NFL 1979: An Introduction

New Orleans battles the Eagles in this game from 3rd week of the 1979 season…

So here’s one of my projects at present: a replay of the 1979 season using Action! PC Football.

The ’79 season is the first year I religiously followed the NFL at the ripe old age of 8.  The local team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, were really starting to have successes after starting their franchise 0-26 over the 1976 and 1977 seasons.  I was in third grade at Anona Elementary in Largo, Florida, and my dad, a Publix Supermarkets meat cutter, got tickets to go watch a few Bucs games at old Tampa Stadium, affectionately called The Sombrero.  The first game I ever went to was on August 18, 1979 as the Bucs battled the Saints and won 14-7.

But, enough about me.  Let me go over the ground rules of this project:

I’m going to play all regular season and post season games one at a time, a total of 233 games.  I will play the home team all 233 times, including whoever the AFC champion is for Super Bowl XIV at the Rose Bowl to wind up the season.  So during the regular season, I play each time eight times and against each team eight times.

NFL teams were still getting used to rule changes instituted in 1978 that made the games more TV friendly.  The league went from a 14 week schedule in 1977 to a 16 week schedule in 1978, and expanded the playoff field from eight to ten.  To open up scoring and to give offenses an edge, it was now deemed illegal for a defensive player to make contact with a receiver beyond five yards past the line of scrimmage.  The two point conversion was still 15 years away in the NFL, and it wasn’t uncommon to see a missed PAT to take place during a given game.

One “house rule” I will include: if teams are tied at the end of the regular season, I do not remember the exact tiebreaker rules the NFL used in 1979.  So my criteria will be as follows: head-to-head record, division record, conference record (if teams played the same number of conference games), net points (points scored minus points opponents scored), and most points scored.  If that doesn’t break any tie, I’ll do a random pick of some kind.

Should make for a fun project.