The Atlanta Falcons are a professional American football team based in Atlanta, Georgia. The Falcons compete in the National Football League as a member club of the league's National Football Conference South division; the Falcons joined the NFL in 1965 as an expansion team, after the NFL offered then-owner Rankin Smith a franchise to keep him from joining the rival American Football League. In their 53 years of existence, the Falcons have compiled a record of 368–466–6, winning division championships in 1980, 1998, 2004, 2010, 2012, 2016; the Falcons have appeared in two Super Bowls, the first during the 1998 season in Super Bowl XXXIII, where they lost to the Denver Broncos 34–19, the second was eighteen years a 34–28 overtime defeat by the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI. The Falcons' current home field is Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Professional football first came to Atlanta in 1962, when the American Football League staged two preseason contests, with one featuring the Denver Broncos vs. the Houston Oilers and the second pitting the Dallas Texans against the Oakland Raiders.
Two years the AFL held another exhibition, this time with the New York Jets taking on the San Diego Chargers. In 1965, after the Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium was built, the city of Atlanta felt the time was right to start pursuing professional football. One independent group, active in NFL exhibition promotions in Atlanta applied for franchises in both the AFL and NFL, acting on its own with no guarantee of stadium rights. Another group reported it had deposited earnest money for a team in the AFL. With everyone running in different directions, some local businessmen worked out a deal and were awarded an AFL franchise on June 8, contingent upon acquiring exclusive stadium rights from city officials. NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle, moving in Atlanta matters, was spurred by the AFL interest and headed on the next plane down to Atlanta to block the rival league's claim on the city of Atlanta, he forced the city to make a choice between the two leagues. The AFL's original expansion plans in June 1965 were for two new teams in 1966, in Atlanta and Philadelphia.
It evolved into the Miami Dolphins in 1966 and the Cincinnati Bengals in 1968. The NFL had planned to add two teams in 1967; the odd number of teams resulted in one idle team each week, with each team playing fourteen games over fifteen weeks. The second expansion team, the New Orleans Saints, joined the NFL as planned in 1967 as its sixteenth franchise; the Atlanta Falcons franchise began on June 30, 1965, when Rozelle granted ownership to forty-year-old Rankin Smith Sr. an Executive Vice President of Life Insurance Company of Georgia. He paid the highest price in NFL history at the time for a franchise. Rozelle and Smith made the deal in about five minutes and the Atlanta Falcons brought the largest and most popular sport to the city of Atlanta; the Atlanta expansion team became the fifteenth NFL franchise, they were awarded the first overall pick in the 1966 NFL Draft as well as the final pick in each of the first five rounds. They selected consensus All-American linebacker Tommy Nobis from the University of Texas, making him the first-ever Falcon.
The league held the expansion draft six weeks in which Atlanta selected unprotected players from the fourteen existing franchises. Although the Falcons selected many good players in those drafts, they still were not able to win right away; the Atlanta team received its nickname on August 29, 1965. Miss Julia Elliott, a school teacher from Griffin, was singled out from many people who suggested "Falcons" as the nickname for the new franchise, she wrote: "the Falcon is dignified, with great courage and fight. It never drops its prey, it is deadly and has a great sporting tradition." The Falcons' inaugural season was in 1966, their first preseason game was on August 1, a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Under head coach Norb Hecker, Atlanta lost their first nine regular season games in 1966. Two weeks Atlanta won at Minnesota, beat St. Louis in Atlanta the next week for their first home win; the team finished the 1960s with twelve wins in four seasons. The Falcons had their first Monday Night Football game in Atlanta during the 1970 season, a 20–7 loss to the Miami Dolphins.
The only two winning seasons in their first twelve years were 1971 and 1973. In the 1978 season, the Falcons qualified for the playoffs for the first time and won the Wild Card game against the Eagles 14–13; the following week, they lost to the Dallas Cowboys 27–20 in the Divisional Playoffs. In the 1980 season, after a nine-game winning streak, the Falcons posted a franchise then-best record of 12–4 and captured their first NFC West division title; the next week, their dream season ended at home with a loss to the Cowboys 30–27 in the divisional playoffs. In the strike-shortened 1982 season, the Falcons made the playoffs but lost to the Minnesota Vikings, 30–24. Falcons coach Leeman Bennett was fired after the loss; the team had losing seasons for the next eight years. In the 1989 NFL Draft, the Falcons selected cornerback Deion Sanders in the first round
The Cleveland Browns are a professional American football team based in Cleveland, Ohio. The Browns compete in the National Football League as a member club of the American Football Conference North division; the Browns play their home games at FirstEnergy Stadium, which opened in 1999, with administrative offices and training facilities in Berea, Ohio. The Browns' official colors are brown and white, they are unique among the 32 member franchises of the NFL in that they do not have a logo on their helmets. The franchise was founded in 1945 by businessman Arthur B. McBride and coach Paul Brown as a charter member of the All-America Football Conference; the Browns dominated the AAFC, compiling a 47–4–3 record in the league's four seasons and winning its championship in each. When the AAFC folded after the 1949 season, the Browns joined the National Football League along with the San Francisco 49ers and the original Baltimore Colts; the Browns won a championship in their inaugural NFL season, as well as in the 1954, 1955, 1964 seasons, in a feat unequaled in any of the North American major professional sports, played in their league championship game in each of the Browns' first ten years of existence.
From 1965 to 1995, they made the playoffs 14 times, but did not win another championship or appear in the Super Bowl during that period. In 1995, owner Art Modell, who had purchased the Browns in 1961, announced plans to move the team to Baltimore. After threats of legal action from the city of Cleveland and fans, a compromise was reached in early 1996 that allowed Modell to establish the Baltimore Ravens as a new franchise while retaining the contracts of all Browns personnel; the Browns' intellectual property, including team name, training facility, history, were kept in trust and the franchise was regarded by the NFL as suspended, with a new team to be established by 1999 either by expansion or relocation. The Browns were announced as an expansion team in 1998 and resumed play in 1999. Since resuming operations in 1999, the Browns have struggled to find success, they have had only two winning seasons, one playoff appearance, no playoff wins. The franchise has been noted for a lack of stability with quarterbacks, having started 30 players in the position since 1999.
Through the end of the 2018 season, the Browns' win–loss record since returning to the NFL in 1999 is 95–224–1. In 2017, the Browns became only the second team in league history to finish a season 0–16, joining the 2008 Detroit Lions. Through the 2018 season, the Browns hold the longest active playoff drought in the NFL, at 16 seasons; the history of the Cleveland Browns American football team began in 1944 when taxi-cab magnate Arthur B. "Mickey" McBride secured a Cleveland franchise in the newly formed All-America Football Conference. Paul Brown was the team's namesake and first coach; the Browns began play in 1946 in the AAFC. The Browns won each of the league's four championship games before the league dissolved in 1949; the team moved to the more established National Football League, where it continued to dominate. Between 1950 and 1955, Cleveland reached the NFL championship game every year. McBride and his partners sold the team to a group of Cleveland businessmen in 1953 for a then-unheard-of $600,000.
Eight years the team was sold again, this time to a group led by New York advertising executive Art Modell. Modell fired Brown before the 1963 season, but the team continued to win behind running back Jim Brown; the Browns won the championship in 1964 and reached the title game the following season, losing to the Green Bay Packers. When the AFL and NFL merged before the 1970 season, Cleveland became part of the new American Football Conference. While the Browns made it back to the playoffs in 1971 and 1972, they fell into mediocrity through the mid-1970s. A revival of sorts took place in 1979 and 1980, when quarterback Brian Sipe engineered a series of last-minute wins and the Browns came to be called the "Kardiac Kids". Under Sipe, the Browns did not make it past the first round of the playoffs. Quarterback Bernie Kosar, who the Browns drafted in 1985, led the team to three AFC Championship games in the late 1980s but lost each time to the Denver Broncos. In 1995, Modell announced he was relocating the Browns to Baltimore, sowing a mix of outrage and bitterness among Cleveland's dedicated fan base.
Negotiations and legal battles led to an agreement where Modell was allowed to move the team, but Cleveland kept the Browns' name and history. After three years of suspension while Cleveland Stadium was demolished and FirstEnergy Stadium built on its site, the Browns started play again in 1999 under new owner Al Lerner; the Browns struggled throughout the 2000s and 2010s, posting a record of 95–224–1 since their 1999 return. The Browns have only posted two winning seasons and one playoff appearance since returning to the NFL; the team's struggles have been magnified since 2012, when the Lerner family sold the team to businessman Jimmy Haslam. In six seasons under the Haslam ownership, the Browns went through four head coaches and four general managers, none of whom had found success. In 2016 and 2017 under head coach Hue Jackson, the Browns went 1–31, the worst two-year stretch in NFL history, received the number one overall draft pick in both of those years; the Browns are the only National Football League team without a helmet logo.
The logoless helmet serves as the Browns' official logo. The organization has used several promotional logos throughout the years.
1999 NFL season
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. Under a new system, for ten weeks of the season, one team received a bye, for seven weeks of the season, three teams received a bye; this format would continue until the Houston Texans joined the NFL in 2002, returning the league to an 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, did not want teams traveling on that day.
Week 17 games were held on January 2, 2000, 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, the Panthers beat the New Orleans Saints 45–13, with the result that the Packers finished ahead of the Panthers by 11 points. Dallas defeated the New York Giants 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, surprised the entire league by defeating the Tennessee Titans 23–16 in Super Bowl XXXIV at the Georgia Dome. Clipping became illegal around the line of scrimmage. A new instant replay system is adopted to aid officiating; the system mirrors a method used by the defunct USFL in 1985: In each game, each team has two challenge flags that can be thrown to start an official review of the play in question. Each challenge will require the use of a team's timeout. If the challenge is successful, the timeout is restored. Inside of two minutes of each half, during all overtime periods, all reviews will be initiated by a Replay Assistant; the Replay Assistant has an unlimited number of reviews, regardless of how many timeouts each team has left. And no timeout will be charged for any review by the Replay Assistant. All replay reviews will be conducted by the referee on a field-level monitor.
A decision will be reversed only. The referee has 90 seconds; the officials will be notified of a replay request or challenge via a specialized electronic pager with a vibrating alert. Each head coach would have a red flag to use as a backup to get the attention of the officials to challenge a play; the replay system will only cover the following situations: Scoring plays Pass complete/incomplete/intercepted Runner/receiver out of bounds Recovery of a loose ball in or out of bounds Touching of a forward pass, either by an ineligible receiver or a defensive player Quarterback pass or fumble Illegal forward pass Forward or backward pass Runner ruled not down by contact Forward progress in regard to a first down Touching of a kick Too many men on the fieldThe league 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 if the player loses possession of the ball as he is attempting to tuck it back toward his body.
If the player has tucked the ball into his body and loses possession, it is a fumble. This new interpretation of a forward pass would be known as the “Tuck Rule”, was repealed in 2013. 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, Super Bowl XXIX. Jeff Triplette was promoted to referee to replace Markbreit. Baltimore Ravens – Brian Billick. Carolina Panthers – George Seifert. Chicago Bears – Dick Jauron. Cleveland Browns – Chris Palmer. Green Bay Packers – Ray Rhodes. Kansas City Chiefs – Gunther Cunningham. Philadelphia Eagles – Andy Reid. San Diego Chargers – Mike Riley.
High school football
High school football is gridiron football played by high school teams in the United States and Canada. It ranks among the most popular interscholastic sports in both countries, it is popular amongst American High school teams in Europe. High school football began in the late 19th century, concurrent with the start of many college football programs. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many college and high school teams played against one another. Today, the oldest high school football rivalry dates back to 1875 in Connecticut, between the Norwich Free Academy Wildcats and the New London High School Whalers. High school football traditions such as pep rallies, marching bands and homecomings are mirrored from college football. No true minor league farm organizations exist in American football. Therefore, high school football is considered to be the third tier of American football in the United States, behind professional and college competition, it is the first level of play in which a player will accumulate statistics, which will determine his chances of competing at the college level, the professional level if he is talented enough.
In the 2000s and beyond, there has been growing concern about safety and long-term brain health, both regarding the occasional concussion as well as the steady diet of lesser hits to the head. The National Federation of State High School Associations establishes the rules of high school football in the United States; as of the next high school season of 2019, Texas is the only state that does not base its football rules on the NFHS rule set, instead using NCAA rules with certain exceptions shown below. Through the 2018 season, Massachusetts based its rules on those of the NCAA, but it adopted NFHS rules for 2019 and beyond. With their common ancestry, the NFHS rules of high school football are similar to the college game, though with some important differences: The four quarters are each 12 minutes in length, as opposed to 15 minutes in college and professional football. Kickoffs take place at the kicking team's 40-yard line, as opposed to the 35 in college and the NFL. If an attempted field goal is missed it is treated as a punt it would be a touchback and the opposing team will start at the 20-yard line.
However, if it does not enter the end zone, it can be returned as a normal punt. Any kick crossing the goal line is automatically a touchback; the spot of placement after all touchbacks—including those resulting from kickoffs and free kicks following a safety—is the 20-yard line of the team receiving possession. Contrast with NCAA and NFL rules, which call for the ball to be placed on the receiving team's 25-yard line if a kickoff or free kick after a safety results in a touchback. All fair catches result in the placement of the ball at the spot of the fair catch. Under NCAA rules, a kickoff or free kick after a safety that ends in a fair catch inside the receiving team's 25-yard line is treated as a touchback, with the ball spotted on the 25. Pass interference by the defense results in a 15-yard penalty, but no automatic first down. Pass interference by the offense results in a 15-yard penalty, from the previous spot, no loss of down; the defense cannot return an extra-point attempt for a score.
Any defensive player that encroaches the neutral zone, regardless of whether the ball was snapped or not, commits a "dead ball" foul for encroachment. 5-yard penalty from the previous spot. Prior to 2013, offensive pass interference resulted in a loss of down; the loss of down provision was deleted from the rules starting in 2013. In college and the NFL, offensive pass interference is only 10 yards; the use of overtime, the type of overtime used, is up to the individual state association. The NFHS offers a suggested overtime procedure based on the Kansas Playoff, but does not make its provisions mandatory. Intentional grounding may be called if the quarterback is outside the tackle box; the home team must wear dark-colored jerseys, the visiting team must wear white jerseys. In the NFL, as well as conference games in the Southeastern Conference, the home team has choice of jersey color. Under general NCAA rules, the home team may wear white with approval of the visiting team. NFHS rules prohibit the use of replay review if the venue has the facilities to support it.
In Texas, the public-school sanctioning body, the University Interscholastic League, only allows replay review in state championship games, while the main body governing non-public schools, the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools, follows the NFHS in banning replay review. At least one unique high school rule has been adopted by college football. In 1996, the overtime rules utilized by Kansas high school teams were adopted by the NCAA, although the NCAA has made two major modifications: starting each possession from the 25-yard line, starting with the third overtime period, requiring teams to attempt a two-point conversion following a touchdown. Thirty-four states have a mercy rule that comes into play during one-sided games after a prescribed scoring margin is surpassed at halftime or any point thereafter; the type of mercy rule varies from state to state, with many using a "continuous clock" after the scoring margin is reached, while other states end the game once the margin is reached or passed.
For example, Texas uses a 45-point mercy rule only in six-man football.
2002 NFL season
The 2002 NFL season was the 83rd regular season of the National Football League. The league went back to an number of teams, expanding to 32 teams with the addition of the Houston Texans; the clubs were realigned into eight divisions, four teams in each. The Chicago Bears played their home games in 2002 in Champaign, Illinois at Memorial Stadium because of the reconstruction of Soldier Field; the NFL title was won by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when they defeated the Oakland Raiders 48–21 in Super Bowl XXXVII, at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California on January 26, 2003. With the Houston Texans joining the NFL, the league's teams were realigned into eight divisions: four teams in each division and four divisions in each conference. In creating the new divisions, the league tried to maintain the historical rivalries from the old alignment, while at the same time attempting to organize the teams geographically. Three teams from the AFC Central were required to be in the same division as part of any realignment proposals.
The major changes were: The Indianapolis Colts, the Tennessee Titans, the Jacksonville Jaguars and the inaugural Houston Texans were placed into the newly formed AFC South. This kept the Indianapolis Colts & Peyton Manning from moving to the more geographically correct AFC North; the Atlanta Falcons, the New Orleans Saints, the Carolina Panthers, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were placed into the newly formed NFC South. The teams in the AFC Central and NFC Central were placed in the new AFC North and NFC North apart from the Titans and Buccaneers; the Seattle Seahawks became the only team to switch conferences twice, moving from the AFC West to the NFC West. The Arizona Cardinals moved from the NFC East to the NFC West, they had played in Chicago and St. Louis before moving to Tempe, Arizona in 1988. Additionally, the arrival of the Texans meant that the league could return to its pre-1999 scheduling format in which no team received a bye during the first two weeks or last seven weeks of the season.
From 1999 to 2001, at least one team sat out each week because of an odd number of teams in the league. It nearly became problematic during the previous season due to the September 11 attacks, since the San Diego Chargers had their bye week during the week following 9/11 and the league nearly outright canceled that week’s slate of games; the league introduced a new eight-year scheduling rotation designed so that all teams will play each other at least twice during those eight years, play in every other team’s stadium at least once. Under scheduling formulas in use from 1978 to 2001, two teams in different divisions might never play each other for over fifteen seasons. Under the new scheduling formula, only two of a team’s games each season are based on the previous season’s record, down from four under the previous system. All teams play four interconference games. An analysis of win percentages in 2008 showed a statistical trend upwards for top teams since this change; the playoff format was modified: four division winners and two wild cards from each conference now advance to the playoffs, instead of three division winners and three wild cards.
In each conference, the division winners are now seeded 1 through 4, the wild cards are seeded 5 and 6. In the current system, the only way a wild card team can host a playoff game is if both teams in the conference’s championship game are wild cards. However, the number of playoff teams still remains at 12, where it has been since 1990. A player who touches a pylon remains in-bounds until any part of his body touches the ground out-of-bounds. Continuing-action fouls now will result in the loss of down and distance. Any dead-ball penalties by the offense after they have made the line to gain will result in a loss of 15 yards and a new first down; the 15 yard penalty was enforced but the down was replayed. The act of batting and stripping the ball from a player is legal. Chop-blocks are illegal on kicking plays. Hitting a quarterback helmet-to-helmet anytime after a change of possession is illegal. After a kickoff, the game clock will start when the ball is touched in the field of play; the clock started when the ball was kicked.
Inside the final two minutes of a half/overtime, the game clock will not stop when the player who takes the snap is tackled behind the line of scrimmage. With the opening of the NFL’s first stadium with a retractable roof, Reliant Stadium, the following rules were enacted: The home team must determine whether their retractable roof is to be opened or closed 90 minutes before kickoff. If it is closed at kickoff, it cannot be reopened during the game. If it is open at kickoff, it cannot be closed during the game unless the weather conditions become severe. Reebok took over the contract to be the official athletic supplier to the NFL for all 32 teams’ uniforms. All teams had individual contracts with athletic suppliers. American Needle, which had a contract with a few teams before the Reebok deal, challenged the NFL in court over Reebok’s exclusive deal, with the NFL stating that it was a “single-entity league” instead of a group consisting of various owners; the case went all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States.
In 2009, the Supreme Court agreed to hear Ameri
2001 NFL season
The 2001 NFL season was the 82nd regular season of the National Football League. In the wake of the September 11 attacks, the NFL's week 2 games were postponed and rescheduled to the weekend of January 6 and 7. In order to retain the full playoff format, all playoff games, including Super Bowl XXXVI, were rescheduled one week later; the New England Patriots won the Super Bowl, defeating the St. Louis Rams 20–17 at the Louisiana Superdome. Following a pattern set in 1999, the first week of the season was permanently moved to the weekend following Labor Day. With Super Bowls XXXVI-XXXVII scheduled for fixed dates, the league decided to eliminate the Super Bowl bye weeks for 2001 and 2002 to adjust. In the wake of the September 11 attacks, the games scheduled for September 16 and 17 were postponed and rescheduled to the weekend of January 6 and 7. In order to retain the full playoff format, all playoff games, including the Super Bowl, were rescheduled one week later; the season-ending Pro Bowl was moved to one week later.
This was the last season in which each conference had three divisions, as the conferences would be realigned to four divisions for the 2002 NFL season. Canceling the games scheduled for September 16 and 17 was considered and rejected since it would have canceled a home game for about half the teams, it would have resulted in an unequal number of games played: September 16 and 17 was to have been a bye for the San Diego Chargers, so that team would still have played 16 games that season and each of the other teams would have played only 15 games. As a result of rescheduling Week 2 as Week 17, the Pittsburgh Steelers ended up not playing a home game for the entire month of September; the ESPN Sunday Night Football game for that week was changed. It was scheduled to be Cleveland at Pittsburgh, but it was replaced with Philadelphia at Tampa Bay, seen as a more interesting matchup; the Eagles and Buccaneers would both rest their starters that night, would meet one week in the playoffs. In recognition of this, when NBC began airing Sunday Night Football in 2006, there would be no game scheduled for Weeks 11 to 17 – a game scheduled in the afternoon would be moved to the primetime slot, without stripping any teams of a primetime appearance.
This way of “flexible scheduling” would not be utilized at all in 2007, since 2008, it is only utilized in the final week. The games that made up Week 17 marked the latest regular season games to be played during what is traditionally defined as the "NFL season". Another scheduling change took place in October, when the Dallas Cowboys at Oakland Raiders game was moved from October 21 to 7 to accommodate a possible Oakland Athletics home playoff game on the 21st; the rescheduling ended up being unnecessary as the Athletics would not make it past the Division Series round. This was the only NFL season where every jersey had a patch to remember those who died on 9/11, while the New York Jets and New York Giants wore a patch to remember the firefighters who died; the season ended with Super Bowl XXXVI. Fumble recoveries will be awarded at the spot of the recovery, not where the player’s momentum carries him; this change was passed in response to two regular season games in 2000, Atlanta Falcons–Carolina Panthers and Oakland Raiders–Seattle Seahawks, in which a safety was awarded when a defensive player’s momentum in recovering a fumble carried him into his own end zone.
Taunting rules and roughing the passer will be enforced. Mike Pereira became the league's Director of Officiating, succeeding Jerry Seeman, who had served the role since 1991. Bill Leavy and Terry McAulay were promoted to referee. Phil Luckett returned to back judge, while another officiating crew was added in 2001 in preparation for the Houston Texans expansion team, the league's 32nd franchise, in 2002. Due to labor dispute, the regular NFL officials were locked out prior to the final week of the preseason. Replacement officials who had worked in college football or the Arena Football League officiated NFL games during the last preseason week and the first week of the regular season. A deal was reached before play resumed after the September 11 attacks. New Orleans Saints – Replaced their gold pants with black pants. Pittsburgh Steelers – New stadium: Heinz Field. San Diego Chargers – White pants with road uniforms. Denver Broncos – New stadium: Invesco Field. St. Louis Rams – New font for uniform numbers.
Philadelphia Eagles – New hard turf field, due to a cancelled preseason game scheduled against the Baltimore Ravens in which Ravens’ coach Brian Billick told officials of the NFL that he refused to have his team play on a slippery and bouncy turf field which he deemed unsafe. Buffalo Bills – Gregg Williams.
History of the St. Louis Rams
The professional American football franchise now known as the Los Angeles Rams played in St. Louis, Missouri, as the St. Louis Rams from the 1995 through the 2015 seasons; the Rams franchise relocated from Los Angeles to St. Louis in 1995, without a National Football League team since the Cardinals moved to Phoenix, Arizona in 1988; the team's primary stadium was The Dome at America's Center, known as the Trans World Dome and the Edward Jones Dome while utilized by the Rams. The Rams’ first home game in St. Louis was at Busch Memorial Stadium, where they played before the Dome was completed, in a 17-13 victory against the New Orleans Saints on September 10, 1995; that season, they played their first game at the newly-completed Dome on November 12 in a 28-17 victory against the Carolina Panthers. Their last game played in St. Louis was against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on December 17, 2015, which they won, 31–23; the Rams’ last game as a St. Louis-based club was on January 3, 2016, against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium, where they lost in overtime 19–16.
Following the 2015 NFL season, the team returned to Los Angeles. During the Rams' tenure in St. Louis, the franchise won its first and, to date, only Super Bowl title during the 1999 season in XXXIV and made Super Bowl XXXVI two years but were upset by the New England Patriots in the game that began the Patriots dynasty. Assisted by the Greatest Show on Turf offense, the Rams enjoyed their greatest period of success from 1999 to 2006, but struggled throughout their remaining years in St. Louis. Upon their relocation back to Los Angeles, the Rams went 12 seasons without obtaining a winning record and 11 seasons without qualifying for the postseason. For 22 of their 28 years the St. Louis Cardinals called Busch Memorial Stadium home after it opened in 1966, after spending their first six seasons in St. Louis at Sportsman's Park. However, the overall mediocrity of the Cardinals, combined with stadium issues, caused game attendance to dwindle; the Bidwills, the family that owned the Cardinals, decided to move the team for a second time after having relocated the franchise from Chicago to St. Louis in 1960.
The cities the Bidwells considered included Baltimore, New York City, Jacksonville, whilst Columbus and Oakland made overtures without Bidwell considering them. Nonetheless, Cardinals fans were unhappy at losing their team, Bill Bidwill, fearing for his safety, stayed away from several of the 1987 home games; the Cardinals’ final home game in St. Louis was on December 13, 1987, which they won 27–24 over the New York Giants in front of 29,623 fans on a late Sunday afternoon. Not long after the 1987 season, Bidwill agreed to move to the Phoenix area on a handshake deal with state and local officials, the team became the Phoenix Cardinals, they planned to play at Arizona State University’s Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe on a temporary basis while a new stadium was being built. For the Cardinals, the savings and loan crisis derailed financing for the stadium, forcing the Cardinals to play at Arizona State for 18 years. Prior to the Rams’ 1979 Super Bowl season, owner Carroll Rosenbloom drowned in an accident.
His widow, Georgia Frontiere, inherited 70% ownership of the team. Frontiere fired her step-son, Steve Rosenbloom, assumed total control of the franchise; as had been planned prior to Carroll Rosenbloom's death, the Rams moved from their longtime home at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to Anaheim Stadium in nearby Orange County in 1980. The move was necessitated in part by the fact that the Coliseum was difficult to sell out because of its abnormally large seating capacity, subjecting the team to the league's local-market TV blackout rule, whenever home games did not sell out. Southern California's population patterns were changing. A.'s a decline in the city of Los Angeles' citizenship and earning power. Anaheim Stadium was built in 1966 as the home of the California Angels Major League Baseball franchise. To accommodate the Rams’ move, the ballpark was reconfigured with luxury suites and enclosed to accommodate crowds of about 65,000 for football. In 1982 the Coliseum was occupied by the Los Angeles Raiders.
The combined effect of these two factors was to force the Rams’ traditional fan base to be split between two teams. Making matters worse, at this time the Rams were unsuccessful on the field, while the Raiders were thriving — winning Super Bowl XVIII in 1983. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Lakers won championships in 1980 and 1982 en route to winning five titles in that decade, the Los Angeles Dodgers won the World Series in 1981 and 1988, the Los Angeles Kings, buoyed by the acquisition of Wayne Gretzky in August 1988, advanced to the 1993 Stanley Cup Finals. Although not apparent at the time, the Rams’ loss in the 1989 NFC Championship Game marked the end of an era; the Rams would not have another winning season in Los Angeles before relocation. The first half of the 1990s featured four straight 10-loss seasons, no playoff appearances and waning fan interest; the return of Chuck Knox as head coach after successful stints as head coach of the Buffalo Bills and Seattle Seahawks would not boost the Rams’ fortunes.
Knox's run-oriented offense brought about the end of offensive coordinator Ernie Zampese’s tenure in 1993. General manager John Shaw was perceived by some to continually squander NFL Draft picks on sub-standard talent; the offensive scheme was not only unspectacular to watch, but dull by 1990s standards, further alienating fans. One bright spot for the offense d