|Duration||September 12, 1999 – January 3, 2000|
|Start date||January 8, 2000|
|AFC Champions||Tennessee Titans|
|NFC Champions||St. Louis Rams|
|Super Bowl XXXIV|
|Date||January 30, 2000|
|Site||Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Georgia|
|Champions||St. Louis Rams|
|Date||February 6, 2000|
The 1999 NFL season was the 80th regular season of the National Football League. The Cleveland Browns returned to the field for the first time since the 1995 season, while the Tennessee Oilers changed their name to "Tennessee Titans," with the league retiring the name "Oilers."
The return of the Browns increased the number of teams to 31, the first time the league had played with an odd number of teams since 1966. As per the league's agreement with the City of Cleveland, the Browns were placed in the AFC Central, increasing that division to six teams. This also required the NFL to give at least one team a bye each week; previously, barring extreme circumstances, a club never received a bye during the first two weeks or last seven weeks of the season. Under the new system, for ten weeks of the season (Week #1, Week #2 and Week #10 to Week #17), one team received a bye, and for seven weeks of the season (Week #3 to Week #9), three teams received a bye. This format would continue until the Houston Texans joined the NFL in 2002, returning the league to an even number of teams.
The start of the 1999 NFL Season was pushed back one week and started the weekend after Labor Day, a change from the previous seasons: due to the Y2K concerns, the NFL did not want to hold the opening round of the playoffs on Saturday January 1, 2000, and did not want teams traveling on that day. This was also done to avoid competing against college football's New Years Day bowl games.
Week 17 games were held on January 2, 2000, and the opening round of the playoffs would be scheduled for January 8 and 9, with the bye week before the Super Bowl removed to accommodate the one-week adjustment. The start of the season after Labor Day would become a regular fixture for future seasons, beginning in 2001.
The final spot in the NFC playoffs came down to an exciting final day of the season. The Green Bay Packers and Carolina Panthers were both at 7–8, tied for the last spot in the playoffs with the Dallas Cowboys and tied in other tiebreakers. The Packers/Panthers tie would be broken by best net point differential in conference games. With both the Packers and Panthers playing at 1:00 PM Eastern on January 2, the two teams tried to outscore the other. The Packers beat the Arizona Cardinals 49–24, and the Panthers beat the New Orleans Saints 45–13, with the result that the Packers finished ahead of the Panthers by 11 points. Nevertheless, Dallas defeated the New York Giants later that night to claim the final playoff spot.
The St. Louis Rams, who had had losing records for each of the past nine seasons dating back to their first tenure in Los Angeles (and had finished in last place in their division the previous season), surprised the entire league by making a Super Bowl run, as seven point favorites, by defeating the Tennessee Titans 23–16 in Super Bowl XXXIV at the Georgia Dome.
The 1999 NFL Draft was held from April 17 to 18, 1999 at New York City's Theater at Madison Square Garden. With the first pick, the Cleveland Browns selected quarterback Tim Couch from the University of Kentucky.
Held on February 9, 1999, 150 players were left unprotected by their teams for the Browns to select in the 1999 NFL expansion draft. With the first overall pick, the Browns selected Center Jim Pyne from the Detroit Lions.
Jerry Markbreit retired prior to the 1999 season. He joined the NFL in 1976 as a line judge before being promoted to the referee in just his second year. To date, he is the only NFL referee to officiate four Super Bowl games: Super Bowl XVII, Super Bowl XXI, Super Bowl XXVI, and Super Bowl XXIX. Jeff Triplette was promoted to referee to replace Markbreit.
The league also added the following then-minor rule change that became significant in the playoffs a few years later:
This new interpretation of a forward pass would later be commonly known as the “Tuck Rule”, and was repealed in 2013.
Highlights of the 1999 season included:
Main article: 1999–2000 NFL playoffs
|Jan 8 – FedExField||Jan 15 – Raymond James Stadium|
|3||Washington||27||Jan 23 – Trans World Dome|
|Jan 9 – Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome||2||Tampa Bay||6|
|Jan 16 – Trans World Dome|
|4||Minnesota||27||Jan 30 – Georgia Dome|
|Wild Card playoffs|
|Jan 8 – Adelphia Coliseum||N1||St. Louis||23|
|Jan 16 – RCA Dome|
|5||Buffalo||16||Super Bowl XXXIV|
|4||Tennessee||22||Jan 23 – Alltel Stadium|
|Jan 9 – Kingdome||4||Tennessee||33|
|Jan 15 – Alltel Stadium|
|Points scored||St. Louis Rams (526)|
|Total yards gained||St. Louis Rams (6,412)|
|Yards rushing||San Francisco 49ers (2,095)|
|Yards passing||St. Louis Rams (4,353)|
|Fewest points allowed||Jacksonville Jaguars (217)|
|Fewest total yards allowed||Buffalo Bills (4,045)|
|Fewest rushing yards allowed||St. Louis Rams (1,189)|
|Fewest passing yards allowed||Buffalo Bills (2,675)|
|Scoring||Mike Vanderjagt, Indianapolis (145 points)|
|Touchdowns||Stephen Davis, Washington and Edgerrin James, Indianapolis (17 TDs)|
|Most field goals made||Olindo Mare, Miami (39 FGs)|
|Rushing||Edgerrin James, Indianapolis (1,553 yards)|
|Passing||Kurt Warner, St. Louis (109.2 rating)|
|Passing touchdowns||Kurt Warner, St. Louis (41 TDs)|
|Pass receiving||Jimmy Smith, Jacksonville (116 catches)|
|Pass receiving yards||Marvin Harrison, Indianapolis (1,663)|
|Punt returns||Charlie Rogers, Seattle (14.5 average yards)|
|Kickoff returns||Tony Horne, St. Louis (29.7 average yards)|
|Interceptions||Rod Woodson, Baltimore; Sam Madison, Miami; James Hasty, Kansas City; Donnie Abraham, Tampa Bay; and Troy Vincent, Philadelphia (7)|
|Punting||Tom Rouen, Denver (46.5 average yards)|
|Sacks||Kevin Carter, St. Louis (17)|
|Most Valuable Player||Kurt Warner, quarterback, St. Louis|
|Coach of the Year||Dick Vermeil, St. Louis|
|Offensive Player of the Year||Marshall Faulk, running back, St. Louis|
|Defensive Player of the Year||Warren Sapp, defensive tackle, Tampa Bay|
|Offensive Rookie of the Year||Edgerrin James, running back, Indianapolis|
|Defensive Rookie of the Year||Jevon Kearse, defensive end, Tennessee|
|NFL Comeback Player of the Year||Bryant Young, defensive tackle, San Francisco|
|Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year||Cris Carter, wide receiver, Minnesota|
|Super Bowl Most Valuable Player||Kurt Warner, quarterback, St. Louis|
This was the second year under the league's eight-year broadcast contracts with ABC, CBS, Fox, and ESPN to televise Monday Night Football, the AFC package, the NFC package, and Sunday Night Football, respectively.
Dan Dierdorf left ABC to return to CBS, joining Verne Lundquist on the latter network's #2 crew. Dierdorf replaced Randy Cross, who then became part of an overhauled talent lineup on The NFL Today: Jim Nantz remained as host, but Marcus Allen, Brent Jones, and George Seifert were replaced by Cross, Craig James, and Jerry Glanville. ABC decided to leave Al Michaels and Boomer Esiason in a two-man booth. ABC also dropped Frank Gifford's segments from its MNF pregame show, letting Chris Berman to host the entire 20 minutes.