2007 NFL season

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2007 National Football League season
Regular season
DurationSeptember 6 – December 30, 2007
Playoffs
Start dateJanuary 5, 2008
AFC Champions New England Patriots
NFC Champions New York Giants
Super Bowl XLII
DateFebruary 3, 2008
Site University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona
Champions New York Giants
Pro Bowl
DateFebruary 10, 2008
Site Aloha Stadium

The 2007 NFL season was the 88th regular season of the National Football League.

Contents

Regular-season play was held from September 6 to December 30. The campaign kicked off with the defending Super Bowl XLI champion Indianapolis Colts defeating the New Orleans Saints 41–10 in the NFL Kickoff Game.

The New England Patriots became the first team to complete the regular season undefeated since the league expanded to a 16-game regular season in 1978. Four weeks after the playoffs began on January 5, 2008, the Patriots' bid for a perfect season was dashed when they lost to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII, the league championship game at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona on February 3, by a score of 17–14.

Draft

The 2007 NFL Draft was held from April 28 to 29, 2007 at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall. With the first pick, the Oakland Raiders selected quarterback JaMarcus Russell from Louisiana State University.

New referee

John Parry was promoted to referee, replacing Bill Vinovich, who was forced to resign due to a heart condition. Vinovich would then serve as a replay official from 2007 to 2011. He would later be given a clean bill of health and return to the field as a referee in 2012.

Rule changes

The following rule changes were passed at the league's annual owners meeting in Phoenix, Arizona during the week of March 25–28:

Preseason

The Hall of Fame Game was played in Canton, Ohio on Sunday August 5, 2007, with the Pittsburgh Steelers defeating the Saints by a score of 20–7; [6] the game was televised by the NFL Network, replacing NBC, who had been previously scheduled to broadcast the China Bowl exhibition game from Beijing, China on August 8, 2007 between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks at Workers Stadium. However, with all efforts being put into the London regular season game, plans for the game were postponed (then later cancelled completely) as Beijing hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Regular season

Adrian Peterson of Minnesota rushes against San Diego in week 9, on his way to a record 296 rushing yards in a game AP 296yard NFLRecord Game.jpg
Adrian Peterson of Minnesota rushes against San Diego in week 9, on his way to a record 296 rushing yards in a game

Schedule formula

Based on the NFL's scheduling formula, the intraconference and interconference matchups for 2007 were: [7]

Opening weekend

On March 26, 2007, the league announced the opening Saints-Colts Kickoff Game on September 6 that would be telecast on NBC. Pre-game activities featured Indiana native John Mellencamp, Billy Joel, and Kelly Clarkson. The entertainment portion of events started 30 minutes earlier than the scheduled start time of the game, leading up to the unveiling of the Colts’ Super Bowl XLI championship banner. The opening events were simulcast on NFL Network.

The Dallas Cowboys hosted the New York Giants in the first Sunday night game September 9 at 8:15 p.m. US EDT. Monday Night Football on ESPN kicked off with a doubleheader on September 10 with the Cincinnati Bengals hosting the Baltimore Ravens at 7:00 p.m. US EDT, and the San Francisco 49ers hosting the Arizona Cardinals at 10:15 p.m. US EDT. The 49ers paid tribute to three-time Super Bowl winning head coach Bill Walsh, who died July 30, in that game.

Going global

In October 2006, NFL club owners approved a plan to stage up to two international regular season games per season beginning in 2007 and continuing through at least 2011. [8] On February 2, 2007, the league announced that the Week 8 contest between the New York Giants and the Miami Dolphins would be played at Wembley Stadium in London on October 28 at 5 p.m. GMT, which was 1 p.m. EDT) [9] [10] As the Giants were the away-team designate from the NFC, Fox broadcast the game in the USA according to league broadcast contract rules. [11]

"Super Bowl 4112"

In Week 9, the New England Patriots (8–0) faced the Indianapolis Colts (7–0) in a battle of undefeated teams. Thus there was a lot of hype surrounding the game, also due to the fact that these teams had met in the previous season's AFC Championship game, and would possibly meet later in the 2007 AFC Championship game. Many people dubbed the game "Super Bowl 4112". [12] The Patriots prevailed 24–20, [13] and would later finish the regular season as the league's first 16–0 team.

Thanksgiving

For the second year in a row, three games were also held on the United States' Thanksgiving Day (November 22). In addition to the traditional games hosted by the Detroit Lions and Cowboys (with those teams respectively playing the Green Bay Packers and the New York Jets, with the Packers–Lions game starting at 12:30 p.m. US EST and the Jets–Cowboys game kicking off at 4:15 p.m. US EST respectively), the Colts faced the Atlanta Falcons in the Georgia Dome, with kickoff at 8:15 p.m. US EST.

Flex scheduling

The NFL entered its second year of flexible scheduling in the final weeks of the season. In each of the Sunday night contests from Weeks 11 through 17, NBC had the option of switching its Sunday night game for a more favorable contest, up to 12 days before the game's start. [14]

Philadelphia playing at Dallas on December 16 - Donovan McNabb calls a play to Matt Schobel Eagles vs Cowboys 2007 - McNabb calls play to Schobel.jpg
Philadelphia playing at Dallas on December 16 – Donovan McNabb calls a play to Matt Schobel

In addition to an extra week of flexible scheduling (because of the conflict with scheduling Christmas Eve the previous season, which NBC did not do (instead opting to air a game on Christmas Day)), the NFL slightly changed its flex-schedule procedure. In 2006, the league did not reveal its predetermined Sunday night game; the reason given by the league was to avoid embarrassing the teams switched out for a more compelling game. [15] In 2007, the league announced all predetermined matchups, with a footnote on the games subject to flex scheduling. [16] Also, the network that carries the "doubleheader" week game (either CBS or Fox) will be able to switch one game per week into the 4:15 PM (US ET) time slot, except in the final week, when NBC will select one game for the 8:15 PM slot, and both CBS and Fox will have doubleheader games on December 30.

The first flex game was the New England Patriots visiting the Buffalo Bills on November 18. The next flexing came when it was announced that the December 23 Washington Redskins–Minnesota Vikings game was moved to 8:15 PM on NBC, replacing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers–San Francisco 49ers contest, which was moved to 4:05 PM to be aired on Fox.

It was announced on December 23 the Tennessee Titans–Indianapolis Colts game, originally scheduled for a 1 PM kickoff on CBS, would be the December 30 "flex game" and airing at 8:15 PM on NBC, replacing the Kansas City ChiefsNew York Jets game, which was moved to 4:15 PM on CBS, along with the Pittsburgh SteelersBaltimore Ravens contest. Additionally, the Dallas Cowboys–Washington Redskins game was switched on Fox from 1 PM kickoff to 4:15 PM.

Regular season standings

Tiebreakers

Playoffs

Within each conference, the four division winners and the two wild card teams (the top two non-division winners with the best overall regular season records) qualified for the playoffs. The four division winners are seeded 1 through 4 based on their overall won-lost-tied record, and the wild card teams are seeded 5 and 6. The NFL does not use a fixed bracket playoff system, and there are no restrictions regarding teams from the same division matching up in any round. In the first round, dubbed the wild-card playoffs or wild-card weekend, the third-seeded division winner hosts the sixth seed wild card, and the fourth seed hosts the fifth. The 1 and 2 seeds from each conference then receive a bye in the first round. In the second round, the divisional playoffs, the number 1 seed hosts the worst surviving seed from the first round (seed 4, 5, or 6), while the number 2 seed will play the other team (seed 3, 4, or 5). The two surviving teams from each conference's divisional playoff games then meet in the respective AFC and NFC Conference Championship games, hosted by the higher seed. Although the Super Bowl, the fourth and final round of the playoffs, is played at a neutral site, the designated home team is based on an annual rotation by conference.

Playoff seeds
Seed AFC NFC
1 New England Patriots (East winner) Dallas Cowboys (East winner)
2 Indianapolis Colts (South winner) Green Bay Packers (North winner)
3 San Diego Chargers (West winner) Seattle Seahawks (West winner)
4 Pittsburgh Steelers (North winner) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (South winner)
5 Jacksonville Jaguars (wild card) New York Giants (wild card)
6 Tennessee Titans (wild card) Washington Redskins (wild card)

    Bracket

    Jan. 6 – Raymond James Stadium Jan. 13 – Texas Stadium
    5 NY Giants 24
    5NY Giants21
    4 Tampa Bay 14Jan. 20 – Lambeau Field
    1 Dallas 17
    NFC
    Jan. 5 – Qwest Field 5NY Giants23*
    Jan. 12 – Lambeau Field
    2Green Bay20
    6 Washington 14NFC Championship
    3Seattle20
    3 Seattle 35Feb. 3 – University of Phoenix Stadium
    2 Green Bay 42
    Wild Card playoffs
    Divisional playoffs
    Jan. 6 – Qualcomm Stadium N5NY Giants17
    Jan. 13 – RCA Dome
    A1New England14
    6 Tennessee 6 Super Bowl XLII
    3San Diego28
    3 San Diego 17Jan. 20 – Gillette Stadium
    2 Indianapolis 24
    AFC
    Jan. 5 – Heinz Field 3San Diego12
    Jan. 12 – Gillette Stadium
    1New England21
    5 Jacksonville 31AFC Championship
    5Jacksonville20
    4 Pittsburgh 29
    1 New England 31


    * Indicates overtime victory

    Events

    Player conduct off the field

    The NFLPA, then led by their president Gene Upshaw and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, worked with player conduct in the form of suspensions for off the field conduct in light of the more than fifty arrests by local law enforcement since the start of the 2006 season. The hardest hit came on April 10 when Adam "Pacman" Jones of the Tennessee Titans was suspended for the entire season for his five arrests, the most blatant while in Las Vegas for the NBA All-Star Weekend in February where he was accused of causing a riot/shooting in a strip club. That same day, Chris Henry of the Cincinnati Bengals was suspended for the first eight games of the season for his run-ins with the legal system. The other big name that has been caught in the web of controversy was Falcons' quarterback Michael Vick. Vick was charged on July 24, 2007 with dogfighting and animal abuse, and was suspended following a guilty plea in the case, on which he was sentenced to 23 months in prison (retroactive to November) and three years probation on December 10. [17]

    Death of Marquise Hill

    On the evening of May 27, 2007, Marquise Hill, a defensive end for the New England Patriots and a friend fell off a jet ski in Lake Pontchartrain, north of New Orleans. [18] The two were wearing neither personal flotation nor tracking devices. The friend was rescued and sent to Tulane Medical Center, but Hill did not survive; his body was found the next day. [19] The Patriots honored Hill, the first Patriots player to die while still a member of the team, [20] by wearing black circular decals on their helmets with Hill's number, 91.

    Death of Sean Taylor

    Fourth-year player Sean Taylor, a strong safety for the Redskins, was shot in his home near Miami, Florida on November 26. Armed with a machete, Taylor confronted robbers who were breaking into his home—then 17-year-old Eric Rivera, Jr., 18-year-old Charles Wadlow, and 20-year-olds Jason Mitchell and Venjah Hunte. Rivera fired two shots from his 9 mm gun, one missing and the other hitting Taylor's leg, going from his right groin to his left according to an autopsy obtained by Associated Press. He died from his injuries the next day. [21]

    For the remainder of the season, the Redskins honored him with a black patch on their right shoulder of the player uniform jerseys, while all 32 teams honored Taylor by applying a decal with his playing number (21) on the left back side of their helmets. Taylor's memory was honored in all games during Week 13 and all three Redskins representatives in the Pro Bowl wore number 21 in his honor. In 2013, a jury found Rivera guilty of second-degree murder and armed burglary. [22] In 2014 Rivera received a sentence of 5712 years in prison; he testified someone else fired the gun. [23] Jason Scott Mitchell was also convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment, [24] Venjah Hunte was sentenced to 29 years in prison, [25] Charles Wardlow to 30 years in prison, [26] and Timmy Lee Brown to 18 years in prison. [27]

    Spygate

    During the Patriots season opening game at The Meadowlands against the Jets, a Patriots camera staffer was ejected from the Patriots sideline and was accused of videotaping the Jets' defensive coaches relaying signals. The end result was that the team was fined $250,000, head coach Bill Belichick was docked $500,000 (the maximum fine that could be imposed) and also stripped of their first round selection of the 2008 NFL Draft. If the Pats had failed to make the playoffs, the penalty would have been their second and third round picks. The team was allowed to keep their other first-round pick acquired from the San Francisco 49ers during the previous year's selection meeting.

    Other events

    Milestones

    The following teams and players set all-time NFL records during the regular season:

    RecordPlayer/TeamDate Broken/OpponentPrevious Record Holder [29]
    Longest Kickoff Return Ellis Hobbs, New England (108 yards) [a] September 9, at N.Y. Jets Tied by 3 players (106)
    Most Regular-Season Wins by a Quarterback, Career Brett Favre, Green Bay (160)September 16, at N.Y. Giants John Elway, 1983–1998 (148)
    Most Touchdown Passes, CareerBrett Favre, Green Bay (442)September 30, at Minnesota Dan Marino, 1983–1999 (420)
    Most Pass Attempts, CareerBrett Favre, Green Bay (8,758)September 30, at MinnesotaDan Marino, 1983–1999
    (8,358)
    Most Points Scored by a Team, Fourth quarter Detroit Lions (34)September 30, vs. Chicago Tied by 3 teams (31)
    Most consecutive games with a 20-point margin of victory, to start season New England Patriots (4)October 1, vs. Cincinnati 1920 Buffalo All-Americans (4, including semi-pro teams)
    Most Touchdown Catches by a Tight End, Career Tony Gonzalez, Kansas City (66)October 14, vs. Cincinnati Shannon Sharpe, 1990–2003 (62)
    Most Passes Had Intercepted, CareerBrett Favre, Green Bay (288)October 14, vs. Washington George Blanda, 1949–1975 (277)
    Most Field Goals, Game Rob Bironas, Tennessee (8)October 21, at Houston Tied by 4 players (7)
    Most Consecutive Seasons in One Stadium Lambeau Field,
    Green Bay Packers
    2007 marks 51st season. Wrigley Field, Chicago Bears (50 years, 1921–1970)
    Longest Return of a Missed Field Goal/
    Longest Play in NFL History
    Antonio Cromartie, San Diego (109 yards) [30] November 4, at MinnesotaTied by 3 players (108 yards) [a]
    Most Rushing Yards, Game Adrian Peterson, Minnesota (296)November 4, vs. San Diego Jamal Lewis, 2003 (295)
    Most Consecutive Games with Three Touchdown Passes Tom Brady, New England (10 games) [31] November 4, at Indianapolis Peyton Manning (8 games)
    Most Games with Three Touchdown Passes, CareerBrett Favre, Green Bay (63)November 22, at DetroitDan Marino, 1983–1999 (62)
    Most Yards Passing, CareerBrett Favre, Green Bay (61,655)December 16, at St. Louis Dan Marino, 1983–1999 (61,361)
    Consecutive 12+ win seasons2003–2010 Indianapolis (5) [32] December 16, at Oakland 1992–1995 Dallas (4)
    Most Touchdowns Scored, SeasonNew England Patriots (75)December 23, vs. Miami Miami Dolphins, 1984 (69)
    Most Points After Touchdown Kicked, Season/
    Most Point After Touchdown Attempts, Season
    Stephen Gostkowski, New England (74/74)December 16, vs. N.Y. Jets/
    December 23, vs. Miami
    Uwe von Schamann, 1984 (66 PATs) /
    Uwe von Schamann, 1984 (70 attempts)
    Most Points, SeasonNew England Patriots (589)December 29, at N.Y. Giants Minnesota, 1998 (556)
    Most Touchdown Passes, Season Tom Brady, New England (50)December 29, at N.Y. GiantsPeyton Manning, Indianapolis, 2004 (49)
    Most Receiving Touchdowns, Season Randy Moss, New England (23)December 29, at N.Y. Giants Jerry Rice, San Francisco, 1987 (22)
    Most Points After Touchdown, No Misses, SeasonStephen Gostkowski, New England (74/74)December 29, at N.Y. Giants Jeff Wilkins, St. Louis, 1999 (64/64)
    Most Games Won, SeasonNew England (16)December 29, at N.Y. GiantsTied by 4 teams (15)
    Most Consecutive Games Won, Start of Season/
    Most Consecutive Games Without Defeat, Start of Season
    New England (16)December 29, at N.Y. GiantsMiami, 1972 (14)
    Most Consecutive Games Won, End of Season/
    Most Consecutive Games Without Defeat, End of Season
    New England (16)December 29, at N.Y. GiantsTied by 2 teams (14)
    Most Consecutive Regular Season Games WonNew England, 2006–07 (19)December 29, at N.Y. GiantsNew England, 2003–04 (18)
    Most Kick Returns for a Touchdown, Season Devin Hester, Chicago (6: 4 punts and 2 kickoffs) [33] December 30, vs. New Orleans Devin Hester, 2006 (5: 3 punts and 2 kickoffs)
    Most Passes Completed, Season Drew Brees, New Orleans (443)December 30, at Chicago Rich Gannon, Oakland, 2002 (418)
    Most Receptions by a Tight End, CareerTony Gonzalez, Kansas City (816)December 30, at N.Y. JetsShannon Sharpe, 1990–2003 (815)
    a Hobbs' kickoff return was also, at the time, tied for the longest play in NFL history until Antonio Cromartie broke the record.

    Regular season statistical leaders

    Team
    Points scored New England Patriots (589)
    Total yards gained New England Patriots (6,580)
    Yards rushing Minnesota Vikings (2,634)
    Yards passing New England Patriots (4,731)
    Fewest points allowed Indianapolis Colts (262)
    Fewest total yards allowed Pittsburgh Steelers (4,262)
    Fewest rushing yards allowed Minnesota Vikings (1,185)
    Fewest passing yards allowed Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2,728)
    Individual
    Scoring Mason Crosby, Green Bay (141 points)
    Touchdowns Randy Moss, New England (23 TDs)
    Most field goals made Rob Bironas, Tennessee (35 FGs)
    Rushing yards LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego (1,474 yards)
    Rushing touchdowns LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego (15 TDs)
    Passer rating Tom Brady, New England (117.2 rating)
    Passing touchdowns Tom Brady, New England (50 TDs)
    Passing yards Tom Brady, New England (4,806 yards)
    Receptions T. J. Houshmandzadeh, Cincinnati and Wes Welker, New England (112 catches)
    Receiving yards Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis (1,510 yards)
    Receiving touchdowns Randy Moss, New England (23 TDs)
    Punt returns Devin Hester, Chicago (42 for 651 yards, 15.5 average yards)
    Kickoff returns Josh Cribbs, Cleveland (59 for 1,809 yards, 30.7 average yards)
    Tackles Patrick Willis, San Francisco (136)
    Interceptions Antonio Cromartie, San Diego (10)
    Punting Shane Lechler, Oakland (73 for 3,585 yards, 49.1 average yards)
    Sacks Jared Allen, Kansas City (15.5)

    Awards

    Most Valuable Player Tom Brady, New England Patriots [34]
    Coach of the Year Bill Belichick, New England Patriots [35]
    Offensive Player of the Year Tom Brady, New England Patriots [36]
    Defensive Player of the Year Bob Sanders, Safety, Indianapolis Colts [37]
    Offensive Rookie of the Year Adrian Peterson, Running back, Minnesota Vikings [38]
    Defensive Rookie of the Year Patrick Willis, Linebacker, San Francisco 49ers [39]
    NFL Comeback Player of the Year Greg Ellis, Dallas Cowboys [40]
    Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Jason Taylor, Defensive end, Miami Dolphins
    Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Award Eli Manning, Quarterback, New York Giants

    All-Pro Team
    Offense
    Quarterback Tom Brady, New England
    Brett Favre, Green Bay
    Running back LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego
    Brian Westbrook, Philadelphia
    Fullback Lorenzo Neal, San Diego
    Wide receiver Randy Moss, New England
    Terrell Owens, Dallas
    Tight end Jason Witten, Dallas
    Offensive tackle Matt Light, New England
    Walter Jones, Seattle
    Offensive guard Steve Hutchinson, Minnesota
    Alan Faneca, Pittsburgh
    Center Jeff Saturday, Indianapolis
    Defense
    Defensive end Patrick Kerney, Seattle
    Jared Allen, Kansas City
    Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, Tennessee
    Kevin Williams, Minnesota
    Outside linebacker Mike Vrabel, New England
    DeMarcus Ware, Dallas
    Inside linebacker Lofa Tatupu, Seattle
    Patrick Willis, San Francisco
    Cornerback Asante Samuel, New England
    Antonio Cromartie, San Diego
    Safety Bob Sanders, Indianapolis
    Ed Reed, Baltimore
    Special teams
    Kicker Rob Bironas, Tennessee
    Punter Andy Lee, San Francisco
    Kick returner Devin Hester, Chicago

    Team Superlatives

    Offense

    • Most points scored: New England, 589
    • Fewest points scored: San Francisco, 219
    • Most total offensive yards: New England, 6,580
    • Fewest total offensive yards: San Francisco, 3,797
    • Most total passing yards: New England, 4,731
    • Fewest total passing yards: San Francisco, 2,320
    • Most rushing yards: Minnesota, 2,634
    • Fewest rushing yards: Kansas City, 1,248

    [41]

    Defense

    • Fewest points allowed: Indianapolis, 262
    • Most points allowed: Detroit, 444
    • Fewest total yards allowed: Pittsburgh, 4,262
    • Most total yards allowed: Detroit, 6,042
    • Fewest passing yards allowed: Tampa Bay, 2,725
    • Most passing yards allowed: Minnesota, 4,225
    • Fewest rushing yards allowed: Minnesota, 1,185
    • Most rushing yards allowed: Miami, 2,456

    [42]

    Week/
    Month
    Offensive
    Player of the Week/Month
    Defensive
    Player of the Week/Month
    Special Teams
    Player of the Week/Month
    AFCNFCAFCNFCAFCNFC
    1 Chris Brown
    (Titans)
    Tony Romo
    (Cowboys)
    Mario Williams
    (Texans)
    Dewayne White
    (Lions)
    Ellis Hobbs
    (Patriots)
    Mason Crosby
    (Packers)
    2 Derek Anderson
    (Browns)
    Brett Favre
    (Packers)
    Bob Sanders
    (Colts)
    Barrett Ruud
    (Buccaneers)
    Jason Elam
    (Broncos)
    Devin Hester
    (Bears)
    3 Tom Brady
    (Patriots)
    Brian Westbrook
    (Eagles)
    Keith Bulluck
    (Titans)
    Anthony Henry
    (Cowboys)
    Yamon Figurs
    (Ravens)
    Lance Laury
    (Seahawks)
    4 Daunte Culpepper
    (Raiders)
    Brett Favre
    (Packers)
    Jabari Greer
    (Bills)
    Osi Umenyiora
    (Giants)
    Dave Rayner
    (Chiefs)
    Steve Breaston
    (Cardinals)
    5 Philip Rivers
    (Chargers)
    Jason Campbell
    (Redskins)
    Ike Taylor
    (Steelers)
    Roderick Hood
    (Cardinals)
    Kris Brown
    (Texans)
    Nick Folk
    (Cowboys)
    6Tom Brady
    (Patriots)
    Adrian Peterson
    (Vikings)
    Paul Spicer
    (Jaguars)
    Charles Woodson
    (Packers)
    Matt Stover
    (Ravens)
    Devin Hester
    (Bears)
    7Tom Brady
    (Patriots)
    Brian Griese
    (Bears)
    Dwight Freeney
    (Colts)
    Osi Umenyiora
    (Giants)
    Rob Bironas
    (Titans)
    Nate Burleson
    (Seahawks)
    8 Joseph Addai
    (Colts)
    Drew Brees
    (Saints)
    Mike Vrabel
    (Patriots)
    Trent Cole
    (Eagles)
    Mike Scifres
    (Chargers)
    Jason Hanson
    (Lions)
    9 Randy Moss
    (Patriots)
    Adrian Peterson
    (Vikings)
    James Harrison
    (Steelers)
    Shaun Rogers
    (Lions)
    Antonio Cromartie
    (Chargers)
    Shaun Suisham
    (Redskins)
    10 Ben Roethlisberger
    (Steelers)
    Marc Bulger
    (Rams)
    Antonio Cromartie
    (Chargers)
    Karlos Dansby
    (Cardinals)
    Darren Sproles
    (Chargers)
    Morten Anderson
    (Falcons)
    11Randy Moss
    (Patriots)
    Terrell Owens
    (Cowboys)
    Shaun Ellis
    (Jets)
    Antrel Rolle
    (Cardinals)
    Glenn Martinez
    (Broncos)
    Tramon Williams
    (Packers)
    12 Chad Johnson
    (Bengals)
    Frank Gore
    (49ers)
    Asante Samuel
    (Patriots)
    Dwight Smith
    (Vikings)
    Josh Scobee
    (Jaguars)
    Devin Hester
    (Bears)
    13 Peyton Manning
    (Colts)
    Tony Romo
    (Cowboys)
    Shawne Merriman
    (Chargers)
    Lofa Tatupu
    (Seahawks)
    Rian Lindell
    (Bills)
    Aundrae Allison
    (Vikings)

    Coaching changes

    The following teams hired new head coaches prior to the start of the 2007 season:

    Team2007 CoachFormer CoachReason for leavingNotes
    Atlanta Falcons Bobby Petrino, former head coach, University of Louisville Jim Mora FiredHired in 2004 and subsequently led the Falcons to the NFC Championship Game. However, Atlanta went 8–8 in 2005 before going 7–9 in 2006, losing their final three games.
    Arizona Cardinals Ken Whisenhunt, former offensive coordinator, Pittsburgh Steelers Dennis Green FiredHired in 2004. However, the Cardinals suffered three consecutive losing seasons under him, including a loss to the Chicago Bears after blowing a 20-point lead that prompted Green to throw an infamous tirade during the post-game media conference saying, "They are who we thought they were, and we let em' off the hook!"
    Dallas Cowboys Wade Phillips, former defensive coordinator, San Diego Chargers Bill Parcells RetiredHired in 2003. Led the Cowboys to the playoffs in two of his four seasons as Dallas head coach.
    Miami Dolphins Cam Cameron, former offensive coordinator, San Diego Chargers Nick Saban Resigned to coach the University of Alabama Hired in 2005 and finished the year 9–7, narrowly missing the playoffs. Went 6–10 in 2006, first losing record as a head coach.
    Oakland Raiders Lane Kiffin, former offensive coordinator, Southern California Art Shell FiredRe-hired in 2006 after having previously served as Raiders head coach, 1989–94. However, in his only season back, the team finished with its worst record, 2–14, since 1963.
    Pittsburgh Steelers Mike Tomlin, former defensive coordinator, Minnesota Vikings Bill Cowher ResignedHired in 1992 and led the Steelers to an appearance in Super Bowl XXX and a victory in Super Bowl XL, resigning and eventually retiring to become an analyst for the NFL on CBS.
    San Diego Chargers Norv Turner, former offensive coordinator, San Francisco 49ers Marty Schottenheimer FiredHired in 2002. Led the Chargers to two playoff appearances, but a strained relationship with general manager A.J. Smith led to his ousting.

    The following head coaches were fired or resigned during the 2007 season:

    TeamCoach at start of the seasonInterim coachReason for leavingNotes
    Atlanta Falcons Bobby Petrino Emmitt Thomas ResignedPetrino resigned after going 3–10 to take job at University of Arkansas; Thomas took over and went 1–2 as interim coach.

    Stadiums

    The 2007 season was the last in the RCA Dome for the Indianapolis Colts, who had played there since 1984. The franchise moved to the new Lucas Oil Stadium in time for the 2008 season, located directly across the street. The dome would be demolished, and an extension to the Indiana Convention Center would replace the stadium.

    Alltel Stadium reverts to Jacksonville Municipal Stadium after Alltel declines to renew the naming rights of the Jacksonville Jaguars's home.

    Uniforms and patches

    Television

    The 2007 season marked the second year of the current television contracts with NBC, CBS, Fox, ESPN, and the NFL Network. The pre-game shows made some changes, with former Steelers coach Bill Cowher joining host James Brown, Boomer Esiason, Shannon Sharpe and Dan Marino on CBS’ The NFL Today . On Fox, after one season on the road, Fox NFL Sunday returned to Los Angeles as Curt Menefee took over as full-time host. Chris Rose, who had been doing in-game updates of other NFL games, was reverted to a part-time play-by-play role.

    New England takes on San Diego in the AFC Championship Game 2007AFCC1.jpg
    New England takes on San Diego in the AFC Championship Game

    The biggest changes were at NBC and ESPN. Michael Irvin’s contract with ESPN was not renewed, and former coach Bill Parcells returned to the network after four years as Cowboys head coach. Parcells left before the season ended to become the Miami Dolphins VP of Player Personnel. Another pair of former Cowboys, Emmitt Smith and Keyshawn Johnson also provided roles in the studio for Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown . At Monday Night Football, Joe Theismann was dropped (and would later resign from the network) after seventeen years in the booth between the Sunday and Monday Night packages, and former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback and current Philadelphia Soul (AFL) president Ron Jaworski took his place alongside Mike Tirico and Tony Kornheiser. Part of the reason that Jaworski replaced Theismann was because of his chemistry with Kornheiser on Pardon the Interruption , where Jaworski was a frequent guest during the football season.

    NBC’s Football Night in America also made two changes. MSNBC Countdown anchor Keith Olbermann joined Bob Costas and Cris Collinsworth as another co-host, while Sterling Sharpe exited as a studio analyst, and former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber replaced him. In another change, Faith Hill took over singing “Waiting All Day For Sunday Night” for Pink.

    In the second year of the NFL Network's “ Run to the Playoffs ”, Marshall Faulk and Deion Sanders replaced Dick Vermeil for two games when Collinsworth was unavailable. An unforced change saw Bryant Gumbel miss the Broncos–Texans game December 13 due to a sore throat and NBC announcer Tom Hammond step into Gumbel's play-by-play role in what turned out to be more or less a preview of one of NBC's Wild Card Game announcing teams.

    Controversy surrounding NFL Network coverage

    The dispute between the NFL Network and various cable companies involving the distribution of the cable channel continued throughout the season, getting the attention of government officials when the NFL Network was scheduled to televise two high-profile regular season games: the Packers-Cowboys game on November 29 and the Patriots-Giants game on December 29. In the case of the Packers-Cowboys game, the carriage was so limited that even Governor of Wisconsin Jim Doyle went to his brother's house to watch the game on satellite (which is where the majority of the viewers watch the network). The contest drew a network record 10.1 million viewers, a high-water mark at that time.

    Some politicians urged the league to seek a resolution to conflict. In December, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry wrote a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell asking for the league to settle their differences in time for the Patriots-Giants game. Because the game, as it turned out, would be the Patriots' attempt to seal the record that would make them the first undefeated team in 35 years, Kerry urged for a solution to be decided upon in time so that Americans can witness "an historic event." [44] Also, Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter threatened to introduce legislation to eliminate the league's freedom from antitrust laws. [45]

    On December 26, the NFL announced that, despite initial plans to broadcast the game only on the NFL Network, the game would be presented in a three-network simulcast with both CBS and NBC, the first time an NFL game would be broadcast on three networks, and the first simulcast of any pro football game since Super Bowl I. [46] Nielsen ratings saw CBS with 15.7 million viewers, NBC with 13.2 million viewers and NFL Network with 4.5 million viewers for the game. In addition, local stations in New York City (WWOR-TV in nearby Secaucus, New Jersey), Boston (WCVB-TV), and Manchester, New Hampshire (WMUR-TV), all previously signed on to carry the game in the teams' home markets, added 1.2 million viewers, making it the most watched TV show since the 2007 Oscars and the most watched regular season NFL telecast in twelve years.

    Notes

    1. They split season series, both 3–3 within the division, and both 7–7 against common opponents
    2. They split season series and were both 2–4 in the division
    3. Common opponents were Cincinnati, Houston, N. Y. Jets, and Oakland

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