|Duration||September 5 – December 30, 2012|
|Start date||January 5, 2013|
|AFC Champions||Baltimore Ravens|
|NFC Champions||San Francisco 49ers|
|Super Bowl XLVII|
|Date||February 3, 2013|
|Site||Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana|
|Date||January 27, 2013|
|Site||Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii|
The 2012 NFL season was the 93rd regular season of the National Football League and the 47th of the Super Bowl era. It began on Wednesday, September 5, 2012, with the defending Super Bowl XLVI champion New York Giants falling to the Dallas Cowboys 24–17 in the 2012 NFL Kickoff game at MetLife Stadium, and ended with Super Bowl XLVII, the league's championship game, on Sunday, February 3, 2013, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, with the Jim Harbaugh-coached San Francisco 49ers facing the John Harbaugh-coached Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens won 34–31. Super Bowl XLVII marked the first time two brothers were head coaches for opposing teams in the championship game.
In 2005, the NFL and NFL Referees Association agreed to a contract that would last through the 2011 season. In 2011, the officials' union had planned to use a contract clause to reopen negotiations a year early, but this failed to occur due to the 2011 NFL lockout.
By June 2012, the league and the officials' union had not yet come to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement, thus failing to resolve the labor dispute. The main issues between the union and the league were changes to the retirement plan, salaries, and personnel. On June 4, 2012, the NFL announced it would begin hiring replacement officials.
On September 26, 2012, an agreement was reached to end the lockout after increasing criticism of the NFL and the performance of the replacement officials.The contentious nature of the replacement officials' decision at the end of the Green Bay Packers–Seattle Seahawks game two days earlier was widely considered to have been the tipping point that finally led to an agreement. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell acknowledged that the game "may have pushed the parties further along" in negotiations.
The 2012 NFL League year and trading period began at 4pm EST on March 13 2012, which marked the start of the league's free agency period. The per-team salary cap was set at US$120,600,000, marginally increased from US$120,000,000 the previous year.
Notable players to change teams during free agency included:
The following notable trades were made during the 2012 league year:
The 2012 NFL Draft was held from April 26 to 28, 2012 at New York City's Radio City Music Hall.With the first pick, the Indianapolis Colts selected quarterback Andrew Luck from Stanford.
Bill Vinovich returned to the field as a substitute referee, working several games during the season. He was originally promoted to referee in 2004, but had to leave the field in 2007 because of a heart condition. During his recovery, he served as a replay official.
The following rule changes have been approved by the competition committee for the 2012 season:
On August 30, 2012, the owners and NFLPA agreed to the following changes regarding player movement:
The league announced on June 28 that all late Sunday doubleheader games will be moved ten minutes later from 4:15 p.m. ET to 4:25 p.m. Late games broadcast on the single game network will still remain at 4:05 p.m. The league cited 44 early games from the 2009 to 2011 seasons in which part of the audience had to be switched immediately to the kickoff of their home team's doubleheader game, and thus miss the end of the first game. The 4:15 p.m. late doubleheader kickoff time dates back to the 1998 season when the NFL moved it from 4:05 p.m. for the same reason.
As per the NFL's scheduling formula, the intraconference and interconference matchups were:
Highlights of the 2012 schedule include:
The Pro Football Hall of Fame Game was played August 5 and featured a match-up between the Arizona Cardinals and the New Orleans Saints. New Orleans last appeared in the game in 2007; former Saints offensive tackle Willie Roaf was inducted as part of the Hall of Fame ceremonies. The Cardinals played there for the first time since 1986, when the franchise was still located in St. Louis. As with the originally announced 2011 game, this matchup broke from the game's usual tradition of featuring two teams from opposing conferences (the 2011 Hall of Fame Game would've featured the Chicago Bears and St. Louis Rams, but the game was canceled due to the 2011 NFL lockout).The game, normally airing on NBC, instead aired this season on NFL Network due to NBC airing the 2012 Summer Olympics, as it had done in 2007. The Saints defeated the Cardinals, 17–10. The remainder of the 2012 preseason matchups were revealed on April 4.
The November 11 game between the San Francisco 49ers and the St. Louis Rams ended in a rare tied game, with each team scoring 24 points, none in the overtime period. Prior to this, the last tie game had been in 2008.
The 2013 Pro Bowl was held in Hawaii on January 27, 2013, after New Orleans was briefly considered as a site.Originally, the NFL delayed announcing a date or venue for the game, and even considered eliminating the game altogether due to the NFL's displeasure with the quality of play in the 2012 Pro Bowl.
The following games were rescheduled by the NFL using flexible scheduling to promote what the NFL deems to be its best games, typically because of their playoff implications:
|2||New England Patriots||East||12||4||0||.750||6–0||11–1||.496||.466||W2|
|Did not qualify for the postseason|
|8||San Diego Chargers||West||7||9||0||.438||4–2||7–5||.457||.286||W2|
|11||New York Jets||East||6||10||0||.375||2–4||4–8||.512||.401||L3|
|16||Kansas City Chiefs||West||2||14||0||.125||0–6||0–12||.516||.438||L4|
|2||San Francisco 49ers||West||11||4||1||.735||3–2–1||7–4–1||.504||.477||W1|
|3||Green Bay Packers||North||11||5||0||.688||5–1||8–4||.508||.440||L1|
|Did not qualify for the postseason|
|8||New York Giants||East||9||7||0||.563||3–3||8–4||.521||.490||W1|
|10||St. Louis Rams||West||7||8||1||.469||4–1–1||6–5–1||.539||.496||L1|
|12||New Orleans Saints||South||7||9||0||.438||3–3||5–7||.521||.446||L1|
|13||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||South||7||9||0||.438||3–3||4–8||.502||.446||W1|
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.
|1||Denver Broncos (West winner)||Atlanta Falcons (South winner)|
|2||New England Patriots (East winner)||San Francisco 49ers (West winner)|
|3||Houston Texans (South winner)||Green Bay Packers (North winner)|
|4||Baltimore Ravens (North winner)||Washington Redskins (East winner)|
|5||Indianapolis Colts (wild card)||Seattle Seahawks (wild card)|
|6||Cincinnati Bengals (wild card)||Minnesota Vikings (wild card)|
|Jan. 6 – M&T Bank Stadium||Jan. 12 – Sports Authority Field at Mile High|
|4||Baltimore||24||Jan. 20 – Gillette Stadium|
|Jan. 5 – Reliant Stadium||4||Baltimore||28|
|Jan. 13 – Gillette Stadium|
|3||Houston||19||Feb. 3 – Mercedes-Benz Superdome|
|Wild Card playoffs|
|Jan. 5 – Lambeau Field||A4||Baltimore||34|
|Jan. 12 – Candlestick Park|
|6||Minnesota||10||Super Bowl XLVII|
|3||Green Bay||24||Jan. 20 – Georgia Dome|
|Jan. 6 – FedExField||2||San Francisco||28|
|Jan. 13 – Georgia Dome|
In 2012, the New Orleans Saints were discovered to have run a "slush fund" under former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, that paid out bonuses, called "bounties", to purposely injure offensive players that the Saints were playing against. The system was known to have operated during Williams's time in Buffaloand Washington. Rumors started in 2009 during the Saints Super Bowl XLIV run in the 2009 NFC Championship game against the Vikings, where the Saints defense was allegedly trying to hurt Vikings quarterback Brett Favre. Other than the Vikings, the Saints also allegedly targeted Chicago Bears and Carolina Panthers players, and the program became even more notorious in the 2011 NFL Divisional Playoff Game against the San Francisco 49ers, when filmmaker Sean Pamphilon released audio tapes of Williams telling his players to injure a select group of 49ers, with one of them being running back Kendall Hunter, and to knock him out, as well as going after Kyle Williams because of his past history of concussions. Williams also told them to injure Vernon Davis' ankles and tear wide receiver Michael Crabtree's ACL. According to Pamphilon, Williams also appeared to put a bounty on quarterback Alex Smith after he told his men to hit Smith in the chin, "then he rubs his thumb against his index and middle fingers – the cash sign – and says, I got the first one. I got the first one. Go get it. Go lay that [expletive] out."
Ultimately, Goodell handed down one of the harshest penalties in league history, by suspending Williams indefinitely, head coach Sean Payton for the entire 2012 season, interim head coach Joe Vitt for the first 6 games, and general manager Mickey Loomis for 8 games.Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma was also suspended for the season, as well as defensive linemen Anthony Hargrove (now with Green Bay) and Will Smith for 8 and 4 games, respectively. Former Saints and current Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita was also suspended for 3 games. The player's suspensions were later thrown out on appeal.
During the Monday Night Football game on October 15 between the San Diego Chargers and the Denver Broncos, officials checked the hands of Chargers players, under the suspicion that players were using Stickum or a similar banned adhesive on players' towels to gain a competitive edge.Chargers' head coach Norv Turner strenuously denied the accusations. The towels were revealed to have Gorilla Gold Grip Enhancer. The Chargers were fined $20,000 by the NFL for failing to immediately surrender team towels when requested, but were cleared of illegal substance use. Gorilla Gold was subsequently banned from use by the NFL.
There were a total of 11,651 points scored during the 2012 NFL regular season. The average points scored among all the teams in the NFL was 22.8 points per game.
The New England Patriots had the highest point differential, scoring an average of 14.1 points more than their opponents. The Kansas City Chiefs had the lowest point differential scoring an average of 13.4 points less than their opponents.
|Scoring leader||Stephen Gostkowski, New England (153)|
|Most Field Goals Made||Blair Walsh, Minnesota (35 FGs)|
|Touchdowns||Arian Foster, Houston (17 TDs)|
|Rushing||Adrian Peterson, Minnesota (2,097 yards)|
|Passing yards||Drew Brees, New Orleans (5,177 yards)|
|Passing touchdowns||Drew Brees, New Orleans (43 TDs)|
|Passer rating||Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (108.0 rating)|
|Pass receptions||Calvin Johnson, Detroit (122 catches)|
|Pass receiving yards||Calvin Johnson, Detroit (1,964 yards)|
|Combined tackles||Luke Kuechly, Carolina (165 tackles)|
|Interceptions||Tim Jennings, Chicago(9)|
|Punting||Dave Zastudil, Arizona (4,783 yards, 47.2 average yards)|
|Sacks||J.J. Watt, Houston (20.5)|
|Quarterback||Peyton Manning, Denver|
|Running back|| Adrian Peterson, Minnesota |
Marshawn Lynch, Seattle
|Fullback||Vonta Leach, Baltimore|
|Wide receiver|| Calvin Johnson, Detroit |
Brandon Marshall, Chicago
|Tight end||Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta|
|Offensive tackle|| Duane Brown, Houston |
Ryan Clady, Denver
|Offensive guard|| Mike Iupati, San Francisco |
Jahri Evans, New Orleans
|Center||Max Unger, Seattle|
|Defensive end|| J. J. Watt, Houston |
Cameron Wake, Miami
|Defensive tackle|| Geno Atkins, Cincinnati |
Vince Wilfork, New England
|Outside linebacker|| Von Miller, Denver |
Aldon Smith, San Francisco
|Inside linebacker|| Patrick Willis, San Francisco |
NaVorro Bowman, San Francisco
|Cornerback|| Richard Sherman, Seattle |
Charles Tillman, Chicago
|Safety|| Earl Thomas, Seattle |
Dashon Goldson, San Francisco
|Kicker||Blair Walsh, Minnesota|
|Punter||Andy Lee, San Francisco|
|Kick returner||Jacoby Jones, Baltimore|
The following were named the top performers during the 2012 season:
Player of the Week/Month
Player of the Week/Month
Player of the Week/Month
|1||Joe Flacco (Ravens)||Robert Griffin III (Redskins)||Tracy Porter (Broncos)||Ronde Barber (Buccaneers)||Jeremy Kerley (Jets)||Blair Walsh (Vikings)|
|2||Reggie Bush (Dolphins)||Hakeem Nicks (Giants)||J. J. Watt (Texans)||Calais Campbell (Cardinals)||Adam Jones (Bengals)||Tim Masthay (Packers)|
|3||Jamaal Charles (Chiefs)||Larry Fitzgerald (Cardinals)||Michael Johnson (Bengals)||Chris Clemons (Seahawks)||Darius Reynaud (Titans)||Lawrence Tynes (Giants)|
|4||Tom Brady (Patriots)||Aaron Rodgers (Packers)||Donald Butler (Chargers)||Patrick Willis (49ers)||Matt Prater (Broncos)||Greg Zuerlein (Rams)|
|Sept.||A. J. Green (Bengals)||Matt Ryan (Falcons)||J. J. Watt (Texans)||Tim Jennings (Bears)||Darius Reynaud (Titans)||Percy Harvin (Vikings)|
|5||Reggie Wayne (Colts)||Drew Brees (Saints)||Randy Starks (Dolphins)||Charles Tillman (Bears)||Shaun Suisham (Steelers)||John Hekker (Rams)|
|6||Peyton Manning (Broncos)||Aaron Rodgers (Packers)||Jairus Byrd (Bills)||Antrel Rolle (Giants)||Jacoby Jones (Ravens)||Jason Hanson (Lions)|
|7||Chris Johnson (Titans)||Adrian Peterson (Vikings)||Lamarr Houston (Raiders)||Charles Tillman (Bears)||Devin McCourty (Patriots)||Andy Lee (49ers)|
|8||Tom Brady (Patriots)||Alex Smith (49ers)||Wesley Woodyard (Broncos)||Stevie Brown (Giants)||Olivier Vernon (Dolphins)||Davon House (Packers)|
|Oct.||Peyton Manning (Broncos)||Aaron Rodgers (Packers)||Cameron Wake (Dolphins)||Charles Tillman (Bears)||Sebastian Janikowski (Raiders)||Lawrence Tynes (Giants)|
|9||Andrew Luck (Colts)||Doug Martin (Buccaneers)||Ike Taylor (Steelers)||Brian Urlacher (Bears)||Trindon Holliday (Broncos)||Sherrick McManis (Bears)|
|10||Andy Dalton (Bengals)||Jimmy Graham (Saints)||Darius Butler (Colts)||Richard Sherman (Seahawks)||Jacoby Jones (Ravens)||Dwayne Harris (Cowboys)|
|11||Matt Schaub (Texans)||Robert Griffin III (Redskins)||Von Miller (Broncos)||Aldon Smith (49ers)||Leodis McKelvin (Bills)||Dan Bailey (Cowboys)|
|12||Ray Rice (Ravens)||Cam Newton (Panthers)||D'Qwell Jackson (Browns)||Janoris Jenkins (Rams)||T. Y. Hilton (Colts)||Leon Washington (Seahawks)|
|Nov.||Andre Johnson (Texans)||Calvin Johnson (Lions)||Von Miller (Broncos)||Aldon Smith (49ers)||Jacoby Jones (Ravens)||Dekoda Watson (Buccaneers)|
|13||Brady Quinn (Chiefs)||Russell Wilson (Seahawks)||Carlos Dunlap (Bengals)||William Moore (Falcons)||Shaun Suisham (Steelers)||Greg Zuerlein (Rams)|
|14||Tom Brady (Patriots)||Adrian Peterson (Vikings)||Cassius Vaughn (Colts)||Luke Kuechly (Panthers)||Travis Benjamin (Browns)||David Wilson (Giants)|
|15||Knowshon Moreno (Broncos)||Colin Kaepernick (49ers)||J. J. Watt (Texans)||Brandon Carr (Cowboys)||Sebastian Janikowski (Raiders)||Blair Walsh (Vikings)|
|16||Ray Rice (Ravens)||Matt Ryan (Falcons)||Geno Atkins (Bengals)||Julius Peppers (Bears)||Micheal Spurlock (Chargers)||Red Bryant (Seahawks)|
|17||Peyton Manning (Broncos)||Alfred Morris (Redskins)||Vontae Davis (Colts)||Stevie Brown (Giants)||Darius Reynaud (Titans)||Blair Walsh (Vikings)|
|Dec.||Peyton Manning (Broncos)||Adrian Peterson (Vikings)||J. J. Watt (Texans)||London Fletcher (Redskins)||Josh Brown (Bengals)||Blair Walsh (Vikings)|
The 2nd Annual NFL Honors, saluting the best players and plays from 2012 season, was held at the Mahalia Jackson Theater in New Orleans, Louisiana on February 2, 2013.
|AP Most Valuable Player||Adrian Peterson||Running back||Minnesota Vikings|
|AP Offensive Player of the Year||Adrian Peterson||Running back||Minnesota Vikings|
|AP Defensive Player of the Year||J. J. Watt||Defensive end||Houston Texans|
|AP Coach of the Year||Bruce Arians||Head coach||Indianapolis Colts|
|AP Offensive Rookie of the Year||Robert Griffin III||Quarterback||Washington Redskins|
|AP Defensive Rookie of the Year||Luke Kuechly||Linebacker||Carolina Panthers|
|AP Comeback Player of the Year||Peyton Manning||Quarterback||Denver Broncos|
|Pepsi Rookie of the Year||Russell Wilson||Quarterback||Seattle Seahawks|
|Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year||Jason Witten||Tight end||Dallas Cowboys|
|PFWA NFL Executive of the Year||Ryan Grigson||General Manager||Indianapolis Colts|
|Super Bowl Most Valuable Player||Joe Flacco||Quarterback||Baltimore Ravens|
|Team:||2011 head coach:|
at start of season
|2011 interim head coach:||2012 replacement:||Reason for leaving:||Notes|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||Jack Del Rio||Mel Tucker||Mike Mularkey||Fired||Del Rio was fired after compiling a 69–73 (.486) record (including postseason games) in 8¾ seasons as head coach; the team has not made the playoffs since 2007. Del Rio was fired at the same time that Wayne Weaver, the owner of the Jaguars, announced his intentions to sell the team to Pakistani-American automotive parts builder Shahid Khan. Del Rio later became defensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos.|
|Kansas City Chiefs||Todd Haley||Romeo Crennel||Haley compiled a 19–27 (.413) record, including one postseason loss, in nearly 3 seasons with the Chiefs. Team ownership cited inconsistent play and a lack of progress in their decision; Haley was also cited for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in what turned out to be his final game. In 2012, he became offensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers. |
Crennel was the defensive coordinator for the Chiefs when he was promoted, and had previously served as head coach of the Cleveland Browns from 2005–2008.
|Miami Dolphins||Tony Sparano||Todd Bowles||Joe Philbin||Sparano compiled a 29–33 (.468) record, including one postseason loss, in nearly 4 seasons with the Dolphins. Ongoing speculation regarding Sparano's future in Miami prompted Dolphins owner Stephen Ross to dismiss Sparano prior to the end of the season instead of letting the speculation become a further distraction. Sparano then became offensive coordinator of the New York Jets; Bowles joined the staff of the Philadelphia Eagles. |
The Dolphins intended on hiring someone from outside the organization in the 2012 offseason and followed through on that intent by hiring Philbin, the former offensive coordinator of the Green Bay Packers.
|St. Louis Rams||Steve Spagnuolo||Jeff Fisher||Spagnuolo compiled a 10–38 (.213) record in three seasons as head coach of the Rams, including a 1–15 record in 2009 and a 2–14 record in 2011. He and general manager Billy Devaney were dismissed concurrently on January 2. Spagnuolo joined the staff of the New Orleans Saints as defensive coordinator. |
Fisher, who had spent the previous season out of football, had coached the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans franchise from 1994–2010.
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Raheem Morris||Greg Schiano||Morris compiled a 17–31 (.354) record in three seasons as head coach of the Buccaneers and ended the 2011 season with a ten-game losing streak. He subsequently became defensive backs coach for the Washington Redskins. |
Schiano had spent the previous 11 seasons in college football, as head coach of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights football team.
|Oakland Raiders||Hue Jackson||Dennis Allen||Jackson compiled an 8–8 (.500) record in his lone season as the Raiders' head coach, but set a league record for penalties. After the death of longtime owner Al Davis, the Raiders hired a new general manager Reggie McKenzie, who then decided to hire his own coaching staff. Subsequently, Jackson was dismissed from the team. As of 2012, Jackson serves as an assistant with the Cincinnati Bengals. |
Allen had previously served as the defensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos.
|Indianapolis Colts||Jim Caldwell||Chuck Pagano||Caldwell was fired after compiling a 28–24 (.538) record (including postseason games) in three seasons as head coach; the team suffered through a 2–14 record in 2011, in which quarterback Peyton Manning sat out the whole season after recovering from multiple neck surgeries. This record was the worst in the league and brought Caldwell's firing as well as that of 15-year general manager Bill Polian, and virtually every skill position player on the offensive side of the ball (including every quarterback on the roster). Caldwell then joined the Baltimore Ravens as quarterbacks coach. |
Pagano had previously served as the defensive coordinator of the Ravens.
|New Orleans Saints||Sean Payton||Joe Vitt, Aaron Kromer||Suspended||Payton was suspended on March 21, 2012 for the 2012 season (starting April 1 and concluding with Super Bowl XLVII) for his role in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal, in which players would be rewarded under the table for injury-causing hits. |
Vitt and general manager Mickey Loomis were also suspended, for six and eight games respectively, and Gregg Williams, the defensive coordinator at the time who allegedly oversaw the bounties, was banned indefinitely from the league (at the time of the ban Williams was the defensive coordinator of the St. Louis Rams).
Vitt served as head coach through training camp and the preseason, at which point he began serving his six-game suspension and Kromer (the team's offensive line coach) took over as interim coach until Vitt's suspension ended.
The following head coaches were replaced in-season:
|Team:||2012 head coach:||Interim head coach:||Reason for leaving:||Notes|
|Indianapolis Colts||Chuck Pagano||Bruce Arians||Medical leave||Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia four weeks into the regular season, forcing him to take an indefinite medical leave of absence, while Arians, the Colts' offensive coordinator, took his place. Pagano returned to the team in Week 17 and coached the Colts in their playoff game vs. the Ravens.|
On December 14, 2011, the NFL announced that it had extended all of its broadcasting contracts through 2022. There were some changes to the contracts, with the most immediate change being the Thanksgiving night game being promoted from the Thursday Night Football package to the Sunday Night Football package, and moving to NBC as a result. In 2014, flexible scheduling would be expanded to allow the shifting of AFC and NFC games between CBS and Fox, and NBC traded one of its two wild card playoff games in exchange for a divisional round game.
ESPN made a cut to its Monday Night Football broadcasts, removing Ron Jaworski from the broadcast booth and moving to a two-man announcing crew; Mike Tirico will continue on play-by-play while Jon Gruden continues as the sole color commentator.One year prior, the network had switched from two sideline reporters to one.
The 2013 Pro Bowl was televised by NBC; although the game was normally assigned to the Super Bowl's broadcaster, CBS declined.
The NFL authorized a new rule loosening the league's blackout restrictions during the 2012 offseason. For the first time in NFL history, the new rule no longer requires a stadium to be sold out to televise a game; instead, teams were allowed to set a benchmark anywhere from 85 to 100 percent of the stadium's non-premium seats. Any seats sold beyond that benchmark will be subject to heavier revenue sharing.Four clubs opted to set the lower TV threshold: the Miami Dolphins, the Minnesota Vikings, the Oakland Raiders, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. At least four other teams expressly refused to lower their threshold; one case, that of the Buffalo Bills, was particularly controversial, as Buffalo congressman Brian Higgins had lobbied for the loosening of the blackout restrictions only for the Bills to rebuff his efforts, saying such a move would threaten the team's revenue.
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Jameis Lanaed Winston is an American football quarterback for the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League (NFL). Born and raised in Alabama, he was a highly regarded quarterback in high school and led his team to the state championship as a junior. Winston played college football for the Florida State Seminoles and as a redshirt freshman became the youngest player to win the Heisman Trophy and helped lead the Seminoles to a victory in the 2014 BCS National Championship Game. In his sophomore and final year, the Seminoles advanced to the Rose Bowl, part of the College Football Playoff. Winston also played on Florida State's baseball team. Winston was drafted as the first overall pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2015 NFL Draft.
Cordarrelle Patterson, nicknamed "Flash", is an American football running back and return specialist for the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Tennessee and was drafted as a wide receiver by the Minnesota Vikings in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft. He has also been a member of the Oakland Raiders, New England Patriots, and Chicago Bears.
Todd Jerome Gurley II is an American football running back who is a free agent. He played college football at Georgia, where he earned All-SEC honors in 2012 and 2013. Gurley was drafted by the St. Louis Rams with the tenth overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. Despite missing three games due to a torn ACL suffered during his final year at Georgia, Gurley rushed for 1,106 yards in his rookie season and was voted AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. He was also named AP NFL Offensive Player of the Year following the 2017 season after scoring 19 offensive touchdowns.
Davante Lavell Adams is an American football wide receiver for the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Fresno State, and was selected by the Packers in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
Jay Ajayi is a former American football running back who played in the National Football League (NFL) for five seasons with the Miami Dolphins and Philadelphia Eagles. He played college football at Boise State and was drafted by the Dolphins in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL draft. Ajayi spent three seasons with the Dolphins, earning Pro Bowl honors in 2016, before being traded to Philadelphia during the 2017 season. As a member of the Eagles, he was part of the team that won the franchise's first Super Bowl title in Super Bowl LII. He struggled with injuries afterwards, leading to his 2019 retirement.
The 2017 NFL season was the 98th season in the history of the National Football League (NFL) and the 52nd of the Super Bowl era. The season began on September 7, 2017, with the Kansas City Chiefs defeating the defending Super Bowl LI champion New England Patriots 42–27 in the NFL Kickoff Game. The season concluded with Super Bowl LII, where the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Philadelphia Eagles faced the American Football Conference (AFC) champion New England Patriots. The Eagles defeated the Patriots 41–33 to win their first Super Bowl title, and fourth NFL championship, in franchise history.