season of the National Football League (NFL). The league expanded to 30 teams with the addition of the Carolina Panthers and the Jacksonville Jaguars. The two expansion teams were slotted into the two remaining divisions that previously had only four teams (while the other four had five teams): the AFC Central (Jaguars) and the NFC West (Panthers).

Meanwhile, the two teams in Los Angeles relocated to other cities: the Rams transferred to St. Louis and the Raiders moved back to Oakland; this would be the start of a 20-year absence for the NFL in Los Angeles. During the course of the season it emerged that the Cleveland Browns would relocate to Baltimore for the 1996 season. The Raiders' move was not announced until after the schedule had been announced, which resulted in a problem in the third week of the season when both the Raiders and the San Francisco 49ers had games scheduled to air on NBC which ended up overlapping each other. The Raiders game was rescheduled for 10:00 a.m. PDT in case they were to relocate and NBC was given the doubleheader so that both Bay Area teams had their games televised locally.

The season ended with Super Bowl XXX, when the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 27–17 at Sun Devil Stadium. They became the first team in NFL history to win three Super Bowls in four years. This season was Miami Dolphins head coach Don Shula's last season as coach.

Player movement[edit]



  • April 18, 1995: Four-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Joe Montana announced his retirement. He spent the last two seasons of his career with the Kansas City Chiefs.[2]


The 1995 NFL draft was held from April 22 to 23, 1995 at New York City's Theater at Madison Square Garden. With the first pick, the Cincinnati Bengals selected running back Ki-Jana Carter from Penn State University.

Expansion Draft[edit]

The 1995 NFL expansion draft was held on February 15, 1995.[3] The Jacksonville Jaguars held the first pick overall, while the Carolina Panthers were second, alternating picks as the existing teams made six players available for selection,.[4] The Panthers ultimately picked 35 players, while the Jaguars picked 31. With the first selection in the Expansion Draft, the Jaguars selected quarterback Steve Beuerlein from the Arizona Cardinals. Selecting second, the Panthers obtained cornerback Rod Smith from the New England Patriots.

New referees[edit]

Mike Carey and Walt Coleman were promoted to referee; Carey became the second African-American referee in NFL history following Johnny Grier, who was promoted in 1988. Dale Hamer had to sit out the 1995 season to recover from open heart surgery, while league expansion from 28 to 30 teams required an additional officiating crew.

Major rule changes[edit]

  • An eligible receiver forced out of bounds by a defensive player may return to the field and automatically become eligible to legally be the first player to touch a forward pass.
  • Quarterbacks may now receive communications from the bench from a small radio receiver in their helmets, partly repealing a rule that had been in force since 1956.


American Bowl[edit]

A series of National Football League pre-season exhibition games that were held at sites outside the United States. Two games were contested in 1995.

Date Winning Team Score Losing Team Score Stadium City
August 6, 1995 Denver Broncos 24 San Francisco 49ers 10 Tokyo Dome Japan Tokyo
August 12, 1995 Buffalo Bills 9 Dallas Cowboys 7 SkyDome Canada Toronto

Hall of Fame Game[edit]

The Pro Football Hall of Fame Game featured the NFL's newest expansions teams, as the Carolina Panthers defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 20–14, was played on July 29, and held at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio, the same city where the league was founded. The 1995 Hall of Fame Class included Jim Finks, Henry Jordan, Steve Largent, Lee Roy Selmon and Kellen Winslow

Regular season[edit]

Scheduling formula[edit]

With the addition of Carolina and Jacksonville to give each division five teams, the "fifth place" schedule given to the last-place teams in the AFC East, AFC West, NFC East and NFC Central from 1978 to 1994 was eliminated.

AFC East vs NFC West
AFC Central vs NFC Central
AFC West vs NFC East

Highlights of the 1995 season included:

  • Thanksgiving: Two games were played on Thursday, November 23, featuring the Minnesota Vikings at Detroit and Kansas City Chiefs at Dallas, with Detroit and Dallas winning.
  • Snowball Game (1995): In the final weekend of the season, the New York Giants hosted the San Diego Chargers. Giants fans threw snowballs onto the field throughout the contest. This action resulted in 15 arrests and the ejection of 175 fans from Giants Stadium; San Diego posted a 27–17 victory in what became known as the "Snowball Game".[5]

Final standings[edit]


  • Indianapolis finished ahead of Miami in the AFC East based on head-to-head sweep (2–0).
  • San Diego was the first AFC Wild Card based on head-to-head victory over Indianapolis (1–0).
  • Cincinnati finished ahead of Houston in the AFC Central based on better division record (4–4 to Oilers' 3–5).
  • Seattle finished ahead of Denver and Oakland in the AFC West based on best head-to-head record (3–1 to Broncos' 2–2 and Raiders' 1–3).
  • Denver finished ahead of Oakland in the AFC West based on head-to-head sweep (2–0).
  • Philadelphia was the first NFC Wild Card ahead of Detroit based on better conference record (9–3 to Lions' 7–5).
  • San Francisco was the second NFC playoff seed ahead of Green Bay based on better conference record (8–4 to Packers' 7–5).
  • Atlanta was the third NFC Wild Card ahead of Chicago based on better record against common opponents (4–2 to Bears' 3–3).
  • St. Louis finished ahead of Carolina and New Orleans in the NFC West based on best head-to-head record (3–1 to Panthers' 1–3 and Saints' 2–2).
  • Carolina finished ahead of New Orleans in the NFC West based on better conference record (4–8 to 3–9).


Dec 31 – Lambeau Field Jan 6 – 3Com Park
6 Atlanta 20
3 Green Bay 27
3 Green Bay 37 Jan 14 – Texas Stadium
2 San Francisco 17
Dec 30 – Veterans Stadium 3 Green Bay 27
Jan 7 – Texas Stadium
1 Dallas 38
5 Detroit 37 NFC Championship
4 Philadelphia 11
4 Philadelphia 58 Jan 28 – Sun Devil Stadium
1 Dallas 30
Wild Card playoffs
Divisional playoffs
Dec 31 – Jack Murphy Stadium N1 Dallas 27
Jan 7 – Arrowhead Stadium
A2 Pittsburgh 17
5 Indianapolis 35 Super Bowl XXX
5 Indianapolis 10
4 San Diego 20 Jan 14 – Three Rivers Stadium
1 Kansas City 7
Dec 30 – Rich Stadium 5 Indianapolis 16
Jan 6 – Three Rivers Stadium
2 Pittsburgh 20
6 Miami 22 AFC Championship
3 Buffalo 21
3 Buffalo 37
2 Pittsburgh 40


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

Most touchdowns, season Emmitt Smith, Dallas (25)
Most passing attempts, career Dan Marino, Miami (6,531 at the end of the season)
Most passes completed, career Dan Marino, Miami (3,913 at the end of the season)
Most passing yards, career Dan Marino, Miami (48,841 at the end of the season)
Most touchdown passes, career Dan Marino, Miami (352 at the end of the season)
Most pass receptions, career Jerry Rice, San Francisco (942 at the end of the season)
Most pass receiving yards gained, career Jerry Rice, San Francisco (15,123 at the end of the season)

Statistical leaders[edit]


Points scored San Francisco 49ers (457)
Total yards gained Detroit Lions (6,113)
Yards rushing Kansas City Chiefs (2,222)
Yards passing San Francisco 49ers (4,608)
Fewest points allowed Kansas City Chiefs (241)
Fewest total yards allowed San Francisco 49ers (4,398)
Fewest rushing yards allowed San Francisco 49ers (1,061)
Fewest passing yards allowed New York Jets (2,740)


Scoring Emmitt Smith, Dallas (150 points)
Touchdowns Emmitt Smith, Dallas (25 TDs)
Most field goals made Norm Johnson, Pittsburgh (34 FGs)
Rushing Emmitt Smith, Dallas (1,773 yards)
Passing Jim Harbaugh, Indianapolis (100.7 rating)
Passing touchdowns Brett Favre, Green Bay (38 TDs)
Pass receiving Herman Moore, Detroit (123 catches)
Pass receiving yards Jerry Rice, San Francisco (1,848)
Punt returns David Palmer, Minnesota (13.2 average yards)
Kickoff returns Ron Carpenter, New York Jets (27.7 average yards)
Interceptions Orlando Thomas, Minnesota (9)
Punting Rick Tuten, Seattle (45.0 average yards)
Sacks Bryce Paup, Buffalo (17.5)

The 1995 season produced four of the top twenty highest single-season totals for receiving yards. Two of the top five teams receiving yard totals of all time – Jerry Rice's 1,848 & Isaac Bruce's 1,781 – were recorded in 1995. Detroit Lions receiver Herman Moore gained 1,686 yards (6th highest all time) and Dallas Cowboys receiver Michael Irvin gained 1,603 yards (11th most in NFL history).


Most Valuable Player Brett Favre, quarterback, Green Bay
Coach of the Year Ray Rhodes, Philadelphia
Offensive Player of the Year Brett Favre, quarterback, Green Bay
Defensive Player of the Year Bryce Paup, linebacker, Buffalo
Offensive Rookie of the Year Curtis Martin, running back, New England
Defensive Rookie of the Year Hugh Douglas, defensive end, New York Jets
NFL Comeback Player of the Year Jim Harbaugh, quarterback, Indianapolis and Garrison Hearst, running back, Arizona
NFL Man of the Year Award Boomer Esiason, quarterback, NY Jets
Super Bowl most valuable player Larry Brown, cornerback, Dallas

Coaching changes[edit]



Stadium changes[edit]

Uniform changes[edit]

  • The inaugural Carolina Panthers uniforms featured gray helmets, blue trim, black jerseys with white numbers and gray pants, and white jerseys with black numbers and white pants. The helmet logo featured a black panther head with blue trim.
  • The Dallas Cowboys wore a navy blue version of the white "Double-Star" alternate jerseys they wore in 1994, with blue sleeves and white star logos on the shoulders. The white "Double Star" jersey was discontinued due to a since-repealed NFL policy which allowed teams only one colored jersey and one white jersey except for special occasions.
  • The Houston Oilers began wearing their white pants with their white jerseys, discontinuing their blue pants. This was the first time the Oilers wore white pants with white jerseys for a full season since 1980.
  • The Indianapolis Colts experimented with wearing blue pants with their white jerseys for their first three games.
  • The inaugural Jacksonville Jaguars uniforms featured black helmets, teal jerseys with white numbers, white jerseys with teal numbers, and white pants. The helmet logo featured a jaguar head with a teal tongue.
  • The New England Patriots switched from block numbers to a rounded number font with a drop shadow. The "Flying Elvis" helmet logo was repeated on the shoulders, and TV numbers moved to the sleeves.
  • The New York Jets removed the black trim from the nameplates on jerseys.
  • The Philadelphia Eagles removed the black trim from their jersey numbers and nameplates.
  • The St. Louis Rams removed the gold striping on their blue socks.





  • March 24- Chet Mutryn, age 74. Played Halfback and Defensive Back for the Buffalo Bisons and Baltimore Colts from 1946 to 1950.



  • May 22- Butch Morse, age 84. Played receiver for the Detroit Lions from 1935 to 1940.
  • May 23- Danny Fortmann, age 79. Two way player who played Guard and linebacker for the Chicago Bears from 1936 to 1943. Inducted into the pro football hall of fame in 1965.







December 6- Gerry Cowhig, age 74. Played Linebacker and Running back for Cleveland Rams, Chicago Cardinals and Philadelphia Eagles from 1947 to 1951.


This was the second year under the league's four-year broadcast contracts with ABC, Fox, NBC, TNT, and ESPN. ABC, Fox, and NBC continued to televise Monday Night Football, the NFC package, the AFC package, respectively. Sunday night games aired on TNT during the first half of the season, and ESPN during the second half of the season.

NBC renamed its pregame show as simply The NFL on NBC. The then-recently retired quarterback Joe Montana joined the show as an analyst, alongside Greg Gumbel, Mike Ditka, and Joe Gibbs. Phil Simms and Paul Maguire joined Dick Enberg as NBC's lead broadcast team, replacing Bob Trumpy.

Verne Lundquist replaced Gary Bender as TNT's play-by-play announcer. TNT also renamed its pregame show as Pro Football Tonight, with Vince Cellini as its host.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "1995 NFL Transactions. Trades – July". National Football League. Retrieved March 10, 2021.
  2. ^ "April 18: The day Joe Montana said goodbye to football – By Bud Geracie". Mercury News. Retrieved December 3, 2020.
  3. ^ Smith, Timothy W. (February 16, 1995). "Expansion Teams Pick Big Names, No Names". The New York Times. Retrieved September 23, 2008.
  4. ^ "NFL NOTES: Familiar Names on Expansion Draft List". San Francisco Chronicle. Associated Press. January 18, 1995. Archived from the original on October 4, 2008. Retrieved September 23, 2008.
  5. ^ Kleinfield, N. R. (May 26, 2010). "Meadowlands in February? Watch for Snowballs". The New York Times. Retrieved October 24, 2012.