A quarterback, colloquially known as the "signal caller", is a position in American and Canadian football. Quarterbacks are members of the offensive line up directly behind the offensive line. In modern American football, the quarterback is considered the leader of the offensive team, is responsible for calling the play in the huddle; the quarterback touches the ball on every offensive play, is the offensive player that always throws forward passes. In modern American football, the quarterback is the leader of the offense; the quarterback touches the ball on every offensive play, his successes and failures can have a significant impact on the fortunes of his team. Accordingly, the quarterback is among the most glorified and highest-paid positions in team sports. Prior to each play, the quarterback will tell the rest of his team which play the team will run. After the team is lined up, the center will pass the ball back to the quarterback. On a running play, the quarterback will hand or pitch the ball backwards to a halfback or fullback.
On a passing play, the quarterback is always the player responsible for trying to throw the ball downfield to an eligible receiver. Additionally, the quarterback will run with the football himself, which could be part of a designed play like the option run or quarterback sneak, or it could be an effort to avoid being sacked by the defense. Depending on the offensive scheme by his team, the quarterback's role can vary. In systems like the triple option the quarterback will only pass the ball a few times per game, if at all, while the pass-heavy spread offense as run by schools like Texas Tech requires quarterbacks to throw the ball in most plays; the passing game is emphasized in the Canadian Football League, where there are only three downs as opposed to the four downs used in American football, a larger field of play and an extra eligible receiver. Different skillsets are required of the quarterback in each system - quarterbacks that perform well in a pass-heavy spread offensive system, a popular offensive scheme in the NCAA and NFHS perform well in the National Football League, as the fundamentals of the pro-style offense used in the NFL are different from those in the spread system.
While quarterbacks in Canadian football need to be able to throw the ball and accurately. In general, quarterbacks need to have physical skills such as arm strength and quick throwing motion, in addition to intangibles such as competitiveness, leadership and downfield vision. In the NFL, quarterbacks are required to wear a uniform number between 1 and 19. In the National Collegiate Athletic Association and National Federation of State High School Associations, quarterbacks are required to wear a uniform number between 1 and 49. In the CFL, the quarterback can wear any number from 0 to 49 and 70 to 99; because of their numbering, quarterbacks are eligible receivers in the NCAA, NFHS, CFL. Compared to captains of other team sports, before the implementation of NFL team captains in 2007, the starting quarterback is the de facto team leader and well-respected player on and off the field. Since 2007, when the NFL allowed teams to designate several captains to serve as on-field leaders, the starting quarterback has been one of the team captains as the leader of the team's offense.
In the NFL, while the starting quarterback has no other responsibility or authority, he may, depending on the league or individual team, have various informal duties, such as participation in pre-game ceremonies, the coin toss, or other events outside the game. For instance the starting quarterback is the first player to be presented with the Lamar Hunt Trophy/George Halas Trophy and the Vince Lombardi Trophy; the starting quarterback of the victorious Super Bowl team is chosen for the "I'm going to Disney World!" campaign, whether they are the Super Bowl MVP or not. Dilfer was chosen though teammate Ray Lewis was the MVP of Super Bowl XXXV, due to the bad publicity from Lewis' murder trial the prior year. Being able to rely on a quarterback is vital to team morale. San Diego Chargers safety Rodney Harrison called the 1998 season a "nightmare" because of poor play by Ryan Leaf and Craig Whelihan and, from the rookie Leaf, obnoxious behavior toward teammates. Although their 1999 season replacements Jim Harbaugh and Erik Kramer were not stars, linebacker Junior Seau said "you can't imagine the security we feel as teammates knowing we have two quarterbacks who have performed in this league and know how to handle themselves as players and as leaders".
Commentators have noted the "disproportionate importance" of the quarterback, describing it as the "most glorified -- and scrutinized -- position" in team sports. It is believed that "there is no other position in sports that'dictates the terms' of a game the way quarterback does, whether that impact is positive or negative, as "Everybody feeds off of what the quarterback can and cannot do... Defensively, everybody reacts to what threats or non-threats the quarterback has. Everything else is secondary". "An argument can be made that quarterback is the most influential position in team sport
A wide receiver referred to as wideouts or receivers, is an offensive position in American and Canadian football, is a key player. They get their name because they are split out "wide". Wide receivers are among the fastest players on the field; the wide receiver functions as the pass-catching specialist. The wide receiver's principal role is to catch passes from the quarterback. On passing plays, the receiver attempts to avoid, outmaneuver, or outrun defenders in the area of his pass route. If the receiver becomes open, or has an unobstructed path to the destination of a catch, he may become the quarterback's target. Once a pass is thrown in his direction, the receiver's goal is to first catch the ball and attempt to run downfield; some receivers are perceived as a deep threat because of their flat-out speed, while others may be possession receivers known for not dropping passes, running crossing routes across the middle of the field, converting third down situations. A receiver's height contributes to their expected role.
A wide receiver has two potential roles during running plays. In the case of draw plays and other trick plays, he may run a pass route with the intent of drawing off defenders. Alternatively, he may block for the running back. Well-rounded receivers are noted for blocking defensive backs in support of teammates in addition to their pass-catching abilities. Sometimes wide receivers are used to run the ball in some form of an end-around or reverse; this can be effective because the defense does not expect them to be the ball carrier on running plays. For example, wide receiver Jerry Rice rushed the ball 87 times for 645 yards and 10 touchdowns in his 20 NFL seasons. In rarer cases, receivers may pass the ball as part of a trick play. A receiver can pass the ball so long as they receive the ball behind the line of scrimmage, in the form of a handoff or backwards lateral; this sort of trick play is employed with a receiver who has past experience playing quarterback at a lower level, such as high school, or sometimes, college.
Antwaan Randle El threw a touchdown pass at the wide receiver position in Super Bowl XL playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers against the Seattle Seahawks. Antwaan Randle El played quarterback for four years at Indiana University. Wide receivers also serve on special teams as kick returners or punt returners, as gunners on kick coverage teams, or as part of the hands team during onside kicks. On errant passes, receivers must play a defensive role by attempting to prevent an interception. If a pass is intercepted, receivers must use their speed to chase down and tackle the ball carrier to prevent him from returning the ball for a long gain or a touchdown. In the NFL, wide receivers can use the numbers 10–19 and 80–89; the wide receiver grew out of a position known as the end. The ends played on the offensive line next to the tackles. By the rules governing the forward pass and backs are eligible receivers. Most early football teams used the ends as receivers sparingly, as their position left them in heavy traffic with many defenders around.
By the 1930s, some teams were experimenting with moving one end far out near the sideline, to make them more open to receive passes. These split ends became the prototype for the modern wide receiver. Don Hutson, who played college football at Alabama and professionally with the Green Bay Packers, was the first player to exploit the potentials of the split end position, is credited as inventing the wide receiver position; as the passing game evolved, a second wide receiver position was added. While it is possible to move the opposite end out wide for a second split end position most teams preferred to leave that end in close to provide extra blocking protection on the quarterback's blind side; that player was playing the modern day tight end position. Instead of moving the blind side end out, one of the three running backs was split wide instead, creating the flanker position; the flanker lined up off the line of scrimmage like a running back or quarterback, but split outside like a split end.
Lining up behind the line of scrimmage gave flankers some advantages. Flankers have more "space" between themselves and a pressing defensive back, so cornerbacks can not as "jam" them at the line of scrimmage; this is in addition to being eligible for motion plays, allowing for the flanker to move laterally before and during the snap. Elroy "Crazy Legs" Hirsch is one of the earliest players to exploit the potentials of the flanker position as a member of the Los Angeles Rams during the 1950s. While some teams did experiment with more than two wide receivers as a gimmick or trick play, most teams used the pro set as the standard set of offensive personnel. An early innovator, coach Sid Gillman used 3+ wide receiver sets as early as the 1960s. In sets that have three, four, or five wide receivers, extra receivers are called slot receivers, as they play in the "slot" between the furthest receiver and the offensive line. In most situations, the slot receiver lines
Basketball is a team sport in which two teams, most of five players each, opposing one another on a rectangular court, compete with the primary objective of shooting a basketball through the defender's hoop while preventing the opposing team from shooting through their own hoop. A field goal is worth two points, unless made from behind the three-point line, when it is worth three. After a foul, timed play stops and the player fouled or designated to shoot a technical foul is given one or more one-point free throws; the team with the most points at the end of the game wins, but if regulation play expires with the score tied, an additional period of play is mandated. Players advance the ball by bouncing it while walking or running or by passing it to a teammate, both of which require considerable skill. On offense, players may use a variety of shots -- a dunk, it is a violation to lift or drag one's pivot foot without dribbling the ball, to carry it, or to hold the ball with both hands resume dribbling.
The five players on each side at a time fall into five playing positions: the tallest player is the center, the tallest and strongest is the power forward, a shorter but more agile big man is the small forward, the shortest players or the best ball handlers are the shooting guard and the point guard, who implements the coach's game plan by managing the execution of offensive and defensive plays. Informally, players may play three-on-three, two-on-two, one-on-one. Invented in 1891 by Canadian-American gym teacher James Naismith in Springfield, United States, basketball has evolved to become one of the world's most popular and viewed sports; the National Basketball Association is the most significant professional basketball league in the world in terms of popularity, salaries and level of competition. Outside North America, the top clubs from national leagues qualify to continental championships such as the Euroleague and FIBA Americas League; the FIBA Basketball World Cup and Men's Olympic Basketball Tournament are the major international events of the sport and attract top national teams from around the world.
Each continent hosts regional competitions for national teams, like FIBA AmeriCup. The FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup and Women's Olympic Basketball Tournament feature top national teams from continental championships; the main North American league is the WNBA, whereas strongest European clubs participate in the EuroLeague Women. In early December 1891, Canadian James Naismith, a physical education professor and instructor at the International Young Men's Christian Association Training School in Springfield, was trying to keep his gym class active on a rainy day, he sought a vigorous indoor game to keep his students occupied and at proper levels of fitness during the long New England winters. After rejecting other ideas as either too rough or poorly suited to walled-in gymnasiums, he wrote the basic rules and nailed a peach basket onto a 10-foot elevated track. In contrast with modern basketball nets, this peach basket retained its bottom, balls had to be retrieved manually after each "basket" or point scored.
Basketball was played with a soccer ball. These round balls from "association football" were made, at the time, with a set of laces to close off the hole needed for inserting the inflatable bladder after the other sewn-together segments of the ball's cover had been flipped outside-in; these laces could dribbling to be unpredictable. A lace-free ball construction method was invented, this change to the game was endorsed by Naismith; the first balls made for basketball were brown, it was only in the late 1950s that Tony Hinkle, searching for a ball that would be more visible to players and spectators alike, introduced the orange ball, now in common use. Dribbling was not part of the original game except for the "bounce pass" to teammates. Passing the ball was the primary means of ball movement. Dribbling was introduced but limited by the asymmetric shape of early balls. Dribbling was common by 1896, with a rule against the double dribble by 1898; the peach baskets were used until 1906 when they were replaced by metal hoops with backboards.
A further change was soon made, so the ball passed through. Whenever a person got the ball in the basket, his team would gain a point. Whichever team got; the baskets were nailed to the mezzanine balcony of the playing court, but this proved impractical when spectators in the balcony began to interfere with shots. The backboard was introduced to prevent this interference. Naismith's handwritten diaries, discovered by his granddaughter in early 2006, indicate that he was nervous about the new game he had invented, which incorporated rules from a children's game called duck on a rock, as many had failed before it. Frank Mahan, one of the players from the original
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.
National Football League
The National Football League is a professional American football league consisting of 32 teams, divided between the National Football Conference and the American Football Conference. The NFL is one of the four major professional sports leagues in North America, the highest professional level of American football in the world; the NFL's 17-week regular season runs from early September to late December, with each team playing 16 games and having one bye week. Following the conclusion of the regular season, six teams from each conference advance to the playoffs, a single-elimination tournament culminating in the Super Bowl, held in the first Sunday in February, is played between the champions of the NFC and AFC; the NFL was formed in 1920 as the American Professional Football Association before renaming itself the National Football League for the 1922 season. The NFL agreed to merge with the American Football League in 1966, the first Super Bowl was held at the end of that season. Today, the NFL has the highest average attendance of any professional sports league in the world and is the most popular sports league in the United States.
The Super Bowl is among the biggest club sporting events in the world and individual Super Bowl games account for many of the most watched television programs in American history, all occupying the Nielsen's Top 5 tally of the all-time most watched U. S. television broadcasts by 2015. The NFL's executive officer is the commissioner; the players in the league belong to the National Football League Players Association. The team with the most NFL championships is the Green Bay Packers with thirteen; the current NFL champions are the New England Patriots, who defeated the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII for their sixth Super Bowl championship. On August 20, 1920, a meeting was held by representatives of the Akron Pros, Canton Bulldogs, Cleveland Indians, Dayton Triangles at the Jordan and Hupmobile auto showroom in Canton, Ohio; this meeting resulted in the formation of the American Professional Football Conference, a group who, according to the Canton Evening Repository, intended to "raise the standard of professional football in every way possible, to eliminate bidding for players between rival clubs and to secure cooperation in the formation of schedules".
Another meeting was held on September 17, 1920 with representatives from teams from four states-Akron, Canton and Dayton from Ohio. The league was renamed to the American Professional Football Association; the league elected Jim Thorpe as its first president, consisted of 14 teams. The Massillon Tigers from Massillon, Ohio was at the September 17 meeting, but did not field a team in 1920. Only two of these teams, the Decatur Staleys and the Chicago Cardinals, remain. Although the league did not maintain official standings for its 1920 inaugural season and teams played schedules that included non-league opponents, the APFA awarded the Akron Pros the championship by virtue of their 8–0–3 record; the first event occurred on September 26, 1920 when the Rock Island Independents defeated the non-league St. Paul Ideals 48–0 at Douglas Park. On October 3, 1920, the first full week of league play occurred; the following season resulted in the Chicago Staleys controversially winning the title over the Buffalo All-Americans.
On June 24, 1922, the APFA changed its name to the National Football League. In 1932, the season ended with the Chicago Bears and the Portsmouth Spartans tied for first in the league standings. At the time, teams were ranked on a single table and the team with the highest winning percentage at the end of the season was declared the champion; this method had been used since the league's creation in 1920, but no situation had been encountered where two teams were tied for first. The league determined that a playoff game between Chicago and Portsmouth was needed to decide the league's champion; the teams were scheduled to play the playoff game a regular season game that would count towards the regular season standings, at Wrigley Field in Chicago, but a combination of heavy snow and extreme cold forced the game to be moved indoors to Chicago Stadium, which did not have a regulation-size football field. Playing with altered rules to accommodate the smaller playing field, the Bears won the game 9–0 and thus won the championship.
Fan interest in the de facto championship game led the NFL, beginning in 1933, to split into two divisions with a championship game to be played between the division champions. The 1934 season marked the first of 12 seasons in which African Americans were absent from the league; the de facto ban was rescinded in 1946, following public pressure and coinciding with the removal of a similar ban in Major League Baseball. The NFL was always the foremost pro
1987 NFL season
The 1987 NFL season was the 68th regular season of the National Football League. This season featured games predominantly played by replacement players as the National Football League Players Association players were on strike from weeks four to six; the season ended with Super Bowl XXII, with the Washington Redskins defeating the Denver Broncos 42–10 at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego. The Broncos suffered their second consecutive Super Bowl defeat. A 24-day players' strike was called after Week 2; the games that were scheduled for the third week of the season were cancelled, reducing the 16-game season to 15, but the games for Weeks 4, 5 and 6 were played with replacement players, after which the union voted to end the strike. 15% of the NFLPA’s players chose to cross picket lines to play during the strike. The replacement players were those left out of work by the recent folding of the Canadian Football League’s Montreal Alouettes and the 1986 dissolution of the United States Football League, as well as others, preseason cuts, had long left professional football or were other assorted oddities.
The replacement players, called to play on short notice and having little chance to gel as teammates, were treated with scorn by the press and general public, including name-calling, public shaming and accusations of being scabs. The games played by these replacement players were regarded with less legitimacy – attendance plummeted to under 10,000 fans at many of the games in smaller markets and cities with strong union presence, including a low of 4,074 for the lone replacement game played in Philadelphia) — but nonetheless were counted as regular NFL games. Final television revenues were down by a smaller drop than the networks had expected; the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants went 0–3 in replacement games costing them a chance to make the playoffs and to repeat their championship. The final replacement game was a Monday Night Football matchup on October 19, 1987, with the Washington Redskins at the Dallas Cowboys. Along with the Philadelphia Eagles, the Redskins were the only other NFL team not to have any players cross the picket line and were surprising 13–7 victors over the Cowboys who had plenty of big name players cross the picket line.
The 2017 film Year of the Scab, which aired as part of the ESPN series 30 for 30, documented the story of the replacement players who crossed the picket line to play for the Redskins. A fictionalized account based on the 1987 strike formed the basis of the film The Replacements; the Miami Dolphins began playing at Joe Robbie Stadium. This was the Cardinals' final season in St. Louis; the eight-year old ESPN cable network became the first cable television broadcaster of the league, with its program ESPN Sunday Night NFL debuting on November 8, 1987, broadcasting a series of Sunday night games during the second half of the season. If a defensive player commits pass interference in his own end zone, the ball is placed at the 1-yard line, or if the previous spot was inside the 2-yard line, the penalty is half the distance to the goal line. Except for the first onside kick attempt, if a kickoff goes out of bounds, the receiving team takes possession of the ball 30 yards from the spot of the kick or the spot it went out of bounds.
In order to stop the clock, the quarterback is permitted to throw the ball out of bounds or to the ground as long as he throws it after receiving the snap. During passing plays, an offensive player cannot chop block. Illegal contact by a defensive player beyond the 5-yard zone from the line of scrimmage will not be called if the offensive team is in an obvious punt formation. During kicks and punts, players on the receiving team cannot block below the waist. However, players on the kicking team may block below the waist, but only. On all other plays after a change of possession, no player can block below the waist. Revenue sharing was changed so that NFL players received a portion of the ticket revenue, while the owners kept the revenue generated by skybox rentals; this led to many teams pushing for new stadiums which lowered many skybox suites from the less-desirable outer rim of a stadium to more desirable locations closer to the field so that the owners could charge more money for the suites, while reducing the ticket revenue by replacing the higher-priced seats with lower-priced “nose bleed” seats.
Overall, the number of available general admission seating was reduced in favor of larger suites. Chuck Heberling retired during the 1987 off-season, he joined the NFL in 1965 as a line judge before being promoted to referee in 1972. Games that he officiated include The Drive. Fred Silva, a swing official in 1986, was given his own crew again. Houston was the #4 seed in the AFC, winning a tiebreaker over Seattle based on better conference record. Chicago was the #2 seed in the NFC, winning a tiebreaker over Washington based on better conference record. New England fi
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.