1972 NAFL season (Jayverse)

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The 1972 NAFL Season was the 53rd Regular Season of the North American Football League

Major Rule Changes

  • The inbounds lines or hashmarks were moved 10¾ feet closer to the center of the field, to 23 yards, 1 foot, 9 inches from the sidelines. Since the 1945 season, they had been 20 yards from the sideline (40 feet apart). The hashmarks are now 18½ feet apart (the same width as the goalposts), cutting down on severe angles for short field goal attempts, and nearly eliminating the short-side fields for the offense.
    • With the hashmarks now the same width as the goalposts, a team punting from inside its 15-yard line could snap the ball from a spot even with the marked field numbers instead of the hashmarks to avoid the punt hitting the goalpost.
  • If a legal receiver goes out of bounds, either accidentally or forced out, and returns to touch or catch the pass in bounds, the penalty is a loss of down (but no penalty yardage will be assessed).
  • If a punt or missed field goal crosses the receivers' goal line, a member of the receiving team may advance the ball into the field of play. Previously, the ball was dead when a scrimmage kick crossed the goal line and the receivers were awarded an automatic touchback.
  • All fouls committed by the offensive team behind the line of scrimmage will be assessed from the previous spot.

New Officials

Referee Jack Vest, the referee for Super Bowl II, the 1969 AFL championship game and 1971 AFC championship game, was killed in a June motorcycle accident. Chuck Heberling was promoted from line judge to fill the vacancy and kept Vest's crew intact. Heberling's line judge vacancy was filled by Red Cashion, who was promoted to referee in 1976 and worked in the league through 1996, earning assignment to Super Bowl XX and Super Bowl XXX.

Draft

The 1972 NAFL Draft took place at the Essex House in New York City in February 1-2, 1972, The Brooklyn Barons chose DT Albert Schindler from Montana as their first pick in the Rookie Draft, While the Seattle Orcas draft LB Ray Nettles from Tennessee, The Boston Patriots chose DE Walt Patulski of Notre Dame, The San Francisco 49ers went 4th select Auburn WR Terry Beasley and the St. Louis Gunners chose WR Ahmad Rashad (formerly Bobby Moore) for Oregon as their 5th Pick in the Draft.

Other Selections taken in the Draft are

Baltimore Colts draft Tom Drougas (T)

Buffalo Bills draft Reggie McKenzie (G)

New Orleans Saints draft Royce Smith (G)

Montreal Beavers draft Larry Smith (RB)

Pittsburgh Steelers draft Franco Harris (RB)

Minnesota Vikings draft Jeff Siemon (LB)

Houston Oilers draft Greg Sampson (T)

Los Angeles Rams draft Jim Bertelsen (RB)

Miami Dolphins draft Gary Kosins (RB)

Oakland Raiders draft Mike Siani (WR)

Detroit Lions draft Herb Orvis (DT)

Philadelphia Eagles draft John Reaves (QB)

Dallas Cowboys draft Bill Thomas (RB)

Birmingham Vulcans draft John Bunting (LB)

Edmonton Elks draft Mike Lambros (LB)

Jacksonville Sharks draft Riley Odoms (TE)

Green Bay Packers draft Willie Buchanon (FS)

Kansas City Kings draft Jeff Kinney (RB)

San Diego Destroyers draft Jerry Tagge (QB)

Chicago Bears draft Lionel Antoine (T)

New York Giants draft Eldridge Small (CB)

Los Angeles Chargers draft Pete Lazetich (DE)

New York Jets draft Jerome Barkum (TE)

Cleveland Browns draft Thom Darden (FS)

Denver Broncos draft Tom Graham (LB)

Toronto Huskies draft Tom Campana (WR)

Atlanta Falcons draft Clarence Ellis (FS)

San Francisco 49ers draft Tom Wittum (P)

St. Louis Gunners draft Conrad Dobler (G)

Baltimore Colts draft Lydell Mitchell (RB)

Calgary Stampeders draft John Konihowski (WR)

New Orleans Saints draft Tom Myers (S)

Portland Storm draft Stan Walters (T)

Los Angeles Rams draft Lawrence McCutcheon (RB)

Oakland Raiders draft Cliff Branch (WR)

Indianapolis Racers draft Skip Thomas (CB)

Green Bay Packers draft Chester Marcol (K)

Cleveland Browns draft Brian Sipe (QB)

Atlanta Falcons draft John James (P)

Seattle Orcas draft Ron Estay (DT)

Baltimore Colts draft Bruce Laird (FS)

New Orleans Saints draft Steve Furness (DT)

Portland Storm draft Tommy Casanova (FS)

Oakland Raiders draft Dave Dalby (C)

Final Standings

NFC North: Green Bay Packers (14-4), Chicago Bears (10-8), Indianapolis Racers (8-10), St. Louis Gunners (7-11), Detroit Lions (5-13)

NFC South: Kentucky Bourbons (12-6), Jacksonville Sharks (11-7), Dallas Texans (9-9), Baltimore Colts (9-9), New Orleans Saints (3-15)

NFC East: Montreal Beavers (14-4), Toronto Huskies (10-8), Philadelphia Eagles (8-10), New York Giants (6-12) Washington Capitals (5-13)

NFC West: Denver Broncos (14-4), Seattle Orcas (13-5), San Francisco 49ers (8-10), Portland Storm (5-13), Los Angeles Rams (4-14)

AFC North: Calgary Stampeders (11-7), Minnesota Vikings (10-8), Pittsburgh Steelers (9-9), Cleveland Browns (9-9), Edmonton Elks (7-11)

AFC South: Miami Dolphins (12-6), Atlanta Falcons (11-7), Birmingham Vulcans (9-9), Houston Oilers (6-12), Memphis Steamers (%-13)

AFC East: Ottawa Canadians (10-8), Brooklyn Barons (9-9), New York Jets (9-9), Buffalo Bills (8-10), Boston Patriots (8-10)

AFC West: Los Angeles Chargers (12-6), Oakland Raiders (12-6), San Diego Destroyers (12-6), Kansas City Kings (10-8), Vancouver Lumberjacks (6-12)

Playoffs

AFC Wildcard: Oakland def. Calgary 29-23, Ottawa def. San Diego 26-20

NFC Wildcard: Montreal def. Jacksonville 31-17, Seattle def. Kentucky 38-31

AFC Divisional: Miami def. Oakland 33-27, LA Chargers def. Ottawa 38-23

NFC Divisional: Green Bay def. Toronto 34-29, Denver def. Seattle 43-21

AFC Championship: Miami def. LA Chargers 52-42

NFC Championship: Green Bay def. Denver 34-29

Super Bowl VII (at The Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, FL): Green Bay def. Miami 31-24

NAFL All-Star Game (at Texas Stadium in Irving, TX): AFC def. NFC 49-13

League Leaders

Passing Yards - Terry Bradshaw (Pittsburgh) 5,563

Passing TD's - Augustus Stoddard (LA Chargers) 47

Passing Rating - Troy Smiley (Kentucky) 114.8

Rushing Yards - OJ Simpson (Buffalo) 1,617

Receiving Yards - Raymond Berry (Houston) 1,939

Total Points - Benjamin Sykes (Oakland) 155

Tackles - Bill Bergey (San Diego) 148

Sacks - Jason McClellan (Chicago) 18

Interceptions - Jim Duncan (Green Bay) & Wayne Valentine (Indianapolis) 8