1999 National Football League season
Regular season
DurationSeptember 12, 1999 – January 3, 2000
Start dateJanuary 8, 2000
AFC ChampionsTennessee Titans
NFC ChampionsSt. Louis Rams
Super Bowl XXXIV
DateJanuary 30, 2000
SiteGeorgia Dome, Atlanta, Georgia
ChampionsSt. Louis Rams
Pro Bowl
DateFebruary 6, 2000
SiteAloha Stadium
Photo of the Green Bay vs. Denver preseason game at Camp Randall Stadium on August 23, 1999
Photo of the Green Bay vs. Denver preseason game at Camp Randall Stadium on August 23, 1999

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. This 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 a 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 have 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, 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.

Expansion Draft

Held on February 9, 1999, 150 players were left unprotected by their teams for the Browns to select in the 1999 NFL expansion draft.[2][3] With the first overall pick, the Browns selected Center Jim Pyne from the Detroit Lions.

Referee changes

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.

Major rule changes

The league also added the following then-minor rule change that became significant in the playoffs a few years later:

When a Team A player is holding the ball to pass it forward, any intentional forward movement of his hand starts a forward pass, even if the player loses possession of the ball as he is attempting to tuck it back toward his body. Also, if the player has tucked the ball into his body and then loses possession, it is a fumble.[4]

This new interpretation of a forward pass would later be commonly known as the “Tuck Rule”, and was repealed in 2013.

1999 deaths

Pro Football Hall of Fame

Regular season

Scheduling formula

AFC East vs NFC East
AFC Central vs NFC West
AFC West vs NFC Central

Highlights of the 1999 season included:



Main article: 1999–2000 NFL playoffs

Jan 8 – FedExField Jan 15 – Raymond James Stadium
6 Detroit 13
3 Washington 13
3 Washington 27 Jan 23 – Trans World Dome
2 Tampa Bay 14
Jan 9 – Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome 2 Tampa Bay 6
Jan 16 – Trans World Dome
1 St. Louis 11
5 Dallas 10 NFC Championship
4 Minnesota 37
4 Minnesota 27 Jan 30 – Georgia Dome
1 St. Louis 49
Wild Card playoffs
Divisional playoffs
Jan 8Adelphia Coliseum N1 St. Louis 23
Jan 16 – RCA Dome
A4 Tennessee 16
5 Buffalo 16 Super Bowl XXXIV
4 Tennessee 19
4 Tennessee 22 Jan 23 – Alltel Stadium
2 Indianapolis 16
Jan 9 – Kingdome 4 Tennessee 33
Jan 15 – Alltel Stadium
1 Jacksonville 14
6 Miami 20 AFC Championship
6 Miami 7
3 Seattle 17
1 Jacksonville 62

Statistical leaders


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

Coaching changes

Stadium changes

New uniforms


  1. ^ [ "The Cheap Seats: Finally, Sanders Speaks"] "The Cheap Seats: Finally, Sanders Speaks". Archived from the original on October 16, 2007. Retrieved March 23, 2008., December 3, 2003
  2. ^ Pennington, Bill (January 16, 1999). "N.F.L. Roundup—Expansion Draft; 130 Veteran Faces For the Browns". The New York Times. Retrieved October 4, 2008.
  3. ^ http://www.jt-sw.com/football/pro/index.nsf/Documents/1999-draft-exp
  4. ^ Official Rules of the NFL, Rule 3, Section 21, Article 2, Note 2
  5. ^ Litsky, Frank (November 2, 1999). "Walter Payton, Extraordinary Running Back for Chicago Bears, Dies at 45". The New York Times.