2007 NFL season
Regular season
DurationSeptember 6 – December 30, 2007
Start dateJanuary 5, 2008
AFC ChampionsNew England Patriots
NFC ChampionsNew York Giants
Super Bowl XLII
DateFebruary 3, 2008
SiteUniversity of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona
ChampionsNew York Giants
Pro Bowl
DateFebruary 10, 2008
SiteAloha Stadium
2007 NFL season is located in the United States
AFC teams: West, North, South, East
2007 NFL season is located in the United States
NFC teams: West, North, South, East

The 2007 NFL season was the 88th regular season of the National Football League (NFL).

Regular-season play was held from September 6 to December 30. The campaign kicked off with the defending Super Bowl XLI champion Indianapolis Colts defeating the New Orleans Saints in the NFL Kickoff Game.

The New England Patriots became the first team to complete the regular season undefeated since the league expanded to a 16-game regular season in 1978. Four weeks after the playoffs began on January 5, 2008, the Patriots' bid for a perfect season was dashed when they lost to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII, the league championship game at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, on February 3.

For the first time, two divisions (the NFC East and the AFC South) had no team finish with a losing record.[note 1]


The 2007 NFL Draft was held from April 28 to 29, 2007 at New York City's Radio City Music Hall. With the first pick, the Oakland Raiders selected quarterback JaMarcus Russell from Louisiana State University.

New referee

John Parry was promoted to referee, replacing Bill Vinovich, who was forced to resign due to a heart condition. Vinovich would then serve as a replay official from 2007 to 2011. He would later be given a clean bill of health and return to the field as a referee in 2012.

Rule changes

The following rule changes were passed at the league's annual owners meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, during the week of March 25–28:


The Hall of Fame Game was played in Canton, Ohio, on Sunday August 5, 2007, with the Pittsburgh Steelers defeating the Saints by a score of 20–7;[6] the game was televised by the NFL Network, replacing NBC, who had been previously scheduled to broadcast the China Bowl exhibition game from Beijing, China on August 8, 2007, between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks at Workers Stadium. However, with all efforts being put into the London regular season game, plans for the game were postponed (then later cancelled completely) as Beijing hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Regular season

Adrian Peterson of Minnesota rushes against San Diego in week 9, on his way to a record 296 rushing yards in a game

Schedule formula

Based on the NFL's scheduling formula, the intraconference and interconference matchups for 2007 were:[7]



Opening weekend

On March 26, 2007, the league announced the opening Saints–Colts Kickoff Game on September 6 that would be telecast on NBC. Pre-game activities featured Indiana native John Mellencamp, Billy Joel, and Kelly Clarkson. The entertainment portion of events started 30 minutes earlier than the scheduled start time of the game, leading up to the unveiling of the Colts' Super Bowl XLI championship banner. The opening events were simulcast on NFL Network.

The Dallas Cowboys hosted the New York Giants in the first Sunday night game September 9 at 8:15 p.m. US EDT. Monday Night Football on ESPN kicked off with a doubleheader on September 10 with the Cincinnati Bengals hosting the Baltimore Ravens at 7:00 p.m. US EDT, and the San Francisco 49ers hosting the Arizona Cardinals at 10:15 p.m. US EDT. The 49ers paid tribute to three-time Super Bowl winning head coach Bill Walsh, who died July 30, in that game.

Going global

In October 2006, NFL club owners approved a plan to stage up to two international regular season games per season beginning in 2007 and continuing through at least 2011.[8] On February 2, 2007, the league announced that the Week 8 contest between the New York Giants and the Miami Dolphins would be played at Wembley Stadium in London on October 28 at 5 p.m. GMT, which was 1 p.m. EDT.[9][10] As the Giants were the away-team designate from the NFC, Fox broadcast the game in the United States according to league broadcast contract rules.[11]

"Super Bowl 4112"

In Week 9, the New England Patriots (8–0) faced the Indianapolis Colts (7–0) in a battle of undefeated teams. Thus there was a lot of hype surrounding the game, also due to the fact that these teams had met in the previous season's AFC Championship game, and would possibly meet later in the 2007 AFC Championship game. Many people dubbed the game "Super Bowl 4112".[12] The Patriots prevailed 24–20,[13] and would finish the regular season as the league's first 16–0 team.


For the second year in a row, three games were held on the United States' Thanksgiving Day (November 22). In addition to the traditional games hosted by the Detroit Lions and Cowboys (with those teams respectively playing the Green Bay Packers and the New York Jets, with the Packers–Lions game starting at 12:30 p.m. US EST and the Jets–Cowboys game kicking off at 4:15 p.m. US EST respectively), the Colts faced the Atlanta Falcons in the Georgia Dome, with kickoff at 8:15 p.m. US EST.

Flex scheduling

The NFL entered its second year of flexible scheduling in the final weeks of the season. In each of the Sunday night contests from Weeks 11 through 17, NBC had the option of switching its Sunday night game for a more favorable contest, up to 12 days before the game's start.[14]

Philadelphia playing at Dallas on December 16 – Donovan McNabb calls a play to Matt Schobel

In addition to an extra week of flexible scheduling (because of the conflict with scheduling Christmas Eve the previous season, which NBC did not do (instead opting to air a game on Christmas Day), the NFL slightly changed its flex-schedule procedure. In 2006, the league did not reveal its predetermined Sunday night game; the reason given by the league was to avoid embarrassing the teams switched out for a more compelling game.[15] In 2007, the league announced all predetermined matchups, with a footnote on the games subject to flex scheduling.[16] Also, the network that carries the "doubleheader" week game (either CBS or Fox) will be able to switch one game per week into the 4:15 pm (US ET) time slot, except in the final week, when NBC will select one game for the 8:15 pm slot, and both CBS and Fox will have doubleheader games on December 30.

Week 11:

Week 12: The Denver–Chicago game, originally scheduled for 1:00 p.m. ET, was flexed to 4:15 p.m. ET on CBS.

Week 13: The Tampa BayNew Orleans game, originally scheduled for 1:00 p.m. ET, was flexed to 4:15 p.m. ET on Fox.

Week 14: The Pittsburgh–New England game, originally scheduled for 1:00 p.m. ET, was flexed to 4:15 p.m. ET on CBS.

Week 16:

Week 17:

Regular season standings




Main article: 2007–08 NFL playoffs

Within each conference, the four division winners and the top two non-division winners with the best overall regular season records) qualified for the playoffs. The four division winners are seeded 1–4 based on their overall won-lost-tied record, and the wild card teams are seeded 5–6. The NFL does not use a fixed bracket playoff system, and there are no restrictions regarding teams from the same division matching up in any round. In the first round, dubbed the wild-card playoffs or wild-card weekend, the third-seeded division winner hosts the sixth-seed wild card, and the fourth seed hosts the fifth. The 1 and 2 seeds from each conference received a first-round bye. In the second round, the divisional playoffs, the number 1 seed hosts the worst-surviving seed from the first round (seed 4, 5, or 6), while the number 2 seed will play the other team (seed 3, 4, or 5). The two surviving teams from each conference's divisional playoff games met in the respective AFC and NFC Conference Championship games, hosted by the higher seed. Although the Super Bowl, the championship round of the playoffs, is played at a neutral site, the designated home team is based on an annual rotation by conference.[18]

Playoff seeds
1 New England Patriots (East winner) Dallas Cowboys (East winner)
2 Indianapolis Colts (South winner) Green Bay Packers (North winner)
3 San Diego Chargers (West winner) Seattle Seahawks (West winner)
4 Pittsburgh Steelers (North winner) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (South winner)
5 Jacksonville Jaguars (wild card) New York Giants (wild card)
6 Tennessee Titans (wild card) Washington Redskins (wild card)


Jan 6 – Raymond James Stadium Jan 13 – Texas Stadium
5 NY Giants 24
5 NY Giants 21
4 Tampa Bay 14 Jan 20 – Lambeau Field
1 Dallas 17
Jan 5 – Qwest Field 5 NY Giants 23*
Jan 12 – Lambeau Field
2 Green Bay 20
6 Washington 14 NFC Championship
3 Seattle 20
3 Seattle 35 Feb 3 – University of Phoenix Stadium
2 Green Bay 42
Wild Card playoffs
Divisional playoffs
Jan 6 – Qualcomm Stadium N5 NY Giants 17
Jan 13 – RCA Dome
A1 New England 14
6 Tennessee 6 Super Bowl XLII
3 San Diego 28
3 San Diego 17 Jan 20 – Gillette Stadium
2 Indianapolis 24
Jan 5 – Heinz Field 3 San Diego 12
Jan 12 – Gillette Stadium
1 New England 21
5 Jacksonville 31 AFC Championship
5 Jacksonville 20
4 Pittsburgh 29
1 New England 31

* Indicates OT victory


Pro Football Hall of Fame members

Jim Ringo
Ringo played 16 seasons in the NFL as a center with the Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1981. He was a 10-time Pro Bowler, 9-time All-Pro selection, and 2-time NFL Champion. He died on November 19, age 75.

Active personnel


Player conduct off the field

Further information: NFL player conduct policy

The NFLPA, then led by their president Gene Upshaw and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, worked with player conduct in the form of suspensions for off the field conduct in light of the more than fifty arrests by local law enforcement since the start of the 2006 season. The hardest hit came on April 10 when Adam "Pacman" Jones of the Tennessee Titans was suspended for the entire season for his five arrests, the most blatant while in Las Vegas for the NBA All-Star Weekend in February where he was accused of causing a riot/shooting in a strip club. That same day, Chris Henry of the Cincinnati Bengals was suspended for the first eight games of the season for his run-ins with the legal system. The other big name that has been caught in the web of controversy was Falcons' quarterback Michael Vick. Vick was charged on July 24, 2007, with dogfighting and animal abuse, and was suspended following a guilty plea in the case, on which he was sentenced to 23 months in prison (retroactive to November) and three years probation on December 10.[21]


Main article: Spygate (NFL)

During the Patriots season opening game at The Meadowlands against the Jets, a Patriots camera staffer was ejected from the Patriots sideline and was accused of videotaping the Jets' defensive coaches relaying signals. The end result was that the team was fined $250,000, head coach Bill Belichick was docked $500,000 (the maximum fine that could be imposed) and also stripped of their first round selection of the 2008 NFL Draft. If the Patriots had failed to make the playoffs, the penalty would have been their second and third round picks. The team was allowed to keep their other first-round pick acquired from the San Francisco 49ers during the previous year's selection meeting.

Other events


The following teams and players set all-time NFL records during the regular season:

Record Player/team Date broken/opponent Previous record holder[23]
Longest kickoff return Ellis Hobbs, New England (108 yards)[a] September 9, at N.Y. Jets Tied by 3 players (106)
Most regular-season wins by a quarterback, career Brett Favre, Green Bay (160) September 16, at N.Y. Giants John Elway, 1983–1998 (148)
Most touchdown passes, career Brett Favre, Green Bay (442) September 30, at Minnesota Dan Marino, 1983–1999 (420)
Most pass attempts, career Brett Favre, Green Bay (8,758) September 30, at Minnesota Dan Marino, 1983–1999
Most Points Scored by a Team, Fourth quarter Detroit Lions (34) September 30, vs. Chicago Tied by 3 teams (31)
Most consecutive games with a 20-point margin of victory, to start season New England Patriots (4) October 1, vs. Cincinnati 1920 Buffalo All-Americans (4, including semi-pro teams)
Most touchdown catches by a tight end, career Tony Gonzalez, Kansas City (66) October 14, vs. Cincinnati Shannon Sharpe, 1990–2003 (62)
Most passes had intercepted, career Brett Favre, Green Bay (288) October 14, vs. Washington George Blanda, 1949–1975 (277)
Most field goals, game Rob Bironas, Tennessee (8) October 21, at Houston Tied by 4 players (7)
Most consecutive seasons in one stadium Lambeau Field,
Green Bay Packers
2007 marks 51st season. Wrigley Field, Chicago Bears (50 years, 1921–1970)
Longest return of a missed field goal/
longest play in NFL history
Antonio Cromartie, San Diego (109 yards)[24] November 4, at Minnesota Tied by 3 players (108 yards)[a]
Most rushing yards, game Adrian Peterson, Minnesota (296) November 4, vs. San Diego Jamal Lewis, 2003 (295)
Most consecutive games with three touchdown passes Tom Brady, New England (10 games)[25] November 4, at Indianapolis Peyton Manning (8 games)
Most games with Three Touchdown Passes, career Brett Favre, Green Bay (63) November 22, at Detroit Dan Marino, 1983–1999 (62)
Most Yards Passing, career Brett Favre, Green Bay (61,655) December 16, at St. Louis Dan Marino, 1983–1999 (61,361)
Consecutive 12+ win seasons 2003–2010 Indianapolis (5)[26] December 16, at Oakland 1992–1995 Dallas (4)
Most touchdowns scored, season New England Patriots (75) December 23, vs. Miami Miami Dolphins, 1984 (69)
Most Points After Touchdown Kicked, season/
Most Point After Touchdown Attempts, season
Stephen Gostkowski, New England (74/74) December 16, vs. N.Y. Jets/
December 23, vs. Miami
Uwe von Schamann, 1984 (66 PATs) /
Uwe von Schamann, 1984 (70 attempts)
Most Points, season New England Patriots (589) December 29, at N.Y. Giants Minnesota, 1998 (556)
Most touchdown passes, season Tom Brady, New England (50) December 29, at N.Y. Giants Peyton Manning, Indianapolis, 2004 (49)
Most receiving touchdowns, season Randy Moss, New England (23) December 29, at N.Y. Giants Jerry Rice, San Francisco, 1987 (22)
Most Points After Touchdown, No Misses, season Stephen Gostkowski, New England (74/74) December 29, at N.Y. Giants Jeff Wilkins, St. Louis, 1999 (64/64)
Most Games Won, season New England (16) December 29, at N.Y. Giants Tied by 4 teams (15)
Most consecutive games won, Start of Season/
Most consecutive games Without Defeat, Start of Season
New England (16) December 29, at N.Y. Giants Miami, 1972 (14)
Most consecutive games won, End of Season/
Most consecutive games Without Defeat, End of Season
New England (16) December 29, at N.Y. Giants Tied by 2 teams (14)
Most consecutive regular-season games won New England, 2006–07 (19) December 29, at N.Y. Giants New England, 2003–04 (18)
Most kick returns for a touchdown, season Devin Hester, Chicago (6: 4 punts and 2 kickoffs)[27] December 30, vs. New Orleans Devin Hester, 2006 (5: 3 punts and 2 kickoffs)
Most passes completed, season Drew Brees, New Orleans (443) December 30, at Chicago Rich Gannon, Oakland, 2002 (418)
Most Receptions by a Tight End, career Tony Gonzalez, Kansas City (816) December 30, at N.Y. Jets Shannon Sharpe, 1990–2003 (815)
a Hobbs' kickoff return was also, at the time, tied for the longest play in NFL history until Antonio Cromartie broke the record.

Regular season statistical leaders

Points scored New England Patriots (589)
Total yards gained New England Patriots (6,580)
Yards rushing Minnesota Vikings (2,634)
Yards passing New England Patriots (4,731)
Fewest points allowed Indianapolis Colts (262)
Fewest total yards allowed Pittsburgh Steelers (4,262)
Fewest rushing yards allowed Minnesota Vikings (1,185)
Fewest passing yards allowed Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2,728)
Scoring Mason Crosby, Green Bay (141 points)
Touchdowns Randy Moss, New England (23 TDs)
Most field goals made Rob Bironas, Tennessee (35 FGs)
Rushing yards LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego (1,474 yards)
Rushing touchdowns LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego (15 TDs)
Passer rating Tom Brady, New England (117.2 rating)
Passing touchdowns Tom Brady, New England (50 TDs)
Passing yards Tom Brady, New England (4,806 yards)
Receptions T. J. Houshmandzadeh, Cincinnati and Wes Welker, New England (112 catches)
Receiving yards Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis (1,510 yards)
Receiving touchdowns Randy Moss, New England (23 TDs)
Punt returns Devin Hester, Chicago (42 for 651 yards, 15.5 average yards)
Kickoff returns Josh Cribbs, Cleveland (59 for 1,809 yards, 30.7 average yards)
Tackles Patrick Willis, San Francisco (136)
Interceptions Antonio Cromartie, San Diego (10)
Punting Shane Lechler, Oakland (73 for 3,585 yards, 49.1 average yards)
Sacks Jared Allen, Kansas City (15.5)


Most Valuable Player Tom Brady, New England Patriots[28]
Coach of the Year Bill Belichick, New England Patriots[29]
Offensive Player of the Year Tom Brady, New England Patriots[30]
Defensive Player of the Year Bob Sanders, safety, Indianapolis Colts[31]
Offensive Rookie of the Year Adrian Peterson, running back, Minnesota Vikings[32]
Defensive Rookie of the Year Patrick Willis, linebacker, San Francisco 49ers[33]
NFL Comeback Player of the Year Greg Ellis, Dallas Cowboys[34]
Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Jason Taylor, defensive end, Miami Dolphins
Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Award Eli Manning, quarterback, New York Giants

All-Pro Team
Quarterback Tom Brady, New England
Brett Favre, Green Bay
Running back LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego
Brian Westbrook, Philadelphia
Fullback Lorenzo Neal, San Diego
Wide receiver Randy Moss, New England
Terrell Owens, Dallas
Tight end Jason Witten, Dallas
Offensive tackle Matt Light, New England
Walter Jones, Seattle
Offensive guard Steve Hutchinson, Minnesota
Alan Faneca, Pittsburgh
Center Jeff Saturday, Indianapolis
Defensive end Patrick Kerney, Seattle
Jared Allen, Kansas City
Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, Tennessee
Kevin Williams, Minnesota
Outside linebacker Mike Vrabel, New England
DeMarcus Ware, Dallas
Inside linebacker Lofa Tatupu, Seattle
Patrick Willis, San Francisco
Cornerback Asante Samuel, New England
Antonio Cromartie, San Diego
Safety Bob Sanders, Indianapolis
Ed Reed, Baltimore
Special teams
Kicker Rob Bironas, Tennessee
Punter Andy Lee, San Francisco
Kick returner Devin Hester, Chicago

Team superlatives





Player of the Week/Month
Player of the Week/Month
Special Teams
Player of the Week/Month
1 Chris Brown
Tony Romo
Mario Williams
Dewayne White
Ellis Hobbs
Mason Crosby
2 Derek Anderson
Brett Favre
Bob Sanders
Barrett Ruud
Jason Elam
Devin Hester
3 Tom Brady
Brian Westbrook
Keith Bulluck
Anthony Henry
Yamon Figurs
Lance Laury
4 Daunte Culpepper
Brett Favre
Jabari Greer
Osi Umenyiora
Dave Rayner
Steve Breaston
5 Philip Rivers
Jason Campbell
Ike Taylor
Roderick Hood
Kris Brown
Nick Folk
6 Tom Brady
Adrian Peterson
Paul Spicer
Charles Woodson
Matt Stover
Devin Hester
7 Tom Brady
Brian Griese
Dwight Freeney
Osi Umenyiora
Rob Bironas
Nate Burleson
8 Joseph Addai
Drew Brees
Mike Vrabel
Trent Cole
Mike Scifres
Jason Hanson
9 Randy Moss
Adrian Peterson
James Harrison
Shaun Rogers
Antonio Cromartie
Shaun Suisham
10 Ben Roethlisberger
Marc Bulger
Antonio Cromartie
Karlos Dansby
Darren Sproles
Morten Anderson
11 Randy Moss
Terrell Owens
Shaun Ellis
Antrel Rolle
Glenn Martinez
Tramon Williams
12 Chad Johnson
Frank Gore
Asante Samuel
Dwight Smith
Josh Scobee
Devin Hester
13 Peyton Manning
Tony Romo
Shawne Merriman
Lofa Tatupu
Rian Lindell
Aundrae Allison

Coaching changes

The following teams hired new head coaches prior to the start of the 2007 season:

Team 2007 Coach Former Coach Reason for leaving Notes
Atlanta Falcons Bobby Petrino, former head coach, University of Louisville Jim Mora Fired Hired in 2004 and subsequently led the Falcons to the NFC Championship Game. However, Atlanta went 8–8 in 2005 before going 7–9 in 2006, losing their final three games.
Arizona Cardinals Ken Whisenhunt, former offensive coordinator, Pittsburgh Steelers Dennis Green Fired Hired in 2004. However, the Cardinals suffered three consecutive losing seasons under him, including a loss to the Chicago Bears after blowing a 20-point lead that prompted Green to throw an infamous tirade during the post-game media conference saying, "They are who we thought they were, and we let em' off the hook!"
Dallas Cowboys Wade Phillips, former defensive coordinator, San Diego Chargers Bill Parcells Retired Hired in 2003. Led the Cowboys to the playoffs in two of his four seasons as Dallas head coach.
Miami Dolphins Cam Cameron, former offensive coordinator, San Diego Chargers Nick Saban Resigned to coach the University of Alabama Hired in 2005 and finished the year 9–7, narrowly missing the playoffs. Went 6–10 in 2006, first losing record as a head coach.
Oakland Raiders Lane Kiffin, former offensive coordinator, Southern California Art Shell Fired Re-hired in 2006 after having previously served as Raiders head coach, 1989–94. However, in his only season back, the team finished with its worst record, 2–14, since 1963.
Pittsburgh Steelers Mike Tomlin, former defensive coordinator, Minnesota Vikings Bill Cowher Resigned Hired in 1992 and led the Steelers to an appearance in Super Bowl XXX and a victory in Super Bowl XL, resigning and eventually retiring to become an analyst for the NFL on CBS.
San Diego Chargers Norv Turner, former offensive coordinator, San Francisco 49ers Marty Schottenheimer Fired Hired in 2002. Led the Chargers to two playoff appearances, but a strained relationship with general manager A.J. Smith led to his ousting.

The following head coaches were fired or resigned during the 2007 season:

Team Coach at start of the season Interim coach Reason for leaving Notes
Atlanta Falcons Bobby Petrino Emmitt Thomas Resigned Petrino resigned after going 3–10 to take job at University of Arkansas; Thomas took over and went 1–2 as interim coach.


The 2007 season was the last in the RCA Dome for the Indianapolis Colts, who had played there since 1984. The franchise moved to the new Lucas Oil Stadium in time for the 2008 season, located directly across the street. The dome would be demolished, and an extension to the Indiana Convention Center would replace the stadium.

Alltel Stadium reverts to Jacksonville Municipal Stadium after Alltel declines to renew the naming rights of the Jacksonville Jaguars's home.

Uniforms and patches


Further information: NFL on television

The 2007 season marked the second year under the league's television contracts with its American broadcast partners. CBS and Fox primarily televised Sunday afternoon AFC and NFC away games, respectively. NBC broadcast Sunday Night Football, ESPN aired Monday Night Football, and NFL Network held the rights to Thursday Night Football.

The pre-game shows made some changes, with former Steelers coach Bill Cowher joining host James Brown, Boomer Esiason, Shannon Sharpe and Dan Marino on CBS' The NFL Today. On Fox, after one season on the road, Fox NFL Sunday returned to Los Angeles as Curt Menefee took over as full-time host. Chris Rose, who had been doing in-game updates of other NFL games, was reverted to a part-time play-by-play role.

New England takes on San Diego in the AFC Championship Game

The biggest changes were at NBC and ESPN. Michael Irvin's contract with ESPN was not renewed, and former coach Bill Parcells returned to the network after four years as Cowboys head coach. Parcells left before the season ended to become the Miami Dolphins VP of Player Personnel. Another pair of former Cowboys, Emmitt Smith and Keyshawn Johnson also provided roles in the studio for Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown. At Monday Night Football, Joe Theismann was dropped (and would later resign from the network) after seventeen years in the booth between the Sunday and Monday Night packages, and former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback and current Philadelphia Soul (AFL) president Ron Jaworski took his place alongside Mike Tirico and Tony Kornheiser. Part of the reason that Jaworski replaced Theismann was because of his chemistry with Kornheiser on Pardon the Interruption, where Jaworski was a frequent guest during the football season.

NBC's Football Night in America also made two changes. MSNBC Countdown anchor Keith Olbermann joined Bob Costas and Cris Collinsworth as another co-host, while Sterling Sharpe exited as a studio analyst, and former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber replaced him. In another change, Faith Hill took over singing "Waiting All Day For Sunday Night" for Pink.

In the second year of the NFL Network's "Run to the Playoffs", Marshall Faulk and Deion Sanders replaced Dick Vermeil for two games when Collinsworth was unavailable. An unforced change saw Bryant Gumbel miss the Broncos–Texans game December 13 due to a sore throat and NBC announcer Tom Hammond step into Gumbel's play-by-play role in what turned out to be more or less a preview of one of NBC's Wild Card Game announcing teams.

Controversy surrounding NFL Network coverage

See also: NFL Network § Distribution controversy, and 2007 New England Patriots-New York Giants game

The dispute between the NFL Network and various cable companies involving the distribution of the cable channel continued throughout the season, getting the attention of government officials when the NFL Network was scheduled to televise two high-profile regular season games: the Packers-Cowboys game on November 29 and the Patriots-Giants game on December 29. In the case of the Packers-Cowboys game, the carriage was so limited that even Governor of Wisconsin Jim Doyle went to his brother's house to watch the game on satellite (which is where the majority of the viewers watch the network). The contest drew a network record 10.1 million viewers, a high-water mark at that time.

Some politicians urged the league to seek a resolution to conflict. In December, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry wrote a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell asking for the league to settle their differences in time for the Patriots-Giants game. Because the game, as it turned out, would be the Patriots' attempt to seal the record that would make them the first undefeated team in 35 years, Kerry urged for a solution to be decided upon in time so that Americans can witness "an historic event".[38] Also, Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter threatened to introduce legislation to eliminate the league's freedom from antitrust laws.[39]

On December 26, the NFL announced that, despite initial plans to broadcast the game only on the NFL Network, the game would be presented in a three-network simulcast with both CBS and NBC, the first time an NFL game would be broadcast on three networks, and the first simulcast of any pro football game since Super Bowl I.[40] Nielsen ratings saw CBS with 15.7 million viewers, NBC with 13.2 million viewers and NFL Network with 4.5 million viewers for the game. In addition, local stations in New York City (WWOR-TV in nearby Secaucus, New Jersey), Boston (WCVB-TV), and Manchester, New Hampshire (WMUR-TV), all previously signed on to carry the game in the teams' home markets, added 1.2 million viewers, making it the most watched TV show since the 2007 Oscars and the most watched regular season NFL telecast in twelve years.


  1. ^ Since 1935 this had previously occurred only with the 1989 AFC Central, the 1995 AFC West, the 1999 AFC East and the 2002 AFC East, but had since occurred with the 2008 NFC South, the 2008 NFC East and the 2022 NFC East. In 2023, the AFC North would surpass this by having all teams finish with a winning record.


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