2007 NFL season
The 2007 NFL season was the 88th regular season of the National Football League. Regular-season play was held from September 6 to December 30; the New England Patriots became the first team to complete the regular season undefeated since the league expanded to a 16-game regular season in 1978. Four weeks after the playoffs began on January 5, 2008, the Patriots' bid for a perfect season was dashed when they lost to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII, the league championship game at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona on February 3, by a score of 17–14; the following rule changes were passed at the league's annual owners meeting in Phoenix, Arizona during the week of March 25–28: The instant replay system, used since the 1999 season, was made a permanent officiating tool. It was renewed on a biennial basis; the system has been upgraded to use high-definition technology. However, the systems at Texas Stadium, RCA Dome, Giants Stadium did not receive the HDTV updates since those stadiums were scheduled to be replaced in the forthcoming years.
One reason that the technology was improved was that fans with high-definition televisions at home were having better views on replays than the officials and according to Dean Blandino, the NFL's instant replay director "that could have bit us in the rear if we continued." In addition, the amount of time allotted for the referee to review a play was reduced from 90 seconds to one minute. After a play is over, players who spike the ball in the field of play, other than in the end zone, will receive a 5-yard delay of game penalty. Forward passes that unintentionally hit an offensive lineman before an eligible receiver will no longer be an illegal touching penalty, but deliberate actions are still penalized. Roughing-the-passer penalties will not be called on a defender engaged with a quarterback who extends his arms and shoves the passer to the ground. During situations where crowd noise becomes a problem, the offense can no longer ask the referee to reset the play clock, it is necessary to have the ball touch the pylon or break the plane above the pylon to count as a touchdown.
A player just had to have some portion of his body over the goal line or pylon to count a touchdown. A completed catch is now when a receiver has control of the ball. A receiver had to make "a football move" in addition to having control of the ball for a reception. Players will be subject to a fine from the league for playing with an unbuckled chin strap. Officials will not penalize for chin strap violations during a game. John Parry was promoted to referee, replacing Bill Vinovich, forced to resign due to a heart condition. Vinovich would serve as a replay official from 2007 to 2011, he would be given a clean bill of health and return to the field as a referee in 2012. The 2007 season marked the second year of the current television contracts with NBC, CBS, Fox, ESPN, the NFL Network; the pre-game shows made some changes, with former Steelers coach Bill Cowher joining host James Brown, Boomer Esiason, Shannon Sharpe and Dan Marino on CBS’ The NFL Today. On Fox, after one season on the road, Fox NFL Sunday returned to Los Angeles as Curt Menefee took over as full-time host.
Chris Rose, doing in-game updates of other NFL games, was reverted to a part-time play-by-play role. The biggest changes were at NBC and ESPN. Michael Irvin’s contract with ESPN was not renewed, former coach Bill Parcells returned to the network after four years as Cowboys head coach. Parcells left. Another pair of former Cowboys, Emmitt Smith and Keyshawn Johnson provided roles in the studio for Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown. At Monday Night Football, Joe Theismann was dropped after seventeen years in the booth between the Sunday and Monday Night packages, former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback and current Philadelphia Soul president Ron Jaworski took his place alongside Mike Tirico and Tony Kornheiser. Part of the reason that Jaworski replaced Theismann was because of his chemistry with Kornheiser on Pardon the Interruption, where Jaworski was a frequent guest during the football season. NBC’s Football Night in America made two changes. MSNBC Countdown anchor Keith Olbermann joined Bob Costas and Cris Collinsworth as another co-host, while Sterling Sharpe exited as a studio analyst, former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber replaced him.
In another change, Faith Hill took over singing “Waiting All Day For Sunday Night” for Pink. In the second year of the NFL Network's “Run to the Playoffs”, Marshall Faulk and Deion Sanders replaced Dick Vermeil for two games when Collinsworth was unavailable. An unforced change saw Bryant Gumbel miss the Broncos–Texans game December 13 due to a sore throat and NBC announcer Tom Hammond step into Gumbel's play-by-play role in what turned out to be more or less a preview of one of NBC's Wild Card Game announcing teams; the dispute between the NFL Network and various cable companies involving the distribution of the cable channel continued throughout the season, getting the attention of government officials when the NFL Network was scheduled to televise two high-profile regular season games: the Packers-Cowboys game on November 29 and the Patriots-Giants game on December 29. In the case of the Packers-Cowboys game, the carriage was so limited that Governor of Wisconsin Jim Doyle went to his brother's house to watch the game on satellite (which is where the majority of the view
Tonga the Kingdom of Tonga, is a Polynesian country and archipelago comprising 169 islands, of which 36 are inhabited. The total surface area is about 750 square kilometres scattered over 700,000 square kilometres of the southern Pacific Ocean; the sovereign state has a population of 100,651 people, of whom 70% reside on the main island of Tongatapu. Tonga stretches across 800 kilometres in a north-south line, it is surrounded by Fiji and Wallis and Futuna to the northwest, Samoa to the northeast, Niue to the east, Kermadec to the southwest, New Caledonia and Vanuatu to the farther west. It is about 1,800 kilometres from New Zealand's North Island. Tonga became known in the West as the "Friendly Islands" because of the congenial reception accorded to Captain James Cook on his first visit in 1773, he arrived at the time of the ʻinasi festival, the yearly donation of the First Fruits to the Tuʻi Tonga and so received an invitation to the festivities. According to the writer William Mariner, the chiefs wanted to kill Cook during the gathering but could not agree on a plan.
From 1900 to 1970, Tonga had British protected state status, with the United Kingdom looking after its foreign affairs under a Treaty of Friendship. The country never relinquished its sovereignty to any foreign power. In 2010, Tonga took a decisive path towards becoming a constitutional monarchy rather than a traditional absolute kingdom, after legislative reforms passed a course for the first partial representative elections. In many Polynesian languages, including Tongan, the word tonga comes from fakatonga which means "southwards", as the archipelago is the southernmost group of the islands of central Polynesia; the word tonga is cognate to the Hawaiian region of Kona, meaning leeward in the Hawaiian language. An Austronesian-speaking group linked to the archaeological construct known as the Lapita cultural complex reached and inhabited Tonga around 1500–1000 BC. Scholars have much debated the exact dates of the initial settlement of Tonga, but Thorium dating confirms that the first settlers came to the oldest town, Nukuleka, by 888 BC, ± 8 years.
Not much is known before European contact because of the lack of a writing system, but oral history has survived and been recorded after the arrival of the Europeans. By the 12th century and the Tongan paramount chief, the Tuʻi Tonga, had a reputation across the central Pacific—from Niue, Rotuma, Wallis & Futuna, New Caledonia to Tikopia—leading some historians to speak of a Tuʻi Tonga Empire. In the 15th century and again in the 17th, civil war erupted; the Tongan people first encountered Europeans in 1616 when the Dutch vessel Eendracht, captained by Willem Schouten, made a short visit to trade. Came other Dutch explorers, including Jacob Le Maire. Noteworthy European visitors included James Cook in 1773, 1774, 1777; the US Exploring Expedition visited in 1840. In 1845, the ambitious young warrior and orator Tāufaʻāhau united Tonga into a kingdom, he held the chiefly title of Tuʻi Kanokupolu, but had been baptised by Methodist missionaries with the name Siaosi in 1831. In 1875, with the help of missionary Shirley Waldemar Baker, he declared Tonga a constitutional monarchy.
Tonga became a protected state under a Treaty of Friendship with Britain on 18 May 1900, when European settlers and rival Tongan chiefs tried to oust the second king. The treaty posted no higher permanent representative on Tonga than a British Consul. Under the protection of Britain, Tonga maintained its sovereignty, remained the only Pacific nation to retain its monarchical government; the Tongan monarchy follows an uninterrupted succession of hereditary rulers from one family. The 1918 flu pandemic, brought to Tonga by a ship from New Zealand, killed 1,800 Tongans, reflecting a mortality rate of about eight per cent; the Treaty of Friendship and Tonga's protection status ended in 1970 under arrangements established by Queen Salote Tupou III prior to her death in 1965. Tonga joined the Commonwealth of Nations in 1970, became a member of the United Nations in September 1999. While exposed to colonial pressures, Tonga has always governed itself, which makes it unique in the Pacific; as part of cost-cutting measures across the British Foreign Service, the British Government closed the British High Commission in Nukuʻalofa in March 2006, transferring representation of British interests to the High Commissioner in Fiji.
The last resident British High Commissioner was Paul Nessling. Tonga is a constitutional monarchy. Reverence for the monarch replaces that held in earlier centuries for the sacred paramount chief, the Tuʻi Tonga. Criticism of the monarch is held to be contrary to Tongan etiquette. King Tupou VI, his family, powerful nobles and a growing non-royal elite caste live in much wealth, with the rest of the country living in relative poverty; the effects of this disparity are mitigated by education and lan
American football, referred to as football in the United States and Canada and known as gridiron, is a team sport played by two teams of eleven players on a rectangular field with goalposts at each end. The offense, the team controlling the oval-shaped football, attempts to advance down the field by running with or passing the ball, while the defense, the team without control of the ball, aims to stop the offense's advance and aims to take control of the ball for themselves; the offense must advance at least ten yards in four downs, or plays, otherwise they turn over the football to the defense. Points are scored by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone for a touchdown or kicking the ball through the opponent's goalposts for a field goal; the team with the most points at the end of a game wins. American football evolved in the United States, originating from the sports of association football and rugby football; the first match of American football was played on November 6, 1869, between two college teams and Princeton, under rules based on the association football rules of the time.
During the latter half of the 1870s, colleges playing association football switched to the Rugby Union code, which allowed carrying the ball. A set of rule changes drawn up from 1880 onward by Walter Camp, the "Father of American Football", established the snap, the line of scrimmage, eleven-player teams, the concept of downs; the sport is related to Canadian football, which evolved parallel and contemporary to the American game, most of the features that distinguish American football from rugby and soccer are present in Canadian football. American football as a whole is the most popular sport in the United States; the most popular forms of the game are professional and college football, with the other major levels being high school and youth football. As of 2012, nearly 1.1 million high school athletes and 70,000 college athletes play the sport in the United States annually all of them men, with a few exceptions. The National Football League, the most popular American football league, has the highest average attendance of any professional sports league in the world.
In the United States, American Football is called "football". The terms "gridiron" or "American football" are favored in English-speaking countries where other codes of football are popular, such as the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia. American football evolved from the sports of rugby football. Rugby football, like American football, is a sport where two competing teams vie for control of a ball, which can be kicked through a set of goalposts or run into the opponent's goal area to score points. What is considered to be the first American football game was played on November 6, 1869, between Rutgers and Princeton, two college teams; the game was played between two teams of 25 players each and used a round ball that could not be picked up or carried. It could, however, be kicked or batted with the feet, head or sides, with the ultimate goal being to advance it into the opponent's goal. Rutgers won the game 6 goals to 4. Collegiate play continued for several years in which matches were played using the rules of the host school.
Representatives of Yale, Columbia and Rutgers met on October 19, 1873 to create a standard set of rules for all schools to adhere to. Teams were set at 20 players each, fields of 400 by 250 feet were specified. Harvard abstained from the conference, as they favored a rugby-style game that allowed running with the ball. After playing McGill University using both Canadian and American rules, the Harvard players preferred the Canadian style having only 11 men on the field, running the ball without having to be chased by an opponent, the forward pass and using an oblong instead of a round ball. An 1875 Harvard–Yale game played under rugby-style rules was observed by two impressed Princeton athletes; these players introduced the sport to Princeton, a feat the Professional Football Researchers Association compared to "selling refrigerators to Eskimos." Princeton, Harvard and Columbia agreed to intercollegiate play using a form of rugby union rules with a modified scoring system. These schools formed the Intercollegiate Football Association, although Yale did not join until 1879.
Yale player Walter Camp, now regarded as the "Father of American Football", secured rule changes in 1880 that reduced the size of each team from 15 to 11 players and instituted the snap to replace the chaotic and inconsistent scrum. The introduction of the snap resulted in unexpected consequences. Prior to the snap, the strategy had been to punt. However, a group of Princeton players realized that, as the snap was uncontested, they now could hold the ball indefinitely to prevent their opponent from scoring. In 1881, both teams in a game between Yale-Princeton used this strategy to maintain their undefeated records; each team held the ball. This "block game" proved unpopular with the spectators and fans of both teams. A rule change was necessary to prevent this strategy from taking hold, a reversion to the scrum was considered. However, Camp proposed a rule in 1882 that limited each team to three downs, or tackles, to adva
A return specialist or kick returner is a player on the special teams unit of an American football or Canadian football team who specializes in returning punts and kickoffs. There are few players who are return specialists; the special teams counterpart of a return specialist is a kicking specialist. According to All-American Venric Mark, "Returning punts is harder. You have to judge the ball more, you have to know when not to. You can't try to catch everything. With kickoff returns, you catch the ball and — boom — you're going." A kickoff returner is the player on special teams, responsible for catching the opposing team's kickoff and attempting to run it towards the end zone to score a touchdown. If the ball is kicked into his own end zone, the kick returner must assess the situation on the field while the ball is in the air and determine if it would be beneficial to his team for a return. If he decides that it is not, he can make a touchback by kneeling down in the end zone after catching the ball, ending the play and starting the next play at the 25-yard line to start the drive.
The kickoff returner position is played by a small, faster player such as a cornerback, running back or wide receiver. Backup players assume this role so starting players on the offense take fewer hits as the kickoff returner position, can play their regular positions. In the days of one platoon football, the returner position was synonymous with the "safety man" - a quarterback or halfback. In 2012, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell proposed the idea of removing the kickoff play, quoted that the "kickoff return is too dangerous for the game"; the idea was met with criticism and the idea was dropped. On October 27, 2013, wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson of the Minnesota Vikings returned the kickoff 109 yards and scored a touchdown, the longest run possible in NFL standards. In 2014, Devin Hester broke Deion Sanders' record for most kickoff return touchdowns, with 14, he remains the record holder. Red Grange was one of the sport's first iconic faces, breaking onto the national scene with a 95-yard kickoff return against Michigan.
Gale Sayers was an All-Pro running back who returned punts and kicked for the Chicago Bears. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1977, he holds the record for the highest career kickoff return average at 30.56 yards per attempt. Brad Oremland of Sports Central called him the greatest kick returner in NFL history. Deion Sanders played cornerback for multiple NFL teams and played kick returner and a punt returner on special teams. Sanders was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011. Sanders totaled 3,523 kick return yards including 3 touchdowns. Sanders held the record for most special teams touchdowns, 19 in total, until Devin Hester broke the record in the 2014 season. Desmond Howard MVP of Super Bowl XXXI Dante Hall played wide receiver and as a kick returner "was the most dangerous player in the NFL for a couple of seasons". Devin Hester played wide receiver and as a return specialist holds the record for the most all-time return touchdowns and most all-time punt return touchdowns.
He is regarded as one of the greatest, if not the greatest return specialist in NFL history. Glyn Milburn Holds the NFL record for most all purpose yards in a single game playing for the Denver Broncos with John Elway quarterbacking. One of the greatest return specialists of all time, he became the Chicago bears all time leading kick returner with 4,596 yards, and has 9,788 NFL career kick returning total yards. He holds the Denver Broncos franchise record for the most kick returning yards in a single season 1,269, 1995. A punt returner has the job of catching the ball after it is punted and to give his team good field position by returning it. Before catching the punted ball, the returner must assess the situation on the field while the ball is still in the air, he must determine if it is beneficial for his team to attempt a return. If it appears that the players from the punting team will be too close to the returner by the time he catches the ball, or it appears the ball will go into his own end zone, the punt returner can elect not to return the ball by choosing one of two options: Call for a fair catch by waving one arm above his head before catching the punt.
This means. The fair catch minimizes the chances of a fumble or injury because it ensures that the returner is protected from the opposing team, whose players may not touch the returner or attempt to interfere with the catch in any way after the fair catch signal is given. In the NFL, a fair catch allows the fair catch kick to be used on the next play with no time on the clock remaining, to attempt a field goal via free kick. However, this option is exercised. Avoid the ball and let it hit the ground. Under this option the ball will go into the returning team's end zone for a touchback, go out of bounds and be spotted at that point, or come to final rest in the field of play and be downed by a player on the punting team; this is the safest option, as it eliminates the chance of a fumble and ensures that the returner's team will get possession of the ball. However, it provides an opportunity for the punting team to pin the returner's team deep in their own territory by downing the ball or sending it out of bounds near the returner's end zone.
This can not only give the return team poor field position, but can lead to
Volleyball is a popular team sport in which two teams of six players are separated by a net. Each team tries to score points by grounding a ball on the other team's court under organized rules, it has been a part of the official program of the Summer Olympic Games since Tokyo 1964. The complete rules are extensive, but play proceeds as follows: a player on one of the teams begins a'rally' by serving the ball, from behind the back boundary line of the court, over the net, into the receiving team's court; the receiving team must not let the ball be grounded within their court. The team may touch the ball up to 3 times, but individual players may not touch the ball twice consecutively; the first two touches are used to set up for an attack, an attempt to direct the ball back over the net in such a way that the serving team is unable to prevent it from being grounded in their court. The rally continues, with each team allowed as many as three consecutive touches, until either: a team makes a kill, grounding the ball on the opponent's court and winning the rally.
The team that wins the rally serves the ball to start the next rally. A few of the most common faults include: causing the ball to touch the ground or floor outside the opponents' court or without first passing over the net; the ball is played with the hands or arms, but players can strike or push the ball with any part of the body. A number of consistent techniques have evolved in volleyball, including spiking and blocking as well as passing and specialized player positions and offensive and defensive structures. In the winter of 1895, in Holyoke, William G. Morgan, a YMCA physical education director, created a new game called Mintonette, a name derived from the game of badminton, as a pastime to be played indoors and by any number of players; the game took some of its characteristics from other sports such as handball. Another indoor sport, was catching on in the area, having been invented just ten miles away in the city of Springfield, only four years before. Mintonette was designed to be an indoor sport, less rough than basketball, for older members of the YMCA, while still requiring a bit of athletic effort.
The first rules, written down by William G Morgan, called for a net 6 ft 6 in high, a 25 ft × 50 ft court, any number of players. A match was composed of nine innings with three serves for each team in each inning, no limit to the number of ball contacts for each team before sending the ball to the opponents' court. In case of a serving error, a second try was allowed. Hitting the ball into the net was considered a foul —except in the case of the first-try serve. After an observer, Alfred Halstead, noticed the volleying nature of the game at its first exhibition match in 1896, played at the International YMCA Training School, the game became known as volleyball. Volleyball rules were modified by the International YMCA Training School and the game spread around the country to various YMCAs; the first official ball used in volleyball is disputed. The rules evolved over time: in 1916, in the Philippines, the skill and power of the set and spike had been introduced, four years a "three hits" rule and a rule against hitting from the back row were established.
In 1917, the game was changed from requiring 21 points to win to a smaller 15 points to win. In 1919, about 16,000 volleyballs were distributed by the American Expeditionary Forces to their troops and allies, which sparked the growth of volleyball in new countries; the first country outside the United States to adopt volleyball was Canada in 1900. An international federation, the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball, was founded in 1947, the first World Championships were held in 1949 for men and 1952 for women; the sport is now popular in Brazil, in Europe, in Russia, in other countries including China and the rest of Asia, as well as in the United States. Beach volleyball, a variation of the game played on sand and with only two players per team, became a FIVB-endorsed variation in 1987 and was added to the Olympic program at the 1996 Summer Olympics. Volleyball is a sport at the Paralympics managed by the World Organization Volleyball for Disabled. Nudists were early adopters of the game with regular organized play in clubs as early as the late 1920s.
By the 1960s, a volleyball court had become standard in all nudist/naturist clubs. Volleyball has been part of the Summer Olympics program for both men and women since 1964. A volleyball court is 9 m × 18 m, divided into equal square halves by a net with a width of one meter; the top of the net is 2.43 m above the center of the court for men's competition, 2.24 m for women's competition, varied for veterans a
College football is American football played by teams of student athletes fielded by American universities and military academies, or Canadian football played by teams of student athletes fielded by Canadian universities. It was through college football play that American football rules first gained popularity in the United States. Unlike most other sports in North America, no minor league farm organizations exist in American or Canadian football. Therefore, college football is considered to be the second tier of American football in the United States and Canadian football in Canada. However, in some areas of the country, college football is more popular than professional football, for much of the early 20th century, college football was seen as more prestigious than professional football, it is in college football where a player's performance directly impacts his chances of playing professional football. The best collegiate players will declare for the professional draft after three to four years of collegiate competition, with the NFL holding its annual draft every spring in which 256 players are selected annually.
Those not selected can still attempt to land an NFL roster spot as an undrafted free agent. After the emergence of the professional National Football League, college football remained popular throughout the U. S. Although the college game has a much larger margin for talent than its pro counterpart, the sheer number of fans following major colleges provides a financial equalizer for the game, with Division I programs — the highest level — playing in huge stadiums, six of which have seating capacity exceeding 100,000 people. In many cases, college stadiums employ bench-style seating, as opposed to individual seats with backs and arm rests; this allows them to seat more fans in a given amount of space than the typical professional stadium, which tends to have more features and comforts for fans.. College athletes, unlike players in the NFL, are not permitted by the NCAA to be paid salaries. Colleges are only allowed to provide non-monetary compensation such as athletic scholarships that provide for tuition and books.
Modern North American football has its origins in various games, all known as "football", played at public schools in Great Britain in the mid-19th century. By the 1840s, students at Rugby School were playing a game in which players were able to pick up the ball and run with it, a sport known as Rugby football; the game was taken to Canada by British soldiers stationed there and was soon being played at Canadian colleges. The first documented gridiron football match was played at University College, a college of the University of Toronto, November 9, 1861. One of the participants in the game involving University of Toronto students was William Mulock Chancellor of the school. A football club was formed at the university soon afterward, although its rules of play at this stage are unclear. In 1864, at Trinity College a college of the University of Toronto, F. Barlow Cumberland and Frederick A. Bethune devised rules based on rugby football. Modern Canadian football is regarded as having originated with a game played in Montreal, in 1865, when British Army officers played local civilians.
The game gained a following, the Montreal Football Club was formed in 1868, the first recorded non-university football club in Canada. Early games appear to have had much in common with the traditional "mob football" played in Great Britain; the games remained unorganized until the 19th century, when intramural games of football began to be played on college campuses. Each school played its own variety of football. Princeton University students played a game called "ballown" as early as 1820. A Harvard tradition known as "Bloody Monday" began in 1827, which consisted of a mass ballgame between the freshman and sophomore classes. In 1860, both the town police and the college authorities agreed; the Harvard students responded by going into mourning for a mock figure called "Football Fightum", for whom they conducted funeral rites. The authorities held firm and it was a dozen years before football was once again played at Harvard. Dartmouth played its own version called "Old division football", the rules of which were first published in 1871, though the game dates to at least the 1830s.
All of these games, others, shared certain commonalities. They remained "mob" style games, with huge numbers of players attempting to advance the ball into a goal area by any means necessary. Rules were simple and injury were common; the violence of these mob-style games led to a decision to abandon them. Yale, under pressure from the city of New Haven, banned the play of all forms of football in 1860. American football historian Parke H. Davis described the period between 1869 and 1875 as the'Pioneer Period'. On November 6, 1869, Rutgers University faced Princeton University in the first-ever game of intercollegiate football, it was played with a round ball and, like all early games, used a set of rules suggested by Rutgers captain William J. Leggett, based
2003 NFL season
The 2003 NFL season was the 84th regular season of the National Football League. Regular-season play was held from September 4, 2003, to December 28, 2003. Due to damage caused by the Cedar Fire, Qualcomm Stadium was used as an emergency shelter, thus the Miami Dolphins–San Diego Chargers regular-season match on October 27 was instead played at Sun Devil Stadium, the home field of the Arizona Cardinals; the playoffs began on January 3, 2004. The NFL title was won by the New England Patriots when they defeated the Carolina Panthers, 32–29, in Super Bowl XXXVIII at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas, on February 1; this was the last season until the 2016 NFL season where neither of the previous Super Bowl participants made the playoffs. If an onside kick inside the final five minutes of the game does not go 10 yards, goes out of bounds, or is touched illegally, the receiving team will have the option of accepting the penalty and getting the ball immediately; the kicking team was penalized, but had another chance to kick again from five yards back.
League officials encouraged networks to cut to a commercial break if an instant replay challenge review was initiated. Networks were not permitted to utilize those game stoppages for their prescribed commercial periods. Dick Hantak and Bob McElwee retired in the 2003 off-season. Hantak joined the league as a back judge in 1978, was assigned Super Bowl XVII in that position, he was promoted to referee in 1986, working Super Bowl XXVII. McElwee joined the NFL in 1976 as a line judge, became a referee in 1980, he was the referee for three Super Bowls: XXII, XXVIII, XXXIV. Walt Anderson and Pete Morelli were promoted to referee to replace McElwee. Cincinnati Bengals – Marvin Lewis. Dallas Cowboys – Bill Parcells. Detroit Lions – Steve Mariucci. Jacksonville Jaguars – Jack Del Rio. San Francisco 49ers – Dennis Erickson. Philadelphia Eagles – New stadium: Lincoln Financial Field. New Orleans Saints – New AstroPlay home turf by mid-season Atlanta Falcons – New FieldTurf surface Green Bay Packers – New remodeled Lambeau Field Chicago Bears – New remodelled Soldier Field.
Buffalo Bills – New AstroPlay home turf Atlanta Falcons – New logo, new uniforms Detroit Lions – New uniforms, added black trim on logo and numbers Philadelphia Eagles – Added silver trim to numbers on uniforms. Introduce new home alternative uniforms. Black uniforms with white numbers with midnight green shadow in numbers. San Diego Chargers – White pants with road uniforms. New England Patriots – Added third alternative uniforms. Silver uniforms. Miami Dolphins – Added third alternate uniforms. Orange uniforms. Houston Texans – Added third alternate uniforms. Red Uniforms. Cleveland Browns – Added new alternate orange pants last worn in the Kardiac Kids era of coach Sam Rutigliano. Tennessee Titans – Added third alternate uniforms, powder blue Indianapolis finished ahead of Tennessee in the AFC South based on better head-to-head record. Denver clinched the AFC 6 seed instead of Miami based on better conference record. Buffalo finished ahead of N. Y. Jets in the AFC East based on better division record.
Jacksonville finished ahead of Houston in the AFC South based on better division record. Oakland finished ahead of San Diego in the AFC West based on better conference record. Philadelphia clinched the NFC 1 seed instead of St. Louis based on better conference record. Seattle clinched the NFC 5 seed instead of Dallas based on strength of victory. Within each conference, the four division winners and the two wild card teams qualified for the playoffs; the four division winners are seeded 1 through 4 based on their overall won-lost-tied record, the wild card teams are seeded 5 and 6. The NFL does not use a fixed bracket playoff system, there are no restrictions regarding teams from the same division matching up in any round. In the first round, dubbed the wild-card playoffs or wild-card weekend, the third-seeded division winner hosts the sixth seed wild card, the fourth seed hosts the fifth; the 1 and 2 seeds from each conference receive a bye in the first round. In the second round, the divisional playoffs, the number 1 seed hosts the worst surviving seed from the first round, while the number 2 seed will play the other team.
The two surviving teams from each conference's divisional playoff games meet in the respective AFC and NFC Conference Championship games, hosted by the higher seed. Although the Super Bowl, the fourth and final round of the playoffs, is played at a neutral site, the designated home team is based on an annual rotation by conference. * Indicates overtime victory ** Indicates double overtime victory The following teams and players set all-time NFL records during the season: The 2003 NFL Draft was held from April 26 to 27, 2003 at New York City's Theater at Madison Square Garden. With the first pick, the Cincinnati Bengals selected quarterback Carson Palmer from the University of Southern California. NFL Record and Fact Book NFL History 2001– Total Football: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League Football Outsiders 2003 Team Efficiency Ratings Pro Football Reference.com – 2003