NFL Total Points Leaders By Year—1980s
As usual, it's pretty much always kickers who lead the NFL in scoring. It was no different in the ‘80's, except that Jerry Rice and Marcus Allen snuck into the rotation in 1987 and 1982, respectively. Otherwise, here is the list of those scoring leaders from the decade by year:
1989-Mike Cofer, San Francisco 49ers (136)
Kicker Mike Cofer only played in the NFL for eight seasons, six of them with San Francisco. In 1989, Cofer led the NFL in scoring by converting 29 of 36 field goals and 49 of 51 extra points for a total of 136 points. The 51 extra point attempts also led the league, which means his team was a TD scoring machine as well.
1988-Scott Norwood, Buffalo Bills (129)
Though he is infamously remembered as the guy who sliced a field goal attempt "wide right" in Super Bowl XXV, Bills' kicker Scott Norwood was pretty prolific. In 1988, Norwood led the NFL in scoring when he converted 32 of 37 field goal tries, as well as hitting all 33 of his extra point attempts for 129 total points.
1987-Jerry Rice, San Francisco 49ers (138)
Though he only played in 12 games in 1987, Niners' receiver Jerry Rice led the NFL in touchdowns with 22, which was also a career high. Rice caught 65 passes for 1078 yards that season, and his 22 receiving TDs and 1 rushing TD gave him 138 total points, which was a league high that season.
1986-Tony Franklin, New England Patriots (140)
Kicker Tony Franklin had a decent if under-the-radar 10-year NFL career. In 1986, Franklin led the NFL in scoring by nailing 32 of 41 field goals and 44 of 45 extra points for a total of 140 points.
1985-Kevin Butler, Chicago Bears (144)
Kevin Butler kicked for the Chicago Bears for 11 of his 13 years in the NFL. And in that magical season of 1985 when the Bears won it all, Butler was the beneficiary of lots of scoring chances. He capitalized by leading the league with 144 total points, on 28 of 41 field goal tries and 36 of 37 extra points.
1984-Ray Wersching, San Francisco 49ers (131)
Ray Wershing kicked for the Chargers and 49ers in his entire 15-year NFL career, and as a result benefited from having high-octane offenses that created scoring chances. In 1984, Wersching led the NFL in scoring by hitting 25 of 35 field goals with 56 of 56 on extra points, giving him 131 total points for the season.
1983-Mark Moseley, Washington Redskins (161)
In helping lead the Redskins to a Super Bowl appearance after the 1983 season, kicker Mark Moseley led the NFL in scoring with 161 points. Moseley connected on 33 of 47 field goals, as well as 62 of 63 extra points.
1982-Marcus Allen, Los Angeles Raiders (82)
Running back Marcus Allen broke into the NFL in 1982, the same year a player's strike shortened the season to nine games. Still, Allen made an impact with the Raiders immediately. He rushed for 697 yards with 11 TDs, and added another 401 receiving yards with 3 more touchdowns, giving Allen an NFL-leading 82 total points.
1981-Eddie Murray, Detroit Lions (121) & Rafael Septien, Dallas Cowboys (121)
In the 1981 season, two kickers tied for the NFL lead in scoring with 121 points each-Detroit's Eddie Murray and Dallas' Rafael Septien. Murray hit 25 of 35 field goals and all 46 of his extra point attempts, while Septien had 27 of 35 field goals and 40 of 40 on extra points.
1980-John Smith, New England Patriots (129)
Patriots' kicker John Smith led the NFL in scoring two straight years, in 1979 and 1980. In the 1980 season, Smith had 129 total points, on 26 of 34 field goal attempts and 51 of 51 extra points.