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The 2009 NFL Season is the 90th season of the National Football League, the major Professional American football league in the United States. The preseason started with the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game on August 9, 2009, and the regular season began September 10. The season will end with Super Bowl XLIV, the league's championship game, on February 7, 2010 at Land Shark Stadiummarker in Miami Gardens, Floridamarker.

Regular season standings

W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, PCT = Winning Percentage, PF= Points For, PA = Points Against

Clinched playoff seeds are marked in parentheses and shaded in green

- clinched wild card berth, - clinched division title, - clinched home field advantage, - eliminated from playoff contention

Fiftieth anniversary of the American Football League


This season marks the fiftieth season of the Original Eight charter members of the American Football League, whose owners became collectively known as "The Foolish Club." The fifth league to use the AFL moniker (previous leagues in 1926, 1934, 1936-37, and 1940-41, all had failed) began play in 1960 and would form the major portion of the American Football Conference (AFC) when the NFL completed its merger with the AFL in :

The Bills and Jets currently use AFL-era throwback uniforms as their alternate jerseys. The league will have the other six teams use a third jersey replicating those from the AFL in their heyday. Each of the Original Eight will play another original AFL team, one at home and one away, on two "AFL Legacy Weekends", and have a special 50th Anniversary AFL patch on the throwback uniforms. In a waiver given by these eight, they can wear the anniversary throwbacks a maximum of four times a season, whereas all of the other teams have a limit of twice per season. The Bills, Patriots, Raiders, and Titans (Oilers) will wear the throwbacks the maximum four times, while the Chiefs (Texans), Chargers, and Jets (Titans) will wear them three times. The Chargers also wore their regular powder blue alternate jersey of the current design for two other allowed games. The Broncos elected to wear their throwbacks only twice (the team is wearing the infamous 1960-1961 brown and yellow throwbacks with the vertically-striped socks) and wore wear their regular orange alternate jersey of the current design in the other two allowed games, giving the team six different uniforms over a 16-game season. Both of the games involving the orange jerseys involved the Dallas Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers--two "old" NFL teams before the merger, with the Steelers joining the Broncos in the AFC in 1970 as a result of the merger.

An AFL patch is already a permanent part of the Kansas City Chiefs' jerseys, in honor of team and AFL founder Lamar Hunt, who died in December 2006. The program kicked off on August 9 in the 2009 Pro Football Hall of Fame Game with the Bills playing the Titans (Oilers). Besides the Legacy Games, the Chiefs wore Dallas Texans uniforms in one home game against the NFC's Dallas Cowboys, who also wore throwbacks, while the Cowboys hosted the Raiders in a Thanksgiving Classic game in Arlington, Texasmarker. (The Chiefs and Cowboys throwbacks both feature team-colored jerseys, making it the first dark color vs. dark color game since the Patriots-Lions 2002 Thanksgiving game.) For all games other than those cited above, the Original Eight will wear their 2009 uniforms, each with a team-specific 50th Anniversary shoulder patch, save for the Titans, who wore the AFL 50th Anniversary logo on all uniforms. For the legacy weekends, on-field officials working the Original Eight's games will wear their own throwbacks - shirts with Chinese-red stripes, and an AFL chest and cap logo. The fields for the regular season games will be painted in the innovative designs introduced by the AFL in the 1960s (for instance, the Broncos' end zones are painted in an argyle pattern).

Although the Dolphins and Bengals were both part of the AFL, they did not join the league until 1966 and 1968, respectively. The Dolphins will play in three Legacy games (wearing their current uniforms), while the Bengals will not be part of the events.

Original Eight AFL League Uniforms
Team Year Uniform feature
Buffalo Bills 1965 AFL Championship season (Dark jerseys current third uniform).
Denver Broncos 1960 Featured infamous brown and yellow (or brown and white) vertically striped socks
Kansas City Chiefs
(Dallas Texans)
1962 AFL Championship season; same as current but with State of Texas outline.
New England Patriots
(Boston Patriots)
1963 First divisional championship.
New York Jets
(The Titans of New York)
1961 Dark jerseys are current third uniform.
Oakland Raiders 1963 White jerseys with silver numbers trimmed in black.
San Diego Chargers 1963 AFL Championship Season.
Tennessee Titans
(Houston Oilers)
1960 First season of existence.

AFL Legacy Game Schedule
Date Site Teams
August 9 Canton, Ohiomarker Bills vs. Houston Oilers (Tennessee Titans)
September 14 Foxborough, MAmarker Bills at Boston Patriots (New England Patriots)
Oaklandmarker Chargers at Raiders
September 27 East Rutherford, NJmarker Houston Oilers at The Titans of New York (Tennessee Titans at NY Jets)
October 11 Kansas Citymarker Dallas Cowboys at Dallas Texans (Kansas City Chiefs)
Denvermarker Boston Patriots (New England Patriots) at Broncos
October 18 Foxborough, MA Houston Oilers at Boston Patriots (Tennessee Titans at New England Patriots)
October 19 San Diegomarker Broncos at Chargers
October 25 Kansas City Chargers at Dallas Texans (Kansas City Chiefs)
Oakland The Titans of New York (NY Jets) at Raiders
November 1 East Rutherford Dolphins at The Titans of New York (NY Jets)
November 15 Nashvillemarker Bills at Houston Oilers (Tennessee Titans)
Oakland Dallas Texans (Kansas City Chiefs) at Raiders
November 26 Arlington, TXmarker Raiders at Dallas Cowboys
November 29 Orchard Park, NYmarker Dolphins at Bills
December 6 Miami Gardens, FLmarker Boston Patriots (New England Patriots) at Dolphins

Other anniversaries

It is the fortieth season since the AFL–NFL merger was officially completed in 1970, and also the sixtieth season since the All-America Football Conference merged with the NFL, adding the Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers to the league. No celebrations are planned for any of those teams, but Cleveland will likely continue using their throwback jersey as in previous years, while San Francisco reverted back to their old colors (lighter shades of red and gold from their glory seasons of five Super Bowl victories) in an unrelated move.

Dallas Cowboys

The NFC's Dallas Cowboys also celebrate their fiftieth season in 2009. After the NFL had rebuffed Lamar Hunt's overtures to place an NFL team in Dallas, saying they had no plans to expand, the league granted the Cowboys a franchise in 1960 in reaction to Hunt's AFL Dallas Texans. The NFL's Cowboys franchise started out in with a record of no wins, eleven losses and one tie, but has since gone on to appear in eight Super Bowls (more than any other team), winning five of them, tied for second with the San Francisco 49ers behind only the Pittsburgh Steelers. Ironically, the Texans' franchise, which left Dallas to become the Kansas City Chiefs, won Super Bowl IV, two years before the Cowboys won their first. Though there was never an actual game between the Dallas Texans and the Cowboys, the 2009 "throwback" game played against Kansas City (Dallas Texans) and the Dallas Cowboys was played as "The Game that Never Was". The [Dallas] Cowboys won the game at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO, 26-20 in overtime.

NFC North

All four members of the NFC North are celebrating significant anniversaries.

The Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears, two of the oldest teams of the NFL remaining in the league, are marking 90 years in 2009. While the Packers did not join the NFL until 1921, the team marks its founding with the team's creation in 1919. Neither team is planning any celebrations, though the first Sunday Night Football game of the season featured the two teams, pitted in "The League's Oldest Rivalry."

Likewise, the Minnesota Vikings will also have been in existence for 50 years. The team traces its existence to the founding of the AFL in 1959, but although they participated in that league's inaugural draft, they were instead lured to the NFL before playing a game. (The Oakland Raiders replaced Minnesota in the AFL.) The Minnesota team, not named the Vikings until after they joined the NFL, did not take any of their drafted players with them, were granted their own expansion draft by the NFL, and did not play until 1961. As such, the Vikings are only in their 49th season, while the Detroit Lions will be in its 80th season in the NFL, and their 75th in Detroit. Last season, Detroit reintroduced its throwback jersey, while Minnesota continues using theirs. None of the teams will have significant celebrations this season.



This is the fourth season under the current television contracts with the league's television partners: CBS (all AFC Sunday afternoon away games and one Thanksgiving game), Fox (all NFC Sunday afternoon away games and one Thanksgiving game), NBC (16 Sunday night games and the kickoff game), ESPN (17 Monday night games over sixteen weeks), NFL Network (eight late-season games on Thursday and Saturday nights, including one Thanksgiving game and a Christmas night game), and DirecTV's NFL Sunday Ticket package. The current agreements with CBS, Fox and DirecTV were extended two years through the 2013 season on May 19, 2009; NBC's contract was extended through that same season on August 19 of the same year.

CBS celebrates its 50th season of NFL coverage; CBS has covered NFL games from 1956 to 1993 and again from 1998 to the present. Ironically, CBS which was ordered by the NFL not to give American Football League scores during its NFL broadcasts of the 1960s, now covers the AFC, while Fox covers the NFC. This season is also the fortieth consecutive season that Monday Night Football has been a permanent part of the NFL schedule, though the league had played games on Monday night sporadically before this. Monday Night Football originally aired on ABC before switching to ESPN in 2006, when the two networks' sports operations were merged. The first Monday night of the regular season featured two AFL Original Eight games, a doubleheader with the Bills at the Patriots and the Chargers at the Raiders.

NFL Network continues to have coverage disputes with major cable providers. In particular, Comcast, the largest cable provider in the United States, was considering removing the network from its lineups on April 30, 2009, shortly after the draft but before the start of the preseason. Comcast was carrying the network on a digital sports tier and negotiations continued past the April 30 deadline as NFLN would continue on Comcast, which ended with a resolution on May 19 that could open the door for other major cable providers such as Cablevision and Cox to carry the network on a what would be equal to Comcast's digital classic tier, with around 10 million subscribers. However, the most notable holdout, Time Warner Cable, still is nowhere near a deal. Additionally, the NFL Network will create a new "Red Zone Channel" starting with the season openers September 13. Comcast-owned Versus has signed a deal to carry United Football League games on Thursday nights; the tail end of the UFL schedule will overlap with the first few weeks of the Thursday night NFL package. In related news, the NFL has reached a settlement with DISH Network over the satellite provider's decision to move NFL Network to a higher tier.

This is also the first NFL season after the DTV transition in the United States, which was originally scheduled to take place on February 17, 2009 but was delayed until June 12, 2009. Hawaii made the digital switchover on January 15, 2009. (Low-power translators will still be allowed to broadcast in analog until at least 2012, and cable providers will continue to distribute analog signals for the foreseeable future.)

After fifty seasons as a player, coach, broadcaster and video game maven, John Madden retired on April 16 from his position on Sunday Night Football. Cris Collinsworth moved from NFL Network to NBC to assume Madden's in-game analyst role with Al Michaels; Matt Millen replaces Collinsworth on NFL Network. In addition, Tony Kornheiser left MNF and former Raiders and Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden replaced him.


In radio, it was reported that the league was exploring ending its contract with Westwood One or sharing games with another network due to Westwood One's financial problems. The Sports USA Radio Network, ESPN Radio and Sporting News Radio were mentioned as possible partners; Fox Sports Radio was notably excluded from consideration. Sports USA currently carries Sunday afternoon games by agreement with individual teams, while ESPN carries the NBA and Major League Baseball, the latter causing a potential schedule conflict between Sunday Night Football and Sunday Night Baseball, plus the MLB Playoffs. Sunday night, Monday night, Thanksgiving and all other Thursday and Saturday games are covered by the contract. Of the offers, Westwood One was the high bidder (and reportedly the only one offering guaranteed money), ESPN requested a longer-term deal, the Sporting News offered a revenue-sharing plan in lieu of rights fees, and Sports USA was described as a "long shot." After a restructuring shored up the company's financial situation, Westwood One in March 2009 earned a two-year extension for all of the night games, paying US$33,000,000 for the two-year deal.

In addition to the official feature game package, three networks will carry nationwide radio broadcasts of Sunday afternoon games. The newest such network is Compass Media Networks, which has signed deals with eight teams. Sports USA and Westwood One will carry games from the other 24 teams. Dial Global, which previously backed Sports USA's coverage in 2008, will instead handle Compass's package for 2009.

Stadiums new and old

The 2009 season is the first season for the new self-named stadiummarker of the Dallas Cowboys. It is also the last season for Giants Stadiummarker, as both the New York Giants and Jets move into a new stadiummarker for 2010.


After having no major uniform changes for the 2008 NFL season, the trend of at least one major uniform change per season among the 32 teams will return with two major uniform changes, as well as one with some minor modifications.

The San Francisco 49ers, who had been long-rumored to be returning to their 1964-1995 uniforms (and have had the red variation of those uniforms as their third uniform since the 2002 season) are doing so for this season. The team has confirmed that it will return to a brighter, scarlet red and a less metallic "49ers gold" as its team colors, replacing the darker cardinal red and the more metallic "49ers gold" which the team has worn since it last overhauled their uniforms in 1996. The new uniforms were unveiled on April 25, 2009.

The Jacksonville Jaguars are also getting new uniforms for the 2009 season. Team owner Wayne Weaver reportedly wanted to "clean up" the look, feeling that the team has too many uniform styles. The changes aren't a complete overhaul, but similar to the Atlanta Falcons and Minnesota Vikings' recent overhauls. The new uniforms were introduced at a press conference on April 22.

The Detroit Lions designated their popular 1950's-era throwbacks as their third uniform and have completely dropped the unpopular black jerseys. The team had not worn the throwbacks from 2005–07 to make room for the Matt Millen-designated black jerseys. In addition, the team unveiled a new helmet logo on April 20, updating "Bubbles" with a fiercer look and wordmark, with modified uniforms. Those logos were accidentally leaked by in their online shop, then quickly removed on March 23, 2009.

Besides the above-mentioned throwbacks for the 50th anniversary season of the AFL, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers wore their "Creamsicle" throwbacks for the November 8 home game vs. the Green Bay Packers, in conjunction with the creation of the Buccaneers Ring of Honor.

The St. Louis Rams will wear their 1973-1999 blue uniforms in some games to remember former owner Georgia Frontiere, who died in early 2008 (too late to inform the NFL about wearing a throwback uniform in her honor during the 2008 season; the team instead opted for a memorial patch for that season) and also celebrate the tenth anniversary of their win in Super Bowl XXXIV. Ironically, the Rams cut ties with its last two remaining offensive players from the Greatest Show on Turf era during the offseason by releasing Orlando Pace and Torry Holt for both salary cap reasons as well as the team opting for a rebuilding mode after a 2-14 season in 2008 (second only to the Lions historic 0-16 season) and no trips to the postseason since the 2004 season. Defensive end Leonard Little is the only player remaining that wore the pre-2000 uniforms that will wear them again this season, and are scheduled for October 11 against the Vikings and December 20 against the Texans.

The Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Minnesota Vikings, and Pittsburgh Steelers are expected to retain their throwback alternates worn in previous seasons. And the Atlanta Falcons will don replicas of their uniforms, the team's first season in lieu of their all-black uniforms.

The Tennessee Titans will wear a Number 9 decal on the back of their helmets to honor former Titans QB Steve McNair, who was killed on July 4, while the Philadelphia Eagles will wear a decal with the initials of Jim Johnson, their long time defensive coordinator who died on July 28.

The Seattle Seahawks have also unveiled a lime green jersey with blue shoulders, to pay tribute to the new Major League Soccer team, the Seattle Sounders FC, with whom they share Qwest Fieldmarker.

Tentative final season of the salary cap

The salary cap, before team-by-team adjustments, for the 2009 season will be $127 million. NFL owners voted in 2008 not to continue the current salary cap system after the 2009 season (the vote was 23 in favor, 9 against; the extension measure needed 24 to pass). Unless a new collective-bargaining agreement is reached with the National Football League Players Association, 2010 will be an uncapped season.

In addition, owner Jerry Jones, whose legendary Dallas Cowboys team is the wealthiest franchise in the NFL, has hinted that he may push for the elimination or severe reduction of revenue sharing for the uncapped season.

Rule changes

Several rule changes were passed at the league's annual owners meeting in Dana Point, Californiamarker during the week of March 23.

The following rules were passed to improve player safety and reduce injuries:
  • A blindside block cannot be initially delivered by a helmet, forearm or shoulder to an opponent's head or neck.
  • The initial contact to the head of a defenseless receiver is also prohibited.
  • On kickoffs, a blocking wedge cannot consist of more than two players.
  • During onside kickoff attempts, the kicking team cannot have more than five players bunched together.

The replay system will now be allowed to cover the following situations:

  • Whether a loose ball from a passer is definitely a fumble or an incomplete pass. This was passed in response to a play in the San Diego ChargersDenver Broncos Week 2 regular season game where, in the final minutes, referee Ed Hochuli ruled that Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler threw an incomplete pass. Replays clearly showed it was a fumble, but the play was previously not reviewable.
  • Whether a loose ball actually hit the sideline. This change was passed in response to a play in the NFC Championship Game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Arizona Cardinals where a Cardinals kickoff was ruled to have gone out of bounds, but replays clearly showed it was recovered in bounds by Arizona.

Other new rules include:

  • If onside kick does not go 10 yards, goes out of bounds, or is touched illegally at anytime during the kick, the ball is immediately awarded to the receiving team. This amends a rule that was first implemented during the 2003 season. Previously, if the kicking team committed this foul before the final five minutes of the game, they had another chance to kick again from five yards back.
  • On all fumbles and laterals that go out of bounds, the clock will immediately start when the referee signals ready for play instead of waiting until next snap.

After the first pre-season game was played at the new Cowboys Stadiummarker, with the Tennessee Titans' A.J. Trapasso's punt hitting the center-hung video display boards during the game, the league temporarily modified the rule regarding balls in play that strike an object such as a video board or a guy wire: in addition for the down being replayed, the game clock will also be reset to the time when the original play was snapped. This change currently only applies for this year, allowing the league to have the option of ordering the video displays to be raised for next season.


The 2009 NFL Draft was held at Radio City Music Hallmarker in New York City on April 25 and 26, 2009. The 2009 season began on September 10, 2009 (under the current scheduling system, this is the latest date the NFL can start its season as the season typically starts the weekend after Labor Day, which falls on its latest possible date in 2009). This will be the eighth and tentatively final year that the league uses its current scheduling rotation. Implemented in 2002, this rotation schedules all teams to play each other at least once every four years and to play in every other team's stadium at least once every eight years (notwithstanding the regular season games played overseas as part of the NFL International Series). No later than the end of the 2009 season, a decision will be made whether to continue using this scheduling formula. There are proposals to expand the regular season schedule to 17 or 18 games per team, possibly allowing for all teams to play abroad in the International Series. There is also a proposal to modify the scheduling formula to ease the burden of cross-country road trips, especially to relieve East Coast teams from having to travel to Oakland & San Diego or San Francisco & Seattle during the same season.

For the 2009 season, the intraconference and interconference matchups are:

The 2009 schedule was released on April 14, 2009 and features the following highlights:

Preseason games

The Pro Football Hall of Fame Game was on August 9, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. EDT on NBC. The Tennessee Titans defeated the Buffalo Bills 21-18, and both wore "throwback" jerseys celebrating the two franchises' AFL origins. It was the first time since 1970 that the teams have not been from opposing conferences; also, both Bills owner Ralph Wilson, a 2009 Hall of Fame inductee, and Titans owner Bud Adams have owned their teams continuously since the AFL's inception in 1960, making them the longest-tenured team owners in the league. Both teams made their first Hall of Fame Game appearance since the 1980s (Buffalo last played in Canton in , Tennessee in as the former Houston Oilers).

The rest of the pre-season matchups were announced March 30, 2009. Highlights, among others, included a rematch of Super Bowl XLIII between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals on ESPN.

Regular season

The first game of the season was on Thursday, September 10, at 8:30 pm EDT, with the Super Bowl XLIII champion Pittsburgh Steelers defeating the Tennessee Titans 13–10 in overtime at Heinz Fieldmarker. The opening weekend game on NBC Sunday Night Football featured the Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers, which the Packers won, 21-15. The opening weekend doubleheader games on Monday Night Football were both part of the AFL 50th Anniversary celebration: Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots in the first game, and San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders in the second game. New England defeated Buffalo in an epic end-of-game rally, coming from behind 24-13 to win 25-24 in the final three minutes in what has been dubbed the "Nightmare in New England" by at least one newspaper. San Diego defeated Oakland by a score of 24-20 in the nightcap with their own fourth quarter comeback.

During the month of October, teams across the league honored National Breast Cancer Awareness Month by wearing gloves, wristbands, patches, towels and shoes accented with pink. Banners will be hung around league stadiums to raise awareness, and the NFL's website featured a pink background. Referees and coaches hats also had pink accents. In addition, the NFL Referee's Association donated $24,000 to breast cancer charities throughout the month. Also used will be pink goal post padding, pink coins, and pink ribbon decals on the field and on footballs.

This year's International Series game was played October 25, 2009 at 1:00 pm EDT (5:00 pm local time in London) again at Wembley Stadiummarker in London. The New England Patriots defeated the designated "home" team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 35-7. CBS televised this game on a regional basis as the Patriots were the "visiting" team.

The Thanksgiving Day games are on Thursday, November 26, 2009. On Fox, Green Bay won over Detroit, 34-12. The Dallas Cowboys defeated the Oakland Raiders, 24-7 on CBS, and in the prime time NFL Network game, the Denver Broncos were victorious over the New York Giants, 26-6.

The second regular-season game of the Bills Toronto Series, in which the Buffalo Bills play in the Rogers Centremarker in , will feature the New York Jets on Thursday Night Football December 3. Earlier reports on a potential Bills-Toronto Argonauts doubleheader and reports of the league favoring other teams were proven inaccurate. No preseason game was played in this series for 2009.

The league has scheduled a rare Friday night game on December 25, Christmas Day, in lieu of a Thursday night game that week. The game will feature the San Diego Chargers at the Tennessee Titans (although both are part of the AFL anniversary, this game won't be a part of the celebrations).

All other games were announced on April 14, 2009 on the NFL Network and the NFL website, though several teams had partial details leaked prior to that time. This season marked the first time ever that the Buffalo Bills and Tampa Bay Buccaneers met at Ralph Wilson Stadiummarker in Buffalo in regular season play. In 2002, when the current scheduling formula was arranged, the fact that Buffalo had never hosted Tampa Bay in the Buccaneers' history was one of the quirks cited in creating the formula.


The playoffs will begin Saturday, January 9, 2010 with Wild Card Weekend. Divisional playoffs will follow the next week.

The AFC Championship Game is set for Sunday, January 24, 2010 at 3:00 p.m., followed by the NFC Championship Game at 6:30 p.m. Super Bowl XLIV, to be held at Dolphin Stadiummarker in Miami Gardens, Floridamarker, follows two weeks later, on February 7.

The 2010 Pro Bowl will be held on January 31, one week before Super Bowl XLIV, at the same site of the league championship game, Dolphin Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. This is the first time since 1979 (held for the season) that the Pro Bowl will be held in the Continental United States as opposed to Hawaii. The NFL also announced that the site and date of Pro Bowl games after 2010 will include playing the game on a rotating basis in Honolulumarker. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the move was made after looking at alternatives to strengthen the Pro Bowl and to make the end of the season more climactic. As a result of the move, players will not be allowed to play in both the Super Bowl and the Pro Bowl in the same year. In addition, ESPN will replace CBS as broadcaster, with kickoff scheduled for 8:05 pm EST.

Scheduling changes

  • China Bowl: The China Bowl, a proposed pre-season game between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks, would have taken place in Beijing, China. It had been postponed from the 2007 season to 2009, but after the 2008 economic crisis, the Patriots closed their Chinese operations and the game was canceled.
  • The NFL moved the September 27 game between the Tennessee Titans and New York Jets at Giants Stadiummarker from 4:15 p.m. EDT to 1:00 p.m. EDT, in response to a request from Jets owner Woody Johnson to change the time to accommodate the Jewish Yom Kippur holiday that began at sundown that evening. This marked a rare occasion when the Jets and Giants played at the same time (the Giants played at Tampa Bay). In general, both New York City teams are not scheduled to play at the same time. The Jets game aired on CBS (WCBS-TVmarker in New York), while the Giants game aired on Fox (WNYW-TVmarker).
  • The Jets and Giants played again at the same time on November 1. The Jets hosted the Miami Dolphins at Giants Stadium, while the Giants played at Philadelphia. The Giants–Eagles game was originally scheduled for 4:15 p.m. EST, but moved forward to 1:00 p.m. EST in order to avoid coinciding with the Phillies hosting Game 4 of the 2009 World Series that evening at Citizens Bank Parkmarker, which is directly across Pattison Avenue from Lincoln Financial Fieldmarker. The VikingsPackers game, originally scheduled for 1:00 p.m. EST that same day, was moved to 4:15 p.m. EST.
  • The Bears–Vikings and Cardinals–Titans games on November 29 were rescheduled from 1:00 p.m. EST to 4:15 p.m. EST.
  • By way of Flex Scheduling, the Vikings–Cardinals game on December 6 was moved to the 8:20 p.m. EST slot to replace the Patriots–Dolphins matchup.
  • The Rams–Titans game on December 13 was rescheduled from 1:00 p.m. EST to 4:05 p.m. EST.

Coaching changes


Eight teams hired new head coaches prior to the start of the 2009 season, while two made their interim coaches permament, and another moved from one team to another after being fired by a team:
Team 2009 Coach 2008 Coach(es) Reason for leaving Story/Accomplishments
Cleveland Browns Eric Mangini, former head coach of the New York Jets (see below) Romeo Crennel Fired Crennel compiled a 24-40 (.375) record in four seasons as the Browns' head coach. Browns GM Phil Savage was fired at the same time.
Denver Broncos Josh McDaniels, former offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots Mike Shanahan Fired Shanahan, the second-longest tenured head coach in the league (hired in ), was relieved of his duties after a 146-91 record (.616), two Super Bowl titles (XXXII and XXXIII), three division titles, and seven playoff appearances in fourteen seasons in Colorado. The Broncos let a three-game division lead slip away over the last month of the 2008 season and missed the playoffs for the third straight year. McDaniels, who has been an offensive and defensive assistant with the Patriots, led the Patriots offense (led by Matt Cassel, who had not started a football game since high school) to an 11-win season in 2008. Cassel became the starter after Tom Brady suffered a season ending knee injury.
Detroit Lions Jim Schwartz, former defensive coordinator for the Tennessee Titans Rod Marinelli Fired Marinelli was fired after the Lions suffered the worst season in NFL history, a record 0–16 finish, the NFL's first perfectly bad season in 32 years. In three years with the Lions, he compiled a 10–38 (.208) record. (Earlier in the season, team president and general manager Matt Millen had also been sacked.) Schwartz had been with the Titans since 2001, and in 2008, under Schwartz's leadership, the Titans allowed only 14.6 points per game, second in the NFL. Marinelli would later become the defensive line/assistant head coach for the Chicago Bears.
Kansas City Chiefs Todd Haley, former Arizona Cardinals offensive coordinator Herm Edwards Fired Edwards was released on January 23 by new team General Manager Scott Pioli, who was hired a week earlier. Edwards has been the coach in Kansas City the past three seasons, and during his tenure, the Chiefs focused on becoming younger. This lack of experience was reflected in a record of 6–26 (.188) under Edwards the last two seasons, after a 9–7 record his first season. Before joining the Chiefs, Edwards was head coach of the New York Jets for five seasons. Haley, whose high-powered passing offense was the predominant factor in the Cardinals' run to their first ever Super Bowl appearance, was named head coach February 6. Edwards would become an analyst for ESPN.
Indianapolis Colts Jim Caldwell, associate head coach and quarterback coach Tony Dungy Retired Dungy retired on January 12, after a 13-year head coaching career that saw him go 148-79 (.652) with Tampa Bay (1996-2001) and Indianapolis (2002-08), including a win in Super Bowl XLI in 2007, beating his friend, Lovie Smith (Chicago Bears coach) and becoming the first African-American coach to win a Super Bowl. This followed a 16-year career (1980-95) as a defensive assistant coach in both college football and the NFL. Dungy appeared on NBC's coverage of Super Bowl XLIII and is now an analyst on NBC's Football Night in America.
New York Jets Rex Ryan, former Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Eric Mangini Fired Despite an 8-3 start in 2008, the Jets finished the season 1-4, with the only win coming against an equally skidding Buffalo Bills team, leading to Mangini's firing. Mangini coached three seasons with the Jets and compiled a 23-25 (.479) record; he was hired as the head coach of the Cleveland Browns nine days after being released by the Jets. Ryan, one of the two identical twin sons of former Jets defensive coach and Eagles and Cardinals head coach Buddy Ryan, agreed to a four-year contract hours following the Ravens' loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship Game.
Oakland Raiders Tom Cable, offensive line coach Lane Kiffin Fired Kiffin was fired September 30, 2008 after 5-15 mark (.250) in 1¼ seasons as coach and a feud with owner Al Davis. Kiffin would be named the new coach at the University of Tennessee on December 1, replacing Phillip Fulmer. Cable, who previously served as the offensive line coach under Kiffin and previously coached at the University of Idaho, went 4-8 as interim coach of the Raiders and was retained as coach February 4, 2009.
St. Louis Rams Steve Spagnuolo, former New York Giants defensive coordinator Scott Linehan; Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett (interim for 12 games) Fired Linehan was fired September 29, 2008 after going 11-25 (.306) over 2¼ seasons as coach; After turning down an offer from the San Francisco 49ers to be their offensive coordinator, he took the position of offensive coordinator with the Detroit Lions. Haslett went 2-10 as interim coach, but was told he would not be retained on January 15; Haslett has jumped to the United Football League, where he is now the coach of the Florida Tuskers. Spagnoulo rose to fame after his defense led the Giants to a win in Super Bowl XLII (ruining the New England Patriots' perfect season), and got a four-year contract on January 17 to take over as Rams coach.
San Francisco 49ers Mike Singletary, assistant head coach and linebackers coach Mike Nolan Fired Nolan was fired October 20 after an 18-37 mark (.327) over nearly 3½ seasons as coach. Singletary, who went 5-4 as interim coach in 2008, was rewarded with a four-year contract on December 28 following their 27-24 win over the Washington Redskins. Nolan would become defensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos.
Seattle Seahawks Jim L. Mora, assistant head coach and defensive backs coach and former head coach of the Atlanta Falcons. Mike Holmgren Retired After 10 years of head coaching with the Seahawks, it was announced that Holmgren would step down as head coach after the 2008 season, with Mora as his automatic successor. In his time with the Seahawks, Holmgren compiled a record of 86-74 (.541), with five division titles, six playoff appearances, including the Seahawks' first appearance in the Super Bowl and its first conference title (2005).
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Raheem Morris, defensive backs coach Jon Gruden Fired After his arrival from Oakland for two first-round picks, two second-round picks, and $8 million, Gruden - who was fired along with general manager Bruce Allen - became the Buccaneers' most successful coach, winning Super Bowl XXXVII over the Raiders in 2003. The team's late season collapse after starting with a 9–3 record and the lead position in the NFC South may have been the main reason for Gruden's firing. In seven seasons with the Buccaneers, Gruden compiled a 57–55 (.509) regular season record and was 3–2 in the playoffs. Morris, who was previously the defensive backs coach, was promoted to defensive coordinator after Monte Kiffin announced he would leave to join his son Lane at the University of Tennessee. Gruden worked for NFL Network at the 2009 Draft and is an analyst for Monday Night Football on ESPN.


The following coaches were fired during the 2009 season:
Team Interim coach Ex-coach Reason for leaving Story/Accomplishments
Buffalo Bills Perry Fewell, defensive coordinator Dick Jauron Fired Nov. 17 after 9 games In 3½ years with the Bills, all of them losing seasons, Jauron compiled a 24-33 (.421) record, including a 3-6 record at the time of his firing. He had particularly poor records against the AFC East (8-13) and against teams with winning records (2-21). Perry Fewell, Jauron's replacement had never been a head coach at any level.


  1. The stadium will officially be known as "Dolphin Stadium" for the Pro Bowl and Super Bowl, but for the rest of the 2009 season will be known as "LandShark Stadium" in a naming rights deal.
  2. 2009 Hall of Fame Game
  3. Though a team known as the Baltimore Colts was added as well, it folded in 1950 and is unrelated, except in name, to the current Indianapolis Colts franchise, which instead traces its history through another AAFC team, the New York Yankees, among many other predecessors.
  4. Pergament, Alan (2009-09-09). Time Warner, NFL Network remain at odds. The Buffalo News. Retrieved September 9, 2009. Archived 2009-09-11.
  5. Hawaii DTV Switch. Accessed 2009-09-30. Archived 2009-10-03.
  6. Cowboys' Jones rips revenue sharing, pushes for new Vikings stadium., retrieved 2009-09-09.
  7. NFL to make West Coast road format more reasonable
  8. Super Bowl rematch highlights 2009 NFL preseason schedule. 30 March 2009.
  9. Zeisberger, Mike. Same old sorry Bills. Toronto Sun. 15 September 2009.
  10. Carucci, Vic. Bucs, Saints in mix to be Bills' opponent in Toronto. 23 March 2009.
  11. T.O., Manning could headline Bills-Colts Toronto game. 15 March 2009.

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