2019 NFL Season
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2019 NFL Season
2019 National Football League season
100 NFL seasons logo.svg
The NFL's centennial emblem, which will be used throughout 2019
Regular season
DurationSeptember 5, 2019 (2019-09-05) - December 29, 2019 (2019-12-29)
Playoffs
Start dateJanuary 4, 2020
Super Bowl LIV
DateFebruary 2, 2020
SiteHard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida
Pro Bowl
DateJanuary 26, 2020
SiteCamping World Stadium, Orlando, Florida

The 2019 NFL season is the 100th season of the National Football League (NFL). The season began on September 5, 2019 with the NFL Kickoff Game, in which the Green Bay Packers defeated the Chicago Bears. The season will conclude with Super Bowl LIV, the league's championship game, scheduled for February 2, 2020, at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida.

Player movement

The 2019 NFL League year and trading period began on March 13. On March 8, teams were allowed to exercise options for 2019 on players who have option clauses in their contracts submit qualifying offers to their pending restricted free agents and submit a Minimum Salary Tender to retain exclusive negotiating rights to their players with expiring 2018 contracts and who have fewer than three accrued seasons of free agent credit. Teams were required to be under the salary cap using the "Top 51" definition (in which the 51 highest paid-players on the team's payroll must have a combined salary cap.) On March 11 clubs were allowed to contact and begin contract negotiations with the agents of players who were set to become unrestricted free agents.

Free agency

Free agency began on March 13. Notable players to change teams include:

Trades

Retirements

Other retirements

Draft

The 2019 NFL Draft was held from April 25-27 in Nashville, Tennessee.[22] The Arizona Cardinals selected Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray with the first overall selection.

Officiating changes

Combined with the 2018 offseason retirements of Ed Hochuli, Terry McAulay, Gene Steratore, and Jeff Triplette, the league has been forced to replace seven of its 17 referee positions within a two-year period.[25]

In July 2019, the NFL announced that all of the league's officials would return to part-time status. For the previous two seasons, under a pilot program, a small number of NFL officials were classified as full-time employees of the NFL.[29]

Rule changes

The following rule changes were approved for the 2019 season at the NFL owners' meeting on March 26:[30]

  • Make permanent the experimental kickoff rules from the 2018 season.
  • Abolish all blindside blocks anywhere on the field (personal foul, 15 yards).
  • Allow as a one-year experiment to make the following plays reviewable, subject to coaches' challenges outside of the final 2:00 of each half, and subject to booth review after the two-minute warning of each half or entire overtime:
    • Pass interference, whether called or not (modified in June 2019)
    • Scoring plays and turnovers negated by penalties.
    • Any extra point or two-point conversion attempt.
  • Change how double fouls are enforced after a change in possession; the last team to possess retains the ball at the spot of enforcement. If the enforcement spot is after a touchback, the ball is placed at the 20 yard line (after punt or turnover) or 25 yard line (free kick). If the spot of enforcement is in the end zone, the ball is placed at the one yard line.
  • Make scrimmage kick rules apply if a missed field goal is touched in the end zone before hitting the ground, and if the ball is touched by either team behind the line of scrimmage.
  • Allow teams to enforce a personal foul or unsportsmanlike conduct penalty committed during a touchdown on either the try or on the ensuing kickoff.
  • Individuals not in uniform who enter the field to celebrate a play will draw an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty (15 yards, and automatic first down if on the defensive team).
  • Players who make any flagrant "football" play, risk immediate disqualification. Previously, this was limted to players who make a flagrant "non-football" play

An additional rule change built upon a rule originally passed in 2018. The NFL limited helmets to a list of 34 league-approved models, up from the 23 originally approved in 2018. The grandfather clause allowing existing players to wear their previous non-approved helmets expired, and 32 players were required to change helmets (most prominently Tom Brady, whose Riddell VSR-4 was one of ten now-banned models still in use in 2018).[31]

In May 2019, the NFL banned Oklahoma drills, "bull in the ring," and other high-contact drills from team practices.[32]

In June 2019 the league clarified the March 2019 temporary rule change regarding review of pass interference plays as follows:[33]

  • The initial rule passed in March 2019 regarding review of pass interference remains intact.
  • A ruling will only be changed if there is clear and obvious evidence that pass interference did or did not occur (as is the standard for any other replay review).
  • All pass plays are subject to review for pass interference, including the "Hail Mary" play.

Midway through the season, another rule was introduced without explicit approval from the competition committee:

  • Drop kicks may no longer be used on kickoffs. This ruling came after the use of a drop kick in by the Baltimore Ravens against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Ravens received clearance to use the drop kick, but after the game, the league office claimed that the maneuver was illegal, without specifying what was illegal about it, other than claiming that it had not been kicked immediately after hitting the ground. The game officials allowed the kick to stand unpenalized during the game.[34] This rule change also comes after the Seattle Seahawks attempted several kickoffs using a drop kick in 2018.[35]

2019 deaths

Members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame

Pat Bowlen
Bowlen was the owner of the Denver Broncos from 1984 until his death. His Broncos won three Super Bowls during his tenure (XXXII, XXXIII and 50). He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2019 but died before the induction ceremonies. Bowlen died June 13, age 75, from complications of Alzheimer's disease. Under the terms of a succession plan, the team will be operated by a trust headed by longtime executive Joe Ellis until it can be determined which of Bowlen's five surviving children will inherit the team.[36]
Willie Brown
Brown spent his first four seasons with the Denver Broncos (1963-1966) and his last twelve with Oakland Raiders (1967-1978), winning Super Bowl XI with the Raiders. Brown was also a nine-time Pro Bowler and enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1984. Brown died on October 22 at the age of 78.
Nick Buoniconti
Buoniconti, a 2001 Hall inductee, was an eight-time Pro-Bowl linebacker, and played seven seasons with the Boston Patriots from 1962-1968 and seven more with the Miami Dolphins from 1969-1974 and 1976. He won two Super Bowls with the Dolphins in 1972 and 1973. Buoniconti died on July 31 at the age of 78.
Forrest Gregg
Gregg, a guard, spent 14 years of his 15-season playing career with the Green Bay Packers, a member of the Packers' 1960s dynasty as well as the Dallas Cowboys' Super Bowl VI winning squad in his final season of play. Gregg was inducted into the Hall in his first year of eligibility as part of the Class of 1977. He also had a less illustrious coaching career in the NFL, college football and Canadian Football League in the late 1970s, 1980s and into the 1990s, most successfully leading the 1981 Cincinnati Bengals to an AFC championship and a loss in Super Bowl XVI. Gregg died on April 12 at the age of 85.
Jim Langer
The center, an inductee of the Hall's class of 1987, spent 11 seasons in the NFL, nine with the Miami Dolphins (with the team earning its perfect season during his rookie 1972 season) and two with the Minnesota Vikings. He died August 29, age 71.
Gino Marchetti
Marchetti was a defensive end who played 14 seasons in the NFL, 13 with the Baltimore Colts. Marchetti won two NFL championships, was selected to 11 Pro Bowls, and making nine First-team All-Pro teams with the Colts. He was inducted into the Hall with the class of 1972. Marchetti died on April 29 at the age of 92.
Bart Starr
Starr played quarterback for 16 seasons in the NFL from 1956 to 1971, all of them with the Green Bay Packers, and was undisputed starter for the last 12 of those seasons. He was the starting quarterback for the Packers for all five of the NFL Championships the team won in the 1960s and was Most Valuable Player for the first two World Championship Games. He also had a nine-season run as the Packers' head coach from 1975 to 1983, though this was less successful as he only twice had a winning season (one of those being shortened by a strike, which was also his only playoff appearance as a coach). Starr was inducted into the Hall as a member of the Class of 1977. He died May 26, age 85.

Team owners

Bill Bidwill
Bidwill was team owner of the Arizona Cardinals from the 1960s until his death on October 2, at the age of 88. The Bidwill family has been associated with the Cardinals ever since Bill's father Charles bought the team in 1933. Bill's son Michael Bidwill is expected to succeed his father as team owner.
Barron Hilton
Hilton was the original owner of the Los Angeles Chargers from 1960-1966. Hilton was the last living owner from the AFL.

Others

Preseason

Training camps for the 2019 season are being held in late July through August. Teams started training camp no earlier than 15 days before the team's first scheduled preseason game.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame Game, in which the Denver Broncos defeated the Atlanta Falcons 14-10, was played on August 1, and was televised nationally by NBC. The game was held at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio, the same city where the league was founded 99 years prior. The Broncos were represented in the 2019 Hall of Fame class by owner Pat Bowlen and former cornerback Champ Bailey, while the Falcons were represented by longtime player Tony Gonzalez[37][38]

On August 17, the Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Rams played a preseason game at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii, the former home of the Pro Bowl.[39]

On August 22, the Oakland Raiders hosted the Green Bay Packers at IG Field in Winnipeg, home of the CFL's Winnipeg Blue Bombers; it was the first NFL game on Canadian soil since the end of the Bills Toronto Series in 2013.[40]Mosaic Stadium in Regina, Saskatchewan was another potential site for the game, and the teams secured the cooperation of the city and local sports promoter On Ice Management, but the Saskatchewan Roughriders vetoed the proposal; the Roughriders feared they would be unable to reconfigure the field from NFL to CFL standards in time for the Roughriders' August 24 home game.[41] (The Winnipeg Blue Bombers played on the road that weekend and thus did not have a scheduling conflict.) Due to safety concerns caused by the reconfiguration of the goal posts, the NFL, at the last minute, shortened the playing field so that it was only 80 yards long (the first such known NFL usage of a field that short since 1932) and eliminated kickoffs, starting all possessions on the 15-yard line. The Raiders won, 22-21.[42] Thirty-three Packers players refused to play on the surface, including starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers.[43]

NFL centennial promotions

On October 18, 2018, the NFL announced that it would commemorate its 100th season throughout 2019, beginning at Super Bowl LIII. An NFL 100 emblem will be featured in promotions across all NFL properties during the season, worn on jerseys as a patch, placed on game balls, and painted on fields.[44][45]

The Chicago Bears (who, as the Decatur Staleys, were one of the 14 charter members of the league) will also celebrate their centennial season with commemorative events throughout 2019. On November 15, 2018, the team unveiled a customized version of the league-wide centennial emblem (which will be worn on jerseys in place of the NFL-branded version).[46] The team also unveiled a throwback jersey based on their 1936 design, which it will wear for two games.[47]

The NFL aired a special two-minute commercial during Super Bowl LIII to launch the centennial campaign, which featured appearances by 40 current and former NFL players including: Rams RB Todd Gurley, then-Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr., Patriots QB Tom Brady, former Broncos and Colts QB Peyton Manning, Hall of Fame WRs Jerry Rice and Michael Irvin, and Hall of Fame QB Terry Bradshaw,[48] NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL officials Ron Torbert and Sarah Thomas, viral teenage girl football star Samantha Gordon,[49] and video game streamer Tyler "Ninja" Blevins. The commercial won the annual Super Bowl Ad Meter survey held by USA Today, marking the first time that the NFL itself won.[50]

In honor of the site of the first NFL game, the league announced plans to donate a new artifical turf field to Triangle Park in Dayton, Ohio--home field of the former Dayton Triangles, with an intent for the Cincinnati Bengals to hold a day of training camp at the site. However, the project was rejected by the city, after concerns were shown that the construction could potentially disturb a Native American burial site, and an archaeological survey identified a "unique and sizable anomaly" in the area that was "potentially prehistoric." The NFL instead donated the turf to Kettering Field, which is also in Dayton.[51] The Bengals still held a training camp day in Dayton, doing so at Welcome Stadium instead.[52][53][54]

The league purposely scheduled a weekly game to honor landmark moments in NFL history:[55]

Week Opponents Significance Result
1 Packers vs. Bears League's longest running rivalry Packers 10 Bears 3
2 Browns vs. Jets First Monday Night Football contest Browns 23 Jets 3
3 Dolphins vs. Cowboys Super Bowl VI Dolphins 6 Cowboys 31
4 Chargers vs. Dolphins Epic in Miami Chargers 30 Dolphins 10
5 Bills vs. Titans Music City Miracle Bills 14 Titans 7
6 Giants vs. Patriots Super Bowls XLII (David Tyree's helmet catch spoils the perfect season) and XLVI Giants 14 Patriots 35
7 Raiders vs. Packers Super Bowl II Raiders 24 Packers 42
8 Packers vs. Chiefs Super Bowl I
9 Vikings vs. Chiefs Super Bowl IV
10 Falcons vs. Saints Rivalry game, Saints' return to New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina
11 Patriots vs. Eagles Super Bowls XXXIX and LII (Philly Special)
12 Raiders vs. Jets Heidi Game
13 49ers vs. Ravens Super Bowl XLVII (The Harbaugh Bowl)
14 Bengals vs. Browns Battle of Ohio (state where NFL was founded), both teams founded by Paul Brown
15 Colts vs. Saints Super Bowl XLIV
16 Raiders vs. Chargers Rivalry game, Holy Roller play

Regular season

The 2019 regular season's 256 games will be played over a 17-week schedule that will begin on September 5, 2019. Each of the league's 32 teams will play a 16 game schedule, with one bye week. There will be games on Monday nights and on Thursdays, including the National Football League Kickoff game and games on Thanksgiving Day. The regular season will conclude with a full slate of 16 games, will be scheduled for December 29, all of which will be intra-division matchups, as it had been since 2010.

Scheduling formula

Under the NFL's current scheduling formula, each team plays the other three teams in its own division twice. In addition, a team plays against all four teams in one other division from each conference. The final two games on a team's schedule are against the two remaining teams in the same conference that finished in the same position in their respective divisions (e.g., the team that finished fourth in its division will play all three other teams in the conference that also finished fourth). The division parings for 2019 will be as follows:

The entire schedule was released on April 17, 2019. Highlights of the 2019 season include:

Saturday flexible scheduling

When the entire season schedule was released on April 17, the league announced Saturday games in Week 16. The final times of these games will be announced no later than Week 8. Of the following five match-ups - 49ers-Rams, Bills-Patriots, Lions-Broncos, Raiders-Chargers, and Texans-Buccaneers - three will be moved to Saturday, December 21 on the NFL Network, while the remaining two games will be played on Sunday, December 22 on either CBS or Fox.

In-season scheduling changes

Regular season standings

Division

Conference

# Team Division W L T PCT DIV CONF SOS SOV STK
Division leaders
1 New England Patriots East 7 0 0 1.000 4-0 5-0 .273 .273 W7
2[a] Kansas City Chiefs West 5 2 0 .714 2-0 4-2 .511 .470 W1
3[a] Baltimore Ravens North 5 2 0 .714 2-1 3-2 .380 .318 W3
4 Indianapolis Colts South 4 2 0 .667 2-0 3-2 .439 .464 W2
Wild Cards
5 Buffalo Bills East 5 1 0 .833 2-1 4-1 .325 .182 W2
6 Houston Texans South 4 3 0 .571 1-1 3-1 .532 .393 L1
In the hunt
7 Oakland Raiders West 3 3 0 .500 1-1 2-1 .625 .474 L1
8[b] Jacksonville Jaguars South 3 4 0 .429 1-1 3-2 .500 .238 W1
9[b] Tennessee Titans South 3 4 0 .429 0-2 2-4 .413 .250 W1
10[c] Cleveland Browns North 2 4 0 .333 1-0 2-1 .600 .462 L2
11[c] Pittsburgh Steelers North 2 4 0 .333 1-1 2-2 .610 .143 W1
12[d] Denver Broncos West 2 5 0 .286 1-2 2-3 .532 .357 L1
13[d] Los Angeles Chargers West 2 5 0 .286 0-1 2-4 .389 .333 L3
14 New York Jets East 1 5 0 .167 0-3 0-4 .700 .571 L1
15[e] Cincinnati Bengals North 0 7 0 .000 0-2 0-4 .641 .000 L7
16[e] Miami Dolphins East 0 6 0 .000 0-2 0-4 .585 .000 L6
Tiebreakers[f]
  1. ^ a b Kansas City wins tie break over Baltimore based on head-to-head victory.
  2. ^ a b Jacksonville wins tie break over Tennessee based on head-to-head victory.
  3. ^ a b Cleveland wins tie break over Pittsburgh based on best win percentage in division games.
  4. ^ a b Denver wins tie break over LA Chargers based on head-to-head victory.
  5. ^ a b Cincinnati wins tie break over Miami based on strength of schedule.
  6. ^ When breaking ties for three or more teams under the NFL's rules, they are first broken within divisions, then comparing only the highest ranked remaining team from each division.
# Team Division W L T PCT DIV CONF SOS SOV STK
Division leaders
1 San Francisco 49ers West 6 0 0 1.000 1-0 3-0 .282 .282 W6
2[a] New Orleans Saints South 6 1 0 .857 1-0 4-1 .532 .525 W5
3[a] Green Bay Packers North 6 1 0 .857 3-0 4-1 .489 .500 W3
4 Dallas Cowboys East 4 3 0 .571 3-0 3-2 .404 .222 W1
Wild cards
5[b] Seattle Seahawks West 5 2 0 .714 2-0 2-1 .479 .348 L1
6[b] Minnesota Vikings North 5 2 0 .714 1-2 4-2 .446 .348 W3
In the hunt
7 Carolina Panthers South 4 2 0 .667 1-1 2-2 .463 .463 W4
8 Los Angeles Rams West 4 3 0 .571 0-2 3-3 .578 .500 W1
9[c] Chicago Bears North 3 3 0 .500 1-1 2-2 .561 .381 L2
10[c] Arizona Cardinals West 3 3 1 .500 0-1 2-2-1 .415 .143 W3
11 Philadelphia Eagles East 3 4 0 .429 1-1 2-4 .436 .400 L2
12 Detroit Lions North 2 3 1 .417 0-2 1-2-1 .583 .357 L3
13 Tampa Bay Buccaneers South 2 4 0 .333 1-2 2-4 .667 .615 L2
14 New York Giants East 2 5 0 .286 1-1 2-3 .585 .231 L3
15[d] Atlanta Falcons South 1 6 0 .143 0-0 1-3 .552 .429 L5
16[d] Washington Redskins East 1 6 0 .143 0-3 0-5 .543 .000 L1
Tiebreakers[e]
  1. ^ a b New Orleans wins tie break over Green Bay based on strength of victory.
  2. ^ a b Seattle wins tie break over Minnesota based on strength of schedule.
  3. ^ a b Chicago wins tie break over Arizona based on strength of victory.
  4. ^ a b Atlanta wins tie break over Washington based on best win percentage in conference games.
  5. ^ When breaking ties for three or more teams under the NFL's rules, they are first broken within divisions, then comparing only the highest ranked remaining team from each division.

Postseason

The 2019 Playoffs are scheduled to begin on the weekend of January 4-5, 2020, with the Wild Card Playoff Round. The four winners of these games will visit the top two seeds in each conference in the Divisional Round games, scheduled for January 11-12. The winners of those games will advance to the Conference Championships scheduled for January 19. The 2020 Pro Bowl will be held at Camping World Stadium in Orlando scheduled for January 26. Super Bowl LIV, scheduled for February 2, will be played at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami.

The start times for the Divisional Round games on Sunday, January 12, will be moved to 3:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. ET (as is already the case with the conference championship games), rather than the typical 1:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. windows used for this round in prior seasons.[63]

Notable events

Andrew Luck's retirement

In a surprising turn of events, news of Indianapolis Colts quarterback and 2012 first overall pick Andrew Luck retiring broke out during the Colts' third preseason game. His retirement quickly became one of the most surprising revelations of the year, and he was controversially booed off of the field. During his post-game press conference, Luck stated that his retirement was due to the recent mental and physical difficulties of playing football.[64] Luck had won the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award in 2018.

Antonio Brown controversies

Wide receiver Antonio Brown has been involved in several controversies throughout the off-season, preseason, and regular season.[65] Brown was held back by his former team, the Pittsburgh Steelers during week 17 of 2018 due to a heated argument with QB Ben Roethlisberger. He was subsequently traded to the Oakland Raiders in March 2019. However, Brown's helmet model was banned by the NFL due to inadequate protection, causing Brown to hold out of practices and file two grievances against the NFL, both of which he lost. Brown then accepted the new helmet model and returned to practice, but due to wearing inadequate footwear in a cryogenic chamber, Brown got frostbite on his feet, causing additional concern for his availability in Week 1.[66] Brown then released recorded audio of Raiders head coach Jon Gruden and requested the Raiders to release him. He was subsequently released and signed with the New England Patriots. On September 10, allegations that Brown had raped his former trainer, Britney Taylor, caused some[who?] to wonder if Brown would be put on the commisioner's exempt list, barring him from playing.[67] However, the NFL has not done so and Brown played in the Patriots' Week 2 game. On September 16, a second woman accused Brown of sexual misconduct.[68] That same day, Pittsburgh-based Dr. Victor Prisk, who worked with Brown during his time with the Steelers, sued Brown for $11,500 in unpaid fees.[68] The Patriots cut Brown on September 20 after he sent intimidating text messages to his second accuser.[69]

Records, milestones, and notable statistics

Week 1

  • The Baltimore Ravens scored 42 points in the first half, setting an NFL record for most points in the first half of a season opener.[70]

Week 2

  • Adrian Peterson passed Jim Brown for fifth place on the all-time rushing touchdowns list.[71]
  • JuJu Smith-Schuster became the youngest player in NFL history to record 2,500 career receiving yards, at the age of 22 years, 297 days, a record previously held by Randy Moss, who was 22 years, 310 days old.[72]

Week 4

Week 5

Week 6

Week 7

  • Matthew Stafford became the fastest player to throw for 40,000 yards, doing so in 147 games. The record was previously held by Matt Ryan, who reached 40,000 yards in 151 games.[81]
  • Aaron Rodgers became the fastest player to throw for 350 touchdowns, doing so in 172 games. The record was previously held by Drew Brees, who reached 350 touchdowns in 180 games.[82]
  • Brett Maher became the first kicker in NFL history to kick three field goals of at least 60 yards in his career.[83]
  • Marvin Jones became the first player in NFL history to score four receiving touchdowns in a game in which he did not have at least 100 receiving yards; he caught 10 passes for 93 yards and the four touchdowns.[84]

Awards

Players of the week/month

The following were named the top performers during the 2019 season:

Week/
Month
Offensive
Player of the Week/Month
Defensive
Player of the Week/Month
Special Teams
Player of the Week/Month
AFC NFC AFC NFC AFC NFC
1[85] Lamar Jackson QB
(Ravens)
Dak Prescott QB
(Cowboys)
Cameron Wake OLB
(Titans)
Anthony Harris SS
(Vikings)
Ty Long P
(Chargers)
Wil Lutz K
(Saints)
2[86] Patrick Mahomes QB
(Chiefs)
Russell Wilson QB
(Seahawks)
Whitney Mercilus OLB
(Texans)
Shaquil Barrett OLB
(Buccaneers)
Jamie Gillan P
(Browns)
Eddy Piñeiro K
(Bears)
3[87] Deshaun Watson QB
(Texans)
Daniel Jones QB
(Giants)
Calais Campbell DE
(Jaguars)
Preston Smith OLB
(Packers)
Jake Bailey P
(Patriots)
Thomas Morstead P
(Saints)
4[88] Nick Chubb RB
(Browns)
Jameis Winston QB
(Buccaneers)
Kyle Van Noy LB
(Patriots)
Janoris Jenkins CB
(Giants)
Josh Lambo K
(Jaguars)
Joey Slye K
(Panthers)
Sept.[89] Patrick Mahomes QB
(Chiefs)
Christian McCaffrey RB
(Panthers)
Devin McCourty FS
(Patriots)
Shaquil Barrett OLB
(Buccaneers)
Jamie Gillan P
(Browns)
Thomas Morstead P
(Saints)
5[90] Deshaun Watson QB
(Texans)
Aaron Jones RB
(Packers)
Justin Houston DE
(Colts)
Nick Bosa DE
(49ers)
Justin Tucker K
(Ravens)
Dan Bailey K
(Vikings)
6[91] Sam Darnold QB
(Jets)
Kyler Murray QB
(Cardinals)
Devin Bush Jr. LB
(Steelers)
Landon Collins SS
(Redskins)
Justin Tucker K
(Ravens)
Thomas Morstead P
(Saints)
7[92] Jacoby Brissett QB
(Colts)
Aaron Rodgers QB
(Packers)
Tre'Davious White CB
(Bills)
Chandler Jones OLB
(Cardinals)
Josh Lambo K
(Jaguars)
Brett Maher K
(Cowboys)
Week FedEx Air
Player of the Week
(Quarterbacks)[93]
FedEx Ground
Player of the Week
(Running backs)[93]
Pepsi
Rookie of the Week[94]
1 Lamar Jackson
(Ravens)
Marlon Mack
(Colts)
Gardner Minshew II QB
(Jaguars)
2 Patrick Mahomes
(Chiefs)
Dalvin Cook
(Vikings)
Chase Winovich DE
(Patriots)
3 Patrick Mahomes
(Chiefs)
Christian McCaffrey
(Panthers)
Gardner Minshew II QB
(Jaguars)
4 Jameis Winston
(Buccaneers)
Nick Chubb
(Browns )
Gardner Minshew II QB
(Jaguars)
5 Deshaun Watson
(Texans)
Aaron Jones
(Packers)
Gardner Minshew II QB
(Jaguars)
6 Kirk Cousins
(Vikings)
Lamar Jackson
(Ravens)
Kyler Murray QB
(Cardinals)
Month Rookie of the Month
Offensive Defensive
Sept.[89] Gardner Minshew II QB
(Jaguars)
Brian Burns OLB
(Panthers)

Head coaching and front office personnel changes

Head coaches

Off-season

Team Departing coach Interim coach Incoming coach Reason for leaving Notes
Arizona Cardinals Steve Wilks Kliff Kingsbury Fired Wilks was fired on December 31, 2018, after one season in which he accrued a record of 3-13 (.188).[95] He later joined the Cleveland Browns as a defensive coordinator.[96]

Kingsbury, who had spent most of the previous six seasons as head coach of Texas Tech, was hired on January 8, 2019.[97]

Cincinnati Bengals Marvin Lewis Zac Taylor Mutual decision Lewis and the Bengals mutually agreed to part ways on December 31 after a 6-10 (.375) season. In 16 years as the Bengals' head coach, Lewis was 131-122-3 (.518), with 7 playoff appearances. Famously, the Bengals never won a playoff game under Lewis and had missed the playoffs in each of his last three seasons.[98] Lewis joined NFL Network as a commentator for Alliance of American Football games shortly after his departure.[99]

Taylor was officially named as head coach on February 5, 2019. This is his first experience as head coach after serving as the Los Angeles Rams' quarterbacks coach and at 35 years old, is now currently the 2nd youngest active coach in the NFL, after Sean McVay, whom coaches Taylor's former team, the Rams.[100]

Cleveland Browns Hue Jackson Gregg Williams Freddie Kitchens Fired Jackson was fired on October 29, 2018, accumulating a 3-36-1 (.088) record during his 2½-season tenure with the Browns. Jackson failed to win any away games during his tenure and lost every game in 2017.[101] He rejoined the Cincinnati Bengals as an assistant coach immediately after his firing. Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who previously served as Buffalo Bills head coach from 2001 to 2003, finished out the 2018 season with a 5-3 (.625) record. Released by the Browns on January 9, 2019, Williams later joined the New York Jets as a defensive coordinator.[102]

Kitchens was promoted to head coach on January 12, 2019, after serving as the interim offensive coordinator following Jackson's firing. This is his first head coaching position.[103]

Denver Broncos Vance Joseph Vic Fangio Joseph was fired on December 31, 2018, after a 6-10 (.375) season. The Broncos were 11-21 (.344) in Joseph's two losing seasons as head coach, with no playoff appearances.[104] He joined the Arizona Cardinals as a defensive coordinator.[105]

Fangio, a first-time head coach with over 30 years experience as an assistant dating back to the USFL, most recently as defensive coordinator of the Chicago Bears, was hired on January 10, 2019.[106]

Green Bay Packers Mike McCarthy Joe Philbin Matt LaFleur McCarthy was fired on December 2, 2018, shortly after the Packers' loss to the Arizona Cardinals. McCarthy left with a record of 135-85-2 (.613) with nine playoff appearances and one Super Bowl championship. Philbin, the team's offensive coordinator, finished the season as interim coach with a record of 2-2 (.500).[107]

LaFleur was hired on January 8, 2019. Previously the offensive coordinator for the Tennessee Titans, this is his first head coaching position.[108]

Miami Dolphins Adam Gase Brian Flores Gase was fired on December 31, 2018, after a 7-9 (.438) season. The Dolphins were 23-25 (.479) in Gase's three years as head coach, with one playoff appearance in 2016.[109] He was later hired by the New York Jets as head coach.[110]

Flores, formerly the New England Patriots' long time assistant, recently as linebackers coach, was announced as head coach on February 5, 2019. After being with the Patriots organization since 2004, this is his first head coaching position.[111]

New York Jets Todd Bowles Adam Gase Bowles was fired on December 30, 2018, finishing the season with a record of 4-12 (.250) and a cumulative record of 24-40 (.375) with no playoff appearances in four seasons with Jets.[112] He joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a defensive coordinator.[113]

Gase, who was previously the head coach of the Miami Dolphins, posting a 23-25 (.479) record in three seasons, was hired on January 11, 2019.[110]

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Dirk Koetter Bruce Arians Koetter was fired on December 30, 2018, after a 5-11 (.313) season. The Buccaneers were 19-29 (.396) in Koetter's three years as head coach, with no playoff appearances. Previously, Koetter was Buccaneers' offensive coordinator for one season in 2015.[114] He rejoined the Atlanta Falcons as an offensive coordinator.[115]

Arians was announced as the Buccaneers' new head coach on January 8, 2019. He was previously the head coach for the Arizona Cardinals for five seasons with 49-30-1 (.619) record from 2013 to 2017, leading them to an NFC Championship Game appearance in 2015.[116]

In-season

Team Departing coach Reason for leaving Interim replacement Notes
Washington Redskins Jay Gruden Fired Bill Callahan After an 0-5 start, Gruden was fired on October 7. He had a 35-49-1 (.418) record for his 5+ season tenure with the Redskins, with one playoff appearance in 2015.[117]

Callahan, the team's assistant head coach/offensive line coach, was previously the head coach of the Oakland Raiders in 2002 and 2003, with a record of 15-17 (.469) and one Super Bowl appearance.[118]

Front office personnel

Off-season

Team Position Departing office holder Interim replacement Incoming office holder Reason for leaving Notes
Baltimore Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome Eric DeCosta Retired The Ravens announced on February 2, 2018 that Newsome would retire after 16 years as the team's GM and that Eric DeCosta, most recently the Ravens' assistant GM, would succeed Newsome.[119] Newsome was the first African-American to occupy the GM position in the NFL.[120]
Oakland Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie Shaun Herock Mike Mayock Fired McKenzie was fired on December 10, 2018, after six-plus seasons as Raiders' GM.[121] Herock, team's director of college scouting, served as the Raiders' interim GM until the team settled on a full-time replacement.

Mayock had previously been a television commentator for the past 26 seasons and has never held a front office position.[122]

New York Jets GM Mike Maccagnan Adam Gase Joe Douglas Maccagnan was fired on May 15, 2019 after four seasons; vice president of player personnel Brian Heimerdinger was also dismissed. Head coach Adam Gase was named interim GM. [123] Douglas was named the new GM on June 7, 2019. [124]
Houston Texans GM Brian Gaine Chris Olsen Gaine was unexpectedly fired on June 7, 2019 after only one season and returned to his previous position with the Buffalo Bills. [125][126]

Stadiums

This is the third and final season for the Los Angeles Chargers at ROKiT Field at Dignity Health Sports Park[127] and the fourth and final season for the Los Angeles Rams at United Airlines Field at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Both the Chargers and the Rams will move to SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California in 2020. This will also be the final season for the Oakland Raiders at RingCentral Coliseum before moving to Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.

A buyout window in the Buffalo Bills' lease on New Era Field opens after the 2019 season. The window allows the team to cancel its lease on the stadium for a $28 million fee and relocate. If the Bills choose not to exercise the buyout window, they will not be allowed to relocate until the lease expires after the 2022 season.[128]

Denver Broncos' naming rights

On September 4, the Denver Broncos' home field was rebranded as Empower Field at Mile High. The Broncos had been seeking a long-term naming rights partner for their home field since sporting goods retailer Sports Authority went bankrupt in 2016. Empower Retirement, a retirement plan provider that is based in Denver, had served as a team sponsor since 2015, with the Broncos agreeing to terms on a 21-year deal that will run through 2039, though financial terms were not disclosed. This marks the third naming rights change for the Broncos' home field, following "Invesco Field at Mile High" (2001-2010), "Sports Authority Field at Mile High" (2011-2017) and "Broncos Stadium at Mile High" -- the latter of which was used on a temporary basis for the 2018 season.[129]

Raiders' relocation

The Oakland Raiders' lease on Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum (renamed RingCentral Coliseum under a naming rights sale in May 2019)[130] expired after the 2018 season. The team is slated to move to Las Vegas, Nevada once Allegiant Stadium is completed; it is currently scheduled to open in 2020. The Coliseum management has expressed a reluctance to allow the Raiders to continue using the Coliseum after the lease expires unless the team pays more to cover the losses the Coliseum incurs by hosting Raiders games. In December 2018, the city of Oakland filed a lawsuit against the Raiders and the NFL seeking financial damages and unpaid debt, claiming the proposed relocation is illegal but not asking for an injunction forcing the team to stay. The Raiders have stated that if any legal action were filed against them, that they would not renew with the Coliseum and find another, undetermined, temporary home for 2019 until Allegiant Stadium is finished.[131] The Raiders then attempted to negotiate a lease with Oracle Park in San Francisco before the San Francisco 49ers allegedly vetoed the plan as an infringement on their territorial rights and the mayor of the city spoke in opposition to the Raiders playing there.[132]

With the 49ers refusing to waive territorial rights, the Raiders were forced to either renegotiate with the Coliseum[133] or find a temporary stadium outside the San Francisco Bay Area (something that the Raiders management was reluctant to do, though the team acknowledged and considered bids from San Antonio, Texas and Tucson, Arizona). The Raiders, despite reservations about providing funds to the lawsuit being filed against them, opted to negotiate a return to the Coliseum for 2019; a tentative agreement, pending Coliseum and league approval, was announced February 25.[134] The lease agreement was approved by the Oakland Coliseum Authority, the Oakland city council, and Alameda County supervisors by March 21.[135]

The Coliseum is the last multi-purpose stadium to be the home of both an NFL and Major League Baseball team (the Oakland Athletics). The Raiders' September 15 game against the Kansas City Chiefs is expected to be the last NFL game played on a dirt infield.[136]

Uniforms

Uniform changes

  • Carolina Panthers: The Panthers switched to Nike's newest uniform template and updated their pants, removing the team logo from it and streamlining the piping stripe.
  • Cleveland Browns: On September 4, the Browns announced that they would be switching to their former Color Rush uniforms as their primary home set this season, and will wear these uniforms for six home games.
  • Houston Texans: On April 22, the Texans announced that they would add their primary logo on the back of their jerseys, making this their first uniform update in franchise history.[137] The addition of the logo on the jersey's back makes them the third team in the NFL to do so, after the Arizona Cardinals and Buffalo Bills.
  • Los Angeles Chargers: On April 16, the Chargers announced that they were making their powder blue alternate jerseys the new primary uniforms.[138] In addition to this announcement, they also swapped out their navy blue facemask for gold.
  • New York Jets: On April 4, the Jets unveiled a new uniform.[139] The new uniforms introduce black as an accent color and resemble a modernized version of the uniform layout the Jets used from 1978 to 1997, including a return to green helmets and "TV numbers" on the shoulders.[140]

Throwback uniforms

  • Chicago Bears: To celebrate their 100th season, the Bears will wear throwback jerseys based on their 1936 uniforms for two home games.[141]

Patches

  • Thirty-one teams will wear a version of the NFL centennial emblem, with the NFL shield beneath the "100", on the yoke of their jerseys in place of the regular NFL shield. The Chicago Bears will instead wear their own centennial team patch, a customized version of the league-wide centennial emblem with the Bear's colors and logo, on the left side of the jersey.[142]
  • The Carolina Panthers and the Jacksonville Jaguars will wear patches to commemorate the 25th season for each franchise.[143]
  • The Oakland Raiders will wear a patch to commemorate their 60th season.[144]
  • On October 10, the Arizona Cardinals unveiled a patch to commemorate the death of team owner Bill Bidwill. It features "WVB", the initials of his full name William Vogel Bidwill.[145]

Media

This is the sixth year under the current broadcast contracts with ESPN, CBS, Fox and NBC. This includes "cross-flexing" (switching) Sunday afternoon games between CBS and Fox before or during the season (regardless of the conference of the visiting team). NBC airs Sunday Night Football, the annual Kickoff Game, and the primetime Thanksgiving game. ESPN airs Monday Night Football and the Pro Bowl with the latter being simulcasted on ABC. Fox airs Thursday Night Football alongside with NFL Network, with Amazon Video and Twitch.tv continuing to simulcast those games online in the second and final year of the two sites' current contract. Fox will also broadcast Super Bowl LIV.

ESPN aired coverage for all three days of the 2019 NFL Draft on ABC, replacing Fox's broadcast television simulcast of NFL Network in 2018. ABC's coverage catered towards a mainstream audience and was hosted by the panel of ESPN's College GameDay, while ESPN and NFL Network continued to carry more conventional coverage of the draft.[146]

Under a one-year test, local stations in markets with NFL teams are allowed on a limited basis to air another NFL game opposite the game involving that city's home team, something that had previously been forbidden (this rule had already been waived for the Washington, D.C. market when the Baltimore Ravens are playing at the same time as the Washington Redskins on the opposite network - Washington, D.C. is a secondary market for the Ravens, for the Los Angeles market after the Rams' and Chargers' moves to LA and league-wide for Week 17 since 2014). It was originally reported that all media markets in the U.S. who have CBS and Fox affiliates will have access to three Sunday afternoon games every week regardless of whether the local team is playing at home.[147][148] The league later clarified that teams will still be able to impose the home exclusivity blackout on a limited basis, so long as they lift the exclusivity at least twice.[149]

The league has an option to cancel its contract with DirecTV after the 2019 season. DirecTV has had exclusive rights to the league's out-of-market sports package, NFL Sunday Ticket, since the package was introduced in 1994.[150]

Personnel changes

On February 28, 2019, Jason Witten announced he would be leaving his color commentator position on Monday Night Football after one season; he returned to the Dallas Cowboys, where he had played tight end for fifteen seasons before joining ESPN in 2018.[151] Witten was not replaced; Booger McFarland, who spent the previous season commentating from atop a crane-like contraption on the sideline, was moved into the booth.[152]

Former referee Jeff Triplette also left Monday Night Football as rules analyst. He was replaced with John Parry, who retired the same day his ESPN position was announced; Parry is the third rules analyst ESPN has hired in two years, following Triplette and Gerald Austin.[26]

Steve Tasker departed CBS after 21 seasons with the network, 20 as a color commentator and one as a sideline reporter, after CBS declined to renew Tasker's contract. Tasker anticipates moving to radio and calling games for Westwood One for the 2019 season.[153]

Twitch added "co-streaming" with live commentary from specially chosen users of the service for its 2019 Thursday night games.[154]

Most watched regular season games

Rank Date Matchup Network Viewers (millions) TV rating[155] Window Significance
1 October 6, 4:25 ET Green Bay Packers 34 Dallas Cowboys 24 Fox 24.6 13.8 Late DH[a] Cowboys-Packers Rivalry
2 September 29, 8:20 ET Dallas Cowboys 10 New Orleans Saints 12 NBC 24.1 13.7 SNF
3 September 8, 4:25 ET New York Giants 17 Dallas Cowboys 35 Fox 23.9 13.5 Late DH[b] Cowboys-Giants Rivalry
4 September 15, 4:25 ET New Orleans Saints 9 Los Angeles Rams 27 23.3 13.2 Late DH[c] 2018 NFC Championship Rematch
5 October 20, 4:25 ET New Orleans Saints 36 Chicago Bears 25 23.0 13.3 Late DH[d]
6 September 22, 4:25 ET New Orleans Saints 33 Seattle Seahawks 27 CBS 22.5 13.0 Late DH[e]
7 September 8, 8:20 ET Pittsburgh Steelers 3 New England Patriots 33 NBC 22.2 12.6 SNF
8 September 5, 8:20 ET Green Bay Packers 10 Chicago Bears 3 22.0 12.8 Kickoff Bears-Packers Rivalry
9 October 20, 8:20 ET Philadelphia Eagles 10 Dallas Cowboys 37 21.5 12.2 SNF Cowboys-Eagles Rivalry
10 October 13, 4:25 ET Dallas Cowboys 22 New York Jets 24 CBS 21.4 12.2 Late DH[f]

*Note -- Late DH matchups listed in table are the matchups that were shown to the largest percentage of the market.

  1. ^ GB/DAL was shown in 100% of the markets during the late doubleheader time slot of Fox coverage.
  2. ^ NYG/DAL was shown in 85% of the markets during the late doubleheader time slot of Fox coverage.
  3. ^ NO/LAR was shown in 81% of the markets during the late doubleheader time slot of Fox coverage.
  4. ^ NO/CHI wasn shown in 64% of the markets during the late doubleheader time slot of Fox coverage.
  5. ^ NO/SEA was shown in 63% of the markets during the late doubleheader time slot of CBS coverage.
  6. ^ DAL/NYJ was shown in 91% of the markets during the late doubleheader time slot of CBS coverage.

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