1977 NAFL season (Jayverse)

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The 1977 North American Football League Season was the 58th Regular Season of the North American Football League

Major Rule Changes

  • The head slap is outlawed. This change is referred to as the "Deacon Jones Rule"; the Los Angeles (now Cincinnati) Chargers' defensive end frequently used this technique.
  • Any shoe worn by a player with an artificial limb must have a kicking surface that conforms to that of a normal kicking shoe. Informally referred to as the "Tom Dempsey Rule." Dempsey is a record-breaking placekicker whose modified shoe (having a flattened and enlarged toe area) on his deformed kicking foot generated controversy during his career.
  • Defenders are only permitted to make contact with receivers once.
  • Defenders are not allowed to make contact with an opponent above the shoulders with the palms of their hands, except to ward him off the line.
  • Offensive linemen are not allowed to thrust their hands to a defender’s neck, face, or head.
  • Wide receivers are not allowed to clip defenders.
  • This was the first season when the statistic for time of possession began to be recorded.

New Referees

Tommy Bell retired after the 1976 season. His line judge, Jerry Markbreit, was named his successor. Bell worked two Super Bowls, III and VII. Markbreit would work four Super Bowls, and is (as of 2019) the only referee to achieve this.


The 1977 NAFL Draft saw the Mexico City Diablos getting their first pick to select WR Stanley Morgan from Tennessee, The Tampa Bay Buccaneers got their 2nd pick to draft USC RB Ricky Bell

Other Selections in the Rookie Draft

Boston Patriots draft Raymond Clayborn (FS)

Miami Dolphins draft A.J. Duhe (LB)

Oakland Raiders draft Wesley Walker (WR)

San Francisco 49ers draft Tony Hill (WR)

Los Angeles Rams draft Bob Brudzinski (LB)

Baltimore Colts draft Blanchard Carter (T)

Cleveland Browns draft Oliver Davis (FS)

Saskatchewan Roughriders draft Preston Young (FS)

Chicago Bears draft Ted Albrecht (T)

Montreal Beavers draft Hector Pothier (T)

Minnesota Vikings draft Tommy Kramer (QB)

Detroit Lions draft Walt Williams (CB)

Pittsburgh Steelers draft Robin Cole (LB)

Edmonton Elks draft Leon Lyszkiewicz (DT)

Buffalo Bills draft Phil Dokes (DT)

St. Louis Gunners draft Steve Pisarkiewicz (QB)

New York Jets draft Marvin Powell (T)

Kansas City Kings draft Gary Green (CB)

Winnipeg Bombers draft Lyall Woznesensky (DE)

Houston Oilers draft Morris Towns (T)

Denver Broncos draft Steve Schindler (G)

Philadelphia Eagles draft Wilbert Montgomery (RB)

Southern California Sun draft Bob Baumhower (DT)

Atlanta Falcons draft R.C. Thielemann (G)

Kentucky Bourbons draft Warren Bryant (T)

Washington Sentinels draft Mark Murphy (FS)

Vancouver Lumberjacks draft John Blain (G)

Toronto Huskies draft Paul Bennett (CB)

Cincinnati Chargers draft Wilson Whitley (DT)

Calgary Stampeders draft John Malinosky (T)

Seattle Orcas draft Steve August (T)

New York Giants draft Gary Jeter (DE)

Ottawa Canadians draft Mike Murphy (FB)

Green Bay Packers draft Mike Butler (DE)

Dallas Texans draft Tony Dorsett (RB)

Mexico City Diablos draft Rafael Septien (K)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers draft Dave Lewis (LB)

Oakland Raiders draft Lester Hayes (SS)

Los Angeles Rams draft Nolan Cromwell (SS)

Minnesota Vikings draft Scott Studwell (LB)

Pittsburgh Steelers draft Tony Dungy (SS)

Edmonton Elks draft Bob Cameron (P)

St. Louis Gunners draft Terdell Middleton (RB)

New York Jets draft Joe Klecko (DT)

Houston Oilers draft Jimmie Giles (TE)

Sacramento Condors draft Rolf Benirschke (K)

Philadelphia Eagles draft Charles Johnson (DT)

Hamilton Tiger-Cats draft Rick Sowieta (LB)

Southern California Sun draft Wally Henry (WR)

Cincinnati Chargers draft Pete Johnson (RB)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers draft Mike Reinfeldt (FS)

Saskatchewan Roughriders draft John Ayers (G)

Philadelphia Eagles draft Kim Bokamper (DE)

Toronto Huskies draft Leon Bright (RB)

Miami Dolphins draft Bill Bryan (C)

Oakland Raiders draft Rod Martin (LB)

Los Angeles Rams draft Wendell Tyler (RB)

Final Standings

NFC East: Philadelphia Eagles (9-7), Toronto Huskies (9-7), New York Giants (7-9), Washington Sentinels (7-9), Baltimore Colts (5-11), Montreal Beavers (3-13)

NFC North: Green Bay Packers (13-3), Milwaukee Mustangs (10-6), Indianapolis Racers (9-7), Chicago Bears (8-8), St. Louis Gunners (7-9), Detroit Lions (6-10)

NFC South: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (12-4), Dallas Texans (12-4), New Orleans Saints (8-8), Mexico City Diablos (8-8), Kentucky Bourbons (7-9), Jacksonville Sharks (7-9)

NFC West: Sacramento Condors (11-5), Seattle Orcas (11-5), Los Angeles Rams (9-7), Portland Storm (8-8), Las Vegas Gamblers (6-10), Denver Broncos (4-12), San Francisco 49ers (4-12)

AFC East: Ottawa Canadians (12-4), Brooklyn Barons (12-4), New York Jets (8-8), Hamilton Tiger-Cats (7-9), Boston Patriots (7-9), Buffalo Bills (6-10)

AFC North: Cincinnati Chargers (8-8), Minnesota Vikings (6-10), Cleveland Browns (6-10), Saskatchewan Roughriders (6-10), Winnipeg Bombers (3-13), Pittsburgh Steelers (2-14)

AFC South: Birmingham Vulcans (14-2), Houston Oilers (11-5), San Antonio Wings (10-6), Memphis Steamers (8-8), Atlanta Falcons (8-8), Miami Dolphins (6-10)

AFC West: Oakland Raiders (11-5), Southern California Sun (10-6), Kansas City Kings (9-7), San Diego Destroyers (9-7), Edmonton Elks (7-9), Calgary Stampeders (7-9), Vancouver Lumberjacks (7-9)


AFC Wildcard: Houston def. Oakland 40-37, Cincinnati def. Brooklyn 34-23

NFC Wildcard: Seattle def. Sacramento 46-20, Dallas def. Philadelphia 27-20

AFC Divisional: Ottawa def. Houston 31-17, Birmingham def. Cincinnati 30-27

NFC Divisional: Tampa Bay def. Seattle 24-14, Green Bay def. Dallas 27-24

AFC Championship: Birmingham def. Ottawa 48-17

NFC Championship: Green Bay def. Tampa Bay 37-29

Super Bowl XII (at The Superdome in New Orleans, LA): Birmingham def. Green Bay 42-14

NAFL All-Star Game (at Tampa Stadium in Tampa, FL): NFC def. AFC 38-28

League Leaders

Passing Yards - Leslie Vanwinkle (Boston) 4,804

Passing TD's - Vaughn Lemke (Green Bay) 46

Passing Rating - Ken Anderson (Washington) 124.9

Rushing Yards - Chuck Foreman (Minnesota) 1,508

Receiving Yards - Calvin Forrest (Boston) 1,779

Total Points - Tony Garza (Seattle) 139

Tackles - Louis McInally (Chicago) 129

Sacks - Kevin Muniz (Montreal) 22

Interceptions - Carol Nicholas (Southern California) 9