|2009 National Football League season|
|AFC Champions||Indianapolis Colts|
|NFC Champions||New Orleans Saints|
|Super Bowl XLIV|
|Date||February 6, 2010|
|Date||January 31, 2010|
| National Football League seasons
All 65 games of the 2009 NFL preseason were played.
In 2009, highlights included late game miracles by Brandon Stokely (against Cincinnati), Brett Favre (against San Francisco), Peyton Manning (against New England), Matthew Stafford (against Cleveland), and Vince Young (against Arizona). Other important notes included that for almost the entire season, two teams (New Orleans and Indianapolis) remained undefeated and played extremely well, earning home field advantages in their respective conferences. The Cincinnati Bengals and New York Jets were two teams that surprised many people with their good performances, while the defending Superbowl champion Steelers failed to reach the playoffs. The two teams that had the least success in 2009 were the St. Louis Rams and Detroit Lions.
In London, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New England Patriots faced off. The game was easily decided by the score of 35-7 for New England.
In the 2009 NFL postseason, the wild card weekend saw easy victories by the Cowboys, Jets, and Ravens. Meanwhile the Cardinals and Packers went into overtime in the highest scoring NFL playoff game ever. In the end, Arizona won 51-45 by returning an Aaron Rodgers fumble for a touchdown.
In the divisional playoffs the Colts methodically destroyed the Ravens 20-3, while Minnesota held the Cowboys to 3 points while scoring 34. New Orleans beat Arizona 45-14 behind an offensive explosion. The only game that was not a blowout was the Jets at Chargers game. The top ranked Jets defense held the Chargers to only seven points in the first 55 minutes of the game. The final score was 17-14 New York.
Earlier in the season, the Colts had faced the Jets in week 16. The Colts were undefeated and had clinched homefield advantage, so they let the Jets win the game and rested their starters, which led to criticism by many fans. In the AFC championship, the Jets jumped out to a 17-6 lead in the second quarter and appeared to be running away with the game until a long catch by Austin Collie swung the momentum to the Colts. Later in the drive the Colts would score a touchdown, and afterward, the Colts outscored New York 17-0, winning the game 30-17.
In the Louisiana Superdome, Brett Farve and the Minnesota Vikings faced off against Darren Sharper's Saints. The game was very close, and in the 4th quarter the game was tied 28-28 with seconds remaining. Brett Favre rolled to the right to try to get Minnesota in field goal range and threw, but the pass was intercepted and the game went into overtime. In overtime, New Orleans won by a field goal.
In Super Bowl XLIV, the Saints had trouble with the Colts early, but a late interception for a touchdown by Tracy Porter and a crucial 4th down stop helped the Saints win 31-17.
|Clinched Playoff Berth• Clinched Division • Clinched First Round Bye • Clinched Home Field Advantage|
|AFC East||AFC North||AFC South||AFC West|
|NFC East||NFC North||NFC South||NFC West|
New or changed rules included a change to the rule concerning onside kicks, in which if a ball is touched illegally, kicked out of bounds, or kicked fewer than ten yards, the ball is awarded to the receiving team, and that the kicking team can only have 5 players on each side of the kicker, no more. On fumbles that go out of bounds (including laterals) the clock will start upon signal by the referee as opposed to the next snap. It is now illegal to hit the head of a defenseless receiver. New rules have also changed the times when a replay system can be used. In a preseason game, a punt hit a scoreboard in the Cowboys Stadium, prompting several changes concerning what would happen in a scenario like that.
Television in the United StatesEdit
Coverage in the 2009 season was provided by CBS, ESPN, Fox, NBC, and NFL Network.
- Cleveland fired Romeo Crennel for his 24-40 overall record. He was replaced with Eric Mangini. Cleveland finished with a 5-11 record and 4th place in the division.
- After Denver had a three game division lead over the Chargers in 2008, the Broncos lost their last four games and the division title, missing the playoffs. Thus, coach Mike Shanahan was fired and new head coach Josh McDaniels was picked up. McDaniels led Denver to an 8-8 record, still missing the playoffs.
- The 2008 Detroit Lions lost every game in 2009 and gave up an unbelievable 517 points to opposing teams, leading many to call them the worst NFL team in history. Coach Rod Marinelli was fired and replaced with Jim Schwartz. Schwartz's Lions were hardly improved, winning just two games by a combined seven points.
- Herman Edwards was fired by Kansas City for his poor record. His successor was Todd Haley, a former Cardinals offensive coordinator. Kansas City did not improve, finishing with the same record as they won 2 games and lost 14.
- Tony Dungy had an outstanding coaching career, finishing 148-79 in his years with Indianapolis and Tampa Bay. He retired, so Jim Caldwell became head coach. For a first year head coach, Caldwell had remarkable success, making it all the way to the Super Bowl before losing to New Orleans.
- The Jets fired Eric Mangini after skidding late in the season. Mangini was later picked up by Cleveland. Rex Ryan, the new head coach and former Ravens defensive coordinator, filled in and led the Jets to an appearance in the AFC Championship.
- Relatively early in the 2008 season, Raiders coach Lane Kiffin was fired for the team's poor play and an argument with the owner of the team. He was replaced with Tom Cable, who did not make much of a mark on the team, leading them to a 5-11 record in the remainder of 2008 and 2009.
- Scott Linehan and Jim Haslett both coached for the St. Louis Rams in 2008. Despite Haslett's early success (winning his first two games against Washington and Dallas), he lost the remaining 10 and was fired. Steve Spagnuolo, former Giants defensive coordinator led the Rams to a dismal 1-15 in 2009.
- Midway through the 2008 season, Mike Nolan was fired as the 49ers head coach, and was replaced with linebackers coach Mike Singletary. Singletary did relatively well in 2008 so he kept the job in 2009. San Francisco went 8-8, which is actually the first non-losing season for them since 2002.
- Mike Holmgren of the Seahawks retired after a long and successful career in Seattle and Green Bay. For 2009, former Atlanta head coach Jim Mora became head coach. Seattle won 5 out of 16 games.
- At one point in 2008, Tampa Bay was 9-3 and led the division. But the Bucs lost their last four games and fell behind both the Panthers and the Falcons in the division. Tampa Bay failed to reach the playoffs, and head coach Jon Gruden was blamed and fired. Raheem Morris became head coach, and until week 9, Tampa Bay did not win a game. They finished 3-13 in 2009.
- After 9 games in 2009, the Bills had a 3-6 record and were not playing well at all. Head Coach Dick Jauron was therefore fired and replaced for the rest of the season by Perry Fewell.
Games were played in London and Toronto in 2009. The preseason Hall of Fame game was played by Buffalo and Tennessee in Canton, Ohio and Tennessee won. Other events included the Monday night doubleheader on the first week of the regular season as New England beat Buffalo and San Diego beat Oakland.
The playoffs were watched on television all over the country. Super Bowl XLIV surpassed the final episode of M*A*S*H* as the most watched program in history.
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