2013 NFL season

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This article is about the American football season in the United States. For the Gaelic football season in Ireland, see 2013 National Football League (Ireland).
2013 National Football League season
Regular season
Duration September 5 – December 29, 2013
Playoffs
Start date January 4, 2014
AFC Champions Denver Broncos
NFC Champions Seattle Seahawks
Super Bowl XLVIII
Date February 2, 2014
Site MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey
Champions Seattle Seahawks
Pro Bowl
Date January 26, 2014
Site Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii
National Football League seasons
 < 2012 2014 > 

The 2013 NFL season was the 94th season in the history of the National Football League (NFL). The season saw the Seattle Seahawks capture the first championship in the franchise's 38 years in the league with a convincing 43-8 victory over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII, the league's championship game. The Super Bowl was played at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey on Sunday, February 2, 2014. It was the first Super Bowl hosted by New Jersey and the first to be held in a cold weather environment. The Seahawks scored 12 seconds into the game and held the lead the rest of the way.

Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning was named the regular season's Most Valuable Player (MVP) by the voters of the Associated Press (AP) for a record fifth time after compiling unprecedented passing stats which included regular season records for passing yards and passing touchdowns. Manning also was named the Offensive Player of the Year for the second time in his career. Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly earned Defensive Player of the Year honors.

Scoring reached historic levels throughout the league in 2013. As a whole the league set records for total points scored, points scored per game and the number of both touchdowns and field goals scored. The Broncos set a new standard for team scoring in the regular season with 606 points. In addition to the Broncos, ten other teams each scored over 400 points, the greatest number of teams to surpass that benchmark in a single year.

The regular season got underway on Thursday, September 5, 2013, with the Broncos hosting the defending Super Bowl XLVII champion Baltimore Ravens in the annual kickoff game. The game presaged the Broncos' historic offensive production with a strong performance by Peyton Manning in which he tied a league record in throwing seven touchdown passes and led the Broncos to a 49–27. The game was the start of a disappointing season for the Ravens in which they would finish out of the playoffs with an 8–8 record, thus insuring that there would be no repeat Super Bowl winner for a record ninth straight season. The regular season wrapped up on Sunday night, December 29.

The playoffs began with the wild card round which took place the first weekend of January 2014. The league's propensity for scoring didn't abate in the post-season, as exemplified by the Indianapolis Colts' wild come-from-behind 45–44 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in the playoffs' opening game. The Conference Championship games featured the top seeded teams in each conference, the Seahawks in the NFC and the Broncos in the American Football Conference (AFC), hosting the San Francisco 49ers and New England Patriots respectively. Both home teams prevailed to set up just the second Super Bowl matchup of #1 seeds in the past 20 seasons.

Player movement[edit]

The 2013 league year began at 4 pm EST on March 12,[1] which marked the start of the league's free agency period.[2] The per-team salary cap was set at US$123,000,000.[3] For the first time the league instituted a negotiating period prior to the start of free agency during which time agents representing prospective unrestricted free agent players (though not the players themselves) were allowed to have contact with team representatives with the purpose of determining a player's market value and to begin contract negotiations. This period, which was referred to by some as the "legal tampering" period, began at midnight on March 9.[4]

Free agency[edit]

A total of 524 players were eligible for some form of free agency.[2] Among the high profile players who changed teams via free agency were wide receivers Mike Wallace (left the Steelers, joined the Dolphins), Greg Jennings (from Packers to Vikings) and Wes Welker (from Patriots to Broncos); defensive end Cliff Avril (from Lions to Seahawks); safety Dashon Goldson (from 49ers to Buccaneers); offensive tackle Jake Long (from Dolphins to Rams); and running backs Steven Jackson (from Rams to Falcons) and Reggie Bush (from Dolphins to Lions).[5]

Eight players were assigned the non-exclusive franchise tag by their teams, which ensured that the team would receive compensation were the player to sign a contract with another team. These players were Brandon Albert (Chiefs), Jairus Byrd (Bills), Ryan Clady (Broncos), Michael Johnson (Bengals), Pat McAfee (Colts), Henry Melton (Bears), Anthony Spencer (Cowboys) and Randy Starks (Dolphins).[6] None of these players changed teams.

Major trades[edit]

The following trades are notable as they involved Pro Bowl-caliber players and/or draft picks in the first three rounds:

Offseason
Percy Harvin was traded by the Vikings to the Seahawks
The Jets traded Darrelle Revis to the Buccaneers
  • April 21 – Cornerback Darrelle Revis was traded by the Jets to the Buccaneers.[13] The Jets received the Bucs' first round draft pick in 2013, the 13th overall selection (which the Jets used to select Sheldon Richardson) and a conditional pick which would become the Bucs' fourth-round selection in 2014, the 104th overall pick.[14] Revis, a three time All-Pro, was widely considered to be among the league's top defensive players, but he was coming off a knee injury and the Jets didn't feel they would be able to retain him after the 2013 season. The Bucs signed Revis to a 6-year, $96 million contract.[13]
In-season
Trent Richardson was acquired by the Colts
  • September 18 – In a bit of a shocking mid-season move the Browns traded running back Trent Richardson to the Colts in exchange for the Colts' first-round pick (26th overall) in the 2014 draft. The Browns had moved up in the previous year's draft to grab Richardson with the third overall selection and he was presumed to be a cornerstone of the team.[15]
  • October 2 – Offensive tackle Eugene Monroe was traded by the Jaguars to the Ravens in exchange for fourth- and fifth-round selections in the 2014 draft (picks #114 and #159 overall). The Jaguars had selected Monroe eight overall in the 2009 draft.[16]

Draft[edit]

For more details on this topic, see 2013 NFL Draft.

The 2013 NFL Draft was held April 25–27, 2013, in New York City.[17] Prior to the draft the NFL Scouting Combine, where draft-eligible players were evaluated by team personnel, was held in Indianapolis on February 20–26.[1] In the draft the Kansas City Chiefs made Central Michigan University offensive tackle Eric Fisher the first overall selection.[18]

Preseason[edit]

Training camps for the 2013 season opened in late July. The Buccaneers camp was the first to open with rookies reporting on July 17. The Cowboys were the first to open camp to veteran players on July 20. All teams were in camp by July 27.[19]

Prior to the start of the regular season, each team played at least four preseason exhibition games. The preseason schedule got underway with the NFL Hall of Fame Game on Sunday, August 4. The Hall of Fame game is a traditional part of the annual Pro Football Hall of Fame induction weekend celebrating new Hall of Fame members. It was played at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio, which is located adjacent to the Hall of Fame building. In the game, which was televised nationally on NBC, the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Miami Dolphins 24–20.[20] The 2013 Hall of Fame class of Larry Allen, Cris Carter, Curley Culp, Jonathan Ogden, Bill Parcells, Dave Robinson and Warren Sapp was honored during the game.[21] The 65-game preseason schedule concluded on Thursday, August 29.[22]

Regular season[edit]

The 2013 season featured 256 games played out over a seventeen week schedule which began on the Thursday night following Labor Day. Each of the league's 32 teams played a 16-game schedule which included one bye week for each team between weeks four and twelve. The slate featured seventeen games on Monday night including a doubleheader in the season's opening week. There were also seventeen games played on Thursday, including the National Football League Kickoff game in prime time on September 4 and three games on Thanksgiving Day. The regular season wrapped up with a full slate of 16 games on Sunday, December 29, all of which were intra-divisional matchups.[23]

Scheduling formula

Under the NFL's scheduling formula, each team played each of the other three teams in their own division twice. In addition, a team played against all four teams in one other division from each conference. The final two games on a team's schedule were against the two teams in the team's own conference in the divisions the team was not set to play who finished the previous season in the same rank in their division (e.g. the team which finished first in its division the previous season would play each other team in their conference that also finished first in its respective division). The pre-set division pairings for 2013 were as follows:[24]

   Intra-conference
AFC North vs. AFC East
AFC South vs. AFC West
NFC North vs. NFC East
NFC South vs. NFC West

   Inter-conference
AFC North vs. NFC North
AFC South vs. NFC West
AFC East vs. NFC South
AFC West vs. NFC East

The 2013 regular season schedule was released on April 18, 2013.[25]

Regular season highlights

The 2013 regular season began on Thursday, September 5, with the NFL Kickoff Game in which the Denver Broncos hosted the Baltimore Ravens. The game was a rematch of a double-overtime playoff game of the previous season. The game was broadcast on NBC. The Ravens, as the reigning Super Bowl champions, would normally have hosted the kickoff game, however, a scheduling conflict with their Major League Baseball counterparts, the Baltimore Orioles, forced the Ravens to start the season on the road (the Ravens' and Orioles' respective stadiums — M&T Bank Stadium and Oriole Park at Camden Yards — share parking facilities).[26] The Ravens became the first Super Bowl winner since 2003 to open their title defense on the road.[27]

In the kickoff game the Broncos avenged their playoff loss by defeating the Ravens 49–27 on the strength of a record-setting performance by quarterback Peyton Manning. Manning put on an amazing show completing 27 of 42 pass attempts for 462 yards and seven touchdowns. Manning set or tied numerous league records in the game including most touchdown passes in a game (tied with five others) and records for most career games with at least six, five and four touchdown passes.[28]

The first of two games in the NFL International Series was played in the fourth week of the season on September 29. The Minnesota Vikings hosted the Pittsburgh Steelers at Wembley Stadium in London, England.[29] Both teams entered the game winless on the season at 0–3. The Steelers–Vikings game kicked off at 6:00 pm BST (1:00 pm EDT). The Jacksonville Jaguars hosted the San Francisco 49ers at Wembley four weeks later, in the first of four annual London games for the Jaguars running through 2016.[30] The 49ers–Jaguars game started at 5:00 pm GMT (1:00 pm EDT). This was the first season which included two London games.[31] It was announced in October that the International Series would be expanded to include three games in 2014.[32]

The game that perhaps best exemplified the offensive explosion of the 2013 season was the Broncos' 51–48 victory over the Cowboys on October 6. This was the fourth highest-scoring game in history[33] in a season in which new records were set for overall as well as per-game scoring.[34] The teams combined for 1,039 yards in total offense. Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo passed for 506 yards, becoming only the fifth passer in league history to surpass 500 yards and throw five touchdown passes in a game. However, Romo threw an interception with the score tied in the game's final two minutes which led to a Matt Prater field goal which gave the Broncos the win as time ran out.[33]

The Chargers and Raiders played an unusual late night game in the season's fifth week on October 6. The game, originally scheduled to start at 1:25 pm PDT, had to be moved to the evening to accommodate stadium schedules — Major League Baseball's Oakland Athletics, the Raiders' co-tenants of O.co Coliseum, had hosted the second game of the 2013 American League Division Series the previous night and stadium crews needed nearly 24 hours to convert the stadium from a baseball to a football configuration.[35] O.co Coliseum was only multi-purpose stadium which hosted both an NFL and an MLB team in 2013.[36] Although the stadium conversion was complete by 3:30 pm local time, an 8:36 pm kickoff was necessary to avoid conflict with NBC's Sunday Night Football, where the 49ers hosted the Texans at Candlestick Park across the San Francisco Bay. The Chargers-Raiders game was the latest game played on the west coast in league history and was broadcast nationwide on the NFL Network.[37]

The highlight of the season's seventh week was the return of Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning to Indianapolis to play the Colts. Manning had played for the Colts the first fourteen years of his career before he was released by the team in March 2012, as he was coming off a serious neck injury which kept him out of the 2011 season.[38] Manning was honored prior to the game in a 90-second video of the highlights of his years with the Colts.[39] The Colts won the game 39–33 behind a four touchdown performance by Manning's replacement as the Colts starting quarterback, Andrew Luck.[40] It was the Broncos' first loss on the season and broke a string of 19 consecutive regular season wins.[41]

With the Broncos loss to the Colts, the Chiefs became the league's last unbeaten team of 2013. They would run their record to 9–0 before losing to the Broncos 27–17 in the season's eleventh week on November 17.[42] The Chiefs had suffered a league-worst 2–14 season in 2012.[43]

On November 24, the Patriots hosted the Broncos on NBC Sunday Night Football. The game featured the fourteenth meeting in the careers of two of the league's best quarterbacks, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Peyton Manning of the Broncos. The game was hyped as Manning-Brady XIV.[44] The game lived up to the hype with Manning's Broncos building a 24–0 halftime lead as the Patriots were booed off their home field. In the second half Brady's Patriots scored 31 unanswered points. The Broncos scored a late touchdown to tie the game and send it into overtime where the Patriots ended the game on a field goal after recovering a muffed punt at the Broncos' 13-yard line. The comeback was the largest in Patriots history.[45]

The league's traditional slate of Thanksgiving Day games was played on Thursday, November 28. The Lions hosted the Packers in the early game at 12:30 pm EST, marking the Packers' 21st Thanksgiving game in Detroit. The Raiders visited the Cowboys in the late afternoon game at 3:30 pm CST. The evening game featured the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens hosting their AFC North rival Steelers at 8:30 pm EST.[25]

Controversy erupted during the third quarter of the Thanksgiving night game between the Steelers and Ravens, as Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin found himself in the path of Ravens returner Jacoby Jones during a Ravens kickoff return. Tomlin was watching the play on the stadium's big screen and was thus facing away from the play itself while standing with at least one foot in the field of play. Jones broke the return to the side of the field and was running up the sideline on which Tomlin was standing. Tomlin stepped away from the field to avoid Jones as he approached, but did so only after he caused Jones to veer slightly toward the center of the field. Shortly thereafter, Jones was tackled from behind at the Steelers' 27 yard-line. Some observers speculated that without Tomlin's interference Jones may have reached the endzone on the play.[46] Tomlin was fined $100,000 by the league for the incident and the league held out the possibility that the Steelers might also be stripped of draft picks in the 2014 NFL Draft since Tomlin's actions "affected a play on the field."[47] After the season concluded it was announced that no further penalty beyond Tomlin's fine would be assessed.[48]

The Bills hosted the Falcons in Toronto, Canada on December 1. The game was played at Rogers Centre one week after the 101st Grey Cup ended the 2013 Canadian Football League season. On January 9, the Bills and Rogers Communications had announced a five-year extension of the Bills Toronto Series.[49][50]

In contrast to the league-wide offensive explosion, the Seahawks fielded one of the best defenses in league history in 2013.[51] Perhaps the best performance of the season for the Seahawks defense occurred in week 15 as they shut out the Giants 23–0. In the game the Seahawks intercepted five passes and forced the Giants to punt on all eight of their other possessions. The Giants' offense was held to just 181 yards for the game.[52]

Going into the final day of the season on December 29, eighteen teams remained in contention for the twelve available playoff spots. All sixteen of the week seventeen games (all of which were intra-division matchups) were played on Sunday and thirteen had playoff implications. All four division winners in the AFC had been determined, but all four NFC divisions were still up for grabs.[53] In the season's final regular season game on Sunday night, the Eagles defeated the Cowboys 24–22 to capture the NFC East. This was the third straight year that the Cowboys were eliminated from the playoffs with losses in their final game, all of which were against division rivals and all of which were played on Sunday night.[54]

Final standings[edit]

(x) = team made playoffs; conference seeding in parentheses
AFC East
Team W L T PCT PF PA
(2) New England Patriots 12 4 0 .750 444 338
New York Jets[a] 8 8 0 .500 290 387
Miami Dolphins[a] 8 8 0 .500 317 335
Buffalo Bills 6 10 0 .375 339 388
AFC North
Team W L T PCT PF PA
(3) Cincinnati Bengals[b] 11 5 0 .688 430 305
Pittsburgh Steelers[c] 8 8 0 .500 379 370
Baltimore Ravens[c] 8 8 0 .500 320 352
Cleveland Browns 4 12 0 .250 308 406
AFC South
Team W L T PCT PF PA
(4) Indianapolis Colts[b] 11 5 0 .688 391 336
Tennessee Titans 7 9 0 .438 362 381
Jacksonville Jaguars 4 12 0 .250 247 449
Houston Texans 2 14 0 .125 276 428
AFC West
Team W L T PCT PF PA
(1) Denver Broncos 13 3 0 .813 606 399
(5) Kansas City Chiefs 11 5 0 .688 430 305
(6) San Diego Chargers 9 7 0 .563 396 348
Oakland Raiders 4 12 0 .250 322 453
NFC East
Team W L T PCT PF PA
(3) Philadelphia Eagles 10 6 0 .625 442 382
Dallas Cowboys 8 8 0 .500 439 432
New York Giants 7 9 0 .438 294 383
Washington Redskins 3 13 0 .188 334 478
NFC North
Team W L T PCT PF PA
(4) Green Bay Packers 8 7 1 .531 417 428
Chicago Bears 8 8 0 .500 445 478
Detroit Lions 7 9 0 .438 395 376
Minnesota Vikings 5 10 1 .344 391 480
NFC South
Team W L T PCT PF PA
(2) Carolina Panthers 12 4 0 .750 366 241
(6) New Orleans Saints 11 5 0 .688 414 304
Atlanta Falcons[d] 4 12 0 .250 353 443
Tampa Bay Buccaneers[d] 4 12 0 .250 288 389
NFC West
Team W L T PCT PF PA
(1) Seattle Seahawks 13 3 0 .813 417 231
(5) San Francisco 49ers 12 4 0 .750 406 272
Arizona Cardinals 10 6 0 .625 379 324
St. Louis Rams 7 9 0 .438 348 364
Tie-breakers
  • a New York Jets finished ahead of Miami in the AFC East based on a better divisional record (3–3 to 2–4).[55]
  • b Cincinnati clinched the AFC's No. 3 seed over Indianapolis based on a head-to-head victory (Week 14, 42–28).[55]
  • c Pittsburgh finished ahead of Baltimore in the AFC North based on a better divisional record (4–2 to 3–3).[55]
  • d Atlanta finished ahead of Tampa Bay in the NFC South based on a better conference record (3–9 to 2–10).[55]

Postseason[edit]

Wild card round

The wild card round of the playoffs featured the two wild card playoff qualifiers from each conference being hosted by the two lowest seeded divisional winners. The top two seeds in each conference — the Seahawks, Panthers, Broncos and Patriots — all had first-round byes. The games were played January 4–5, 2014.

The weekend's first game on Saturday featured the Colts staging the second biggest comeback in playoff history to defeat the Chiefs by a score of 45–44. The 28-point second half deficit the Colts overcame is exceeded only by the BillsOilers playoff game from January 1993 which has become known simply as "The Comeback."[56] It was the first time in any NFL game (regular or postseason) that a team won in regulation play (i.e. not overtime) after having trailed by as many as 28 points.[57] The game was also the highest scoring postseason game to have been decided by a one-point margin[57] as well as the first game in league history to finish with a 45–44 result.[58] The Colts and Chiefs combined to gain 1,049 total yards which established a new single-game postseason record, breaking the record of 1,038 yards that was set by the BillsDolphins first-round game on December 30, 1995, and matched in a SaintsLions first-round matchup on January 7, 2012.[57] The loss was the Chiefs' eighth straight in the playoffs which broke an NFL record for consecutive playoff losses the franchise had previously shared with the Lions.[59]

The Saints beat the Eagles 26–24 in the Saturday night game. It was the Saints' first ever road playoff victory. The Saints built an early 20–7 lead before the Eagles bounced back to take a 24–23 lead with less than five minutes remaining in the game. However, the Saints worked their way down the field while also working the clock on the game's final drive before Shayne Graham kicked the game-winning field goal from 32 yards out as time expired.[60]

The early game on Sunday was the only game of the weekend not decided by three or fewer points with the Chargers defeating the Bengals, 27–10. Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton committed three second-half turnovers which led to the Chargers scoring 20 unanswered points to overcome a 7–10 halftime deficit. The Bengals loss marks a league record third straight year in which the team has lost its playoff opener, and extended the Bengals' streak of playoff futility to 23 seasons. Every other current NFL team has won a playoff game since the Bengals' last playoff victory in January 1991.[61]

In the late afternoon game on Sunday the 49ers defeated the Packers on a brutally cold day at Lambeau Field. The temperature at game time was just 5 °F (−15 °C) with a wind chill of −10 °F (−23 °C). Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who eschewed sleeves and gloves despite the chilly conditions, passed for 227 yards and rushed for 98 more to lead the 49ers to victory in a back-and-forth game. Phil Dawson kicked the winning field goal as time expired. This was the second straight year that the Packers' season had both started and ended with losses to the 49ers.[62]

Divisional round

The divisional round games were played on January 11–12, 2014 and three of the four were rematches of regular season games — only the Patriots and Colts had not met in 2013.[63]

In the early game on Saturday, the Seahawks defeated the Saints 23–15. The Seahawks held a 16–0 lead at halftime, but the Saints came back in the second half to make the game interesting. The Seahawks were able to hold on after a late Saints comeback effort, including an onside kick recovery, fell short. The Seahawks' offense centered around a 28 carry, 140 yard rushing effort from Marshawn Lynch, who also scored on a 31-yard run in the fourth quarter.[64]

Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount and the Patriots defense were the stars of the Patriots 43–22 victory over the Colts in the Saturday night game. Blount rushed for 166 yards and a franchise-record four touchdowns while Colts quarterback Andrew Luck was intercepted four times.[65] Patriots quarterback Tom Brady broke a league record for most playoff games for a starting quarterback with 25 (a record he had previously shared with Brett Favre) and extended his own record of 18 career playoff wins.[66] The victory allowed the Patriots to reach the AFC Championship game for the third straight year as well as the eighth time with Brady and head coach Bill Belichick.[65] Belichick moved into a second-place tie with Don Shula on the all-time postseason head coaching wins list, one victory behind Tom Landry.[67][68]

The 49ers defeated the Panthers by a score of 23–10 in the early Sunday game. The 49ers defense twice stopped the Panthers one yard short of the end zone and also recorded two interceptions and five quarterback sacks. 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick threw for one touchdown and ran for another in the game. The win put the 49ers into their third straight and fifteenth overall conference championship game, matching the Pittsburgh Steelers for most conference championship appearances.[68] Jim Harbaugh became the first head coach in NFL history to take his team to the conference championship game in each of his first three seasons.[69]

In the final game of the divisional round the Broncos beat the Chargers 24–17. It was only the fourth time in the season to date that the Broncos had been held to fewer than 30 points (three of which were against the Chargers), but the Chargers offense could not capitalize.[70] The Broncos held a 17–0 lead in the fourth quarter before the Chargers launched a comeback that was too little and too late.[71] The win put the Broncos into the AFC championship game for the first time since the 2005 season.[72]

Conference championships
Tom Brady (left) and Peyton Manning (right) met for the 15th time in the AFC Championship Game

The conference championships took place on Sunday, January 19, 2014.

The early game featured the Broncos hosting the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game. The game was referred to by many as Manning-Brady XV as it was the fifteenth meeting (the fourth in the playoffs) of the two starting quarterbacks, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.[73] The Broncos defeated the Brady and the Patriots 26–16 behind a 400 yard passing performance by Manning. Manning led the Broncos on two long touchdown drives which each used over seven minutes of game time and were the two longest drives in terms of game time of the Broncos season.[74] This was Manning's third career postseason game with 400 or more yards passing, equaling Drew Brees for the most such playoff games in league history.[75] Broncos head coach John Fox, who previously led the Carolina Panthers to Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004, became the sixth head coach in NFL history to take two different franchises to the Super Bowl.[76]

The NFC Championship Game had the Seahawks hosting the 49ers in the late game. The Seahawks defense forced three turnovers in the fourth quarter which proved to be the difference in the game. The last of these was a pass intended for Michael Crabtree in the endzone which was intercepted by Seahawks linebacker Malcolm Smith off a deflection by cornerback Richard Sherman with just 22 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. The interception preserved a 23–17 Seahawks victory.[77] In an on-field interview immediately after the game with Fox sideline reporter Erin Andrews, Sherman famously directed a rant at Crabtree whom Sherman called a "sorry receiver."[78]

Super Bowl XLVIII[edit]

Super Bowl XLVIII featured the top seeded team from each conference for just the second time in twenty years. The Broncos possessed the league's best offense (in terms of both scoring and yards) while the Seahawks had the league's top defense (also in both scoring and yardage).[79] The game was played on February 2, 2014 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, just outside of New York City and was televised in the U.S. by Fox with kickoff at 6:32 pm EST. This was the first ever Super Bowl to be staged outdoors in a cold weather environment[80]:46 although the temperature was a mild 49 degrees at kickoff.[81]

Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch with the Vince Lombardi Trophy at the CenturyLink Field in Seattle, February 5, 2014

The game started disastrously for the Broncos who, despite losing the coin toss, received the opening kickoff. On the game's first play from scrimmage from the Broncos' 14 yard line, Broncos center Manny Ramirez sent a shotgun snap over the head of quarterback Peyton Manning. The ball traveled into the endzone where it was covered by Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno who was touched down for a safety with just 12 seconds of game time elapsed. This was the quickest score ever in a Super Bowl. The Seahawks did not relinquish the lead in a 43–8 victory.[81]

This was the Seahawks first ever league championship since entering the NFL in 1976. Seahawks linebacker Malcolm Smith, who scored on a 69-yard interception return, a fumble recovery and tallied 10 tackles, was named the game's Most Valuable Player (MVP).[81]

This was the fifth Super Bowl loss for the Broncos, the most for any franchise.[82] Even in defeat, though, Peyton Manning's record-breaking year continued. He set a record for most passes completed in a Super Bowl with 34.[82] He also moved ahead of Tom Brady into first place on the career playoff passing yardage list with 6,589 yards.[83][84][85] In addition, Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas caught 13 passes to set a single-game Super Bowl record.[82]

Playoffs bracket[edit]

                                   
Jan. 5 – Lambeau Field   Jan. 12 – Bank of America Stadium          
  5   San Francisco   23
  5   San Francisco   23
  4   Green Bay   20     Jan. 19 – CenturyLink Field
  2   Carolina   10  
NFC
Jan. 4 – Lincoln Financial Field   5   San Francisco   17
Jan. 11 – CenturyLink Field
    1   Seattle   23  
  6   New Orleans   26 NFC Championship
  6   New Orleans   15
  3   Philadelphia   24   Feb. 2 – MetLife Stadium
  1   Seattle   23  
Wild Card Playoffs  
Divisional Playoffs
Jan. 4 – Lucas Oil Stadium  N1    Seattle   43
Jan. 11 – Gillette Stadium
   A1    Denver   8
  5   Kansas City   44 Super Bowl XLVIII
  4   Indianapolis   22
  4   Indianapolis   45     Jan. 19 – Sports Authority Field
  2   New England   43  
AFC
Jan. 5 – Paul Brown Stadium   2   New England   16
Jan. 12 – Sports Authority Field
    1   Denver   26  
  6   San Diego   27 AFC Championship
  6   San Diego   17
  3   Cincinnati   10  
  1   Denver   24  


Pro Bowl[edit]

Main article: 2014 Pro Bowl

The Pro Bowl is the league's all-star game. The league had raised doubts about the future of the exhibition due to concerns over the game's competitiveness in recent years,[86] but on March 20, it was announced that the 2014 Pro Bowl would indeed take place, receiving a one-year reprieve. As in recent years, the game was held the week before the Super Bowl at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii. It was played on Sunday, January 26, and broadcast in the U.S. on NBC.[87]

The format for the game was considerably altered in an effort to improve competitiveness. The biggest changes included an "unconferenced" format in which players would be selected regardless of the conference in which their team competes, a draft format to select the teams and various tweaks to increase the excitement of the game itself. Deion Sanders and Jerry Rice served as the non-playing captains for the two competing squads.[87]

Notable events[edit]

Some NFL-related events that made headlines throughout 2013 include:

Harris Poll tabs professional football as America's favorite sport

A nationwide poll conducted by Harris Interactive in December 2013 concluded that pro football is the favorite sport of Americans. Of the respondents asked the question, "If you had to choose, which ONE of these sports would you say is your favorite?," 35% chose pro football. That is up by one percentage point over the results of the previous year. Football has taken the top spot in the annual poll each year since it was first conducted in 1985. Baseball finished second, with 14% naming it as their favorite, followed by college football at 11%.[88]

Former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez
Aaron Hernandez charged with murder

In August, former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was charged with the murder of Odin Lloyd.[89] Hernandez was released by the Patriots following his arrest in the murder investigation in June.[90] In an effort to further distance themselves from the troubled Hernandez, the Patriots offered fans an opportunity to trade-in Hernandez jerseys for another jersey of comparable value.[91]

Riley Cooper incident

Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper was caught on video using a racial slur during a music concert. After the video went viral during the team's training camp, Cooper was briefly sent away from the team to seek counseling. The Eagles also levied an undisclosed fine.[92]

Concussion litigation brought by former players

In August, just prior to the start of the season, a US$765,000,000 settlement proposal was announced in a class-action lawsuit brought against the league by former players who contended that the league concealed a link between head injuries sustained by players and traumatic brain injury which may only become apparent later in life.[93][94] The judge in the case later rejected the settlement on the grounds that the amount may not be large enough to cover the needs of all the plaintiffs.[95]

Buccaneers release quarterback Josh Freeman in mid-season

In October, the Buccaneers released quarterback Josh Freeman after trying unsuccessfully to trade him. Freeman had been considered one of the league's best young quarterbacks after leading the Bucs to a 10–6 record in 2010, but he clashed with head coach Greg Schiano (who took over in 2012) and was benched earlier in the year. Despite being just 25 years old, Freeman held franchise records for touchdowns and completions and was second in passing yardage. It had come out earlier in the week that Freeman had been in the league's substance abuse program; Freeman described his participation as voluntary and a result of prescription drugs he was taking to treat ADHD.[96] Shortly after his release, Freeman was signed by the Vikings.[97] Freeman started for the Vikings in week seven, but he posted a passer rating of just 40.6 in that game and did not play another down during the season. He was inactive for nine of the Vikings' final ten games.[98]

Tampa Bay MRSA outbreak

Three Buccaneers players — kicker Lawrence Tynes, guard Carl Nicks and cornerback Johnthan Banks — were diagnosed with Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections during the season.[99] The potentially deadly strain of staph had been encountered by other NFL teams including the Washington Redskins, St. Louis Rams and Cleveland Browns in previous seasons.[100] After the third infection was confirmed there was brief discussion as to whether the Bucs' week six home game against the Eagles would be played, but the decision was made to continue with the scheduled game.[101] The Falcons even took the step of bringing in a hazardous materials crew to disinfect the visitor's locker room after the Bucs' visited Atlanta in week seven.[102]

Dolphins bullying scandal

Dolphins offensive lineman Richie Incognito was suspended by the team in November after allegations surfaced that he bullied fellow lineman Jonathan Martin who left the team earlier in the season due to the impact of Incognito's actions.[103][104]

The league's official investigation into the matter concluded that Martin and other Dolphins employees had been subjected to a "pattern of harassment" at the hands of Incognito as well as fellow linemen John Jerry and Mike Pouncey. The 144-page report, written by league-appointed investigator Ted Wells, called the situation a "classic case of bullying".[104] The report also implicated Dolphins offensive line coach Jim Turner in some of the abuse; Turner was fired by the team shortly after the report's release.[105]

Redskins shut down quarterback Robert Griffin III for season's final three games

Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan made a decision to bench the team's franchise quarterback, Robert Griffin III for the team's final three games of the 2013 season. Griffin had undergone knee surgery after being injured the previous season in which he was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year after being selected second overall in the 2012 draft. Griffin was much less productive in his second season. Shanahan stated that the decision to start Kirk Cousins over Griffin was made to protect Griffin from sustaining another injury, although there was speculation that Shanahan was unhappy about Griffin's friendly relationship with team owner Daniel Snyder.[106] Shanahan was fired after the season ended.[107]

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson leads all players in licenced product sales

Russell Wilson the second-year quarterback of the Super Bowl champion Seahawks led all NFL players in terms of total licensed product sales (jerseys, t-shirts, figurines, photos, etc.) made from March 2013 through February 2014. The top six players on the list were quarterbacks, including, in order, Peyton Manning (who held the top spot the previous year), Colin Kaepernick, Robert Griffin III, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady. The only non-quarterback in the top 10 was Wilson's Seahawks teammate, running back Marshawn Lynch.[108]

Deacon Jones' death
Deacon Jones in 1971.

Legendary Hall of Fame defensive lineman Deacon Jones died in June.[109] Shortly thereafter the league honored Jones' legacy by creating the "Deacon Jones Award" to be given annually to the player who records the most quarterback sacks.[110] Colts linebacker Robert Mathis was the inaugural winner of the honor.[111]

Bud Adams' death

Tennessee Titans owner Kenneth S. "Bud" Adams died in October. He was the only owner the franchise, which began in 1960 as the Houston Oilers in the AFL, has ever had. Adams was a second-generation oil tycoon who made his home in Houston, Texas.[112] The team was inherited in equal parts by the families of Adams' three children with Adams' son-in-law Tommy Smith succeeding Adams as the president and CEO of the franchise.[113][114]

Bum Phillips with former U.S. President George H. W. Bush
Other 2013 deaths

Aside from those mentioned above, the following people associated with the NFL died in 2013: Hall of Fame members Jack Butler, Art Donovan, Mike McCormack and Clarence "Ace" Parker; former coaches Bill Austin, Chuck Fairbanks, John Idzik, John Mazur, Jack Pardee, Jim Sweeney, Bum Phillips and Ray Willsey; former players Scott Adams, Tom Alberghini, Bill Albright, John Alderton, Jim Barton, Hezekiah Braxton, Don Brown, George Brown (1949 New York Yankees of the AAFC), Tom Brown, Ted Burgmeier (1987 Kansas City Chiefs), Jim Canady (1948 Chicago Bears), Rick Casares, Jim Cason, Frank Chamberlin, Todd Christensen, Ken Clark, Walt Clay (1946 Chicago Rockets of the AAFC), Ray Coates (1949 N.Y. Giants), Angelo Coia, Fred Cole (L.A. Chargers), Dave Costa, Bobby Crespino, Billy Cross, Jack Davis, Art DeCarlo, Jack Del Bello (1953 Baltimore Colts), Burt Delavan (1955 Chicago Cardinals), Frank Dempsey, John Didion, Walt Dubzinski (1944 Boston Yanks), Dick Duden, Ron Duncan (1967 Cleveland Browns), Jeff Durkota (1948 Los Angeles Dons of the AAFC), Walt Easley, Allan Ellis, Dick Evey, Joe Francis, Willie Frazier, Sonny Gandee, Frank Gaul, Ronnie Goodwin (1964 Philadelphia Eagles), L. C. Greenwood, Glynn Gregory (1961 Dallas Texans), Earl Gros, Bob Heck (1949 Chicago Hornets), Robert "Bob" Hecker (1952 L.A. Rams), Carey Henley (1962 Buffalo Bills), Tom Higgins, Sr. (1955 Philadelphia Eagles), Harlon Hill, John Holt, Thomas Howard, Jim Hudson, Ken Hutcherson, Claudis James, Dave Jennings, Fred Julian, Bob Kahler, Dave Kocourek, Johnny Kovatch, Chester "Chet" Lagod (1953 N.Y. Giants), Mike LaHood (1969 L.A. Rams), Dave Leggett, Jimmy Lesane (1952 Chicago Bears), Jeff Lewis, Toni Linhart, Bob Livingstone (1948 Chicago Rockets of the AAFC), Tony Lorick, John Maczuzak (1964 Kansas City Chiefs), Errol Mann, Lew Mayne, Frank Maznicki, Geno Mazzanti (1950 Baltimore Colts), Darris McCord, John McCormick, Greg McCrary, David McMillan, Bronzell Miller, Bert Milling (1942 Philadelphia Eagles), Norm Mosley (1948 Pittsburgh Steelers), Chuck Muncie, Hamilton Nichols, Rick Norton, Bob Oliver (1969 Cleveland Browns), Paul Oliver, Francis Peay, Tom Pennington, Gordon Polofsky (1954 Chicago Cardinals), Jim Powers, Ben Pucci, John Reger, Ernie Richardson (1974 Cleveland Browns), Jerry Robinson, Reggie Rogers, Curtis Rouse, Marion Rushing, Tino Sabuco (1949 S.F. 49ers), George Saimes, George Sauer, Jr., Harry Schuh, Pat Shea, Ed Shedlosky (1945 N.Y. Giants), Brian Sisley (1987 N.Y. Giants), Charles Smith (1947 Chicago Cardinals), Harry Smith, Ron Smith, John Sokolosky (1978 Detroit Lions), Bryan Stoltenberg, Roy Stuart, Pat Summerall, Walt Sweeney, Joe Tereshinski, Sr., Bobby Thomason, Frank Tripucka, Bill Troup, Val Joe Walker, Art Weiner, Wilford White, John Wilbur, John F. Wiley Mike Williams (1980 Kansas City Chiefs) Sam Williams, Will Wynn, Bob Yates, Dick Yelvington and Glenn Young; former owner of the Philadelphia Eagles, Jerry Wolman; former minority owner of the San Francisco 49ers, Lou Spadia; former team scout Bud Asher; and former officials Bob Beeks and Jerry Seeman.[115]

Rule changes[edit]

The following rule changes were approved at the NFL owners' meeting on March 20, 2013:[116][117][118]

  • The "no-challenge" rule adopted prior to the 2012 season was modified to eliminate the automatic "no-review" penalty when a coach challenges a play that is subject to automatic review by the replay booth (turnovers, scoring plays, and any play inside of the two-minute warning). This change was prompted after last season's Thanksgiving Day game when Detroit Lions' head coach Jim Schwartz threw a challenge flag on a play where replay clearly showed Houston Texans' running back Justin Forsett's knee touched the ground, but was able to get up and score a touchdown. Due to the way the rule was written at the time the penalty for the errant challenge prevented the play from being reviewed.[119] Under the revised rule teams will be charged a time-out (or an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty if the team is out of time-outs) when a coach throws a challenge flag on a booth-reviewable play, but the play will still be reviewed if the replay booth believes a review is necessary.[117] This change has been referred to as the "Jim Schwartz rule".[120]
  • Making it a fumble when a player loses possession of the football while in the act of trying to bring it back to his body. This abolishes the so-called "tuck rule" which was adopted prior to the 1999 season. Under the revised rule it will be ruled a fumble when a quarterback loses possession of the ball after a pump fake while bringing the ball back to his body.[117]
  • Tight ends and H-backs will now be permitted to wear uniform numbers 40-49 as well as 80-89. Previously the two positions were treated separately with tight ends allowed to wear only 80-89 and H-backs limited to wearing 40-49.[117]
  • "Peel-back" blocks will now result in 15-yard personal foul penalties anywhere on the field. Previously, these type of blocks were permitted within the "tackle box."
  • On field goal and extra point attempts, long snappers will now be considered defenseless players. In addition, defensive players are prohibited from blocking low at the snap of a scrimmage kick.[117]
  • For field goal and extra point attempts the defensive team can have no more than six players on either side of the ball at the snap (5 yard penalty), and players cannot push teammates into blockers (15 yard penalty).[117]
  • Any player at least three yards downfield or outside of the "tackle box" who leads with his helmet on a hit will be penalized 15 yards for unnecessary roughness. If both offensive and defensive players lead with helmets on the same play, both will be penalized.[117]
Player safety changes
  • Upon recommendation by the league's Head, Neck and Spine safety committee, the NFL notified teams in August that clubs would no longer be allowed to use alternate helmets for throwback uniforms or third jerseys as they had been allowed to do since throwbacks were introduced in 1994.[121] Once players start the season with properly fitted helmets that they are comfortable wearing, the league's Head, Neck, and Spine Committee recommended that players should not switch helmets in mid-season, especially to ones that have not been broken in yet.[121] To comply with these new rules, teams will be allowed to change or remove the decals on their regular helmets for such uniforms.[122]
  • All players (except for punters and kickers) were required to wear thigh and knee pads. It was previously mandatory to wear these pads from 1979 through 1994.[80]:7

U.S. television coverage[edit]

This was the eighth and final year of the current TV contracts with CBS, Fox, NBC, and ESPN before the new nine-year contracts begin in 2014. CBS will continue to carry the AFC package; Fox will continue to carry the NFC package; NBC will continue to carry Sunday Night Football, the kickoff game, and the prime-time Thanksgiving game; and ESPN will continue to air seventeen Monday Night games in sixteen weeks from September 9 through December 23.[123]

2013 marks the twentieth season of Fox televising NFL games.[124]

Records and milestones[edit]

For a more comprehensive list, see List of 2013 NFL records and milestones.

The 2013 season saw a number of league records set, most notably:

  • A record 11,985 points were scored during the season, with games averaging 46.8 points, the highest average in NFL history (46.5 in 1948).[34]
  • A total of 1,338 total touchdowns were scored, surpassing the league-wide record of 1,297, which occurred last season.[34]
  • A record 863 field goals were made this year, surpassing the record set last year with 852. Also, kickers converted a record 86.5% of their field goal attempts breaking the record of 84.5% set during the 2008 season.[34]
  • With 5,477 passing yards Peyton Manning broke Drew Brees' 2011 record for passing yards in a season by a single yard.[34]
  • Peyton Manning also finished with a season record 55 touchdown passes, surpassing the mark of 50 set by Tom Brady in 2007.[34][125][126]
  • In scoring 606 points during the regular season, the Denver Broncos surpassed the NFL record for most points (previously held by the 2007 Patriots who scored 589 points) and became the first team to eclipse the 600 point threshold.[34] The Broncos outscored the next highest scoring team (the Chicago Bears) by 161 points, or more than ten points per game.[127]
  • Punter Johnny Hekker of the St. Louis Rams set a single season record with an average of 44.2 net yards per punt, besting the mark of 44.0 yards set by Andy Lee in 2011.[128]

Head coach/front office changes[edit]

Head coach[edit]

Offseason
Team 2012 head coach Reason for leaving 2013 replacement Story/Accomplishments
Arizona Cardinals Whisenhunt, KenKen Whisenhunt[129] Fired Arians, BruceBruce Arians[130] Whisenhunt compiled a 49–53 record (including postseason games) making him the Cardinals' all-time winningest coach. He led the team to its first Super Bowl and had just two losing seasons in his six as head coach, but the team had missed the playoffs the previous three years.[131] The Cardinals started 4–0 in 2012, but lost 11 of their final 12 games, including a franchise-worst 58–0 defeat to the Seattle Seahawks in Week 14.[132]

Arians went 9–3 as interim head coach of the Indianapolis Colts filling in for Chuck Pagano who left the team to undergo treatment for cancer. Arians' previous head coaching experience was with Temple University from 1984 through 1988.[130]

Buffalo Bills Gailey, ChanChan Gailey[133] Marrone, DougDoug Marrone[134] The Bills compiled a record of 16–32 (.333) and finished last in their division in each of Gailey's three seasons as head coach.[133]

Marrone had spent the past four seasons as head coach at Syracuse University. Prior to that he had been the offensive coordinator of the New Orleans Saints for three years.[134]

Chicago Bears Smith, LovieLovie Smith[135] Trestman, MarcMarc Trestman[136] Smith compiled a record of 84–66 (including postseason games) in nine seasons as head coach of the Bears. In the 2012 season, the Bears became the first team since the 1996 Washington Redskins to miss the playoffs following a 7–1 start to the season.[137]

Trestman had spent the previous five seasons as head coach of the Montréal Alouettes. During that tenure, he won back-to-back CFL Grey Cup championships in 2009 and 2010. He had previously coached for several NFL teams.[136]

Cleveland Browns Shurmur, PatPat Shurmur[138] Chudzinski, RobRob Chudzinski[139] Shurmur compiled a record of 9–23 (.281) and failed to make the playoffs in two seasons as coach of the Browns.

Chudzinski had spent the previous two seasons as offensive coordinator of the Carolina Panthers and had served in the same capacity with the Browns in 2007 and 2008.[139]

Jacksonville Jaguars Mularkey, MikeMike Mularkey[140] Bradley, GusGus Bradley[141] Mularkey compiled a record of 2–14 (.125) in his only season as head coach of the Jaguars.[140]

Bradley was the defensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks the previous three seasons. Prior to that he served as linebackers coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2007 and 2008. He spent the first sixteen years of his coaching career toiling in the collegiate Division II and Football Championship Subdivision (previously known as Division I-AA) ranks.[141]

Kansas City Chiefs Crennel, RomeoRomeo Crennel[142] Reid, AndyAndy Reid[143] Crennel compiled a record of 4–15 (.211) in just over one season as coach of the Chiefs — he had taken over as interim head coach when Todd Haley was fired with three games remaining in the 2011 season. The Chiefs two wins in 2013 were the fewest in team history.[142]

Reid had been fired earlier in the offseason after spending the past 14 seasons as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles.[143]

Philadelphia Eagles Reid, AndyAndy Reid[144] Kelly, ChipChip Kelly[145] Including postseason play, Reid compiled a record of 140–101–1 (.581) in fourteen seasons as head coach of the Eagles. The team earn nine playoff berths, appeared in the NFC Championship Game five times, and lost in Super Bowl XXXIX. He is the franchise's all-time winningest coach. The Eagles' 4–12 record in 2012 was the team's worst in Reid's tenure.[144]

Kelly had spent the previous four seasons as head coach at the University of Oregon where he had developed a reputation as an offensive innovator in leading the team to four straight BCS bowl games. He had previously been linked to the Browns' head coaching job before backing out and announcing his intention to remain at Oregon. A few days later he had a change of heart and accepted the Eagles job.[145]

San Diego Chargers Turner, NorvNorv Turner[146] McCoy, MikeMike McCoy[147] Turner compiled a record of 59–43 (including 3–3 in the postseason) in six seasons as head coach of the Chargers. After making the playoffs in Turner's first three seasons (20072009), the team had missed the playoffs in each of the past three seasons.[146]

This is McCoy's first ever head coaching position. He had spent the past four years as offensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos.[147]

New Orleans Saints Vitt, JoeJoe Vitt,
Kromer, AaronAaron Kromer[148]
Reinstated Payton, SeanSean Payton[149] Payton had been suspended for the 2012 season due to his role in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal; he was reinstated on January 22, shortly before New Orleans would host Super Bowl XLVII.[149]

In the six games (seven weeks) that Kromer served as interim head coach, the Saints compiled a record of 2–4 (.333);[148] in the ten games under Vitt, the team went 5–5 (.500).

In-season

The following head coaches were replaced in-season:

Team 2013 head coach Reason for leaving Interim head coach Story/Accomplishments
Denver Broncos John Fox[150] Medical leave
(weeks 10–13)
Jack Del Rio[151] Del Rio was named as the Broncos' interim head coach when Fox went on medical leave in mid-season.[150] Fox underwent an aortic valve replacement after becoming light headed on the golf course during the team's bye week on November 2. Fox had been aware of the heart condition, but had hoped to delay surgery until after the season.[151] Fox returned as head coach for the team's week 14 game on December 8.[152]

Del Rio, the Broncos' defensive coordinator, had previously been the Jacksonville Jaguars' head coach from 2003 through 2011. The Broncos went 3–1 under Del Rio.

Houston Texans Gary Kubiak[153] Medical leave
(weeks 9–10)

Fired
(weeks 15–17)
Wade Phillips[154] Kubiak went on medical leave to recover from a transient ischemic attack or "mini stroke", after he collapsed at halftime of the Texans' Week 9 loss to the Indianapolis Colts on November 3. Phillips took over head coaching duties for the second half of the week 9 game and served as interim head coach the following week.[155] Kubiak returned for Week 11 although he coached the next two games from the press box rather than the sidelines on the advice of his doctors.[156]

Kubiak was fired on December 6, after a loss to the Jaguars on Thursday Night Football which was a franchise record eleventh straight defeat.[153] Kubiak leaves Houston with a record of 63–66 (.488), including the franchise's only two playoff appearances.

Phillips, the Texans' defensive coordinator, has nine seasons of previous head coaching experience with the Denver Broncos, Buffalo Bills and Dallas Cowboys, and has previously served as an interim head coach with the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints.[154]

Front office[edit]

Offseason
Team Position 2013 office holder Reason for leaving 2014 replacement Story/Accomplishments
Arizona Cardinals GM Graves, RodRod Graves[129] Fired Keim, SteveSteve Keim[157] Longtime General manager Rod Graves was dismissed along with head coach Ken Whisenhunt immediately following the 2012 season.[129] Graves had worked in the Cardinals organization for 16 years.[158] He had been the "personal assistant to the team's president" from 1997 through 2002 when he was promoted to become the vice president of football operations, which made him the team's head football decision maker, in 2003.[159] During Graves' ten years in charge of the Cardinals personnel department the team compiled a record of 65–95 (.406).[160]

Graves was replaced by Steve Keim who has been with the franchise for 14 years. Keim started as a scout in 1999 and worked his way up to become director of college scouting in 2006, then director of player personnel in 2008 and finally vice president for player personnel in 2012. Prior to joining the Cardinals Keim had a brief playing career in the NFL and CFL.[157]

Buffalo Bills GM Nix, BuddyBuddy Nix[161] Retired Whaley, DougDoug Whaley[162] Nix stepped down as GM following the draft. He had been the team's GM since 2010 during which time the team went 16–32. He will stay with the team in a consulting role as a special assistant.[161]

Assistant GM Doug Whaley was promoted to replace Nix. The 40-year-old Whaley had been groomed as Nix' replacement since he was hired from the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2010. He becomes the Bills first black GM and the league's sixth.[162]

President Wilson, RalphRalph Wilson[163] Brandon, RussRuss Brandon[163] Bills owner Ralph Wilson relinquished control of the team's operations, ceding his title of president to team CEO Russ Brandon.[163] This move meant the team's general manager, who had previously reported directly to Wilson, would now report to Brandon.[163]
Cleveland Browns GM Heckert, Jr., TomTom Heckert, Jr.[138] Fired Lombardi, MichaelMichael Lombardi[164] Heckert was fired after a three year tenure as the Browns GM during which the team went 14–43 (.292).[138][165]

Lombardi replaced Heckert in the GM role, although he was given the title of Vice President of Player Personnel. Lombardi had previously worked in the Browns front office from 1987 through 1995. He later spent eight seasons with the Oakland Raiders and has also worked for the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers. Most recently he was an NFL analyst for the NFL Network and NFL.com.[164]

Jacksonville Jaguars GM Smith, GeneGene Smith[166] Caldwell, DavidDavid Caldwell[167] Smith had been with the franchise since its inception in 1994 and had served as GM for the previous four seasons. The team went 22–42 (.344) under Smith including a league-worst 2–14 in the previous season.[168] Among the most often cited draft misses in Smith's career was selecting a punter (Bryan Anger) in the third round of the 2012 draft just a few selections before the Seattle Seahawks picked quarterback Russell Wilson.[166]

Smith was replaced by David Caldwell. The 38-year-old Caldwell has seventeen years of NFL front office experience, most recently as director of player personnel for the Atlanta Falcons. Prior to his five year stint in Atlanta where he served as director of college scouting from 2008 through 2011, Caldwell has also worked for the Carolina Panthers and Indianapolis Colts.[167]

Kansas City Chiefs GM Pioli, ScottScott Pioli[169] Dorsey, JohnJohn Dorsey[170] Pioli was fired shortly after Andy Reid was hired as the Chief's head coach. The team had a winning season just once in Pioli's four years at the helm, posting an overall record of 23–41 (.359).[169][171]

John Dorsey had worked in the Green Bay Packers scouting department since 1991, first as a scout and then as the team's director of college scouting since 1997. He left the Packers briefly following Mike Holmgren to the Seattle Seahawks in 1999, but returned after 14 months. He had a five year playing career with the Packers in the 1980s.[170][172]

New York Jets GM Tannenbaum, MikeMike Tannenbaum[173] Idzik, Jr., JohnJohn Idzik, Jr.[174] Tannenbaum was fired after the Jets completed a 6–10 season. He had been with the team for fifteen years and had served as GM for the past seven seasons. With Tannenbaum as GM, the team posted a record of 57–55 (.509) and reached the playoffs three times, though the last time they did so was in 2010.[173]

John Idzik, Jr. was hired from the Seattle Seahawks where he was the vice president for football administration. He is primarily known as a salary cap expert. Prior to the Seahawks, Idzik worked for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals in a twenty year NFL career.[174]

San Diego Chargers GM Smith, A.J.A.J. Smith[146] Telesco, TomTom Telesco[175] The Chargers fired Smith on the same day they dismissed head coach Norv Turner.[146] Smith had been the Chargers GM since 2003, compiling a 95–65 (.594) regular-season record with five playoff appearances making his tenure the "most successful 10-year stretch" in team history.[176][177]

Smith was replaced as GM by 40-year-old Tom Telesco who had been the vice president of football operations for the Indianapolis Colts' with whom he had worked for the past 15 years.[175]

Awards and statistics[edit]

Individual season awards[edit]

AP MVP & Offensive Player of the Year Peyton Manning
AP Defensive Player of the Year Luke Kuechly
Further information: 3rd Annual NFL Honors
Award Winner Position Team
AP Most Valuable Player Peyton Manning[178] Quarterback Denver Broncos
AP Offensive Player of the Year Peyton Manning[178] Quarterback Denver Broncos
AP Defensive Player of the Year Luke Kuechly[178] Linebacker Carolina Panthers
AP Coach of the Year Ron Rivera[178] Head coach Carolina Panthers
AP Offensive Rookie of the Year Eddie Lacy[178] Running back Green Bay Packers
AP Defensive Rookie of the Year Sheldon Richardson[178] Defensive end New York Jets
AP Comeback Player of the Year Philip Rivers[178] Quarterback San Diego Chargers
Pepsi Rookie of the Year Keenan Allen[178] Wide receiver San Diego Chargers
Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Charles Tillman[178] Cornerback Chicago Bears
PFWA NFL Executive of the Year John Dorsey[179] General manager Kansas City Chiefs
Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Malcolm Smith[180] Linebacker Seattle Seahawks

All-Pro team[edit]

Further information: 2013 All-Pro Team

The following players were named first team All-Pro by the Associated Press:[181]

Offense
Quarterback Peyton Manning, Denver
Running back LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia
Jamaal Charles, Kansas City
Fullback Mike Tolbert, Carolina
Wide receiver Calvin Johnson, Detroit
Josh Gordon, Cleveland
Tight end Jimmy Graham, New Orleans
Offensive tackle Joe Thomas, Cleveland
Jason Peters, Philadelphia
Offensive guard Louis Vasquez, Denver
Evan Mathis, Philadelphia
Center Ryan Kalil, Carolina
Defense
Defensive end J. J. Watt, Houston
Robert Quinn, St. Louis
Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, Tampa Bay
Ndamukong Suh, Detroit
Outside linebacker Robert Mathis, Indianapolis
Lavonte David, Tampa Bay
Inside linebacker Luke Kuechly, Carolina
NaVorro Bowman, San Francisco
Cornerback Richard Sherman, Seattle
Patrick Peterson, Arizona
Safety Earl Thomas, Seattle
Eric Berry, Kansas City
Special teams
Kicker Justin Tucker, Baltimore
Punter John Hekker, St. Louis
Kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota

Players of the week/month[edit]

The following were named the top performers during the 2013 season:

Week/
Month
Offensive
Player of the Week/Month
Defensive
Player of the Week/Month
Special Teams
Player of the Week/Month
AFC NFC AFC NFC AFC NFC
1 Peyton Manning[182]
(Broncos)
Anquan Boldin[183]
(49ers)
Justin Houston[182]
(Chiefs)
Robert Quinn[183]
(Rams)
Nick Folk[182]
(Jets)
Dwayne Harris[183]
(Cowboys)
2 Philip Rivers[184]
(Chargers)
Aaron Rodgers[185]
(Packers)
Mario Williams[184]
(Bills)
Richard Sherman[185]
(Seahawks)
Trindon Holliday[184]
(Broncos)
Devin Hester[185]
(Bears)
3 Peyton Manning[186]
(Broncos)
Jimmy Graham[187]
(Saints)
Justin Houston[186]
(Chiefs)
Greg Hardy[187]
(Panthers)
Spencer Lanning[186]
(Browns)
Sam Martin[187]
(Lions)
4 Philip Rivers[188]
(Chargers)
Drew Brees[189]
(Saints)
Alterraun Verner[188]
(Titans)
Patrick Peterson[189]
(Cardinals)
Dexter McCluster[188]
(Chiefs)
Steven Hauschka[189]
(Seahawks)
Sept. Peyton Manning[190]
(Broncos)
Jimmy Graham[191]
(Saints)
Justin Houston[190]
(Chiefs)
Richard Sherman[191]
(Seahawks)
Trindon Holliday[190]
(Broncos)
Cordarrelle Patterson[191]
(Vikings)
5 Geno Smith[192]
(Jets)
DeSean Jackson[193]
(Eagles)
Charles Woodson[192]
(Raiders)
Tramaine Brock[193]
(49ers)
Travis Benjamin[192]
(Browns)
Mason Crosby[193]
(Packers)
6 Andy Dalton[194]
(Bengals)
Nick Foles[195]
(Eagles)
Tamba Hali[194]
(Chiefs)
Thomas Davis[195]
(Panthers)
Nick Novak[194]
(Chargers)
Dwayne Harris[195]
(Cowboys)
7 Andrew Luck[196]
(Colts)
Matt Ryan[197]
(Falcons)
Mario Williams[196]
(Bills)
Sean Lee[197]
(Cowboys)
Shaun Suisham[196]
(Steelers)
Andy Lee[197]
(49ers)
8 Marvin Jones[198]
(Bengals)
Calvin Johnson[199]
(Lions)
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie[198]
(Broncos)
Terrell Thomas[199]
(Giants)
Ryan Succop[198]
(Chiefs)
Cordarrelle Patterson[199]
(Vikings)
Oct. Andy Dalton[200]
(Bengals)
Calvin Johnson[201]
(Lions)
Robert Mathis[200]
(Colts)
Sean Lee[201]
(Cowboys)
Stephen Gostkowski[200]
(Patriots)
Mason Crosby[201]
(Packers)
9 Jason Campbell[202]
(Browns)
Nick Foles[203]
(Eagles)
Cameron Wake[202]
(Dolphins)
Shea McClellin[203]
(Bears)
Nick Folk[202]
(Jets)
Golden Tate[203]
(Seahawks)
10 Demaryius Thomas[204]
(Broncos)
Drew Brees[204]
(Saints)
Paul Posluszny[204]
(Jaguars)
Luke Kuechly[204]
(Panthers)
Justin Tucker[204]
(Ravens)
Tavon Austin[204]
(Rams)
11 Ben Roethlisberger[205]
(Steelers)
Bobby Rainey[206]
(Buccaneers)
Vontaze Burfict[205]
(Bengals)
Jason Pierre-Paul[206]
(Giants)
Adam Vinatieri[205]
(Colts)
Donnie Jones[206]
(Eagles)
12 Tom Brady[207]
(Patriots)
Carson Palmer[207]
(Cardinals)
Troy Polamalu[207]
(Steelers)
Lavonte David[207]
(Buccaneers)
Justin Tucker[207]
(Ravens)
Blair Walsh[207]
(Vikings)
Nov. Ben Roethlisberger[207]
(Steelers)
Nick Foles[207]
(Eagles)
Chandler Jones[207]
(Patriots)
Thomas Davis[207]
(Panthers)
Justin Tucker[207]
(Ravens)
Tavon Austin[207]
(Rams)
13 Eric Decker[208]
(Broncos)
Russell Wilson[208]
(Seahawks)
Olivier Vernon[208]
(Dolphins)
Justin Tuck[208]
(Giants)
Kevin Huber[208]
(Bengals)
Donnie Jones[208]
(Eagles)
14 Andy Dalton[209]
(Bengals)
Josh McCown[209]
(Bears)
Tamba Hali[209]
(Chiefs)
John Abraham[209]
(Cardinals)
Matt Prater[209]
(Broncos)
Phil Dawson[209]
(49ers)
15 Jamaal Charles[210]
(Chiefs)
Eddie Lacy[210]
(Packers)
Michael Thomas[210]
(Dolphins)
Richard Sherman[210]
(Seahawks)
Justin Tucker[210]
(Ravens)
Jay Feely[210]
(Cardinals)
16 Peyton Manning[211]
(Broncos)
LeSean McCoy[211]
(Eagles)
Jerrell Freeman[211]
(Colts)
Luke Kuechly[211]
(Panthers)
Nick Novak[211]
(Chargers)
Josh Brown[211]
(Giants)
17 LeGarrette Blount[212]
(Patriots)
Drew Brees[213]
(Saints)
Dee Milliner[212]
(Jets)
Greg Hardy[213]
(Panthers)
Adam Vinatieri[212]
(Colts)
Phil Dawson[213]
(49ers)
Dec. Peyton Manning[214]
(Broncos)
LeSean McCoy[215]
(Eagles)
Robert Mathis[214]
(Colts)
NaVorro Bowman[215]
(49ers)
Dexter McCluster[214]
(Chiefs)
Brad Nortman[215]
(Panthers)
Week FedEx Air
Player of the Week[216]
(Quarterbacks)
FedEx Ground
Player of the Week[216]
(Running Backs)
Pepsi Next
Rookie of the Week[217]
1 Peyton Manning (Broncos) LeSean McCoy (Eagles) PK Caleb Sturgis (Dolphins)
2 Aaron Rodgers (Packers) James Starks (Packers) QB EJ Manuel (Bills)
3 Peyton Manning (Broncos) DeMarco Murray (Cowboys) RB Giovani Bernard (Bengals)
4 Drew Brees (Saints) Adrian Peterson (Vikings) LB Kiko Alonso (Bills)
5 Tony Romo (Cowboys) Jamaal Charles (Chiefs) QB Geno Smith (Jets)
6 Nick Foles (Eagles) Eddie Lacy (Packers) WR Keenan Allen (Chargers)
7 Matt Ryan (Falcons) Chris Ivory (Jets) OT D. J. Fluker (Chargers)
8 Drew Brees (Saints) Andre Ellington (Cardinals) LB Sio Moore (Raiders)
9 Nick Foles (Eagles) Chris Johnson (Titans) RB Eddie Lacy (Packers)
10 Drew Brees (Saints) Mark Ingram (Saints) WR Tavon Austin (Rams)
11 Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers) Bobby Rainey (Buccaneers) QB Matt McGloin (Raiders)
12 Philip Rivers (Chargers) Adrian Peterson (Vikings) WR Keenan Allen (Chargers)
13 Peyton Manning (Broncos) Adrian Peterson (Vikings) TE Zach Ertz (Eagles)
14 Drew Brees (Saints) LeSean McCoy (Eagles) WR Marlon Brown (Ravens)
15 Matt Cassel (Vikings) Eddie Lacy (Packers) WR Keenan Allen (Chargers)
16 Peyton Manning (Broncos) LeSean McCoy (Eagles) RB Le'Veon Bell (Steelers)
17 Drew Brees (Saints) LeGarrette Blount (Patriots) WR Keenan Allen (Chargers)
Month Rookie of the Month
Offensive Defensive
Sept.[218] DeAndre Hopkins
(Texans)
Kiko Alonso
(Bills)
Oct.[219] Eddie Lacy
(Packers)
Tyrann Mathieu
(Cardinals)
Nov.[207] Mike Glennon
(Buccaneers)
Sheldon Richardson
(Jets)
Dec.[220] Cordarrelle Patterson
(Vikings)
Dee Milliner
(Jets)

Team statistical leaders[edit]

Offense[127]
  • Most points scored: Denver, 606 points (37.9 points/game)
  • Fewest points scored: Jacksonville, 247 points (15.4 points/game)
  • Most total offense: Denver, 7,317 yards (457.3 yards/game)
  • Least total offense: Tampa Bay, 4,432 yards (277 yards/game)
  • Most total passing: Denver, 5,444 yards (340.3 yards/game)
  • Least total passing: Tampa Bay, 2,820 yards (176.3 yards/game)
  • Most rushing: Philadelphia, 2,566 yards (160.4 yards/game)
  • Least rushing: Atlanta, 1,247 yards (77.9 yards/game)
Defense[221]
  • Fewest points allowed: Seattle, 231 points (14.4 points/game)
  • Most points allowed: Minnesota, 480 (30 points/game)
  • Fewest total yards allowed (defense): Seattle, 4,378 yards (273.6 yards/game)
  • Most total yards allowed (defense): Dallas, 6,645 yards (415.3 yards/game)
  • Fewest passing yards allowed: Seattle, 2,752 (172 yards/game)
  • Most passing yards allowed (defense): Philadelphia, 4,636 yards (289.8 yards/game)
  • Fewest rushing yards allowed (defense): Arizona, 1,351 yards (84.4 yards/game)
  • Most rushing yards allowed (defense): Chicago, 2,583 yards (161.4 yards/game)

Attendance[edit]

AT&T Stadium – Interior
MetLife Stadium
Lambeau Field
FedEx Field
Sports Authority Field at Mile High
2013 NFL home attendance by team[222]
Team Stadium Home
Games
Total
Attendance
Average
Attendance
Capacity
Percentage
Dallas AT&T Stadium 8 704,345 88,043 110.4%
New York Giants MetLife Stadium 8 641,148 80,148 97.1%
Green Bay Lambeau Field 8 623,577 77,947 106.9%
Washington FedEx Field 8 617,767 77,220 84.2%
New York Jets MetLife Stadium 8 615,656 76,957 93.3%
Denver Sports Authority Field at Mile High 8 614,977 76,872 101.0%
Kansas City Arrowhead Stadium 8 602,877 75,359 98.2%
Carolina Bank of America Stadium 8 587,544 73,443 99.5%
New Orleans Mercedes-Benz Superdome 8 583,210 72,901 99.9%
Houston Reliant Stadium 8 573,271 71,658 100.9%
Cleveland FirstEnergy Stadium 8 569,969 71,242 97.3%
Baltimore M&T Bank Stadium 8 569,084 71,135 100.2%
Atlanta Georgia Dome 8 561,795 70,224 98.6%
San Francisco Candlestick Park 8 557,856 69,732 99.3%
Philadelphia Lincoln Financial Field 8 553,152 69,144 102.3%
Tennessee LP Field 8 553,144 69,143 100.0%
New England Gillette Stadium 8 550,048 68,756 100.0%
Seattle CenturyLink Field 8 545,577 68,197 101.8%
Buffalo Ralph Wilson Stadium 7[a] 463,873 66,267 90.7%
Indianapolis Lucas Oil Stadium 8 527,606 65,950 104.7%
Miami Sun Life Stadium 8 514,553 64,319 85.5%
San Diego Qualcomm Stadium 8 513,641 64,205 90.1%
Minnesota Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome 7[b] 448,135 64,019 99.8%
Detroit Ford Field 8 510,369 63,796 98.9%
Cincinnati Paul Brown Stadium 8 506,377 63,297 96.6%
Chicago Soldier Field 8 498,864 62,358 101.4%
Arizona University of Phoenix Stadium 8 488,271 61,033 96.6%
Jacksonville EverBank Field 7[b] 419,581 59,940 89.2%
Tampa Bay Raymond James Stadium 8 470,548 58,818 89.6%
Pittsburgh Heinz Field 8 458,489 57,311 88.2%
St. Louis Edward Jones Dome 8 455,657 56,957 87.2%
Oakland O.co Coliseum 8 403,556 50,444 80.0%
Notes
  • a - Played one home game in Toronto, Canada.
  • b - Played one home game in London, England.

Stadium changes[edit]

Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome

2013 marked the final season in which the Minnesota Vikings played their home games at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, as the team will move temporarily to TCF Bank Stadium (home of the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers) while their new stadium is built at the same site as the Metrodome. The Vikings will play the 2014 and 2015 seasons at TCF Bank Stadium and open their new stadium for the 2016 season.[223] The Vikings had called the Metrodome home since it opened in 1982.

Candlestick Park

This was also the final season in which the San Francisco 49ers played their home games at Candlestick Park, as the team will move into the newly built Levi's Stadium located in Santa Clara, California, for 2014. The 49ers had played in Candlestick since 1971 and the stadium has hosted Monday Night Football 36 times, including the stadium's farewell game on December 23. No other facility had as many Monday Night Football appearances.[224] With the departure of the 49ers, Candlestick Park will be left without any permanent tenants. On February 3, 2013, plans to demolish Candlestick Park were announced and might take place after the final 2013 49ers game.[225][226]

Two stadiums received new naming rights: In January 2013, Cleveland Browns Stadium was renamed FirstEnergy Stadium. The FirstEnergy Corporation, an energy company based in Akron, Ohio, agreed to pay the Cleveland Browns $6 million per year for 17 years to have its name on the team's stadium.[227] In July 2013, Cowboys Stadium, the new home of the Dallas Cowboys which opened in 2009, was re-branded as AT&T Stadium, though terms of the naming rights deal remain undisclosed.[228]

Uniforms[edit]

Several teams made changes to their uniforms or logos prior to the 2013 season:

  • The Jacksonville Jaguars revised their logo[229] and unveiled a new uniform design.[230] The new design includes all black home uniforms, white road jerseys and a teal alternate jersey. The new jerseys include "claw marks" on the shoulders and a "JAGS" patch over the heart. The new helmet design features a paint scheme that fades from matte black in the front to gold in the back.[231][232]
  • The Miami Dolphins updated their logo and unveiled redesigned uniforms.[233] The new logo features a more streamlined dolphin which loses the football helmet and the "fierce" facial expression.[234] The new uniforms keep the same basic color palette, but there is less use of orange. The facemask color on the team's new helmets has been changed from aqua to white.[235]
  • The Minnesota Vikings introduced a lightly tweaked "Norseman" logo[236] and unveiled new uniforms.[237] The colors are barely changed, with a new font for the uniform numbers and asymmetrical stripes on the pants. The new helmets feature matte purple paint with glossy logos and black facemasks.[235] In addition the Vikings added a jersey patch commemorating their final season in the Metrodome.[80]:63
  • The San Diego Chargers introduced some relatively minor uniform alterations.[238] The most noticeable change is the switch to "self-color" collars (where the collars match the jersey body) from the previous contrasting color "neck roll" collar design. There were also some changes to the colors used on the nameplates as well as some changes to the socks. The pants and helmets remain unchanged.[239]
  • The New York Giants introduced a new alternate uniform consisting of new white pants which may be worn with the team's existing blue jerseys in place of the usual grey pants.[240] The team wore this new alternate uniform on November 10 against the Oakland Raiders and November 24 against the Dallas Cowboys.[241]
  • In honor of the fifteenth anniversary of the team's relocation to Nashville, the Tennessee Titans wore their alternate navy blue jerseys in two home games. This marked the first time since 2008 that the Titans wore the navy blue jerseys which were their primary home jerseys in their early Tennessee seasons before they switched to their current light blue jerseys.[242] The Titans also added a patch commemorating the 15th season in Tennessee to their jerseys.[80]:63
  • The Indianapolis Colts added a jersey patch which celebrates the team's 30th season in Indianapolis.[80]:63

Due to a new recommendation that a player should use the same helmet for all games, several teams were forced to make changes in their plans to use alternate and throwback jerseys, including the following:

  • The Tampa Bay Buccaneers shelved their "Creamsicle" throwback uniforms completely.[122] The Patriots similarly chose not to wear their throwback uniforms at all in 2013.[243]
  • The Washington Redskins wore their current helmets (with the center stripe decal removed) along with their throwback uniforms which feature a different shade of burgundy.[244]
  • The Green Bay Packers also wore their current helmets with their throwback uniforms, but with the stripes and logo decals removed.[245]
  • The Dallas Cowboys decided to wear their blue "away" jerseys at their Thanksgiving Day home game, something they have not done since the 1960s. Traditionally the team has worn their throwback jerseys (which include a white helmet) for the Thanksgiving game.[246]

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