2012 NFL season

Last updated

2012 National Football League season
Regular season
DurationSeptember 5 – December 30, 2012
Playoffs
Start dateJanuary 5, 2013
AFC Champions Baltimore Ravens
NFC Champions San Francisco 49ers
Super Bowl XLVII
DateFebruary 3, 2013
Site Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
Champions Baltimore Ravens
Pro Bowl
DateJanuary 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.

Contents

Referee labor dispute

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. [1]

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. [1] [2] [3]

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. [4] [5] 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. [6] NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell acknowledged that the game "may have pushed the parties further along" in negotiations. [7]

Player movement

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. [8]

Free agency

Notable players to change teams during free agency included:

Trades

The following notable trades were made during the 2012 league year:

Draft

The 2012 NFL Draft was held from April 26 to 28, 2012 at New York City's Radio City Music Hall. [16] With the first pick, the Indianapolis Colts selected quarterback Andrew Luck from Stanford.

Referee change

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.

Rule changes

The following rule changes have been approved by the competition committee for the 2012 season:

Other changes

On August 30, 2012, the owners and NFLPA agreed to the following changes regarding player movement: [22]

Regular season

Late Sunday doubleheader kickoff time change

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. [24] 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.

Matchups

As per the NFL's scheduling formula, the intraconference and interconference matchups were: [25]

Other highlights

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). [36] 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. [37]

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. [38]

The 2013 Pro Bowl was held in Hawaii on January 27, 2013, after New Orleans was briefly considered as a site. [39] 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. [40]

Scheduling changes

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:

Regular season standings

Division

Conference

#TeamDivisionWLTPCTDIVCONFSOSSOVSTK
Division winners
1 Denver Broncos West1330.8136–010–2.457.385W11
2 [lower-alpha 1] New England Patriots East1240.7506–011–1.496.466W2
3 [lower-alpha 1] Houston Texans South1240.7505–110–2.496.432L2
4 [lower-alpha 2] Baltimore Ravens North1060.6254–28–4.496.438L1
Wild cards
5 Indianapolis Colts South1150.6884–28–4.441.403W2
6 [lower-alpha 2] Cincinnati Bengals North1060.6253–37–5.438.381W3
Did not qualify for the postseason
7 Pittsburgh Steelers North880.5003–35–7.465.438W1
8 [lower-alpha 3] San Diego Chargers West790.4384–27–5.457.286W2
9 [lower-alpha 3] Miami Dolphins East790.4382–45–7.500.415L1
10 [lower-alpha 4] Tennessee Titans South6100.3751–55–7.512.344W1
11 [lower-alpha 4] [lower-alpha 5] New York Jets East6100.3752–44–8.512.401L3
12 [lower-alpha 4] [lower-alpha 5] Buffalo Bills East6100.3752–45–7.480.281W1
13 Cleveland Browns North5110.3132–45–7.508.388L3
14 Oakland Raiders West4120.2502–44–8.469.219L2
15 [lower-alpha 6] Jacksonville Jaguars South2140.1252–42–10.539.531L5
16 [lower-alpha 6] Kansas City Chiefs West2140.1250–60–12.516.438L4
Tiebreakers [lower-alpha 7]
  1. 1 2 New England clinched the AFC's No. 2 seed over Houston based on a head-to-head victory.
  2. 1 2 Baltimore clinched the AFC North title over Cincinnati based on a better divisional record (4–2 to 3–3).
  3. 1 2 San Diego finished with a better conference record than Miami (7–5 to 5–7).
  4. 1 2 3 Tennessee finished ahead of New York Jets and Buffalo based on head-to-head victory.
  5. 1 2 New York Jets finished ahead of Buffalo in the AFC East based on record versus common opponents (5–7 to 3–9).
  6. 1 2 Jacksonville finished with a better conference record than Kansas City (2–10 to 0–12).
  7. 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.
#TeamDivisionWLTPCTDIVCONFSOSSOVSTK
Division winners
1 Atlanta Falcons South1330.8133–39–3.422.418L1
2 San Francisco 49ers West1141.7353–2–17–4–1.504.477W1
3 Green Bay Packers North1150.6885–18–4.508.440L1
4 Washington Redskins East1060.6255–18–4.494.450W7
Wild cards
5 Seattle Seahawks West1150.6883–38–4.504.534W5
6 [lower-alpha 1] Minnesota Vikings North1060.6254–27–5.520.456W4
Did not qualify for the postseason
7 [lower-alpha 1] Chicago Bears North1060.6253–37–5.512.403W2
8 New York Giants East970.5633–38–4.521.490W1
9 Dallas Cowboys East880.5003–35–7.523.422L2
10 St. Louis Rams West781.4694–1–16–5–1.539.496L1
11 [lower-alpha 2] Carolina Panthers South790.4383–35–7.516.464W4
12 [lower-alpha 2] [lower-alpha 3] New Orleans Saints South790.4383–35–7.521.446L1
13 [lower-alpha 2] [lower-alpha 3] Tampa Bay Buccaneers South790.4383–34–8.502.446W1
14 Arizona Cardinals West5110.3131–53–9.559.475L2
15 [lower-alpha 4] Detroit Lions North4120.2500–63–9.566.383L8
16 [lower-alpha 4] Philadelphia Eagles East4120.2501–52–10.508.484L3
Tiebreakers [lower-alpha 5]
  1. 1 2 Minnesota finished ahead of Chicago based on a better divisional record (4–2 to 3–3).
  2. 1 2 3 Carolina and New Orleans finished ahead of Tampa Bay in the NFC South based on record versus common opponents (5–5 to Tampa Bay's 4–6).
    Carolina finished in second place based on a head-to-head sweep over New Orleans.
  3. 1 2 New Orleans finished in third place in the NFC South based on a head-to-head sweep over Tampa Bay.
  4. 1 2 Detroit finished ahead of Philadelphia based on a head-to-head victory.
  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

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 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)

    Playoffs bracket

    Jan. 6 – M&T Bank Stadium Jan. 12Sports Authority Field at Mile High
    5 Indianapolis 9
    4Baltimore38**
    4 Baltimore 24Jan. 20 – Gillette Stadium
    1 Denver 35
    AFC
    Jan. 5 – Reliant Stadium 4Baltimore28
    Jan. 13 – Gillette Stadium
    2New England13
    6 Cincinnati 13AFC Championship
    3Houston28
    3 Houston 19Feb. 3 – Mercedes-Benz Superdome
    2 New England 41
    Wild Card playoffs
    Divisional playoffs
    Jan. 5 – Lambeau Field A4Baltimore34
    Jan. 12 – Candlestick Park
    N2San Francisco31
    6 Minnesota 10 Super Bowl XLVII
    3Green Bay31
    3 Green Bay 24Jan. 20 – Georgia Dome
    2 San Francisco 45
    NFC
    Jan. 6 – FedExField 2San Francisco28
    Jan. 13 – Georgia Dome
    1Atlanta24
    5 Seattle 24NFC Championship
    5Seattle28
    4 Washington 14
    1 Atlanta 30


    ** Indicates double-overtime victory

    Controversies

    Saints bounty scandal

    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 Buffalo [45] and Washington. [46] 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. [47] [48] Other than the Vikings, the Saints also allegedly targeted Chicago Bears [49] and Carolina Panthers [50] 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." [51]

    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. [52] 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. [53] The player's suspensions were later thrown out on appeal. [54]

    Chargers Stickum

    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. [55] Chargers' head coach Norv Turner strenuously denied the accusations. [55] The towels were revealed to have Gorilla Gold Grip Enhancer. [56] 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. [57] Gorilla Gold was subsequently banned from use by the NFL. [56]

    League averages

    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.

    Records

    Regular season statistical leaders

    Individual [102]
    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 touchdownsDrew Brees, New Orleans (43 TDs)
    Passer rating Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (108.0 rating)
    Pass receptions Calvin Johnson, Detroit (122 catches)
    Pass receiving yardsCalvin 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)

    Awards

    All-Pro Team

    Players of the Week/Month

    The following were named the top performers during the 2012 season:

    Week/
    Month
    Offensive
    Player of the Week/Month
    Defensive
    Player of the Week/Month
    Special Teams
    Player of the Week/Month
    AFCNFCAFCNFCAFCNFC
    1 Joe Flacco (Ravens) [103] Robert Griffin III (Redskins) [104] Tracy Porter (Broncos) [103] Ronde Barber (Buccaneers) [104] Jeremy Kerley (Jets) [103] Blair Walsh (Vikings) [104]
    2 Reggie Bush (Dolphins) [105] Hakeem Nicks (Giants) [106] J. J. Watt (Texans) [105] Calais Campbell (Cardinals) [106] Adam Jones (Bengals) [105] Tim Masthay (Packers) [106]
    3 Jamaal Charles (Chiefs) [107] Larry Fitzgerald (Cardinals) [108] Michael Johnson (Bengals) [107] Chris Clemons (Seahawks) [108] Darius Reynaud (Titans) [107] Lawrence Tynes (Giants) [108]
    4 Tom Brady (Patriots) [109] Aaron Rodgers (Packers) [110] Donald Butler (Chargers) [109] Patrick Willis (49ers) [110] Matt Prater (Broncos) [109] Greg Zuerlein (Rams) [110]
    Sept. A. J. Green (Bengals) [111] Matt Ryan (Falcons) [111] J. J. Watt (Texans) [111] Tim Jennings (Bears) [111] Darius Reynaud (Titans) [111] Percy Harvin (Vikings) [111]
    5 Reggie Wayne (Colts) [112] Drew Brees (Saints) [113] Randy Starks (Dolphins) [112] Charles Tillman (Bears) [113] Shaun Suisham (Steelers) [112] John Hekker (Rams) [113]
    6 Peyton Manning (Broncos) [114] Aaron Rodgers (Packers) [115] Jairus Byrd (Bills) [114] Antrel Rolle (Giants) [115] Jacoby Jones (Ravens) [114] Jason Hanson (Lions) [115]
    7 Chris Johnson (Titans) [116] Adrian Peterson (Vikings) [117] Lamarr Houston (Raiders) [116] Charles Tillman (Bears) [117] Devin McCourty (Patriots) [116] Andy Lee (49ers) [117]
    8Tom Brady (Patriots) [118] Alex Smith (49ers) [119] Wesley Woodyard (Broncos) [118] Stevie Brown (Giants) [119] Olivier Vernon (Dolphins) [118] Davon House (Packers) [119]
    Oct.Peyton Manning (Broncos) [120] Aaron Rodgers (Packers) [120] Cameron Wake (Dolphins) [120] Charles Tillman (Bears) [120] Sebastian Janikowski (Raiders) [120] Lawrence Tynes (Giants) [120]
    9 Andrew Luck (Colts) [121] Doug Martin (Buccaneers) [122] Ike Taylor (Steelers) [121] Brian Urlacher (Bears) [122] Trindon Holliday (Broncos) [121] Sherrick McManis (Bears) [122]
    10 Andy Dalton (Bengals) [123] Jimmy Graham (Saints) [124] Darius Butler (Colts) [123] Richard Sherman (Seahawks) [124] Jacoby Jones (Ravens) [123] Dwayne Harris (Cowboys) [124]
    11 Matt Schaub (Texans) [125] Robert Griffin III (Redskins) [126] Von Miller (Broncos) [125] Aldon Smith (49ers) [126] Leodis McKelvin (Bills) [125] Dan Bailey (Cowboys) [126]
    12 Ray Rice (Ravens) [127] Cam Newton (Panthers) [128] D'Qwell Jackson (Browns) [127] Janoris Jenkins (Rams) [128] T. Y. Hilton (Colts) [127] Leon Washington (Seahawks) [128]
    Nov. Andre Johnson (Texans) [129] Calvin Johnson (Lions) [129] Von Miller (Broncos) [129] Aldon Smith (49ers) [129] Jacoby Jones (Ravens) [129] Dekoda Watson (Buccaneers) [129]
    13 Brady Quinn (Chiefs) [130] Russell Wilson (Seahawks) [131] Carlos Dunlap (Bengals) [130] William Moore (Falcons) [131] Shaun Suisham (Steelers) [130] Greg Zuerlein (Rams) [131]
    14Tom Brady (Patriots) [132] Adrian Peterson (Vikings) [133] Cassius Vaughn (Colts) [132] Luke Kuechly (Panthers) [133] Travis Benjamin (Browns) [132] David Wilson (Giants) [133]
    15 Knowshon Moreno (Broncos) [134] Colin Kaepernick (49ers) [135] J. J. Watt (Texans) [134] Brandon Carr (Cowboys) [135] Sebastian Janikowski (Raiders) [134] Blair Walsh (Vikings) [135]
    16Ray Rice (Ravens) [136] Matt Ryan (Falcons) [137] Geno Atkins (Bengals) [136] Julius Peppers (Bears) [137] Micheal Spurlock (Chargers) [136] Red Bryant (Seahawks) [137]
    17Peyton Manning (Broncos) [138] Alfred Morris (Redskins) [139] Vontae Davis (Colts) [138] Stevie Brown (Giants) [139] Darius Reynaud (Titans) [138] Blair Walsh (Vikings) [139]
    Dec.Peyton Manning (Broncos) [140] Adrian Peterson (Vikings) [140] J. J. Watt (Texans) [140] London Fletcher (Redskins) [140] Josh Brown (Bengals) [140] Blair Walsh (Vikings) [140]
    WeekFedEx Air
    Player of the Week [141]
    (Quarterbacks)
    FedEx Ground
    Player of the Week [141]
    (Running Backs)
    Pepsi Max
    Rookie of the Week [142]
    1 Robert Griffin III (Redskins) C. J. Spiller (Bills)Robert Griffin III (Redskins)
    2 Eli Manning (Giants) Reggie Bush (Dolphins) Trent Richardson (Browns)
    3 Joe Flacco (Ravens) Jamaal Charles (Chiefs) Andrew Luck (Colts)
    4 Tom Brady (Patriots) Brandon Bolden (Patriots)Robert Griffin III (Redskins)
    5 Alex Smith (49ers) Ahmad Bradshaw (Giants)Andrew Luck (Colts)
    6 Aaron Rodgers (Packers) Shonn Greene (Jets)Robert Griffin III (Redskins)
    7 Drew Brees (Saints) Chris Johnson (Titans) Alfred Morris (Redskins)
    8Tom Brady (Patriots) Doug Martin (Buccaneers)Andrew Luck (Colts)
    9Andrew Luck (Colts)Doug Martin (Buccaneers)Doug Martin (Buccaneers)
    10Joe Flacco (Ravens) Adrian Peterson (Vikings) Russell Wilson (Seahawks)
    11 Matt Schaub (Texans)Doug Martin (Buccaneers)Robert Griffin III (Redskins)
    12Robert Griffin III (Redskins) Arian Foster (Texans)Robert Griffin III (Redskins)
    13Russell Wilson (Seahawks)Adrian Peterson (Vikings)Robert Griffin III (Redskins)
    14Tom Brady (Patriots)Adrian Peterson (Vikings)Alfred Morris (Redskins)
    15 Matt Ryan (Falcons) Knowshon Moreno (Broncos) Kirk Cousins (Redskins)
    16Aaron Rodgers (Packers)Jamaal Charles (Chiefs)Robert Griffin III (Redskins)
    17 Peyton Manning (Broncos)Alfred Morris (Redskins)Alfred Morris (Redskins)
    MonthRookie of the Month
    OffensiveDefensive
    Sept. Robert Griffin III [143] Chandler Jones [144]
    Oct. Doug Martin [145] Casey Hayward [145]
    Nov.Robert Griffin III [146] Lavonte David [146]
    Dec. Russell Wilson [147] Luke Kuechly [147]

    Season awards

    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. [148]

    AwardWinnerPositionTeam
    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 superlatives

    Offense

    • Most points scored: New England, 557 (34.8 PPG)
    • Fewest points scored: Kansas City, 211 (13.2 PPG)
    • Most total offensive yards: New England, 6,846
    • Fewest total offensive yards: Arizona, 4,209
    • Most total passing yards: New Orleans, 4,997
    • Fewest total passing yards: Kansas City, 2,713
    • Most rushing yards: Washington, 2,709
    • Fewest rushing yards: Arizona, 1,204

    [149]

    Defense

    • Fewest points allowed: Seattle, 245 (15.3 PPG)
    • Most points allowed: Tennessee, 471 (29.4 PPG)
    • Fewest total yards allowed (defense): Pittsburgh, 4,413
    • Most total yards allowed (defense): New Orleans, 7,042
    • Fewest passing yards allowed: Pittsburgh, 2,963
    • Most passing yards allowed (defense): Tampa Bay, 4,758
    • Fewest rushing yards allowed (defense): Tampa Bay, 1,320
    • Most rushing yards allowed (defense): New Orleans, 2,361

    [150]

    Coaching changes

    Pre-season changes

    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 FiredDel 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. [151] Del Rio later became defensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos.

    Mularkey, previously the head coach of the Buffalo Bills from 2004–2005, had most recently been offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons. Tucker remains on the Jaguars staff.

    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 [152] 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 SuspendedPayton 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. [153]

    In-season

    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 leavePagano 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.

    Uniforms

    Media changes

    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. [174]

    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. [175] 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. [176]

    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. [177] Four clubs opted to set the lower TV threshold: the Miami Dolphins, the Minnesota Vikings, the Oakland Raiders, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. [178] 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. [179] [180]

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    General references