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2019 NFL season
NFL100.png
Season information
Duration Regular Season
September 5-December 29, 2019
Playoffs
January 4-February 2, 2020
Super Bowl LIV
February 2, 2020
No. of games 18
No. of teams 32
2019 NFL Draft
No. 1 pick:
Kyler Murray (Oklahoma)
Drafted by: Arizona Cardinals
2020 Pro Bowl
Result
Champion AFC   –   38
(Head coach: John Harbough)
Opponent NFC   –   33
(Head coach: Pete Carroll)
Date: January 26, 2020
Venue Camping World Stadium
(Orlando, Florida)
Off. MVP Lamar Jackson, QB
(AFC)
Def. MVP Calais Campbell, DE
(AFC)
Playoffs
NFC Championship Game
Result
Champion San Francisco 49ers         37
Opponent Green Bay Packers            20
AFC Championship Game
Result
Champion Kansas City Chiefs           35
Opponent Tennessee Titans               24
Super Bowl LIV
Result
Champion Kansas City Chiefs         31
Head Coach: Andy Reid
Opponent San Francisco 49ers         20
Head Coach: Kyle Shanahan
Date February 7, 2021
Venue Hard Rock Stadium
(Miami, Florida)
MVP Patrick Mahomes, QB
(Kansas City Chiefs)
NFL seasons
<- 2018 NFL season
2020 NFL season ->

The 2019 National Football League season was the league's 100th season as a major football league. The NFL Kickoff Game, the season opener in which the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears faced off in, ended with the Packers winning 10-7. Super Bowl LIV, the last game of the overall season, saw a face off against the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers. The Chiefs would win the game, 31-20, to win their first Super Bowl since Super Bowl IV.

Movement of Players

The 2019 NFL league year and trading period began on March 13. On March 8, teams were allowed to exercise 2019 options for players with option clauses in their contracts, to submit qualifying offers to their pending restricted free agents and to submit minimum salary tenders to retain exclusive negotiating rights to their players with expiring 2018 contracts who had 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 team's 51 highest-paid players must have a combined salary cap). On March 11, clubs were allowed to contact and begin contract negotiations with the agents of players who were set to become unrestricted free agents.

Free Agency

Free agency began on March 13. Notable players to change teams included:

  • Quarterbacks Blake Bortles (Jacksonville to Los Angeles Rams), Ryan Fitzpatrick (Tampa Bay to Miami), and Nick Foles (Philadelphia to Jacksonville).
  • Running backs CJ Anderson (Los Angeles Rams to Detroit), Le'Veon Bell (Pittsburgh to New York Jets), Tevin Coleman (Atlanta to San Francisco), Frank Gore (Miami to Buffalo), Kareem Hunt (Kansas City to Cleveland), Mark Ingram Jr. (New Orleans to Baltimore), and Lesean McCoy (Buffalo to Kansas City).
  • Wide receivers Danny Amendola (Miami to Detroit), Cole Beasley (Dallas to Buffalo), John Brown (Baltimore to Buffalo), Randall Cobb (Green Bay to Dallas), Cordarrelle Patterson (New England to Chicago), Andre Roberts (New York Jets to Buffalo), Golden Tate (Philadelphia to New York Giants), and Demaryius Thomas (Houston to New England).
  • Tight ends Charles Clay (Buffalo to Arizona) and Jesse James (Pittsburgh to Detroit).
  • Offensive linemen Trent Brown (New England to Oakland), Ja'Wuan James (Miami to Denver), Mitch Morse (Kansas City to Buffalo), and Rodger Saffold (Los Angeles Rams to Tennessee).
  • Defensive linemen Trey Flowers (New England to Detroit), Malik Jackson (Jacksonville to Philadelphia), Gerald McCoy (Tampa Bay to Carolina), Sheldon Richardson (Minnesota to Cleveland), Ndamukong Suh (Los Angeles Rams to Tampa Bay), and Cameron Wake (Miami to Tennessee).
  • Linebackers Kwon Alexander (Tampa Bay to San Francisco), Vontaze Burfict (Cincinnati to Oakland), Thomas Davis (Carolina to Los Angeles Chargers), Jordan Hicks (Philadelphia to Arizona), Justin Houston (Kansas City to Indianapolis), Clay Matthews (Green Bay to Los Angeles Rams), CJ Mosley (Baltimore to New York Jets), Preston Smith (Washington to Green Bay), Za'Darius Smith (Baltimore to Green Bay), and Terrell Suggs (Baltimore to Arizona).
  • Defensive backs Adrian Amos (Chicago to Green Bay), Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (Washington to Chicago), Landon Collins (New York Giants to Washington), Lamarcus Joyner (Los Angeles Rams to Oakland), Tyrann Mathieu (Houston to Kansas City), Earl Thomas (Seattle to Baltimore), and Eric Weddle (Baltimore to Los Angeles Rams).
  • Kicker Jason Myers (New York Jets to Seattle).

Trades

The following notable trades were made during the 2019 league year:

  • March 13: Baltimore traded QB Joe Flacco to Denver for their 2019 fourth-round selection (113th overall).
  • March 13: The New York Giants traded WR Odell Beckham Jr. and DE Olivier Vernon to Cleveland for G Kevin Zeitler, SS Jabrill Peppers, their 2019 first-round selection (17th overall), and their 2019 third-round selection (95th overall)
  • March 13: Philadelphia traded DE Michael Bennett and a 2020 seventh-round selection to New England for their 2020 fifth-round selection.
  • March 13: Pittsburgh traded WR Antonio Brown to Oakland for their 2019 third-round selection (66th overall) and their 2019 fifth-round selection (141st overall).
  • March 13: Oakland traded G Kelechi Osemele and their 2019 sixth-round selection (196th overall) to the New York Jets for their 2019 fifth-round selection (140th overall).
  • March 13: Tampa Bay traded WR DeSean Jackson and their 2020 seventh-round selection to Philadelphia for their 2019 sixth-round selection (197th overall).
  • March 13: Kansas City traded OLB Dee Ford to San Francisco for their 2020 second-round selection.
  • March 15: Miami traded QB Ryan Tannehill and their 2019 sixth-round selection (188th overall) to Tennessee for their 2019 seventh-round selection (233rd overall) and their 2020 fourth-round selection.
  • March 28: Miami traded DE Robert Quinn to Dallas for their 2020 sixth-round selection.
  • March 28: Chicago traded RB Jordan Howard to Philadelphia for their 2020 sixth-round selection.
  • April 1: Cleveland traded DE Emmanuel Ogbah to Kansas City for SS Eric Murray.
  • April 23: Seattle traded DE Frank Clark and their 2019 third-round selection (92nd overall) to Kansas City for their 2019 first-round selection (29th overall), their 2019 third-round selection (84th overall), and a 2020 second-round selection.
  • April 26: Arizona traded QB Josh Rosen and a 2020 fifth-round selection to Miami for their 2019 second-round selection (62nd overall).
  • August 8: Cleveland traded RB Duke Johnson to Houston for a 2020 third round pick.
  • August 9: Buffalo traded DE Eli Harold to Philadelphia for OL Ryan Bates.
  • August 22: Arizona traded S Rudy Ford to Philadelphia for DT Bruce Hector.
  • August 28: New England traded a 2020 fourth-round pick to Baltimore for a 2020 sixth-round pick and G Jermaine Eluemunor.
  • August 31: Miami traded OT Laremy Tunsil and WR Kenny Stills to Houston for S Johnson Bademosi, OT Julién Davenport, for a 2020 first-round pick, a 2021 first-round pick and second-round pick.
  • August 31: Houston traded OT Martinas Rankin to Kansas City for RB Carlos Hyde.
  • September 1: Houston traded DE Jadeveon Clowney to Seattle for a 2020 third round pick, DE Jacob Martin, and DE Barkevious Mingo.
  • September 2: Miami traded LB Kiko Alonso to New Orleans for LB Vince Biegel.
  • September 10: New England traded WR Demaryius Thomas to the New York Jets for a 2021 sixth-round selection.
  • September 16: Miami traded S Minkah Fitzpatrick and a 2020 fifth round pick and 2021 sixth round pick to Pittsburgh in exchange for their 2020 first and fifth round picks, and their 2021 sixth-round pick.
  • September 30: Philadelphia traded S Jonathan Cyprien and a 2020 seventh-round pick to Atlanta for LB Duke Riley and a 2020 sixth-round pick.
  • October 7: Buffalo traded WR Zay Jones to Oakland to for a 2021 fifth-round pick.
  • October 15: The Los Angeles Rams traded CB Marcus Peters to Baltimore for LB Kenny Young and a 2020 fifth-round pick.
  • October 15: The Los Angeles Rams traded a 2020 first-round pick, a 2021 first-round pick and a 2021 fourth-round pick to Jacksonville for CB Jalen Ramsey.
  • October 21: Oakland traded CB Gareon Conley to Houston for a 2020 third-round pick.
  • October 22: New England traded a 2020 second-round pick to Atlanta for WR Mohamed Sanu.
  • October 22: Denver traded WR Emmanuel Sanders and a 2020 fifth-round pick to San Francisco for a 2020 third-round pick and a 2020 fourth-round pick.
  • October 24: New England traded DE Michael Bennett to Dallas for a 2021 seventh-round pick that may turn into a sixth-round pick.
  • October 28: The New York Jets traded DL Leonard Williams to the New York Giants for a 2020 third-round pick and a condition 2021 fifth-round pick.
  • October 28: Cleveland traded DE Genard Avery to Philadelphia for 2021 fourth-round pick.
  • October 29: The Los Angeles Rams traded CB Aqib Talib and a 2020 fifth-round pick to Miami for a 2022 seventh-round pick.

Notable Retirements

The following list contains the most notable player retirements.

  • LB NaVorro Bowman - Three-time Pro Bowl and four-time 1st-Team All-Pro. Played for the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders in an eight-year career.
  • RB Jamaal Charles - Four-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro (two first team, one second team). Played for the Kansas City Chiefs, Denver Broncos and Jacksonville Jaguars in an 11-year career.
  • LB Derrick Johnson - Four-time Pro Bowl Selection and two-time All Pro (one first team, one second team). Played for the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders in a 14-year career.
  • TE Rob Gronkowski - Five-time Pro Bowler and three-time Super Bowl champion. Played for the New England Patriots for his entire nine-year career.
  • P Shane Lechler - Seven-time Pro Bowler and nine-time All-Pro (six first team, three second team). Played for the Raiders and Texans during his 18-year career.
  • QB Andrew Luck - Four-time Pro Bowler, first overall selection in the 2012 NFL Draft. Played his entire seven-year career with the Indianapolis Colts.
  • DT Haloti Ngata - Five-time Pro Bowler, five-time All-Pro (two first team, three second team) and Super Bowl XLVII champion. Played nine of his 13 years with the Ravens, with shorter stints with the Lions and Eagles.
  • LB Brian Orakpo - Four-time Pro Bowler. Played for the Redskins and Titans over a ten-year career.
  • DE Julius Peppers - Nine-time Pro Bowler and six-time All-Pro (three first team, three second team). Played for the Panthers, Bears and Packers during his 17-year career.
  • G Josh Sitton - Four-time Pro Bowler, three-time All-Pro (one first team, two second team) and Super Bowl XLV champion. Played for the Packers, Bears and Dolphins during his 11-year career.
  • DT Kyle Williams - Six-time Pro Bowler and two-time first-team All-Pro. Played for the Buffalo Bills for his entire 13-year career.

Officiating Changes

  • Walt Coleman III retired: With 30 seasons as an NFL official, Coleman was the longest-tenured. Former NFL Europe referee Adrian Hill, a longtime official in various positions, replaced Coleman.
  • Pete Morelli: Morelli retired after having spent 22 seasons as an NFL official. Scott Novak, one of the Big 12 Conference's most decorated referees, succeeded Morelli.
  • John Parry retired after being the referee in Super Bowl LIII to join the Monday Night Football booth as a rules analyst. He had spent 19 seasons as an official and 12 as a head referee. Brad Rogers, a field judge for the past two seasons who was previously a referee in Conference USA and the Southeastern Conference, succeeded Parry. Combined with the 2018 offseason retirements of Ed Hochuli, Terry McAulay, Gene Steratore and Jeff Triplette, the league was forced to replace seven of its 17 referee positions within a two-year period. In July 2019, the NFL announced that all of the league's officials would return to part-time status. For the previous two seasons, under a pilot program, a small number of NFL officials were classified as full-time employees of the NFL.

Rule Changes

The following rule changes were approved for the 2019 season at the NFL owners' meeting on March 26:

  • Make permanent the experimental kickoff rules from the 2018 season.
  • Abolish all blindside blocks anywhere on the field (personal foul, 15 yards).
  • As a one-year experiment, make the following plays reviewable, subject to coaches' challenges outside of the final 2:00 of each half, and subject to booth review after the two-minute warning of each half or entire overtime:
    • Pass interference, whether called or not (modified in June 2019)
    • Scoring plays and turnovers negated by penalties.
    • Any extra point or two-point conversion attempt.
  • Change how double fouls are enforced after a change in possession; the last team to possess retains the ball at the spot of enforcement. If the enforcement spot is after a touchback, the ball is placed at the 20-yard line (after punt or turnover) or 25-yard line (free kick). If the spot of enforcement is in the end zone, the ball is placed at the 1-yard line.
  • Make scrimmage kick rules apply if a missed field goal is touched in the end zone before hitting the ground, and if the ball is touched by either team behind the line of scrimmage.
  • Allow teams to enforce a personal foul or unsportsmanlike conduct penalty committed during a touchdown on either the try or on the ensuing kickoff. Previously, these fouls were required to be enforced on the ensuing kickoff.
  • Individuals not in uniform who enter the field to celebrate a play will draw an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty (15 yards, and automatic first down if on the defensive team).
  • Players who make any flagrant "football" play risk immediate disqualification. Previously, this was limited to players who make a flagrant "non-football" play.

An additional rule change was built upon a rule originally passed in 2018. The NFL limited helmets to a list of 34 league-approved models, up from the 23 originally approved in 2018. The grandfather clause allowing existing players to wear their previous non-approved helmets expired, and 32 players were required to change helmets. In May 2019, the NFL banned Oklahoma drills, "bull in the ring," and other high-contact drills from team practices. In June 2019, the league clarified the March 2019 temporary rule change regarding reviews of pass interference plays as follows:

  • The initial rule passed in March 2019 regarding review of pass interference stays.
  • A ruling will only be changed if there is clear and obvious evidence that pass interference did or did not occur (as is the standard for any other replay review).
  • All pass plays are subject to review for pass interference, including the "Hail Mary" play.

Midway through the season, another rule was introduced without explicit approval from the competition committee:

  • Drop kicks may no longer be used on kickoffs. This ruling came after the use of a drop kick in by the Baltimore Ravens against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Ravens received clearance to use the drop kick, but after the game, the league office claimed that the maneuver was illegal, without specifying what was illegal about it other than claiming that it had not been kicked immediately after hitting the ground (recorded video of the kick proved that it had indeed been kicked immediately after hitting the ground). The game officials allowed the kick to stand unpenalized during the game. This rule change also came after the Seattle Seahawks attempted several drop-kick kickoffs in 2018.

2019 Deaths

Members of the Pro Football Hall-of-Fame

Pat Bowlen
Bowlen owned the Denver Broncos since 1984. His Broncos won three Super Bowls during his tenure (XXXII, XXXIII and 50). He was inducted in 2019 but died from complications of Alzheimer's disease at the age of 75 on June 13, before the induction ceremonies. Under the terms of a succession plan, the team will be operated by a trust headed by longtime executive Joe Ellis until it can be determined which of Bowlen's five surviving children will inherit the team.
Willie Brown
Brown spent his first four seasons with the Denver Broncos (1963–1966) and his last twelve with Oakland Raiders (1967–1978), winning Super Bowl XI with the Raiders. Brown was also a nine-time Pro Bowler and was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1984. He died on October 22 at the age of 78.
Nick Buoniconti
Buoniconti, inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2001, was an eight-time Pro Bowl linebacker who played seven seasons with the Boston Patriots from 1962–1968 and seven more with the Miami Dolphins from 1969–1974 and 1976. He won two Super Bowls with the Dolphins in 1972 and 1973. Buoniconti died on July 30 at the age of 78.
Forrest Gregg
Gregg, a guard, spent all but the final season of his playing career with the Green Bay Packers, a member of the Packers' 1960s dynasty. In his final year, he helped the Dallas Cowboys team win Super Bowl VI. Gregg was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1977, his first year of eligibility. He also had a less illustrious coaching career in the NFL, college football and the Canadian Football League in the late 1970s, 1980s and into the 1990s, most successfully leading the 1981 Cincinnati Bengals to an AFC championship and a loss in Super Bowl XVI to the San Francisco 49ers. Gregg died on April 12 at the age of 85.
Jim Langer
Langer, who played center for 11 NFL seasons, nine with the Miami Dolphins alongside Buoniconti (with the team earning its perfect season during his rookie year) and two with the Minnesota Vikings, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1987. He died on August 29 at the age of 71.
Gino Marchetti
Marchetti was a defensive end who played 14 seasons in the NFL, 13 with the Baltimore Colts. Marchetti won two NFL championships, was selected to 11 Pro Bowls and made earned first-team All-Pro designations with the Colts. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1972. Marchetti died on April 29 at the age of 93.
Bart Starr
Starr played quarterback for the Green Bay Packers during his entire 16-year career (1956-1971) and was the team's undisputed starter for the last 12 of those seasons. He was the Packers' starting quarterback for all five of the NFL championships the team won in the 1960s and was the Most Valuable Player of the first two World Championship Games. He also had a nine-season run as the Packers' head coach from 1975-1983, but only two of the nine were winning seasons (one of those, 1982, was shortened by a strike, and was also Starr's only playoff appearance as a coach). Starr was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1977. He died on May 26 at the age of 85.

Team Owners

Bill Bidwill
Bidwill was the owner of the Arizona Cardinals since the 1960s. He died on October 2 at the age of 88. The Bidwill family has been associated with the Cardinals since Bidwill's father Charles bought the team in 1933. His son Michael is expected to succeed his father as team owner.
Barron Hilton
Hilton was the original owner of the Los Angeles Chargers from 1960-1966. He was the last living member of the original Foolish Club, the group of owners who established the American Football League (Hilton divested in 1966; second- and third-generation heirs of two members, Kenneth S. Adams, Jr. (daughters and grandsons) and Lamar Hunt (son), continue to operate their clubs).
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