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December 30, 2008

Wikipedia: 2008 NFL season

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2008 National Football League season

The NFL’s newly revamped shield.
Regular season
Duration September 4[1] to December 28, 2008
Start date January 3, 2009
Super Bowl XLIII
Date February 1, 2009[2]
Site Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida
Pro Bowl
Date February 8, 2009
National Football League seasons

The 2008 NFL Season is the 89th season of the National Football League, the major professional American football league in the United States, themed with the slogan “Believe in Now.” Super Bowl XLIII, the league’s championship game, is scheduled to be played at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on February 1, 2009.[2] The regular season began on September 4 with the Super Bowl champion New York Giants defeating the Washington Redskins 16-7, and will conclude with the 2009 Pro Bowl on February 8, 2009 in Honolulu.




In preseason games, the annual Pro Football Hall of Fame Game was played August 3 between the Indianapolis Colts and Washington Redskins, which aired on NBC Sunday Night Football.[3] Washington won the game, 30–16.[4] On April 3, the league revealed the other preseason games[5] which includes the first game of the Toronto Series, which was played August 14 between the Buffalo Bills and the Pittsburgh Steelers at Toronto’s Rogers Centre. The Bills won that game, 24–21.

Regular Season


Based on the NFL’s scheduling formula, the intraconference and interconference matchups for 2008 are:[6]

Division AFC opponent NFC opponent
AFC East West West
AFC North South East
AFC South North North
AFC West East South
NFC East North West
NFC North South South
NFC South West North
NFC West East East

Opening Weekend

The annual NFL Kickoff Game to start the season took place on September 4 and featured the Super Bowl XLII champion New York Giants winning over their division rivals, the Washington Redskins, at Giants Stadium by a score of 16–7. The game’s kickoff was ninety minutes earlier than previous years, at 7 p.m. EDT, because of a time conflict with the 2008 Republican National Convention.[1]

Other featured games during the opening week included the NBC Sunday Night Football game between the Chicago Bears and the Indianapolis Colts (the first regular season game at Lucas Oil Stadium, and a rematch of Super Bowl XLI), in which the Kyle Orton-led Bears upset the Colts 29–13. In addition, there were two Monday Night Football contests, both division rivalries, as part of the now annual doubleheader: The Minnesota Vikings at the Green Bay Packers (the Packers’ first time without Brett Favre since 1992, in which Aaron Rodgers helped the Packers win, 24–18), and the Denver Broncos at the Oakland Raiders, where Jay Cutler and Eddie Royal led the Broncos in beating the Raiders, 41–14.[7]

Flexible scheduling

The 2008 season also is the third season of the use of the “flexible scheduling” for Sunday games starting with Week 11.

International play

This will be the second consecutive season that the league will play at least one regular season game outside the United States as part of its International Series. The contest between the San Diego Chargers and the New Orleans Saints was played at Wembley Stadium in London on October 26, with New Orleans winning 37–32.[8][9] The Chargers played at Buffalo the week beforehand on October 19 so they could immediately travel to London afterward in order to get used to the time difference.[8]

The league has also approved the Bills’ request to play at least one regular season home game at Toronto’s Rogers Centre over each of the next five seasons.[10] Team owner Ralph Wilson petitioned the league to play at least one game in Canada to strengthen his club’s fan base in Ontario. [11] The game in Toronto was on December 7, after the end of the 2008 CFL season[10], against the Miami Dolphins; Miami won 16-3. CBS televised both games regionally; the Toronto game was carried across Canada on Rogers Sportsnet and City TV.


The traditional Thanksgiving Day games [12] were held on November 27, with the Detroit Lions hosting the Tennessee Titans at 12:30 PM EST on CBS (with the then 10-1 Titans handily defeating the then 0–11 Lions by a 47–10 score), and the Dallas Cowboys’ home game following suit on FOX at 4:15 PM EST against the Seattle Seahawks (Dallas defeated then 2–9 Seattle by a score of 34–9). A third game on NFL Network, featuring the Arizona Cardinals and the Philadelphia Eagles followed at 8:15 PM EST.[1][6] It was the first home game for the Eagles on Thanksgiving Day since 1940, and their first Thanksgiving game at any location since the infamous Bounty Bowl Game in 1989; the Eagles defeated the Cardinals by a score of 48–20.


Despite NFL tradition to play games on Christmas if the holiday lands on a day of the week when the NFL normally plays, and the fact that Christmas lands on a Thursday in 2008, the NFL opted not to hold a Christmas game this season, instead scheduling all of its week 17 matchups for Sunday.

Pro Bowl

The NFL’s Pro Bowl all-star game at the end of the season will be played at Aloha Stadium in the Honolulu suburb of ʻAiea, Hawaiʻi for the 30th consecutive season. The league had the option under their current contract to hold the game elsewhere, including the possibility of moving it to the host site of the Super Bowl.[13][14]

Final regular season standings

W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, PCT = Winning Percentage, PF= Points For, PA = Points Against

Clinched playoff seeds are marked in parentheses and shaded in green

AFC East
Team W L T PCT PF PA  
(3) Miami Dolphins [b] 11 5 0 .688 345 317 Details
New England Patriots [f] 11 5 0 .688 410 309 Details
New York Jets 9 7 0 .563 405 356 Details
Buffalo Bills 7 9 0 .438 336 342 Details
AFC North
Team W L T PCT PF PA  
(2) Pittsburgh Steelers 12 4 0 .750 347 223 Details
(6) Baltimore Ravens [d] 11 5 0 .688 385 244 Details
Cincinnati Bengals 4 11 1 .281 204 364 Details
Cleveland Browns 4 12 0 .250 232 350 Details
AFC South
Team W L T PCT PF PA  
(1) Tennessee Titans 13 3 0 .813 375 234 Details
(5) Indianapolis Colts 12 4 0 .750 377 298 Details
Houston Texans 8 8 0 .500 366 394 Details
Jacksonville Jaguars 5 11 0 .313 302 367 Details
AFC West
Team W L T PCT PF PA  
(4) San Diego Chargers [c] 8 8 0 .500 439 347 Details
Denver Broncos 8 8 0 .500 370 448 Details
Oakland Raiders 5 11 0 .313 263 388 Details
Kansas City Chiefs 2 14 0 .125 291 440 Details
NFC East
Team W L T PCT PF PA  
(1) New York Giants [a] 12 4 0 .750 427 294 Details
(6) Philadelphia Eagles 9 6 1 .594 416 289 Details
Dallas Cowboys 9 7 0 .563 362 365 Details
Washington Redskins 8 8 0 .500 265 296 Details
NFC North
Team W L T PCT PF PA  
(3) Minnesota Vikings 10 6 0 .625 379 333 Details
Chicago Bears 9 7 0 .563 375 350 Details
Green Bay Packers 6 10 0 .375 419 380 Details
Detroit Lions 0 16 0 .000 268 517 Details
NFC South
Team W L T PCT PF PA  
(2) Carolina Panthers [e] 12 4 0 .750 414 329 Details
(5) Atlanta Falcons 11 5 0 .688 391 325 Details
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 9 7 0 .563 361 323 Details
New Orleans Saints 8 8 0 .500 463 393 Details
NFC West
Team W L T PCT PF PA  
(4) Arizona Cardinals 9 7 0 .563 427 426 Details
San Francisco 49ers 7 9 0 .438 339 381 Details
Seattle Seahawks 4 12 0 .250 294 392 Details
St. Louis Rams 2 14 0 .125 232 465 Details

  • a  e  N.Y. Giants clinched the NFC #1 seed over Carolina based on a head-to-head victory.
  • b  Miami finished ahead of New England in the AFC East based on better conference record (8–4 to New England’s 7–5).
  • c  San Diego finished ahead of Denver in the AFC West based on a better division record (5–1 to Denver’s 3–3).
  • d  f  Baltimore clinched the AFC #6 seed over New England based on a better conference record (8–4 to New England’s 7–5).


Main article: NFL playoffs, 2008-09

The playoffs are scheduled to start with Wild Card Weekend on January 3–4, 2009. The Divisional Playoffs are scheduled for January 10–11, while the Conference Championship Games will be held on January 18. Super Bowl XLIII will then be played on February 1 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.

Playoff seeds
1 Tennessee Titans (South winner) New York Giants (East winner)
2 Pittsburgh Steelers (North winner) Carolina Panthers (South winner)
3 Miami Dolphins (East winner) Minnesota Vikings (North winner)
4 San Diego Chargers (West winner) Arizona Cardinals (West winner)
5 Indianapolis Colts Atlanta Falcons
6 Baltimore Ravens Philadelphia Eagles

Playoffs Bracket

January 3 – 8:00 p.m. ET, NBC

Qualcomm Stadium

  January 10 – 4:30 p.m. ET, CBS

LP Field

 5  Indianapolis  
 4  San Diego       January 18 – 6:30 p.m. ET, CBS
 1  Tennesee    

See “Re-seeding” below

January 4 – 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS

Dolphin Stadium

January 11 – 4:45 p.m. ET, CBS

Heinz Field

 6  Baltimore   AFC Championship
 3  Miami     February 1 – 6:00 p.m. ET, NBC

Raymond James Stadium

 2  Pittsburgh    
Wild Card Playoffs  
Divisional Playoffs
January 3 – 4:30 p.m. ET, NBC

University of Phoenix Stadium

   AFC Winner  
January 10 – 8:15 p.m. ET, FOX

Bank of America Stadium

     NFC Winner  
 5  Atlanta   Super Bowl XLIII
 4  Arizona       January 18 – 3:00 p.m. ET, FOX
 2  Carolina    

See “Re-seeding” below

January 4 – 4:30 p.m. ET, FOX

Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome

January 11 – 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX

Giants Stadium

 6  Philadelphia   NFC Championship
 3  Minnesota    
 1  NY Giants    
  • “Re-seeding”: The NFL Playoffs are re-seeded after each round. The outcome of the games between the sixth and third seeds in each conference determine where the Wild Card winners will play in the next round. When a third seed wins, they next travel to the second seed, the sixth seed to the first seed. The winner between the fifth and fourth seeds will play the remaining second round host team in that conference.
  • Conference Championship Home Field goes to the lower-numbered seed remaining.

Rule changes

The following rule changes were passed at the league’s annual owners meeting in Palm Beach, Florida during the week of March 31:[15]

  • One defensive player will be allowed to wear a radio similar to the one worn by the quarterback to communicate with the coaching staff on the field.
  • The “force-out” rule on catches made near the sidelines has been eliminated. A receiver now must come down with the ball and both feet in bounds for a pass to be ruled complete; previously, passes would be ruled complete if the receiver was pushed by a defender while in the air and the official judged that he would have come down in bounds had he not been pushed. However, if a receiver is wrapped up in mid-air by a defender and carried out of bounds before both feet touch the ground, the official can still rule the play a completion.[16]
  • The 5-yard incidental grabbing of the face mask penalty has been eliminated; incidental contact will not result in a penalty, though intentional grabbing of the face mask will remain a 15-yard personal foul.
  • Teams that win the opening coin toss now have the option to defer the decision until the start of the second half, the same as in college and canadian football.
  • Field goal attempts that bounce off the goal post are now reviewable under instant replay. This change followed a decision during the previous season during a Browns-Ravens game when Phil Dawson’s game-tying field goal hit an upright, then the crossbar and the back of the goal post.
  • Legal forward hand offs that touch the ground and attempted snaps when the ball hits the ground before the quarterback touches it are now considered fumbles; previously, forward hand offs were treated as incomplete passes, while a snap that hit the ground before the quarterback touched it was a 5-yard illegal procedure penalty.



For more details on this topic, see NFL on television.

This is the third season under the league’s current television contracts with its American broadcast partners. CBS Sports and FOX Sports are televising Sunday afternoon AFC and NFC away games, respectively.[17] For primetime games, NBC broadcasts Sunday Night Football and ESPN airs Monday Night Football.[18] The NFL Network’s Run to the Playoffs will also broadcast selected seven Thursday and one Saturday late season night games,[19] although there were reportedly negotiations to move those games to ESPN Classic.[20] This is also the last NFL season to be broadcast over the air in analog television in the United States; the digital television transition occurs on February 17, 2009, just eight days after the Pro Bowl. Border stations in Canada and Mexico will continue to broadcast in analog; cable stations are unaffected and will be distributed in the format of the cable provider’s choice.

NBC has the rights to broadcast Super Bowl XLIII, their first Super Bowl since Super Bowl XXXII at the end of the 1997 season.[18]


ESPN reduced the on-air roles of sideline reporters Michele Tafoya and Suzy Kolber during the Monday Night Football telecast.[21] Also, Emmitt Smith has been replaced on Sunday NFL Countdown by Cris Carter, who comes over from HBO.

Meanwhile, NBC’s Football Night in America reunites Dan Patrick with Keith Olbermann on television for the first time since 1997 when they co-hosted SportsCenter.

The in-house NFL Network saw Bryant Gumbel resign as their play-by-play announcer after two seasons on the network’s Run to the Playoffs package after critics described his play-by-play calling as “lackluster.”[22] Taking his place will be New York Giants radio announcer Bob Papa.

Additionally, NFL Films-produced Inside the NFL changed premium cable homes from Time Warner’s HBO after three decades to CBS’ Showtime. Also changed: James Brown (from the parent network’s The NFL Today) as host and Phil Simms as one of the analysts. Cris Collinsworth is staying, but Dan Marino has been dropped as a studio analyst, and the aforementioned Cris Carter moved to ESPN. Taking their place is Warren Sapp.

3-D Telecast

On December 4th, the NFL Network broadcast its game between the Oakland Raiders and the San Diego Chargers to theatres in New York City, Boston and Los Angeles using state of the art 3-D technology. The viewings, which was limited to NFL and consumer electronics executives, served as a test for future use of 3D in NFL television games.[23] Because of a technical glitch, the first half was not shown.


On radio, Westwood One has separated from its longtime corporate sister, CBS Radio. This could possibly affect the network’s NFL on Westwood One coverage, which it has carried since the two networks merged in the late 1990s. The Westwood One coverage currently uses the NFL on CBS branding on its broadcasts. Also, the Sports USA Radio Network, another syndicator, has been sold along with parent company Jones Radio Networks to the Triton Media Group.

Internet television

On Internet television, both and are carrying complete live games, for the first time ever, of NBC Sunday Night Football. will continue its live coverage of Thursday and Saturday Night Football, which began in 2007, however for the first time show the complete game rather than live look-ins from a studio.



The following teams hired new head coaches prior to the start of the 2008 season:

Team 2008 Coach Former Coach(es) Reason for leaving Story/Accomplishments
Atlanta Falcons Mike Smith, Jacksonville Jaguars defensive coordinator[24] Bobby Petrino[25];
Emmitt Thomas, interim for 3 games[26]
Petrino resigned after 13 games to take the head coaching job at the University of Arkansas. In his first and only season, Petrino went 3–10 before resigning. Under interim head coach Thomas, the Falcons went 1–2 over the remainder of the season. Thomas would be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2008, and remain as a special assistant coach for the Falcons.
Baltimore Ravens John Harbaugh, Philadelphia Eagles defensive backs coach [27] Brian Billick[28] Fired Billick coached the Ravens to a victory in Super Bowl XXXV, and was 80–64 with the Ravens in the regular season and 5–3 in the postseason, but went 5–11 in 2007, the worst record the Ravens had in his nine-year tenure. Became a color commentator for Fox Sports in 2008.
Miami Dolphins Tony Sparano, Dallas Cowboys assistant head coach/offensive line coach[29] Cam Cameron[30] Fired In his first and only season, the Cameron-led Dolphins finished with a league worst 1–15 record. After his sacking, Cameron became John Harbaugh’s offensive coordinator at Baltimore.
Washington Redskins Jim Zorn, Seattle Seahawks quarterbacks coach[31] Joe Gibbs[32] Retired Finished 16 overall seasons as Redskins head coach. During his first tenure, 1981–92, the club won three Super Bowls (XVII, XXII, and XXVI) and four NFC Championships (1982, 1983, 1987 and 1991). After being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1996, he rejoined the team in 2004, and returned to running the day-to-day operations of his self-owned racing team after his second retirement.

The following head coaches were sacked during the 2008 season:

Team Interim Coach Former Coach Reason for leaving Story/Accomplishments
St. Louis Rams Jim Haslett, defensive coordinator; former head coach of the New Orleans Saints Scott Linehan Dismissed September 29 four games into the season Linehan went 11–25 (.306 percentage) in his 2¼ seasons as Rams coach.
Oakland Raiders Tom Cable, offensive line coach Lane Kiffin Relieved of duties September 30 after four games Kiffin was fired in spite of being hired as the yougest coach in the NFL one year earlier, as shown by a 5-15 record (.250 percentage) in his 1¼ seasons as the fourth coach since Jon Gruden left. A dispute with owner Al Davis was said to be behind his dismissal, but Kiffin got a new job, as coach of Tennessee in December.
San Francisco 49ers Mike Singletary, assistant head coach and linebackers coach Mike Nolan Fired October 20 after seven games The son of former coach Dick Nolan went 18–37 (.327 percentage) after nearly 3½ seasons as 49ers coach. Singletary had the interim tag removed following their 27-21 win over the Redskins on December 28, signing a four-year extension.

The firing of Kiffin and Linehan marked the first time since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, the start of the “modern era,” that multiple head coaches were fired before Week 5 of the season, and the first since 1989 that any coach was fired this early in a season. Both were also released heading into their teams’ respective bye weeks, while Nolan was released prior to the game just before the 49ers’ bye.

For changes made since the end of the regular season, see 2009 NFL season: Coaching changes.

Firing of Matt Millen

On September 23, the Detroit Lions fired President/General Manager Matt Millen after seven seasons. During that time, the Lions compiled the worst record in the league (35-84, .294 percentage) and had many questionable draft choices.


The following teams and players set all-time NFL records during the regular season:

Record Player/Team Date Broken/Opponent Previous Record Holder
Longest Field Goal Attempt
(76 yards)
Sebastian Janikowski, Oakland September 28, vs San Diego Unknown; record is presumed since the league has not kept records on this statistic prior to this kick.[citation needed] (Kick was unsuccessful)
Most Receiving Yards by a Tight End, Career
(10,887 yards)
Tony Gonzalez, Kansas City October 5, at Carolina Shannon Sharpe, 1990-2003 (10,060)[33]
Longest Overtime Blocked Punt Return for a Touchdown
(3 yards)
Monty Beisel, Arizona October 12, vs Dallas None, first time in NFL history[34]
Longest Overtime Field Goal
(57 yards)
Sebastian Janikowski, Oakland October 19, vs NY Jets Chris Jacke, Oct. 4, 1996 (53)[35]
Consecutive Games with 6+ Receptions, Start of Season
(11 games)
Wes Welker, New England November 9, vs Buffalo Jimmy Smith, 2001 (8)[36]
Longest Interception Return
(108 yards)
Ed Reed, Baltimore November 23, vs Philadelphia Ed Reed, Nov. 7, 2004 (106) [37]
Most Passing Yards, First 10 Weeks of Season
(3,254 yards)
Drew Brees, New Orleans November 23, vs Green Bay Dan Fouts 1982 (3,164 yards)
Highest Total Points Scored in a Single Week
(837 points)
All 32 teams Nov 20-24, 2008 Done three times: Sept 5-9, 2002; Dec 5-6, 2004; and Dec 29-30, 2007 (788 points)
Longest Regular Season Interception Return without TD
(98 yards)
Brandon McDonald, Cleveland December 15, at Philadelphia Champ Bailey 2005 (97 yards)
Most Consecutive Games Lost, Start of Season
Detroit Lions December 21, vs New Orleans 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers & 1980 New Orleans Saints(both started season 0-14)[38]
Most Consecutive Games Lost, End of Season
December 28, vs Green Bay 2001 Carolina Panthers (15)[38]
Most Games Lost, Season
Tied by 8 teams (15)[38]
Fewest Sacks By A Team, Season
Kansas City Chiefs Cincinnati Bengals 1982 Baltimore Colts (11)[39]
Fewest Accepted Penalties, 16-game season
New England Patriots December 28, vs Buffalo Bills Seattle Seahawks, 2007 (59)[citation needed]

Season highlights

2008 AFC Players of the Week

Week Offense Defense Special Teams
1 RB Willie Parker, Pittsburgh CB Cortland Finnegan, Tennessee WR-KR Roscoe Parrish, Buffalo
2 WR Brandon Marshall, Denver S Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh LB Keith Bulluck, Tennessee
3 RB Ronnie Brown, Miami CB Antonio Cromartie, San Diego K Josh Scobee, Jacksonville
4 QB Brett Favre, New York LB Derrick Johnson, Kansas City K Jeff Reed, Pittsburgh
5 QB Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh LB Gary Brackett, Indianapolis K Matt Prater, Denver
6 QB Peyton Manning, Indianapolis CB Eric Wright, Cleveland WR-PR Jacoby Jones, Houston
7 QB Matt Cassel, New England LB Terrell Suggs, Baltimore K Sebastian Janikowski, Oakland
8 QB Chad Pennington, Miami S Chris Hope, Tennessee WR-PR Jacoby Jones, Houston
9 QB Joe Flacco, Baltimore DT Kris Jenkins, New York K Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis
10 QB Jay Cutler, Denver LB Ray Lewis, Baltimore P Craig Hentrich, Tennessee
11 QB Peyton Manning, Indianapolis LB James Harrison, Pittsburgh KR-RB Leon Washington, New York
12 QB Matt Cassel, New England S Ed Reed, Baltimore PR-WR Johnnie Lee Higgins, Oakland
13 RB Steve Slaton, Houston DE Robert Mathis, Indianapolis CB Maurice Leggett, Kansas City
14 QB Matt Schaub, Houston S Ed Reed, Baltimore K Dan Carpenter, Miami
15 QB Philip Rivers, San Diego DE Aaron Smith, Pittsburgh KR-CB Ellis Hobbs, New England
16 QB Peyton Manning, Indianapolis CB Leon Hall, Cincinnati P Sam Koch, Baltimore

2008 NFC Players of the Week

Week Offense Defense Special Teams
1 RB Michael Turner, Atlanta DE Adewale Ogunyele, Chicago KR/PR Will Blackmon, Green Bay
2 QB Kurt Warner, Arizona S Chris Horton, Washington KR/RB Felix Jones, Dallas
3 RB Michael Turner, Atlanta S Brian Dawkins, Philadelphia K John Carney, New York
4 QB Jake Delhomme, Carolina LB Derrick Brooks, Tampa Bay K Matt Bryant, Tampa Bay
5 RB Clinton Portis, Washington CB Antoine Winfield, Minnesota PR/RB Reggie Bush, New Orleans
6 QB Drew Brees, New Orleans S Oshiomogho Atogwe, St. Louis WR Sean Morey, Arizona
7 RB Steven Jackson, St. Louis S Aaron Rouse, Green Bay S Zackary Bowman, Chicago
8 QB Drew Brees, New Orleans DE Mathias Kiwanuka, New York PR/WR Santana Moss, Washington
9 QB Matt Ryan, Atlanta S Antrel Rolle, Arizona KR/PR Clifton Smith, Tampa Bay
10 RB Adrian Peterson, Minnesota DE Julius Peppers, Carolina LB Chase Blackburn, New York
11 QB Shaun Hill, San Francisco CB Aaron Ross, New York K Neil Rackers, Arizona
12 QB Drew Brees, New Orleans CB Ronde Barber, Tampa Bay PR/WR Harry Douglas, Atlanta
13 RB Brian Westbrook, Philadelphia DE Jared Allen, Minnesota KR/PR Mark Jones, Carolina
14 RB DeAngelo Williams, Carolina LB Gerald Hayes, Arizona RB/KR Pierre Thomas, New Orleans
15 QB Tavaris Jackson, Minnesota LB DeMarcus Ware, Dallas KR/S Danieal Manning, Chicago
16 RB Derrick Ward, New York CB Josh Wilson, Seattle P Ryan Plackemeier, Washington

New logo

This is the first season that the league uses a new, updated logo. Unveiled on August 31, 2007 in USA Today, the new design features eight white stars, representing each of the league’s eight divisions, instead of 23 on the old logo. The football has been redesigned and rotated to the same angle as the one on the top of the Vince Lombardi Trophy given to the Super Bowl champion. Darker shades of red and blue, specifically navy blue, are also used, along with font lettering to that of the league’s current typeface for other logos.[40] The new logo officially made its debut during the 2008 NFL Draft on April 26.

New stadiums

In addition to the Bills playing one home game in Toronto’s Rogers Centre, this is the first season that the Indianapolis Colts played their home games at Lucas Oil Stadium.[41] Meanwhile, 2008 is the final year that the Dallas Cowboys will play at Texas Stadium; they are scheduled to move into their new stadium in Arlington, Texas in 2009.[42]

Retirement/Unretirement of Brett Favre

The 2008 season marked the first time since September 20, 1992 that someone other than Brett Favre started at quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, as Aaron Rodgers became the new offensive “Leader of The Pack.” At first, this was given Favre’s announcement on March 4 that he would retire from the league after seventeen seasons. He owns many NFL records, including most wins as a quarterback, most touchdowns thrown, and most consecutive starts at quarterback, as well as most interceptions. He started every Packers game, regular season and postseason, for nearly sixteen full seasons (September 27, 1992–January 20, 2008). The Packers were scheduled to retire Favre’s #4 jersey in a ceremony during the first week of the season. However, in July he publicly indicated that he wanted to play again as the starting quarterback. The Packers did not give it to him, but they were willing to release him and he was reinstated on August 3 by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Three days later, Favre was traded to the New York Jets for a draft pick.

Hurricane Ike

Main article: Hurricane Ike

Hurricane Ike forced several changes to the 2008 schedule. The Houston Texans’ Week 2 home game against the Baltimore Ravens was first postponed to Monday, September 15, before Ike made landfall; damage to Reliant Stadium forced a further postponement, to Week 10, on Sunday, November 9, giving the Texans and the Ravens their bye weeks in Week 2. Furthermore, to accommodate this move, the Texans’ home game against the Cincinnati Bengals was moved up from November 9 to Sunday, October 26, pushing the Bengals’ bye week from Week 8 to Week 10.[43]

New formations result in high scores

The 2008 season saw a marked increase in the use of two new offensive philosophies (at least new to the NFL, these offenses have previously seen extensive use in college football for a few years): the “wildcat formation,” a formation based on the halfback option play, and “spread offense,” which uses multiple wide-receiver sets and the quarterback frequently in shotgun. In week 3 of the season, the wildcat formation, used up until this point primarily as a trick play, was used eight times, including four times in a Miami Dolphins game and three times in a game between the Oakland Raiders and Buffalo Bills.[44] Season-ending injuries to the starting and backup quarterbacks for the Chiefs prompted the team’s offensive coordinator Chan Gailey to switch to a spread offense after six games.[45] Due mainly to the new formations, 837 points were scored league wide in Week 12, the most ever for one NFL weekend.[45] The wildcat formation in particular was credited with turning the Miami Dolphins from a last-place team to a division contender.[46]

Tie game

On November 16, during Week 11, a game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium ended in a 13-13 tie, the first NFL tie game since November 10, 2002, when the Atlanta Falcons and the Pittsburgh Steelers ended in a 34–34 draw. After the game, Donovan McNabb infamously mentioned that he didn’t know there were ties in the NFL. This drew the ire of many fans, who thought that a quaterback of his caliber should know some fundamental rules.


St. Louis Rams and Georgia Frontiere

On January 18, 2008, Georgia Frontiere, owner of the St. Louis Rams died due to complications with breast cancer.[47] The Rams announced that during the 2008 season they will wear a commemorative patch in her honor, with her signature on their left shoulder.

Kansas City Chiefs and Lamar Hunt

On January 31, 2008, Clark Hunt, chairman of the board for the Kansas City Chiefs announced that henceforth the team’s Lamar Hunt/American Football League tribute patch that was introduced in the 2007 season will be a permanent part of the Chiefs’ uniform.[48] joining the Chicago Bears (with George Halas) and the Cleveland Browns (with Al Lerner) with such a patch.

Tim Russert

The stretch of highway outside Ralph Wilson Stadium along U.S. Route 20A in Orchard Park, New York has been named the Timothy J. Russert Highway. Russert, who was NBC News’s chief Washington bureau correspondent and the host of Meet the Press, was a Buffalo native and noted Buffalo Bills fan. He died of a heart attack in June 2008.

Gene Upshaw

The league is also honoring the memory of NFLPA leader Gene Upshaw, who died suddenly at age 63 on August 20th just three days after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. For the entire season, the Oakland Raiders are wearing a patch on the left chest of the jerseys with the initials “GU” and his number 63, his jersey number with the Raiders.[49] All NFL teams also honored Upshaw with a video tribute and a replica of the uniform patch painted onto the field during the opening weekend.[50] Originally, the patch on the field and the video tribute were only going to be done in Oakland at the Raiders’ home opener against the Denver Broncos as Upshaw played his entire 15 year Hall of Fame career with the Silver and Black, and at Giants Stadium, when the Giants and Redskins opened the NFL season on September 4th. All players wore the same patch during Week One, and have since changed to a smaller helmet decal. The Raiders will still wear the patch through the remainder of the season.

Sean Taylor

The Washington Redskins honored the anniversary of death of Sean Taylor this season in a home game against the visiting New York Giants.

Steelers ownership restructure

On July 7, 2008, owners of the Pittsburgh Steelers, including Art Rooney’s five sons who own 80% of the franchise,[51] looked to restructure the ownership plan of the franchise in order to comply with NFL ownership regulations.[52] Current Steelers Chairman, Dan Rooney, and his son, Art Rooney II, President of the franchise, wished to stay involved with the franchise, while the remainder of the brothers — Art Jr., Timothy, Patrick and John — wished to further pursue racetracks that they own in Florida and New York.[53] Since 2006, many of the racetracks have added video slot machines, causing them to violate “NFL policy that prohibits involvement with racetrack and gambling interests”.[54] On July 11, it was confirmed that investor Stanley Druckenmiller had been in discussion with the five Rooney brothers.[51] A Steelers fan for many years, Druckenmiller “has been known to paint his face black and gold” during games.[55] Coach Mike Tomlin stated that the situation could become a distraction, but “I’m here to coach, they’re [the players] here to play. Those questions will be answered by the Rooneys.”[56] On September 18, Druckenmiller withdrew his bid to purchase the team.[57]

NFL owners unanimously approved the restructuring of ownership on December 17, 2008, with Dan & Art II getting the mandated 30% stake. Meanwhile, brothers Timothy and Patrick (the ones who own race tracks with slot machines, which violate NFL ownership rules) selling their shares outright, while Art Jr., John, and the McGinley family selling some shares but retaining smaller ownership roles, with the brothers reducing their shares from 16% to 6% and the McGinley family reducing their shares from 20% to 10%. Also coming on as partners are Pilot Corporation & Pilot Travel Centers president Jim Haslam III (son of founder Jim Haslam Jr. and brother of Knoxville, Tennessee mayor Bill Haslam), Legendary Pictures president & CEO Thomas Tull, and the Paul family of Pittsburgh & Los Angeles (who are primarilly involved with Pittsburgh-based Ampco Pittsburgh Corporation and serve on numerous boards, including UPMC and Pitt), each getting a 16% stake in the team.[58] Dan Rooney mentioned he has no ill will towards Druckenmiller, mentioning he’s a great Steelers fan and wishes he remains one.


The 2008 season will mark just the third time in the salary cap era (and first since 2001) that no NFL team made major changes to their uniforms or logo. Since 1993, half of the league’s teams (Arizona, Atlanta, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Denver, Minnesota, New England, New York Giants, New York Jets, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, and Tennessee) have completely redesigned their uniforms (The Patriots doing it three times, though none since 2000) while another five (Detroit, Green Bay, Miami, New Orleans, and Pittsburgh) making minor, though noticeable, changes. The Titans are swapping home and alternate designations on their light blue and navy blue jerseys though.

The Detroit Lions, in celebration of their 75th season in Motown as well as by popular demand by the fans, abandoned their black third jerseys in favor of their ’50s style throwback uniforms. They wore these uniforms against Jacksonville (November 9) and Tennessee (Thanksgiving Day – November 27). In addition, the Pittsburgh Steelers will make their throwbacks from the previous season their alternate uniform, wearing them against the Baltimore Ravens on September 29 and the New York Giants on October 26.[59] The Jets wore their New York Titans throwbacks at home against Arizona on September 28 and Cincinnati on October 12 this season, and the Bills donned their retro uniforms at home against Oakland Raiders September 21.

See also

  • Super Bowl XLIII
  • 2008 NFL Draft


  1. ^ a b c NFL Considering Early Start for Opener. Associated Press. 26 March 2008.
  2. ^ a b “ Future Super Bowl sites”. Retrieved on 2007-12-25. 
  3. ^ “Colts vs. Redskins in ’08 HOF Game”. Pro Football Hall of Fame website. February 10, 2008. 
  4. ^ “Gamecenter: Hall of Fame Week 2008 – Colts vs. Redskins”. 
  5. ^ Preseason national TV lineup to feature every ’07 playoff team. 3 April 2008.
  6. ^ a b 2006 NFL Record and Fact Book. pp. 16. ISBN 1-933405-32-5. 
  7. ^ Kickoff Weekend primetime schedule includes Monday doubleheader. 31 March 2008.
  8. ^ a b “Chargers to play Saints in London”, The San Diego Union-Tribune (2008-01-27). Retrieved on 27 January 2008. 
  9. ^ “New Orleans Saints to host the San Diego Chargers as the NFL returns to Wembley”, Daily Mail (2008-01-27). Retrieved on 27 January 2008. 
  10. ^ a b “Bills have deal in place for Toronto games”, The Buffalo News (2008-01-30). Retrieved on 2 February 2008. 
  11. ^ Chris, Mortensen (2008-01-08). “Bills likely to get OK to play game in Toronto”, Retrieved on 2 February 2008. 
  12. ^ Turkeys times 10: NFL’s biggest Thanksgiving gobblers
  13. ^ “Pro Bowl: More moving talk”, (2007-10-14). Retrieved on 17 December 2007. 
  14. ^ “NFL’s Pro Bowl will stay in Honolulu”, (2007-12-28). Retrieved on 29 December 2007. 
  15. ^ “Proposal to reseed playoff teams withdrawn by owners” (2008-04-02). Retrieved on 2 April 2008. 
  16. ^ “Boers and Bernstein 3:00 PM 7/24/08”. WSCR. 2008-07-24. Retrieved on 2008-07-25. 
  17. ^ Archive copy at the Internet Archive
  18. ^ a b Archive copy at the Internet Archive
  19. ^ Archive copy at the Internet Archive
  20. ^ Pergament, Alan. Sports on the Air. The Buffalo News. 28 June 2008.
  21. ^ Hiestand, Michael (2008-02-10). “MNF’ reduces roles for field reporters Kolber, Tafoya“, USA Today. Retrieved on 14 February 2008. 
  22. ^ Gumbel decides to leave NFL Network. 13 April 2008.
  23. ^ “Coming at You! NFL Looks at 3-D”, Wall Street Journal (2008-11-24). Retrieved on 25 October 2008. 
  24. ^ Falcons hire Jaguars’ Smith as head coach
  25. ^ “Petrino leaves Falcons”, (2007-12-11). Retrieved on 7 January 2008. 
  26. ^ “Thomas named Falcons interim coach”, Atlanta Journal Constitution (2007-12-12). Retrieved on 7 January 2008. 
  27. ^ “Ravens Hire Haubaugh As New Head Coach”, (2008-01-18). Retrieved on 18 January 2008. 
  28. ^ “Billick fired”, Baltimore Sun (2008-01-01). Retrieved on 7 January 2008. 
  29. ^ “Dolphins hire Sparano away from Cowboys”, (2008-01-16). Retrieved on 16 January 2008. 
  30. ^ “Dolphins Fire Cameron After 1-15 Season”, Washington Post (2008-01-04). Retrieved on 7 January 2008. 
  31. ^ “Redskins hire Jim Zorn as head coach”, (2008-02-09). Retrieved on 9 February 2008. 
  32. ^ “Joe Gibbs Resigns as Redskins Head Coach”, Washington Post (2008-01-08). Retrieved on 8 January 2008. 
  33. ^ “Gonzalez sets NFL record for yards receiving by tight end”, (2008-10-05). Retrieved on 5 October 2008. 
  34. ^ “Cowboys rally in fourth, but blocked punt gives Cards OT win”, (2008-10-12). Retrieved on 12 October 2008. 
  35. ^ “Longest FG in OT history”, Pro Football Hall of (2008-10-20). Retrieved on 20 October 2008. 
  36. ^ “Patriots vs. Bills game notes”, (2008-11-09). Retrieved on 9 November 2008. 
  37. ^ “Reed rumbles 108 yards”, Pro Football Hall of (2008-11-24). Retrieved on 25 October 2008. 
  38. ^ a b c NFL Team Records: Games Lost
  39. ^ NFL Team Records: Defense Records – Sacks
  40. ^ McCarthy, Michael. “NFL to revamp shield with redesigned logo”, USA Today. Retrieved on 24 December 2007. 
  41. ^ “Lucas Oil: Lucas Oil Stadium”.,3.html. Retrieved on 2008-01-07. 
  42. ^ “Cowboys Build For The Future By Honoring The Past”. 2006-12-12. Retrieved on 2008-01-07. 
  43. ^ “Ravens-Texans game postponed; Bengals also affected”. 2009-09-13. Retrieved on 2009-09-14. 
  44. ^ Bell, Jarrett. Odd formations could become latest fad across NFL. USA Today. 24 September 2008.
  45. ^ a b Rand, Jonathan (2008-12-02). “A copycat game”. Kansas City Chiefs. Retrieved on 2008-12-03. 
  46. ^ Carucci, Vic. What rebuilding project? Dolphins focus on winning now. 5 December 2008.
  47. ^ “Former Rams owner Frontiere dies.”. MSNBC. Retrieved on 2008-01-20. 
  48. ^ Lamar Hunt patch becomes a permanent part of the Chiefs’ uniform, 28 January 2008,
  49. ^ NFL players to wear uniform patch this season in honor of Upshaw –
  50. ^ NFL honors Upshaw at all 16 games – Yahoo! Sports
  51. ^ a b Fitzpatrick, Dan (2008-07-11). “Investor confirms talks with 5 Rooneys”, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved on 13 July 2008. 
  52. ^ “Steelers Ownership Transition”, (2008-07-07). Retrieved on 13 July 2008. 
  53. ^ “Rooneys look to restructure Steelers ownership”, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (2008-07-07). Retrieved on 13 July 2008. 
  54. ^ Dulac, Gerry (2008-07-08). “Steelers ownership in turmoil”, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved on 13 July 2008. 
  55. ^ Fitzpatrick, Dan (2008-07-09). “Steelers suitor Druckenmiller ‘loves Pittsburgh'”, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved on 13 July 2008. 
  56. ^ Bouchette, Ed (2008-07-23). “Tomlin says ownership situation a potential distraction”, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved on 24 July 2008. 
  57. ^ Dulac, Gerry (2008-09-18). “Druckenmiller withdraws name from Steelers sale”, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved on 19 September 2008. 
  58. ^ ESPN – NFL approves Rooney’s ownership plan
  59. ^
2008 NFL season
AFC East North South West NFC East North South West
Buffalo Baltimore Houston Denver Dallas Chicago Atlanta Arizona
Miami Cincinnati Indianapolis Kansas City NY Giants Detroit Carolina St. Louis
New England Cleveland Jacksonville Oakland Philadelphia Green Bay New Orleans San Francisco
NY Jets Pittsburgh Tennessee San Diego Washington Minnesota Tampa Bay Seattle
2008 NFL Draft • NFL Playoffs • Pro Bowl • Super Bowl XLIII
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