2022 NFL season

2022 National Football League season

2022 National Football League season
Regular season
DurationSeptember 8, 2022 (2022-09-08) – January 8, 2023 (2023-01-08)
Playoffs
Start dateJanuary 14, 2023
Super Bowl LVII 22
DateFebruary 12, 2023
SiteState Farm Stadium, Glendale, Arizona
Pro Bowl
DateFebruary 5, 2023
SiteAllegiant Stadium, Paradise, Nevada
2022 NFL season is located in the United States
Patriots
Patriots
Bills
Bills
Dolphins
Dolphins
Jets
Jets
Bengals
Bengals
Ravens
Ravens
Steelers
Steelers
Browns
Browns
Colts
Colts
Titans
Titans
Jaguars
Jaguars
Texans
Texans
Broncos
Broncos
Chiefs
Chiefs
Raiders
Raiders
Chargers
Chargers
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AFC teams: Yellow ffff00 pog.svg West, Blue pog.svg North, Red pog.svg South, White pog.svg East
2022 NFL season is located in the United States
Cowboys
Cowboys
Giants
Giants
Eagles
Eagles
Commanders
Commanders
Bears
Bears
Lions
Lions
Packers
Packers
Vikings
Vikings
Falcons
Falcons
Panthers
Panthers
Saints
Saints
Buccaneers
Buccaneers
Cardinals
Cardinals
Rams
Rams
Seahawks
Seahawks
49ers
49ers
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NFC teams: Yellow ffff00 pog.svg West, Blue pog.svg North, Red pog.svg South, White pog.svg East

The 2022 NFL season is the 103rd season of the National Football League (NFL). The season began on September 8, 2022, with the defending Super Bowl LVI champion Los Angeles Rams falling to Buffalo in the NFL Kickoff Game, and will end on January 8, 2023. The playoffs are scheduled to start on January 14 and will conclude with Super Bowl LVII, the league's championship game, at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, on February 12.[1]

The former Washington Redskins, after two seasons of using the placeholder name Washington Football Team, were renamed as the Washington Commanders prior to the start of the season.[2]

Player movement

The 2022 NFL league year and trading period began on March 16. On March 14, teams were allowed to exercise options for 2022 on players with option clauses in their contracts, submit qualifying offers to their pending restricted free agents, and submit a Minimum Salary Tender to retain exclusive negotiating rights to their players with expiring 2021 contracts and fewer than three accrued seasons of free agent credit. Teams were required to be under the salary cap using the "top 51" definition (in which the 51 highest paid-players on the team's payroll must have a combined salary cap). On March 16, clubs were allowed to contact and begin contract negotiations with players whose contracts had expired and thus became unrestricted free agents.

Positions key
C Center CB Cornerback DB Defensive back DE Defensive end
DL Defensive lineman DT Defensive tackle FB Fullback FS Free safety
G Guard[a] K Kicker[b] KR Kickoff returner LB Linebacker
LS Long snapper OT Offensive tackle OL Offensive lineman NT Nose tackle
P Punter PR Punt returner QB Quarterback RB Running back
S Safety SS Strong safety TE Tight end WR Wide receiver
  1. ^ Also known as Offensive guard (OG)
  2. ^ Also known as Placekicker (PK)

Free agency

Free agency began on March 16. Notable players to change teams included:

Trades

The following notable trades were made during the 2022 league year:

  • March 16: Seattle traded QB Russell Wilson and a 2022 fourth round selection to Denver in exchange for QB Drew Lock, TE Noah Fant, and DE Shelby Harris along with 2022 first, second, and fifth round selections, and 2023 first and second round selections.[3]
  • March 16: Indianapolis traded QB Carson Wentz and a 2022 second round selection to Washington in exchange for a 2022 second round selection and a 2023 conditional third round selection.[4]
  • March 16: Chicago traded LB Khalil Mack to the Los Angeles Chargers in exchange for 2022 second and sixth round selections.[5]
  • March 16: Las Vegas traded DE Yannick Ngakoue to Indianapolis in exchange for CB Rock Ya-Sin.[6]
  • March 16: Dallas traded WR Amari Cooper and a 2022 sixth round selection to Cleveland in exchange for 2022 fifth and sixth round selections.[7]
  • March 16: New England traded LB Chase Winovich to Cleveland in exchange for LB Mack Wilson.[8]
  • March 17: Green Bay traded WR Davante Adams to Las Vegas in exchange for 2022 first and second round selections.[9]
  • March 18: Houston traded QB Deshaun Watson and a 2024 sixth round selection to Cleveland in exchange for 2022 first and fourth round selections, 2023 first and third round selections, and 2024 first and fourth round selections.[10]
  • March 21: Atlanta traded QB Matt Ryan to Indianapolis in exchange for a 2022 third round selection.[11]
  • March 23: Kansas City traded WR Tyreek Hill to Miami in exchange for 2022 first, second, and fourth round selections along with 2023 fourth and sixth round selections.[12]
  • April 5: Miami traded WR DeVante Parker and a 2022 fifth round selection to New England in exchange for a 2023 third round selection.[13]
  • April 28: Tennessee traded WR A. J. Brown to Philadelphia in exchange for 2022 first and third round selections.[14]
  • April 28: Baltimore traded WR Marquise Brown and a 2022 third round selection to Arizona in exchange for a 2022 first round selection.[15]
  • August 15: Philadelphia traded TE J. J. Arcega-Whiteside to Seattle in exchange for FS Ugo Amadi.[16]

Retirements

Notable retirements

  • RB Frank Gore – Five-time Pro Bowler and 2006 second-team All-Pro. Played for San Francisco, Indianapolis, Miami, Buffalo, and the New York Jets during his 16-year career.[17]
  • TE Rob Gronkowski – Five-time Pro Bowler, four-time first-team All-Pro, four-time Super Bowl champion (XLIX, LI, LIII, and LV), and 2014 Comeback Player of the Year. Played for New England and Tampa Bay during his 11-year career.[18]
  • G Richie Incognito – Four-time Pro Bowler. Played for the St. Louis Rams, Buffalo, Miami, and the Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders during his 15-year career.[19]
  • SS Malcolm Jenkins – Three-time Pro Bowler, 2010 second-team All-Pro, and two-time Super Bowl champion (XLIV and LII). Played for New Orleans and Philadelphia during his 13-year career.[20]
  • LB Ryan Kerrigan – Four-time Pro Bowler. Played for Washington and Philadelphia during his 11-year career.[21]
  • C Alex Mack – Seven-time Pro Bowler and three-time second-team All-Pro. Played for Cleveland, Atlanta, and San Francisco during his 13-year career.[22]
  • QB Ben Roethlisberger – Six-time Pro Bowler, two-time Super Bowl champion (XL and XLIII), and 2004 Offensive Rookie of the Year. Played for Pittsburgh during his entire 18-year career.[23]
  • OT Mitchell Schwartz – Four-time All-Pro (one first-team, three second-team) and Super Bowl LIV champion. Played for Cleveland and Kansas City during his nine-year career.[24]
  • FS Eric Weddle – Six-time Pro Bowler, five-time All-Pro (two first-team, three second-team), and Super Bowl LVI champion. Played for the San Diego Chargers, Baltimore, and the Los Angeles Rams during his 14-year career.[25]
  • OT Andrew Whitworth – Four-time Pro Bowler, three-time All-Pro (two first-team, one second-team), 2021 Walter Payton Man of the Year, and Super Bowl LVI champion. Played for Cincinnati and the Los Angeles Rams during his 16-year career.[26]

Other retirements

Draft

The 2022 NFL Draft was held in Las Vegas, Nevada from April 28–30.[80] Jacksonville, by virtue of having the worst record in 2021, held the first overall selection and selected pass rusher Travon Walker out of Georgia.

Rule changes

The NFL Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee announced the following policy changes on March 28:[81]

  • All teams will be required to have a female or minority offensive assistant on staff for the 2022 season.
  • The Rooney Rule has been expanded to include women, regardless of their racial or ethnic background.

The following rule changes were approved at the NFL Owner's Meeting on March 28:[82]

  • In the postseason only, both teams are assured of one possession in overtime, even if the first team with possession scores a touchdown. This change was made in response to several recent playoff games in which the first team to possess the ball in overtime scored a touchdown and the other team did not have a chance to respond.
  • Made permanent a 2021 experimental rule change to limit the receiving team on kickoffs to no more than nine players in the "set-up zone" (the area between 10 and 25 yards from the kickoff spot).

The following changes to roster management were made on May 25:[83]

  • Players on injured reserve (IR) are eligible to return to the roster after missing four games. This is up from the temporary three game requirement in place during 2020 and 2021 to account for the impact of COVID-19 on rosters, but down from the eight games required prior to 2020.
  • Teams can allow up to eight players to return from IR to the active roster per season. This limit was previously two players prior to 2020, but the limit was temporarily removed for 2020 and 2021. A player may return from injured reserve multiple times in a single season, but each return counts against the allotment of eight.
  • Practice squads will remain at 16 players. The temporary increase from 12 to 16 players originally introduced in 2020 was made permanent.
  • Teams may continue to elevate up to two players from the practice squad to the game-day roster for each game. A practice squad player may be elevated up to three times per season before the team is required to sign him to the active roster (up from the previous limit of two games).

2022 deaths

Pro Football Hall of Fame Members

Len Dawson
Dawson played 19 seasons in the NFL and AFL as a quarterback with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns, and Dallas Texans / Kansas City Chiefs, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1987. He was a one-time Pro Bowler and six-time AFL All-Star, four-time All-AFL (two first-team, two second-team), three-time AFL champion (1962, 1966, and 1969), and Super Bowl IV champion and MVP. He died on August 24, age 87.[84]
Don Maynard
Maynard played 15 seasons in the NFL and AFL as a wide receiver with the New York Giants, the New York Jets, and the St. Louis Cardinals, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1987. He was a four-time Pro Bowler, four-time All-Pro (two first-team, two second-team), and Super Bowl III champion. He died on January 10, age 86.[85]
Hugh McElhenny
McElhenny played 13 seasons in the NFL as a halfback with the San Francisco 49ers, the Minnesota Vikings, the New York Giants, and the Detroit Lions, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1970. He was a six-time Pro Bowler and five-time first-team All-Pro. He died on June 17, age 93.[86]
Charley Taylor
Taylor played 14 seasons in the NFL as a wide receiver/halfback with the Washington Redskins, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1984. He was an eight-time Pro Bowler and six-time All-Pro (one first-team, five second-team). He died on February 19, age 80.[87]
Rayfield Wright
Wright played 13 seasons in the NFL as an offensive tackle with the Dallas Cowboys, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006. He was a six-time Pro Bowler, six-time All-Pro (three first-team, three second-team), and two-time Super Bowl champion (VI and XII). He died on April 7, age 76.[88]

Others

Preseason

The majority of training camps began on July 27. The preseason began on August 4 with the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game, in which Las Vegas (represented in the Hall of Fame Class of 2022 by Richard Seymour and Cliff Branch) defeated Jacksonville (represented by Tony Boselli).[89]

In March, the league passed a resolution to require the use of "Guardian Caps," oversized outer layers of padding placed on the helmet, during training camp through the second preseason game for offensive linemen, defensive linemen, linebackers, and tight ends.[90] A guardian cap is a soft-shell padding aimed to decrease forces sustained during head-to-head contact and limit head injuries that may come with such contact.[91]

Regular season

The NFL released the 2022 regular season schedule on May 12, with selected games announced in advance of the full schedule release.[92]

The season is planned to be played over an 18-week schedule beginning on September 8. Each of the league's 32 teams plays 17 games, with one bye week for each team. The regular season is scheduled to end on January 8, 2023; all games during the final weekend will be intra-division games, as it has been since 2010.

Each team plays the other three teams in its own division twice, one game against each of the four teams from a division in its own conference, one game against each of the four teams from a division in the other conference, one game against each of the remaining two teams in its conference that finished in the same position in their respective divisions the previous season (e.g., the team that finished fourth in its division would play all three other teams in its conference that also finished fourth in their divisions), and one game against a team in another division in the other conference that also finished in the same position in their respective division the previous season.

The division pairings for 2022 are as follows:[93]

Four intra-conference games
AFC East vs AFC North
AFC South vs AFC West
NFC East vs NFC North
NFC South vs NFC West

Four interconference games
AFC East vs NFC North
AFC North vs NFC South
AFC South vs NFC East
AFC West vs NFC West

Fifth interconference games (by 2021 position)
AFC North at NFC East
AFC South at NFC North
AFC West at NFC South
AFC East at NFC West

Highlights of the 2022 season will include:

Scheduling changes

Week 15 : Five games have been set aside to potentially be moved into an NFL Network tripleheader on Saturday, December 17: AtlantaNew Orleans, BaltimoreCleveland, IndianapolisMinnesota, MiamiBuffalo, and New York GiantsWashington. Of these games, three will be selected to play on Saturday at 1:00 p.m., 4:30 p.m., and 8:15 p.m. ET, while the remaining two will be scheduled as Sunday games.[100]

Week 18: All games during the final week of the regular season were initially listed as "TBD" instead of having tentative start times on Sunday afternoon of either 1:00 p.m. or 4:25 p.m. ET like in previous seasons.[101] Two games with playoff implications will be moved to Saturday, January 7, at 4:30 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. ET, both airing on ESPN, ABC, and ESPN+. A third game with playoff implications will be moved into the 8:20 p.m. ET Sunday Night Football slot on NBC and Peacock. The rest will be scheduled as Sunday afternoon games on CBS or Fox.[102]

Regular season standings

Division

AFC East
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W L T PCT DIV CONF PF PA STK
Miami Dolphins 2 0 0 1.000 1–0 2–0 62 45 W2
Buffalo Bills 2 0 0 1.000 0–0 1–0 72 17 W2
New York Jets 1 1 0 .500 0–0 1–1 40 54 W1
New England Patriots 1 1 0 .500 0–1 1–1 24 34 W1
AFC North
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W L T PCT DIV CONF PF PA STK
Cleveland Browns 2 1 0 .667 1–0 1–1 85 72 W1
Baltimore Ravens 1 1 0 .500 0–0 1–1 62 51 L1
Pittsburgh Steelers 1 2 0 .333 1–1 1–2 54 66 L2
Cincinnati Bengals 0 2 0 .000 0–1 0–1 37 43 L2
AFC South
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W L T PCT DIV CONF PF PA STK
Jacksonville Jaguars 1 1 0 .500 1–0 1–0 46 28 W1
Houston Texans 0 1 1 .250 0–0–1 0–1–1 29 36 L1
Indianapolis Colts 0 1 1 .250 0–1–1 0–1–1 20 44 L1
Tennessee Titans 0 2 0 .000 0–0 0–1 27 62 L2
AFC West
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W L T PCT DIV CONF PF PA STK
Kansas City Chiefs 2 0 0 1.000 1–0 1–0 71 45 W2
Los Angeles Chargers 1 1 0 .500 1–1 1–1 48 46 L1
Denver Broncos 1 1 0 .500 0–0 1–0 32 26 W1
Las Vegas Raiders 0 2 0 .000 0–1 0–1 42 53 L2
NFC East
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W L T PCT DIV CONF PF PA STK
Philadelphia Eagles 2 0 0 1.000 0–0 2–0 62 42 W2
New York Giants 2 0 0 1.000 0–0 1–0 40 36 W2
Washington Commanders 1 1 0 .500 0–0 0–1 55 58 L1
Dallas Cowboys 1 1 0 .500 0–0 0–1 23 36 W1
NFC North
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W L T PCT DIV CONF PF PA STK
Minnesota Vikings 1 1 0 .500 1–0 1–1 30 31 L1
Green Bay Packers 1 1 0 .500 1–1 1–1 34 33 W1
Detroit Lions 1 1 0 .500 0–0 1–1 71 65 W1
Chicago Bears 1 1 0 .500 0–1 1–1 29 37 L1
NFC South
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W L T PCT DIV CONF PF PA STK
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2 0 0 1.000 1–0 2–0 39 13 W2
New Orleans Saints 1 1 0 .500 1–1 1–1 37 46 L1
Carolina Panthers 0 2 0 .000 0–0 0–1 40 45 L2
Atlanta Falcons 0 2 0 .000 0–1 0–2 53 58 L2
NFC West
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W L T PCT DIV CONF PF PA STK
San Francisco 49ers 1 1 0 .500 1–0 1–1 37 26 W1
Los Angeles Rams 1 1 0 .500 0–0 1–0 41 58 W1
Seattle Seahawks 1 1 0 .500 0–1 0–1 24 43 L1
Arizona Cardinals 1 1 0 .500 0–0 0–0 50 67 W1

Conference

AFC
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# Team Division W L T PCT DIV CONF SOS SOV STK
Division leaders
1 Kansas City Chiefs West 2 0 0 1.000 1–0 1–0 .500 .500 W2
2 Miami Dolphins East 2 0 0 1.000 1–0 2–0 .500 .500 W2
3 Cleveland Browns North 2 1 0 .667 1–0 1–1 .286 .200 W1
4 Jacksonville Jaguars South 1 1 0 .500 1–0 1–0 .375 .250 W1
Wild Cards
5 Buffalo Bills East 2 0 0 1.000 0–0 1–0 .250 .250 W2
6 New York Jets East 1 1 0 .500 0–0 1–1 .600 .667 W1
7 Baltimore Ravens North 1 1 0 .500 0–0 1–1 .750 .500 L1
In the hunt
8 New England Patriots East 1 1 0 .500 0–1 1–1 .600 .333 W1
9 Los Angeles Chargers West 1 1 0 .500 1–1 1–1 .500 .000 L1
10 Denver Broncos West 1 1 0 .500 0–0 1–0 .375 .250 W1
11 Pittsburgh Steelers North 1 2 0 .333 1–1 1–2 .429 .000 L2
12 Houston Texans South 0 1 1 .250 0–0–1 0–1–1 .375 .000 L1
13 Indianapolis Colts South 0 1 1 .250 0–1–1 0–1–1 .375 .000 L1
14 Tennessee Titans South 0 2 0 .000 0–0 0–1 1.000 .000 L2
15 Las Vegas Raiders West 0 2 0 .000 0–1 0–1 .500 .000 L2
16 Cincinnati Bengals North 0 2 0 .000 0–1 0–1 .400 .000 L2
Tiebreakers[a]
  1. ^ When breaking ties for three or more teams under the NFL's rules, they are first broken within divisions, then comparing only the highest ranked remaining team from each division.
Legend
w — Clinched wild card
x — Clinched playoff berth
y — Clinched division
z — Clinched first-round bye and home-field advantage
NFC
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# Team Division W L T PCT DIV CONF SOS SOV STK
Division leaders
1 Philadelphia Eagles East 2 0 0 1.000 0–0 2–0 .500 .500 W2
2 Tampa Bay Buccaneers South 2 0 0 1.000 1–0 2–0 .500 .500 W2
3 Minnesota Vikings North 1 1 0 .500 1–0 1–1 .750 .500 L1
4 San Francisco 49ers West 1 1 0 .500 1–0 1–1 .500 .500 W1
Wild cards
5 New York Giants East 2 0 0 1.000 0–0 1–0 .000 .000 W2
6 Los Angeles Rams West 1 1 0 .500 0–0 1–0 .500 .000 W1
7 Green Bay Packers North 1 1 0 .500 1–1 1–1 .500 .500 W1
In the hunt
8 Detroit Lions North 1 1 0 .500 0–0 1–1 .750 .500 W1
9 Chicago Bears North 1 1 0 .500 0–1 1–1 .500 .500 L1
10 New Orleans Saints South 1 1 0 .500 1–1 1–1 .500 .000 L1
11 Washington Commanders East 1 1 0 .500 0–0 0–1 .500 .500 L1
12 Seattle Seahawks West 1 1 0 .500 0–1 0–1 .500 .500 L1
13 Dallas Cowboys East 1 1 0 .500 0–0 0–1 .500 .000 W1
14 Arizona Cardinals West 1 1 0 .500 0–0 0–0 .500 .000 W1
15 Carolina Panthers South 0 2 0 .000 0–0 0–1 .800 .000 L2
16 Atlanta Falcons South 0 2 0 .000 0–1 0–2 .500 .000 L2
Tiebreakers[a]
  1. ^ When breaking ties for three or more teams under the NFL's rules, they are first broken within divisions, then comparing only the highest ranked remaining team from each division.
Legend
w — Clinched wild card
x — Clinched playoff berth
y — Clinched division
z — Clinched first-round bye and home-field advantage

Postseason

The 2022 playoffs are scheduled to begin with the wild-card round, with three wild-card games played in each conference. Wild Card Weekend is planned for January 14–16, 2023. In the Divisional round scheduled for January 21–22, the top seed in the conference will play the lowest remaining seed and the other two remaining teams will play each other. The winners of those games will advance to the Conference Championships scheduled for January 29. Super Bowl LVII is scheduled for February 12 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.[103]

Records, milestones, and notable statistics

Week 1

  • Matthew Stafford became the 12th player to reach 50,000 career passing yards. He also tied Drew Brees' record for the fastest player to reach this mark, doing so in 183 games.[104]
  • Matt Ryan became the eighth player to reach 60,000 career passing yards.[105]
  • Cade York kicked a 58-yard field goal, setting a record for longest field goal by a rookie in a season opener. The previous record of 55 yards was shared by John Hall and Blair Walsh.[106]
  • Tom Brady became the oldest quarterback to start a game, at 45 years and 39 days old. The previous record of 44 years, 279 days was held by Steve DeBerg.[107][108]

Week 2

  • Tom Brady tied the record for most game-winning drives[clarification needed] by a quarterback, with 54. He shares the record with Peyton Manning.[109]
  • Lamar Jackson set the record for most games with 100 rushing yards by a quarterback with 11. The previous record of 10 was held by Michael Vick.[110]
  • Jackson also became the first player to record at least 300 passing yards, three passing touchdowns, 100 rushing yards, and one rushing touchdown in a game.[111]
  • Amon-Ra St. Brown became the first player in NFL history to record at least eight receptions and one receiving touchdown in six consecutive games.[112]
  • Tyreek Hill tied the record for the most games with at least 10 receptions, 150 receiving yards, and two receiving touchdowns, with four. He shares the record with Jerry Rice.[111]
  • Aaron Rodgers became the fifth player in NFL history to reach 450 career touchdown passes.[113]
  • Carson Wentz became the first player since quarterback starts were first tracked in 1950 to pass for over 300 yards and three or more touchdowns in his first two starts with a new team.[114]

Week 3

Awards

Players of the week/month

The following were named the top performers during the 2022 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[115] Patrick Mahomes QB
(Kansas City)
Saquon Barkley RB
(New York Giants)
Minkah Fitzpatrick S
(Pittsburgh)
Uchenna Nwosu LB
(Seattle)
Cade York K
(Cleveland)
Zech McPhearson CB
(Philadelphia)
2[116] Tua Tagovailoa QB
(Miami)
Amon-Ra St. Brown WR
(Detroit)
Jaylen Watson CB
(Kansas City)
Darius Slay CB
(Philadelphia)
Braden Mann P
(New York Jets)
Graham Gano K
(New York Giants)
3
Sept.
Week FedEx Air
Player of the Week[117]
FedEx Ground
Player of the Week[117]
Pepsi Zero Sugar
Rookie of the Week[118]
1 Patrick Mahomes
(Kansas City)
Jonathan Taylor
(Indianapolis)
Jahan Dotson WR
(Washington)
2 Tua Tagovailoa
(Miami)
Aaron Jones
(Green Bay)
Garrett Wilson WR
(New York Jets)
3
Month Rookie of the Month
Offensive Defensive
Sept. TBA TBA

Notable events

Brian Flores' discrimination lawsuit

On February 1, former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores sued the NFL, the Dolphins, the New York Giants, and the Denver Broncos, alleging racism, violations of federal employment law, and that his interviews were a sham meant solely to fulfill the Rooney Rule.[119] The lawsuit also alleges that during Flores' tenure with the Dolphins, team owner Stephen M. Ross pressured him to deliberately lose games, offering him $100,000 for each game he lost in order for the Dolphins to get better draft picks for the following season and that Ross fired Flores after he refused to comply with this pressure.[120] The lawsuit seeks damages and injunctive relief in the form of changes to hiring, retention, termination, and pay transparency practices for coaching and executive positions in the NFL.[121]

On April 6, former Arizona Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks and former assistant coach Ray Horton joined the lawsuit with similar allegations against the league, the Arizona Cardinals, Houston Texans, and Tennessee Titans.[122]

Deshaun Watson sexual assault allegations

In March and April 2021, then-Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson was accused by 22 massage therapists of sexual misconduct.[123]

On March 11, 2022, a grand jury declined to indict Watson on criminal charges related to "harassment and sexual misconduct." On that date he still faced 22 civil lawsuits, many alleging sexual misconduct and assault.[124] After being cleared of criminal charges, Watson was traded to the Cleveland Browns and agreed to a new, fully guaranteed, five-year, $230 million contract with the Browns, the most guaranteed money in NFL history.[125]

After two more accusers joined the lawsuit in June 2022, Watson settled 23 of the 24 lawsuits in July and August.[126]

On August 1, as a result of these allegations, Watson was suspended for six regular season games to start the 2022 season by judge Sue Lewis Robinson.[127] Two days later, the NFL appealed the suspension, seeking to extend the suspension to at least a full season as well as seeking a fine and establishing a requirement for Watson to seek treatment for his conduct.[128] The appeal was reviewed by former New Jersey Attorney General Peter C. Harvey.[129][130]

On August 18, after the NFL and the NFLPA reached a settlement, Watson was suspended for the first 11 games of the season and was fined $5 million.[131]

Miami Dolphins tampering

On August 2, it was announced that following a six-month independent investigation by Mary Jo White and a team of lawyers, the Miami Dolphins would forfeit their 2023 first-round draft pick and a 2024 third-round pick for violating the league's anti-tampering policy on three occasions from 2019 to 2022 by engaging in impermissible conversations with quarterback Tom Brady and coach Sean Payton, both of whom were under contract with other teams. Dolphins owner Stephen M. Ross was also fined $1.5 million and suspended through October 17, and was prohibited from being at the Dolphins' facility or representing the team at any event until then. He was also prohibited from attending any league meeting before the annual meeting in 2023 and was removed from all league committees indefinitely.[132] Vice chairman/limited partner Bruce Beal was fined $500,000 and will not be permitted to attend any league meetings for the rest of the 2022 season.[133]

Head coaching and front office changes

Head coaches

Off-season

Team Departing coach Interim coach Incoming coach Reason for leaving Notes
Chicago Bears Matt Nagy Matt Eberflus Fired Nagy was fired on January 10 after four seasons with the Bears. During his tenure, the Bears were 34–31 (.523) with one NFC North division title in two overall playoff appearances, both ending with first round losses.[134]

Eberflus, who spent the previous four seasons as the Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator, was hired on January 27. This is his first head coaching position.[135]

Denver Broncos Vic Fangio Nathaniel Hackett Fangio was fired on January 9 after three seasons with the Broncos. During his tenure, the Broncos were 19–30 (.388) with no playoff appearances.[136]

Hackett, who spent the previous three seasons as the Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator, was hired on January 27. This is his first head coaching position.[137]

Houston Texans David Culley Lovie Smith Culley was fired on January 13 after one season with the Texans, finishing with a 4–13 (.235) record and missing the playoffs.[138]

Smith, who spent the previous season as the Texans defensive coordinator and associate head coach, was hired on February 7. This will be his third head coaching position in the NFL. As the head coach of the Chicago Bears from 20042012, the team's overall record was 81–63 (.563), with three playoff appearances, three NFC North division titles, and an appearance in Super Bowl XLI, and a 3–3 (.500) playoff record. He also won AP NFL Coach of the Year Award in 2005. As the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 20142015, the team was 8–24 (.250), with no playoff appearances.[139]

Jacksonville Jaguars Urban Meyer Darrell Bevell Doug Pederson Meyer was fired on December 16, 2021, due to a season full of on- and off-the-field issues. During Meyer's single partial season in Jacksonville, the Jaguars were 2–11 (.154).[140][141]

Bevell, the team's offensive coordinator since 2021, was promoted to interim head coach. This is his second head coaching position, after serving as interim head coach for the Detroit Lions in 2020, where he obtained a record of 1–4 (.200). He finished out the 2021 season with a 1–3 (.250) record.[140]

Pederson was hired on February 3. He was the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles from 2016 to 2020 with a total regular season record of 42–37–1 (.531), three playoff appearances with a record of 4–2 (.667), two NFC East division titles, and the Super Bowl LII championship.[142]

Las Vegas Raiders Jon Gruden Rich Bisaccia Josh McDaniels Resigned Gruden resigned on October 11, 2021, due to the publication of controversial emails prior to becoming the Raiders head coach. In Gruden's 3+ seasons during his second stint with Oakland/Las Vegas, the Raiders were 22–31 (.415) with no playoff appearances.[143][144]

Bisaccia, the team's special teams coordinator and assistant head coach since 2018, was promoted to interim head coach. This was his first head coaching position after 20 years as an assistant coach in the NFL. He finished out the 2021 regular season with a 7–5 (.583) record, leading the Raiders to a Wild Card playoff appearance.[145]

McDaniels, who spent the previous 10 seasons as the New England Patriots offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach (and a total of 18 seasons as an assistant coach with New England in two stints), was hired on January 31. He was the head coach of the Denver Broncos from 2009 to 2010 with a total regular season record of 11–17 (.393) and no playoff appearances.[146]

Miami Dolphins Brian Flores Mike McDaniel Fired Flores was fired on January 10 after three seasons with the Dolphins. During his tenure, the Dolphins were 24–25 (.490) with no playoff appearances.[147]

McDaniel, who spent the previous five seasons as the San Francisco 49ers offensive and run game coordinator, was hired on February 6. This is his first head coaching position.[148]

Minnesota Vikings Mike Zimmer Kevin O'Connell Zimmer was fired on January 10 after eight seasons with the Vikings. During his tenure, the Vikings were 72–56–1 (.562) with two NFC North division titles in three overall playoff appearances, one NFC Championship Game appearance, and a playoff record of 2–3 (.400).[149]

O'Connell, who spent the previous two seasons as the Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator, was hired on February 16. This is his first head coaching position.[150]

New Orleans Saints Sean Payton Dennis Allen Retired Payton retired on January 25 after 15 seasons with the Saints. His overall record was 152–89 (.631), with nine playoff appearances including seven NFC South titles, the Super Bowl XLIV title, and a playoff record of 9–8 (.529). He also won AP NFL Coach of the Year Award in 2006.[151][152][153]

Allen, who spent the previous seven seasons as the Saints defensive coordinator (and a total of 12 seasons as an assistant coach with New Orleans in two stints), was hired on February 8. This is his second head coaching position; he had previously served as head coach of the Oakland Raiders from 20122014, with a record of 8–28 (.222) and no playoff appearances.[154]

New York Giants Joe Judge Brian Daboll Fired Judge was fired on January 11 after two seasons with the Giants. During his tenure, the Giants were 10–23 (.303) with no playoff appearances.[155]

Daboll, who spent the previous four seasons as the Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator, was hired on January 28. This is his first head coaching position.[156]

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Bruce Arians Todd Bowles Retired Arians announced his retirement on March 30 after three seasons with the Buccaneers. During his tenure, the Buccaneers were 31–18 (.633) with two playoff appearances including one NFC South title, the Super Bowl LV title, and a playoff record of 5–1 (.833). Arians had previously retired following the 2017 season after five seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, spending one year as a commentator for CBS before returning to coaching.

Bowles, who spent the previous three seasons as the Buccaneers' defensive coordinator, was promoted the same day. This is his third head coaching position; he had previously served as interim head coach of the Miami Dolphins for the last three weeks of the 2011 season, and as head coach of the New York Jets from 20152018, with a combined record of 26–41 (.388) and no playoff appearances.[157]

Front office personnel

Off-season

Team Position Departing office holder Incoming office holder Reason for leaving Notes
Baltimore Ravens President Dick Cass Sashi Brown Retired

Cass retired on February 4 after 18 years with the team, during which the Ravens won Super Bowl XLVII.

Brown was hired the same day, effective April 1. He was previously the Cleveland Browns' GM from 2016–2017.[158]

Denver Broncos Joe Ellis Damani Leech Resigned

Ellis stepped down from his position as president and CEO on August 9 after the sale of the team. He had served with the Broncos for 27 years, the last eight as CEO.[159]

Leech was hired on August 11. He was the COO of NFL International from 2019 until the hiring.[160]

Las Vegas Raiders Dan Ventrelle Sandra Douglass Morgan Fired

After about 19 years with the Raiders including one season as president, Ventrelle was fired on May 6. Ventrelle alleged he was fired for reporting a hostile work environment.[161]

Douglass Morgan was hired on July 7. She previously served as chairwoman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board from 2019 to 2020. She is the first black female president in NFL history.[162]

Chicago Bears General manager Ryan Pace Ryan Poles Fired After seven years with the Bears, Pace was fired on January 10.[134]

Poles was hired on January 25. He previously served for the Kansas City Chiefs from 2009 to 2021 in various executive roles and in the final year as the executive director of player personnel.[163]

Las Vegas Raiders Mike Mayock Dave Ziegler After three years with the Raiders, Mayock was fired on January 17.[164]

Ziegler was hired on January 30. He previously served for the New England Patriots from 2013 to 2021 in various executive roles and in the final year as the director of player personnel.[165]

Minnesota Vikings Rick Spielman Kwesi Adofo-Mensah After sixteen years with the Vikings and ten years as the GM, Spielman was fired on January 10.[149]

Adofo-Mensah was hired on January 26. He previously served as the vice president of football operations for the Cleveland Browns from 2020 to 2021 and also served for the San Francisco 49ers in football research and development.[166]

New York Giants Dave Gettleman Joe Schoen Retired After four years as the Giants GM and fourteen years total over two tenures with the team, Gettleman announced his retirement on January 10.[167]

Schoen was hired on January 21. He previously served as the assistant GM for the Buffalo Bills from 2017 to 2021 and also served for the Carolina Panthers and Miami Dolphins in various executive roles.[168]

Pittsburgh Steelers Kevin Colbert Omar Khan After eleven years as the Steelers GM, six years additionally as vice president, and 22 years total with the team in various executive roles, Colbert retired after the 2022 NFL Draft.[169]

Khan was hired on May 25. He has served in various roles with the Steelers for 21 years, most recently as the vice president of football and business administration since 2016.[170]

Stadiums

  • This is the final year on Buffalo's lease on Highmark Stadium. On March 28, the State of New York announced an agreement with the Bills to construct a new state owned and funded stadium adjacent to Highmark Stadium, which will be demolished after the new stadium is completed. The Bills will remain at Highmark Stadium during the new stadium's construction, then will move to the new stadium once it is complete and play there through at least 2052, leasing the stadium from the state.[171]
  • On July 11, Pittsburgh announced that it sold the naming rights to its home stadium to the insurance broker Acrisure after its deal with Heinz expired, resulting in the stadium being renamed from Heinz Field to Acrisure Stadium.[172]
  • On August 9, Cincinnati announced that it sold the naming rights to its home stadium to human resources software company Paycor, resulting in the stadium being renamed from Paul Brown Stadium to Paycor Stadium.[173]

Uniforms

Uniform changes

  • Dallas announced the return of their throwbacks inspired by the team's uniforms worn from 1960–1963 on July 21. They will wear this design on Thanksgiving Day and for the first time since the 2012 season.[174]
  • The Los Angeles Rams swapped the designation of their white uniforms. The throwback-inspired white uniforms introduced as an alternate in 2021 will serve as the team's primary. The "bone" uniform will serve as the third design and will be worn during two games.[175][176]
  • New England announced the return of their red "Pat Patriot" throwback uniforms as an alternate uniform on June 22. They will don this design for the first time since the 2012 season.[177][178]
  • The New York Giants announced they would bring back their uniforms worn between 1980–1999 for two games on July 20.[179]
  • Philadelphia introduced a new wordmark, replacing the previous design installed in 1996.[180]
  • Pittsburgh will wear a throwback uniform modeled after their design worn during the 1972 season for one game. These uniforms commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Immaculate Reception.[181]
  • San Francisco modified their uniforms to feature their classic wordmark, matching their home end zone design. The uniforms include three shoulder stripes, replacing the two stripe design.[182][183]
  • Washington revealed new branding as the Washington Commanders on February 2.[184] They retained their burgundy and gold colors while introducing a new "W" logo and new uniforms.[185] The new burgundy uniforms have gold numerals trimmed in white, while the new white uniforms feature burgundy and white gradient numerals with black trim. The team also introduced black third jerseys with gold numerals trimmed in burgundy.[186]

Alternate helmets

In June 2021, the NFL approved a rule that would allow teams to wear alternate helmets for the 2022 season, repealing a one-helmet rule put in place in 2013. Alternate helmets are required to be accompanied with alternate uniforms.[187]

  • Arizona introduced a black helmet with a red undertone on July 24. The helmet was worn for one preseason game[188] and will be worn for two regular season games.[189][190]
  • Atlanta reintroduced a red helmet to pair with their throwback uniform on June 1 after previously using the helmet with this set from 2009–2012. These will be worn for two games.[191]
  • Carolina introduced a new black helmet on July 19. This helmet will be worn with the team's all-black uniform for one game.[192] Carolina's black uniform remains their primary colored design despite the rule which requires that alternate helmets be paired with alternate uniforms.[193]
  • Chicago introduced an orange helmet on July 24. It will be paired with Chicago's alternate orange uniforms for two games.[194]
  • Cincinnati introduced a white alternate helmet on July 14. The design retains the helmet's black stripes and will be accompanied with their all-white uniforms used in the former "Color Rush" program.[195][196][197]
  • Dallas announced their alternate throwback uniform listed above will include the white helmet worn by the team from 1960–1963.[198] Additionally, Dallas will wear an alternative set of decals with the white shell to pair with the "Color Rush" uniform introduced in 2015.[199]
  • Houston introduced a "Battle Red" helmet to pair with their like-colored alternate uniform on July 12. It is the first time that the team will utilize a different colored helmet in franchise history (the team has used "Deep Steel Blue" helmets since their inception in 2002). The helmet will be worn for one game.[200]
  • New England announced their alternate throwback uniform listed above will include the white helmet with the former "Pat Patriot" logo.[177]
  • New Orleans introduced a new black helmet to pair with their white alternate uniform on June 16.[201]
  • The New York Giants announced as part of the above throwback uniform, they will bring back the navy blue helmets with the "GIANTS" wordmark worn in the 1980s and 1990s.[179]
  • The New York Jets introduced a new black helmet to pair with their black alternate uniforms on July 22.[202]
  • Philadelphia introduced a new black helmet to pair with their black alternate uniform on March 29.[203]
  • Washington introduced a new alternate set with black helmets in their rebrand on February 2, becoming the first team in the league to unveil secondary helmets. The helmets feature the gold "W" logo on the front of the shell, the player's jersey number on each side, and the flag of Washington, D.C. in burgundy and gold on the back.[204]

Patches

  • Pittsburgh will accompany their 1972-inspired throwback uniforms with a patch to commemorate the Immaculate Reception's 50th anniversary. The patch features a silhouetted Franco Harris.[181]
  • Miami announced a patch to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the team's 1972 undefeated season on August 3. The patch will be featured on their throwback uniform for one game.[205]
  • Washington unveiled a logo commemorating the 90th anniversary of the franchise.[206]

Media

Television

This is the ninth and final season under the current broadcast contracts with CBS, Fox, and NBC, before new 11-year contracts for all three networks begin in 2023.[207] This includes "cross-flexing" (switching) Sunday afternoon games between CBS and Fox before or during the season, regardless of the conference of the visiting team. Super Bowl LVII will be televised by Fox.

Following the expiration of their eight year contract, ESPN and ABC agreed to a one year bridge contract. As with the previous season, ESPN will hold rights to a Saturday doubleheader during the final week of the season, simulcast with ABC. Beginning this season, the ESPN+ subscription service will exclusively carry one International Series game per season. ABC aired its first exclusive game since 2005 on September 19, as part of a doubleheader with ESPN. ESPN will begin a new 11-year contract in 2023.[208]

NFL Network will continue to televise select regular season games, including three International Series games.[209][208]

Fox Deportes will air Spanish-language coverage of Fox games. ESPN Deportes will do the same for ESPN, ABC, and CBS games. Universo and Telemundo Deportes (select games) will do the same for NBC games.

ESPN2's Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli was renewed for an additional season, taking it through the 2024 NFL season.[210] CBS will continue to produce alternative, youth-oriented telecasts of selected games on sister channel Nickelodeon; the channel will simulcast CBS's Christmas Day game, marking its first regular-season broadcast.[99]

DirecTV signed a multi-year deal with Amazon Prime Video to allow Thursday Night Football to be shown on DirecTV's packages for business customers. This agreement is independent of DirecTV's expiring NFL Sunday Ticket deal, primarily to allow bars, restaurants, casinos, and other venues to continue offering the games without reconfiguring their systems to accommodate a streaming-only platform.[211]

Streaming

The Chargers and Chiefs playing in the first NFL game broadcast nationally and exclusively on Amazon Prime Video, in 2022.

This will be the first year in which Thursday Night Football will exclusively stream on Amazon Prime Video and Twitch.[212] Fox and NFL Network opted out of their final season of the 2018–2022 TNF deal, allowing Amazon to take over one season before its 2023–2033 TNF agreement was to go into effect.[213]

Paramount+ will continue to simulcast all CBS games and Peacock will simulcast all NBC games.

This will be the final season under DirecTV's deal for exclusive rights to the NFL Sunday Ticket out-of-market sports package. DirecTV has held exclusive rights since the package's launch in 1994. DirecTV executives have questioned the current value of NFL Sunday Ticket after losing money over the past few years. In September 2021, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell suggested that NFL Sunday Ticket could be more attractive on a digital platform.[214] In June, it was reported that Disney, Apple, and Amazon submitted bids. In July, Google submitted a bid.[215][216]

The NFL's mobile streaming contract with Verizon expired following the 2021 season (which included mobile streaming of live local and nationally televised games along with cellular streaming of NFL Network); it was reported that the league was preparing to move these rights behind a paywall of an in-house subscription service.[217][218] In July, the NFL announced that NFL Game Pass would be replaced in the United States by NFL+, which will stream in-market games on mobile devices only, radio broadcasts for all games, most out-of-market preseason games, as well as on-demand programming from NFL Network and NFL Films. A premium tier of the service adds on-demand game replays and other viewing options while the cellular streaming of NFL Network was paywalled behind a pay TV provider.[219][220][221]

Radio

In March, the NFL renewed its national radio contract with Westwood One, maintaining its package of radio rights to all primetime, marquee, and playoff games, while adding audio coverage of other events such as the NFL Draft and NFL Honors. It also greatly expands the ability for its broadcasts to be distributed for free via digital platforms, including via local affiliates' "primary digital platforms", and via the NFL app.[222] Compass Media, ESPN Radio and Sports USA will continue to broadcast select Sunday afternoon games nationally on radio.

Personnel changes

With Brian Griese leaving ESPN for a coaching job with San Francisco,[223][224] on March 16, ESPN signed Joe Buck and Troy Aikman — who were Fox's lead commentary team for 20 seasons — to a multi-year deal to become the new lead commentators of Monday Night Football.[225][226] ESPN's previous MNF broadcasters Steve Levy and Louis Riddick continue as ESPN's secondary NFL broadcast team, with Dan Orlovsky replacing Griese.[227]

On March 23, Amazon announced that longtime NBC play-by-play announcer Al Michaels and ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit would serve as its lead broadcast team for Thursday Night Football.[228][229] Amazon later added ABC News reporter Kaylee Hartung as its sideline reporter. Mike Tirico—who had been NBC's secondary play-by-play announcer and Michaels' designated fill-in since joining the network in 2016[230][231]—will succeed Michaels as the lead commentator for Sunday Night Football, with Maria Taylor succeeding him as lead studio host[232] and Jason Garrett replacing Drew Brees on the Football Night in America panel.[233] Melissa Stark is also replacing Michele Tafoya (who departed after Super Bowl LVI to pursue a political career) as sideline reporter.[234] Amazon's studio panel will be led by Fox’s Charissa Thompson, with analysts Tony Gonzalez, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Richard Sherman, and Andrew Whitworth. Bleacher Report and Turner SportsTaylor Rooks and NBC’s Michael Smith also make contributions.[235]

With Buck and Aikman's departure, Fox's number-2 commentary team of Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen were promoted to the network's top pairing.[236] Replacing Burkhardt and Olsen are Joe Davis, who is also Buck’s replacement for Fox’s MLB coverage, and Daryl Johnston, starting his third stint as Fox’s number 2 analyst. Kristina Pink, who was one of Fox’s two TNF reporters from 2018–2021, returns to Sunday reporting duties to join the team of Adam Amin and Mark Schlereth. Robert Smith also transfers from Fox’s college football coverage to join Chris Myers.

Most watched regular season games

Rank Date Matchup Network(s) Viewers (millions) TV rating[237] Window Significance
1 September 18, 4:25 ET Cincinnati Bengals 17–20 Dallas Cowboys CBS/Paramount+ 27.4 14.1 Late DH[a]
2 September 11, 8:20 ET Tampa Bay Buccaneers 19–3 Dallas Cowboys NBC/Peacock 23.3 12.3 SNF
3 September 8, 8:20 ET Buffalo Bills 31–10 Los Angeles Rams NBC/Peacock 19.9 10.8 Kickoff NFL Kickoff Game
4 September 12, 8:15 ET Denver Broncos 16–17 Seattle Seahawks ABC/ESPN
ESPN2/ESPN+
19.8 11.1 MNF Russell Wilson's return to Seattle
5 September 18, 8:20 ET Chicago Bears 10–27 Green Bay Packers NBC/Peacock 19.6 10.6 SNF Bears–Packers rivalry
6 September 11, 4:25 ET Green Bay Packers 7–23 Minnesota Vikings Fox 18.6 9.2 Late DH[b] Packers–Vikings rivalry
7 September 11, 1:00 ET Pittsburgh Steelers 23–20 (OT) Cincinnati Bengals CBS/Paramount+ 17.4 8.7 Early DH[c] Bengals–Steelers rivalry
8 September 11, 4:25 ET Kansas City Chiefs 44–21 Arizona Cardinals CBS/Paramount+ 16.6 8.3 Late DH[d]
9 September 18, 1:00 ET Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20–10 New Orleans Saints Fox 16.2 8.6 Single[e] Buccaneers–Saints rivalry
10 September 18, 1:00 ET New England Patriots 17–14 Pittsburgh Steelers CBS/Paramount+ 14.1 7.4 Early DH[f] Patriots–Steelers rivalry

*Note – All single and DH matchups listed in table are the matchups that were viewed to the largest percentage of the market.

  1. ^ CIN/DAL was shown in 81% of the markets during the late doubleheader time slot of CBS coverage.
  2. ^ GB/MIN was shown in 86% of the markets during the late doubleheader time slot of Fox coverage.
  3. ^ PIT/CIN was shown in 58% of the markets during the early doubleheader time slot of CBS coverage.
  4. ^ KC/ARI was shown in 85% of the markets during the late doubleheader time slot of CBS coverage.
  5. ^ TB/NO was shown in 47% of the markets during the single time slot of Fox coverage.
  6. ^ NE/PIT was shown in 74% of the markets during the early doubleheader time slot of CBS coverage.

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