2019 NFL season
The 2019 NFL season will be the 100th season of the National Football League (NFL). The season will tentatively begin on September 5, 2019. The season will conclude with Super Bowl LIV, the league's championship game, tentatively scheduled for February 2, 2020, at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida.
The NFL's centennial emblem, which will be used throughout 2019.
|Duration||September 5, 2019– December 29, 2019|
|Start date||January 4, 2020|
|Super Bowl LIV|
|Date||February 2, 2020 (tentative)|
|Site||Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida|
|Date||January 26, 2020 (tentative)|
The 2019 NFL League year and trading period will begin on March 13. On March 8 clubs will be allowed to exercise options for 2019 on players who have option clauses in their contracts submit qualifying offers to their pending restricted free agents and submit a Minimum Salary Tender to retain exclusive negotiating rights to their players with expiring 2018 contracts and who have fewer than three accrued seasons of free agent credit. Teams were required to be under the salary cap using the "Top 51" definition (in which the 51 highest paid-players on the team's payroll must have a combined salary cap.) On March 11 clubs will be allowed to contact and begin contract negotiations with the agents of players who were set to become unrestricted free agents.
Free agency will begin on March 13, 2019 at 4:00 p.m. EDT.
- Center Ryan Kalil - Five-time Pro Bowl selection and three-time All Pro. Played for the Panthers for his entire twelve-year career.
- Linebacker Brian Orakpo - Four-time Pro Bowl selection. Played for the Redskins and Titans over a ten-year career.
- Defensive end Julius Peppers - A nine-time Pro Bowl selection and six-time All-Pro. Played for the Panthers, Bears and Packers during his 17-year career. 
- Running back Darren Sproles - The three-time Pro Bowl and two-time first team All-Pro. Played for the Chargers, Saints, and Eagles over a fourteen-year career.
- Defensive tackle Kyle Williams - A six-time Pro Bowl and two-time All-Pro. Played for the Buffalo Bills for his entire thirteen-year career.
- Walt Coleman III: With 30 seasons as an NFL official, Coleman was the longest-tenured official in the NFL before retiring after the previous season's Pro Bowl.
- Pete Morelli: Morelli had spent 22 seasons as an NFL official before retiring after the previous season's Pro Bowl.
- Steve Stelljes: Stelljes was the downjudge on Pete Morelli's crew for the 2018 season. Stelljes was the head linesman in Super Bowl XLVII and entered the NFL in 2002.
- Larry Nemmers: Nemmers was an on-field official from 1985 to 2007 (referee from 1991 - 2007) before he moved to the replay official position. Nemmers was a replay official from 2008 until his announced retirement in 2018. Nemmers was a side judge in Super Bowl XXV, an alternate referee for Super Bowl XXXV, and the replay official for Super Bowl XLVI.
Combined with the 2018 offseason retirements of Ed Hochuli, Terry McAulay, Gene Steratore, and Jeff Triplette, the league has been forced to replace six of its 17 referee positions within a one-year period.
Training Camps for the 2019 season will be held in late July through August. Teams will start training camp no earlier than 15 days before the team's first scheduled preseason game.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame Game, with teams to be announced, is tentatively scheduled for August 1, 2019, and will be televised nationally by NBC. The game will be held at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio, the same city where the league was founded 99 years prior.
NFL centennial promotionsEdit
On October 18, 2018, the NFL announced that it would commemorate its 100th season throughout 2019, beginning at Super Bowl LIII. An NFL 100 emblem will be featured in promotions across all NFL properties during the season, worn on jerseys as a patch, placed on game balls, and painted on fields.
The Chicago Bears (who, as the Decatur Staleys, were one of the 14 charter members of the league) will also celebrate their centennial season with commemorative events throughout 2019. On November 15, 2018, the team unveiled a customized version of the league-wide centennial emblem (which will be worn on jerseys in place of the NFL-branded version), and announced that the team would introduce a throwback jersey.
The NFL aired a special two-minute commercial during Super Bowl LIII to launch the centennial campaign, which featured appearances by 40 current and former NFL players, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL officials Ron Torbert and Sarah Thomas, viral teenage girl football star Sam Gordon, and video game streamer Tyler "Ninja" Blevins. The commercial won the annual Super Bowl Ad Meter survey held by USA Today, marking the first time that the NFL itself won.
The 2019 regular season's 256 games will be played over a 17-week schedule that is expected to begin on September 5, 2019. Each of the league's 32 teams will play a 16 game schedule, with one bye week. There will be games on Monday nights and on Thursdays, Including the National Football League Kickoff game and games on Thanksgiving Day. The regular season will conclude with a full slate of 16 games, tentatively scheduled for December 29, all of which are expected to be intra-division matchups, as it had been since 2010.
- Scheduling formula
Under the NFL's current scheduling formula, each team plays the other three teams in its own division twice. In addition, a team plays against all four teams in one other division from each conference. The final two games on a team's schedule are against the two remaining teams in the same conference that finished in the same position in their respective divisions (e.g., the team that finished fourth in its division will play all three other teams in the conference that also finished fourth). The division parings for 2019 will be as follows:
The entire schedule will be released in April 2019 Highlights of the 2019 season include:
- NFL Kickoff Game: The Kickoff Game is scheduled for September 5. Although the game has, typically, been hosted by the defending champion of the previous season (under which the game would be hosted by the New England Patriots), reports emerged that the NFL was contemplating having the Chicago Bears hosting the Green Bay Packers as the kickoff game instead, in honor of the Bears' and the NFL's centennial seasons.
- NFL International Series: Five games will be held outside the United States in 2019. In addition to the Jacksonville Jaguars and the three teams hosting an annual game abroad as part of their relocation agreements (the Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, and Oakland Raiders), the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will also host a home game abroad in 2019 as part of their agreement to host Super Bowl LV in 2021. Dates and times will be released with the rest of the schedule in April 2019.
- NFL London Games: Four games will be played in London: Houston Texans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, Cincinnati Bengals vs. Los Angeles Rams, Carolina Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Chicago Bears vs. Oakland Raiders. The Texans-Jaguars game and one other game will be staged at Wembley Stadium, the former as part of the Jaguars' long-term agreement to play an annual game at Wembley. The remaining two games will be played at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium after construction delays prevented the stadium from opening in time for the 2018 game scheduled there. Dates and times will be released at a later date.
- NFL Mexico Game: The NFL will play one game at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City in 2019. It will be between the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers.
- Thanksgiving Day: As has been the case since 2006, three games will be played on Thanksgiving Day, November 28, including the traditional afternoon doubleheader hosted by the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys respectively, as well as a primetime game.
The 2019 Playoffs are tentatively scheduled to begin on the weekend of January 4–5, 2020, with the Wild Card Playoff round. The four winners of these games will visit the top two seeds in each conference in the Divisional round games, tentatively scheduled for January 11–12. The winners of those games will advance to the Conference championships tentatively scheduled for January 19. The 2020 Pro Bowl will be held at a site to be announced, tentatively scheduled for January 26 and will be broadcast on ESPN. Super Bowl LIV, tentatively scheduled for February 2, will be played at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami on Fox.
Head coaching and front office personnel changesEdit
|Team||Departing coach||Interim coach||Incoming coach||Reason for leaving||Notes|
|Arizona Cardinals||Steve Wilks||Kliff Kingsbury||Fired||Wilks was fired on December 31, 2018, after one season in which he accrued a record of 3–13 (.188). He later joined the Cleveland Browns as a defensive coordinator.|
|Cincinnati Bengals||Marvin Lewis||Zac Taylor||Mutual decision||Lewis and the Bengals parted ways on December 31 after a 6–10 (.375) season. In 16 years as the Bengals' head coach, Lewis was 131–122–3 (.518), with 7 playoff appearances. Notably, the Bengals never won a playoff game under Lewis and had missed the playoffs in each of his last three seasons. Lewis joined NFL Network as a commentator for Alliance of American Football games shortly after his departure.|
|Cleveland Browns||Hue Jackson||Gregg Williams||Freddie Kitchens||Fired||Jackson was fired on October 29, 2018, accumulating a 3–36–1 (.088) record during his 2½-season tenure with the Browns. Jackson failed to win any away games during his tenure and lost every game in 2017. He rejoined the Cincinnati Bengals as an assistant coach immediately after his firing. Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams finished out the 2018 season with a 5–3 (.625) record. Released by the Browns on January 9, 2019, Williams later joined the New York Jets as a defensive coordinator.|
Kitchens was promoted to head coach on January 12, 2019, after serving as the interim offensive coordinator following Jackson's firing. This is his first head coaching position.
|Denver Broncos||Vance Joseph||Vic Fangio||Joseph was fired on December 31, 2018, after a 6–10 (.375) season. The Broncos were 11–21 (.344) in Joseph's two losing seasons as head coach, with no playoff appearances. He joined the Arizona Cardinals as a defensive coordinator.|
|Green Bay Packers||Mike McCarthy||Joe Philbin||Matt LaFleur||McCarthy was fired on December 2, 2018, shortly after the Packers' loss to the Arizona Cardinals. McCarthy leaves with a record of 135–85–2 (.613) with nine playoff appearances and one Super Bowl championship. Philbin, the team's offensive coordinator, finished the season as interim coach with a record of 2–2 (.500).|
|Miami Dolphins||Adam Gase||Brian Flores||Gase was fired on December 31, 2018, after a 7–9 (.438) season. The Dolphins were 23–25 (.479) in Gase's three years as head coach, with one playoff appearance in 2016. He was later hired by Dolphins' division rivals, the New York Jets, as head coach.|
|New York Jets||Todd Bowles||Adam Gase||Bowles was fired on December 30, 2018, finishing the season with a record of 4–12 (.250) and a cumulative record of 24–40 (.375) with no playoff appearances in four seasons with Jets. He joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a defensive coordinator.|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Dirk Koetter||Bruce Arians||Koetter was fired on December 30, 2018, after a 5–11 (.313) season. The Buccaneers were 19–29 (.396) in Koetter's three years as head coach, with no playoff appearances. Previously, Koetter was Buccaneers' offensive coordinator for one season in 2015. He rejoined the Atlanta Falcons as an offensive coordinator.|
Arians was announced as the Buccaneers' new head coach on January 8, 2019. He was previously the head coach for the Arizona Cardinals for five seasons with 49–30–1 (.619) record from 2013 to 2017.
Front office personnelEdit
|Team||Position||Departing office holder||Interim replacement||Incoming office holder||Reason for leaving||Notes|
|Baltimore Ravens||GM||Ozzie Newsome||Eric DeCosta||Retired||The Ravens announced on February 2, 2018 that Newsome would retire after 16 years as the team's GM and that Eric DeCosta, most recently the Ravens' assistant GM, would succeed Newsome. Newsome was the first African-American to occupy the GM position in the NFL.|
|Oakland Raiders||GM||Reggie McKenzie||Shaun Herock||Mike Mayock||Fired||McKenzie was fired on December 10, 2018, after six-plus seasons as Raiders' GM. Herock, team's director of college scouting, served as the Raiders’ interim GM until the team settles on a full-time replacement.
Mayock had previously been a television commentator for the past 26 seasons and has never held a front office position.
This will be the third and final season for the Los Angeles Chargers at ROKiT Field at Dignity Health Sports Park, and this will also be the fourth and final season for the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Both the Chargers and the Rams will move to Los Angeles Stadium at Hollywood Park in Inglewood, California in 2020.
A buyout window in the Buffalo Bills' lease on New Era Field opens after the 2019 season ends. The window allows the team to cancel its lease on the stadium for a $28 million fee and relocate. If the Bills choose not to exercise the buyout window, they will not be allowed to relocate until the lease expires after the 2022 season.
The Oakland Raiders' lease on Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum expired after the 2018 season. The team is slated to move to Las Vegas, Nevada once Las Vegas Stadium is completed; it is currently scheduled to open in 2020. The Coliseum management has expressed a reluctance to allow the Raiders to continue using the Coliseum after the lease expires unless the team pays more to cover the losses the Coliseum incurs by hosting Raiders games. In December 2018, the city of Oakland filed a lawsuit against the Raiders and the NFL seeking financial damages and unpaid debt, claiming the proposed relocation is illegal but not asking for an injunction forcing the team to stay. The Raiders have stated that if any legal action were filed against them, that they would not renew with the Coliseum and find another, undetermined, temporary home for 2019 until Las Vegas Stadium is finished. The Raiders then attempted to negotiate a lease with Oracle Park in San Francisco before the San Francisco 49ers allegedly vetoed the plan as an infringement on their territorial rights and the mayor of the city spoke in opposition to the Raiders playing there.
With the 49ers refusing to waive territorial rights, the Raiders would be forced to either renegotiate with the Coliseum or find a temporary stadium outside the San Francisco Bay Area. San Antonio, Texas (Alamodome) and Tucson, Arizona (Arizona Stadium) have both expressed interest and been at least remotely considered. The prospect of the team playing in the 49ers' Levi's Stadium, despite being a persistent source of speculation from the press, has repeatedly been rejected by the Raiders and would also require the 49ers' consent. The team effectively cannot relocate to Las Vegas a year early because there exist no stadiums in Nevada that are close to NFL standards; both Mackay Stadium in Reno and Sam Boyd Stadium in Whitney are both undersized and lack NFL-caliber amenities.
This will be the sixth year under the current broadcast contracts with ESPN, CBS, Fox and NBC. This includes "cross-flexing" (switching) Sunday afternoon games between CBS and Fox before or during the season (regardless of the conference of the visiting team). NBC will continue to air Sunday Night Football, the annual Kickoff Game, and the primetime Thanksgiving game. ESPN will continue to air Monday Night Football and the Pro Bowl. Fox will continue to air Thursday Night Football alongside with NFL Network, with Amazon Video and Twitch.tv continuing to simulcast those games online in the second and final year of the two sites' current contract. Fox will also broadcast Super Bowl LIV.
In November 2018, ESPN announced that it would air coverage for all three days of the 2019 NFL Draft on ABC, replacing Fox's broadcast television simulcast of NFL Network in 2018. ABC's coverage will cater towards a mainstream audience and be hosted by the panel of ESPN's College GameDay, while ESPN and NFL Network will continue to carry more conventional coverage of the draft.
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