2022 National Football League season
Regular season
DurationSeptember 8, 2022 (2022-09-08) – January 8, 2023 (2023-01-08)
Playoffs
Start dateJanuary 14, 2023
Super Bowl LVII
DateFebruary 12, 2023
SiteState Farm Stadium, Glendale, Arizona
Pro Bowl
DateFebruary 5, 2023
SiteCamping World Stadium, Orlando, Florida
2022 NFL season is located in the United States
Patriots
Patriots
Bills
Bills
Dolphins
Dolphins
Jets
Jets
Bengals
Bengals
Ravens
Ravens
Steelers
Steelers
Browns
Browns
Colts
Colts
Titans
Titans
Jaguars
Jaguars
Texans
Texans
Broncos
Broncos
Chiefs
Chiefs
Raiders
Raiders
Chargers
Chargers
AFC teams:
Yellow ffff00 pog.svg
West,
Blue pog.svg
North,
Red pog.svg
South,
White pog.svg
East
2022 NFL season is located in the United States
Cowboys
Cowboys
Giants
Giants
Eagles
Eagles
Commanders
Commanders
Bears
Bears
Lions
Lions
Packers
Packers
Vikings
Vikings
Falcons
Falcons
Panthers
Panthers
Saints
Saints
Buccaneers
Buccaneers
Cardinals
Cardinals
Rams
Rams
Seahawks
Seahawks
49ers
49ers
NFC teams:
Yellow ffff00 pog.svg
West,
Blue pog.svg
North,
Red pog.svg
South,
White pog.svg
East

The 2022 NFL season is scheduled to be the 103rd season of the National Football League (NFL). The season is scheduled to begin on September 8, 2022, with the defending Super Bowl LVI champion Los Angeles Rams hosting Buffalo in the NFL Kickoff Game, and end on January 8, 2023. The playoffs are scheduled to start on January 14 and will conclude with Super Bowl LVII, the league's championship game, at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, on February 12.[1]

The former Washington Redskins, after two seasons of using the placeholder name Washington Football Team, were renamed as the Washington Commanders prior to the start of the season.[2]

Player movement

The 2022 NFL league year and trading period began on March 16. On March 14, teams were allowed to exercise options for 2022 on players with option clauses in their contracts, submit qualifying offers to their pending restricted free agents, and submit a Minimum Salary Tender to retain exclusive negotiating rights to their players with expiring 2021 contracts and 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 51 highest paid-players on the team's payroll must have a combined salary cap). On March 16, clubs were allowed to contact and begin contract negotiations with players whose contracts had expired and thus became unrestricted free agents.

Positions key
C Center CB Cornerback DB Defensive back DE Defensive end
DL Defensive lineman DT Defensive tackle FB Fullback FS Free safety
G Guard HB Halfback K Kicker KR Kickoff returner
LB Linebacker LS Long snapper OT Offensive tackle OL Offensive lineman
NT Nose tackle P Punter PR Punt returner QB Quarterback
RB Running back S Safety SS Strong safety TB Tailback
TE Tight end WR Wide receiver

Free agency

Free agency began on March 16, 2022. Notable players to change teams included:

Trades

The following notable trades were made during the 2022 league year:

Retirements

Notable retirements

Other retirements

Draft

The 2022 NFL Draft was held in Las Vegas, Nevada from April 28 to April 30.[53] Jacksonville, by virtue of having the worst record in 2021, held the first overall selection and selected DE Travon Walker out of Georgia.

Rule changes

The NFL Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee announced the following policy changes on March 28:[54]

The following rule changes were approved at the NFL Owner's Meeting on March 28:[55]

2022 deaths

Pro Football Hall of Fame Members

Don Maynard
Maynard played 15 seasons in the NFL as a wide receiver with the New York Giants, the New York Jets, and the St. Louis Cardinals, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1987. He was a four-time Pro Bowler, four-time All-Pro (two first–team, two second–team), and Super Bowl III Champion. He died on January 10, age 86.[56]
Hugh McElhenny
McElhenny played 13 seasons in the NFL as a halfback with the San Francisco 49ers, the Minnesota Vikings, the New York Giants, and the Detroit Lions, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1970. He was a six-time Pro Bowler and five-time first–team All-Pro. He died on June 17, age 93.[57]
Charley Taylor
Taylor played 14 seasons in the NFL as a wide receiver/halfback with the Washington Redskins, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1984. He was an eight-time Pro Bowler and six-time All-Pro (one first–team, five second–team). He died on February 19, age 80.[58]
Rayfield Wright
Wright played 13 seasons in the NFL as an offensive tackle with the Dallas Cowboys, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006. He was a six-time Pro Bowler, six-time All-Pro (three first-team, three second-team), and two-time Super Bowl Champion (VI and XII). He died on April 7, age 76.[59]

Others

Preseason

Training camps are planned for late July through August.

The preseason is scheduled to begin on August 4 with the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game. Las Vegas, represented in the Hall of Fame Class of 2022 by Richard Seymour and Cliff Branch, will face Jacksonville, represented by Tony Boselli.[60]

Regular season

The NFL released the 2022 regular season schedule on May 12, 2022, with selected games announced in advance of the full schedule release.[61]

The season is planned to be played over an 18-week schedule beginning on September 8. Each of the league's 32 teams plays 17 games, with one bye week for each team. The regular season is scheduled to end on January 8, 2023; all games during the final weekend will be intra-division games, as it has been since 2010.

Each team plays the other three teams in its own division twice, one game against each of the four teams from a division in its own conference, one game against each of the four teams from a division in the other conference, one game against each of the remaining two teams in its conference that finished in the same position in their respective divisions the previous season (e.g., the team that finished fourth in its division would play all three other teams in its conference that also finished fourth in their divisions), and one game against a team in another division in the other conference that also finished in the same position in their respective division the previous season.

The division pairings for 2022 are as follows:[62]

Four intra-conference games
AFC East vs AFC North
AFC South vs AFC West
NFC East vs NFC North
NFC South vs NFC West

Four interconference games
AFC East vs NFC North
AFC North vs NFC South
AFC South vs NFC East
AFC West vs NFC West

Fifth interconference games (by 2021 position)
AFC North at NFC East
AFC South at NFC North
AFC West at NFC South
AFC East at NFC West

Highlights of the 2022 season will include:

Scheduling changes

Week 15 : Five games have been set aside to potentially be moved into an NFL Network tripleheader on Saturday, December 17: AtlantaNew Orleans, BaltimoreCleveland, IndianapolisMinnesota, MiamiBuffalo, and New York GiantsWashington. Of these games, three will be selected to play on Saturday at 1:00 p.m., 4:30 p.m., and 8:15 p.m. ET, while the remaining two will be scheduled as Sunday games.[68]

Week 18: All games during the final week of the regular season were initially listed as "TBD" instead of having tentative start times on Sunday afternoon of either 1:00 p.m. or 4:25 p.m. ET like in previous seasons.[69] Two games with playoff implications will be moved to Saturday, January 7, at 4:30 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. ET, both airing on ESPN, ABC, and ESPN+. A third game with playoff implications will be moved into the 8:20 p.m. ET Sunday Night Football slot. The rest will be scheduled as Sunday afternoon games.[70]

Postseason

The 2022 playoffs are scheduled to begin with the wild-card round, with three wild-card games played in each conference. Wild Card Weekend is planned for January 14–16, 2023. In the Divisional round scheduled for January 21–22, the top seed in the conference will play the lowest remaining seed and the other two remaining teams will play each other. The winners of those games will advance to the Conference Championships scheduled for January 29. Super Bowl LVII is scheduled for February 12 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.[71]

Notable events

Brian Flores' discrimination lawsuit

See also: Brian Flores § Lawsuit against NFL and teams

On February 1, former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores sued the NFL, the Dolphins, the New York Giants, and the Denver Broncos, alleging racism, violations of federal employment law, and that his interviews were a sham meant solely to fulfill the Rooney Rule.[72] The lawsuit also alleges that during Flores' tenure with the Dolphins, team owner Stephen M. Ross pressured him to deliberately lose games, offering him $100,000 for each game he lost in order for the Dolphins to get better draft picks for the following season and that Ross fired Flores after he refused to comply with this pressure.[73] The lawsuit seeks damages and injunctive relief in the form of changes to hiring, retention, termination, and pay transparency practices for coaching and executive positions in the NFL.[74]

On April 6, former Arizona Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks and former assistant coach Ray Horton joined the lawsuit with similar allegations against the league, the Arizona Cardinals, Houston Texans, and Tennessee Titans.[75]

Head coaching and front office changes

Head coaches

Off-season

Team Departing coach Interim coach Incoming coach Reason for leaving Notes
Chicago Bears Matt Nagy Matt Eberflus Fired Nagy was fired on January 10 after four seasons with the Bears. During his tenure, the Bears were 34–31 (.523) with one NFC North division title in two overall playoff appearances, both ending with first round losses.[76]

Eberflus, who spent the previous four seasons as the Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator, was hired on January 27. This is his first head coaching position.[77]

Denver Broncos Vic Fangio Nathaniel Hackett Fangio was fired on January 9 after three seasons with the Broncos. During his tenure, the Broncos were 19–30 (.388) with no playoff appearances.[78]

Hackett, who spent the previous three seasons as the Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator, was hired on January 27. This is his first head coaching position.[79]

Houston Texans David Culley Lovie Smith Culley was fired on January 13 after one season with the Texans, finishing with a 4–13 (.235) record and missing the playoffs.[80]

Smith, who spent the previous season as the Texans defensive coordinator and associate head coach, was hired on February 7. This will be his third head coaching position in the NFL. As the head coach of the Chicago Bears from 20042012, the team's overall record was 81–63 (.563), with three playoff appearances, three NFC North division titles, and an appearance in Super Bowl XLI, and a 3–3 (.500) playoff record. He also won AP NFL Coach of the Year Award in 2005. As the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 20142015, the team was 8–24 (.250), with no playoff appearances.[81]

Jacksonville Jaguars Urban Meyer Darrell Bevell Doug Pederson Meyer was fired on December 16, 2021, due to a season full of on- and off-the-field issues. During Meyer's single partial season in Jacksonville, the Jaguars were 2–11 (.154).[82][83]

Bevell, the team's offensive coordinator since 2021, was promoted to interim head coach. This is his second head coaching position, after serving as interim head coach for the Detroit Lions in 2020, where he obtained a record of 1–4 (.200). He finished out the 2021 season with a 1–3 (.250) record.[82]

Pederson was hired on February 3. He was the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles from 2016 to 2020 with a total regular season record of 42–37–1 (.531), three playoff appearances with a record of 4–2 (.667), two NFC East division titles, and the Super Bowl LII championship.[84]

Las Vegas Raiders Jon Gruden Rich Bisaccia Josh McDaniels Resigned Gruden resigned on October 11, 2021, due to the publication of controversial emails prior to becoming the Raiders head coach. In Gruden's 3+ seasons during his second stint with Oakland/Las Vegas, the Raiders were 22–31 (.415) with no playoff appearances.[85][86]

Bisaccia, the team's special teams coordinator and assistant head coach since 2018, was promoted to interim head coach. This was his first head coaching position after 20 years as an assistant coach in the NFL. He finished out the 2021 regular season with a 7–5 (.583) record, leading the Raiders to a Wild Card playoff appearance.[87]

McDaniels, who spent the previous 10 seasons as the New England Patriots offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach (and a total of 18 seasons as an assistant coach with New England in two stints), was hired on January 31. He was the head coach of the Denver Broncos from 2009 to 2010 with a total regular season record of 11–17 (.393) and no playoff appearances.[88]

Miami Dolphins Brian Flores Mike McDaniel Fired Flores was fired on January 10 after three seasons with the Dolphins. During his tenure, the Dolphins were 24–25 (.490) with no playoff appearances.[89]

McDaniel, who spent the previous four seasons as the San Francisco 49ers offensive and run game coordinator, was hired on February 6. This is his first head coaching position.[90]

Minnesota Vikings Mike Zimmer Kevin O'Connell Zimmer was fired on January 10 after eight seasons with the Vikings. During his tenure, the Vikings were 72–56–1 (.562) with two NFC North division titles in three overall playoff appearances, one NFC Championship Game appearance, and a playoff record of 2–3 (.400).[91]

O'Connell, who spent the previous two seasons as the Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator, was hired on February 16. This is his first head coaching position.[92]

New Orleans Saints Sean Payton Dennis Allen Retired Payton retired on January 25 after 15 seasons with the Saints. His overall record was 152–89 (.631), with nine playoff appearances including seven NFC South titles, the Super Bowl XLIV title, and a playoff record of 9–8 (.529). He also won AP NFL Coach of the Year Award in 2006.[93][94][95]

Allen, who spent the previous seven seasons as the Saints defensive coordinator, was hired on February 8. This is his second head coaching position; he had previously served as head coach of the Oakland Raiders from 20122014, with a record of 8–28 (.222) and no playoff appearances.[96]

New York Giants Joe Judge Brian Daboll Fired Judge was fired on January 11 after two seasons with the Giants. During his tenure, the Giants were 10–23 (.303) with no playoff appearances.[97]

Daboll, who spent the previous four seasons as the Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator, was hired on January 28. This is his first head coaching position.[98]

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Bruce Arians Todd Bowles Retired Arians announced his retirement on March 30 after three seasons with the Buccaneers. During his tenure, the Buccaneers were 31–18 (.633) with two playoff appearances including one NFC South title, the Super Bowl LV title, and a playoff record of 5–1 (.833). Arians had previously retired following the 2017 season after five seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, spending one year as a commentator for CBS before returning to coaching.

Bowles, who spent the previous three seasons as the Buccaneers' defensive coordinator, was promoted the same day. This is his third head coaching position; he had previously served as interim head coach of the Miami Dolphins for part of the 2011 season, and as head coach of the New York Jets from 20152018, with a combined record of 26–41 (.388) and no playoff appearances.[99]

Front office personnel

Off-season

Team Position Departing office holder Incoming office holder Reason for leaving Notes
Baltimore Ravens President Dick Cass Sashi Brown Retired Cass retired on February 4 after 18 years with the team, during which the Ravens won Super Bowl XLVII.

Brown was hired the same day, effective April 1. He was previously the Cleveland Browns' GM from 2016–2017.[100]

Chicago Bears General manager Ryan Pace Ryan Poles Fired After seven years with the Bears, Pace was fired on January 10.[76]

Poles was hired on January 25. He previously served for the Kansas City Chiefs from 2009 to 2021 in various executive roles and in the final year as the executive director of player personnel.[101]

Las Vegas Raiders Mike Mayock Dave Ziegler After three years with the Raiders, Mayock was fired on January 17.[102]

Ziegler was hired on January 30. He previously served for the New England Patriots from 2013 to 2021 in various executive roles and in the final year as the director of player personnel.[103]

Minnesota Vikings Rick Spielman Kwesi Adofo-Mensah After sixteen years with the Vikings and ten years as the GM, Spielman was fired on January 10.[91]

Adofo-Mensah was hired on January 26. He previously served as the vice president of football operations for the Cleveland Browns from 2020 to 2021 and also served for the San Francisco 49ers in football research and development.[104]

New York Giants Dave Gettleman Joe Schoen Retired After four years as the Giants GM and fourteen years total over two tenures with the team, Gettleman announced his retirement on January 10.[105]

Schoen was hired on January 21. He previously served as the assistant GM for the Buffalo Bills from 2017 to 2021 and also served for the Carolina Panthers and Miami Dolphins in various executive roles.[106]

Pittsburgh Steelers Kevin Colbert Omar Khan After eleven years as the Steelers GM, six years additionally as vice president, and 22 years total with the team in various executive roles, Colbert retired after the 2022 NFL Draft.[107]

Khan was hired on May 25. He has served in various roles with the Steelers for 21 years, most recently as the vice president of football and business administration since 2016.[108]

Stadiums

Uniforms

Uniform changes

Alternate helmets

In June 2021, the NFL approved a rule that would allow teams to wear alternate helmets for the 2022 season, repealing a one-helmet rule put in place in 2013.

Media

This will be the ninth and final season under the current broadcast contracts with CBS, ESPN, Fox, and NBC, before new 11-year contracts for all four broadcasters begin in 2023.[124] This includes "cross-flexing" (switching) Sunday afternoon games between CBS and Fox before or during the season, regardless of the conference of the visiting team. Super Bowl LVII will be televised by Fox. As with the previous season, ESPN will hold rights to a Saturday doubleheader during the final week of the season, simulcast with ABC. Beginning this season, the ESPN+ subscription service will exclusively carry one International Series game per season. ESPN and ABC will air one split doubleheader on MNF in week 2.[125]

This will be the first year in which Thursday Night Football will exclusively stream on Amazon Prime Video and Twitch. Fox and NFL Network opted out of their final season of the 2018–2022 TNF deal, allowing Amazon to take over one season before its original 2023–2033 TNF agreement was to go into effect.[126] NFL Network will continue to televise select regular season games, including three International Series games.[127][125]

In March 2022, the NFL renewed its national radio contract with Westwood One, which maintains its package of radio rights to all primetime, marquee, and playoff games, while adding audio coverage of other events such as the NFL Draft and NFL Honors. It also greatly expands the ability for its broadcasts to be distributed for free via digital platforms, including via local affiliates' "primary digital platforms", and via the NFL app.[128]

ESPN2's Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli was renewed for an additional season, taking it through the 2024 NFL season.[129] CBS will continue to produce alternative, youth-oriented telecasts of selected games on Paramount Global sister channel Nickelodeon; the channel will simulcast CBS's Christmas Day game, marking its first regular-season broadcast.[67]

This will be the final season under DirecTV's deal for exclusive rights to the NFL Sunday Ticket out-of-market sports package. DirecTV has held exclusive rights since the package's launch in 1994. DirecTV executives have questioned the current value of NFL Sunday Ticket after losing money over the past few years. In September 2021, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell suggested that NFL Sunday Ticket could be more attractive on a digital platform.[130] In June 2022, it was reported that Disney, Apple, and Amazon submitted bids.[131]

The NFL's mobile streaming contract with Verizon expired following the 2021 season. In May 2022, it was reported that the NFL was preparing to paywall in-market mobile streaming behind NFL Plus, a new streaming service.[132][133][134]

Personnel changes

With Brian Griese leaving ESPN for a coaching job with San Francisco,[135][136] on March 16, ESPN signed Joe Buck and Troy Aikman — who were Fox's lead commentary team for 20 seasons — to a multi-year deal to become the new lead commentators of Monday Night Football.[137][138] With Buck and Aikman's departure, Fox's #2 commentary team of Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen have been promoted to the network's top pairing.[139]

On March 23, Amazon announced that longtime NBC play-by-play announcer Al Michaels and ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit would serve as its lead broadcast team for Thursday Night Football.[140][141] Mike Tirico—who had been NBC's secondary play-by-play announcer and Michaels' designated fill-in since joining the network in 2016[142][143]—will succeed Michaels as the lead commentator for Sunday Night Football, with Maria Taylor succeeding him as lead studio host[144] and Jason Garrett replacing Drew Brees on the Football Night in America panel.[145] Melissa Stark is also replacing Michele Tafoya as sideline reporter.[146] Amazon's studio wraparounds will feature a panel with Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tony Gonzalez and Richard Sherman; Charissa Thompson is in discussions to serve as moderator/host of the panel while retaining her position as host of Fox NFL Kickoff.[147]

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