American Football Database
2012 National Football League season
Regular season
Duration September 5, 2012 – December 30, 2012
Start date January 5, 2013
AFC Champions
NFC Champions
Super Bowl XLVII
Date February 3, 2013
Site Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
Pro Bowl
Date January 27, 2013
Site Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii
National Football League seasons
 < 2011 2013 > 

The 2012 NFL season, the 93rd regular season of the National Football League, is set to begin Wednesday, September 5, 2012, with the defending Super Bowl XLVI champion New York Giants hosting the Dallas Cowboys in the 2012 NFL Kickoff game at MetLife Stadium, and will end with Super Bowl XLVII, the league's championship game, on Sunday, February 3, 2013, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.

Referee labor dispute

By June 2012, the league and the NFL Referees Association had not yet come to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement, thus failing to resolve a labor dispute. Accordingly, the NFL has locked out the regular NFL game officials, and thus plans to open the 2012 season with replacement referees.[1] The NFL Referees Association has since accused the league of planning to lock them out all along rather than negotiate a new contract.[2] Furthermore, the referees contend that the lockout will jeopardize the safety of the players, and the integrity of the game, citing the fact that none of the replacement officials will come from the top college divisions and thus do not have enough experience to adjust to the speed of the NFL game and enforcing the various players' safety rules.[2]. The league has denied these claims, saying that they have negotiated in good faith.[1] Nevertheless the NFL Referees Association filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, accusing the league of unfair labor practices.[3]

Reacting to the referee labor dispute, the NFL Players Association has expressed concern, saying in a statement, "In 2011, the NFL tasked officials with increased responsibilities in protecting player health and safety, and its search for scabs undermines that important function. Professional athletes require professional referees, and we believe in the NFL Referees Association's trained first responders."[4]


NFL Draft

The 2012 NFL Draft was held from April 26 to April 28, 2012 at New York City's Radio City Music Hall.[5] With the first pick, the Indianapolis Colts selected quarterback Andrew Luck from Stanford.

Late Sunday doubleheader kickoff time change

The league announced on June 28 that all late Sunday doubleheader games will be moved ten minutes later from 4:15 p.m. ET to 4:25 p.m. Late games broadcast on the single game network will still remain at 4:05 p.m. The league cited 44 early games from the 2009 to 2011 seasons in which part of the audience had to be switched immediately to the kickoff of their home team's doubleheader game, and thus miss the end of the first game.[6] The 4:15 p.m. late doubleheader kickoff time dates back to the 1998 season when the NFL moved it from 4:05 p.m. for exactly the same reason.


Under the NFL's scheduling formula, the intraconference and interconference matchups will be:[7]

Other highlights

Highlights of the 2012 schedule include:

  • NFL Kickoff Game: The 2012 regular season will begin on Wednesday, September 5, as the defending Super Bowl XLVI champion New York Giants host the Dallas Cowboys. The game was moved from its usual Thursday slot to avoid conflict with the last day of the Democratic National Convention, which will be held at Bank of America Stadium, home of the Carolina Panthers. As a result of the convention, the Panthers will open up on the road during Week 1,[8] visiting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
  • Redskins Rule: The last Washington Redskins home game before the 2012 Presidential Election will take place on November 4 against, coincidentally, the Panthers. According to the "Redskins Rule", if the Redskins win the game then Barack Obama will be re-elected for a second term; if the Panthers win instead then Mitt Romney will be elected.
  • More Thursday night games: On February 3, 2012, commissioner Roger Goodell announced that the number of Thursday night games on the NFL Network will increase from eight to 13 games from weeks 2 through 15, excluding Week 12 (the Thanksgiving night game will now air on NBC).[9] This will ensure that every team will have at least one prime time game.[10]
  • International Series: The 2012 International Series game will feature the St. Louis Rams hosting the New England Patriots on October 28, at 1:00 p.m. EDT (5:00 p.m. GMT) on CBS, at the frequent International Series home—Wembley Stadium in London, England. This will mark the first of three consecutive International Series appearances for the Rams.[11] Though the league had originally promised to add a second game in Ireland,[12] Scotland,[13] or Wales[14] beginning in 2012,[15] the league canceled the game, citing the 2012 Summer Olympics in London as a conflict (the league canceled a second International Series game in 2010 as well, citing the ongoing negotiations of the collective bargaining agreement).
  • Thanksgiving Classic: These games will occur on Thursday, November 22. The Detroit Lions will host the Houston Texans at 12:30 p.m. EST on CBS. The Dallas Cowboys will host their longtime division rival Washington Redskins at 4:15 p.m. EST on Fox. The primetime Thanksgiving game, which will now air on NBC, will also feature longtime divisional foes: the New England Patriots visit the New York Jets starting at 8:20 p.m. EST.
  • Bills Toronto Series. The fifth and, under current contract, final regular-season game of the series, which sees the Buffalo Bills play in Toronto's Rogers Centre, will feature the Bills hosting the Seattle Seahawks on December 16 at 4:05 p.m. Due to a re-emergence of late-season attendance problems at Ralph Wilson Stadium, the Toronto Series will return to its original timing after the end of the 2012 CFL season. Although a preseason game was originally going to be played in 2012 as part of the series, it was canceled due to a lack of available dates at the Rogers Centre.[16]
  • Christmas Eve: Christmas Eve falls on a Monday in 2012. Since the NFL usually avoids scheduling games on the evening of Christmas Eve (although there have been a couple of previous exceptions, see NFL Christmas Eve games), the ESPN Monday Night game for that week will instead be played on Saturday, December 22, between the Atlanta Falcons and the Detroit Lions.
  • Playoffs: The last regular season games will be held on Sunday, December 30. The playoffs would then start on Saturday, January 5, 2013. Conference championship games will be held on Sunday, January 20; the NFC Championship will be played at 3:00 p.m. EST on Fox, and the AFC Championship will follow at 6:30 p.m. EST on CBS. Super Bowl XLVII, the league's championship game, will occur on February 3 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana, and will be televised on CBS.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame Game will be played August 5 and feature a match-up between the Arizona Cardinals and the New Orleans Saints. New Orleans last appeared in the game in 2007; former Saints offensive tackle Willie Roaf is being inducted as part of the Hall of Fame ceremonies. The Cardinals will play there for the first time since 1986, when the franchise was still located in St. Louis. As with the originally announced 2011 game, this matchup breaks from the game's usual tradition of featuring two teams from opposing conferences (the 2011 Hall of Fame Game would've featured the Chicago Bears and St. Louis Rams, but the game was canceled due to the 2011 NFL lockout).[17] The game, normally airing on NBC, will air this season on NFL Network due to NBC airing the 2012 London Olympics. The remainder of the 2012 preseason matchups were revealed on April 4.[18]

The 2013 Pro Bowl will be held in Hawaii on January 27, 2013, after New Orleans was briefly considered as a site.[19] Originally, the NFL delayed announcing a date or venue for the game, and even considered eliminating the game altogether due to the NFL's displeasure with the quality of play in the 2012 Pro Bowl[20]

Media changes

On December 14, 2011, the NFL announced that the Thanksgiving night game will move from the NFL Network to NBC.[21] All of the other aforementioned Thursday night games will be televised on the NFL Network.

Also on that day, the league extended their contracts with their TV broadcasters through 2022, although many of new provisions (such as expanding flexible scheduling to allow the shifting of AFC and NFC games between CBS and Fox; and NBC giving up one of its two wild card playoff games in exchange for a divisional round game) will not take effect until 2014.[21]

ESPN will make an additional cut to its Monday Night Football broadcasts, removing Ron Jaworski from the broadcast booth and moving to a two-man announcing crew; Mike Tirico will continue on play-by-play while Jon Gruden continues as the sole color commentator.[22] One year prior, the network had switched from two sideline reporters to one.

The 2013 Pro Bowl will be televised on NBC.[23] Under the current rotating TV contract, the network that broadcasts the Super Bowl will also broadcast the same year's Pro Bowl. CBS, the network broadcasting the 2013 Super Bowl, withdrew from the game and not air it at all.

After 25 consecutive seasons, CBS Radio Sports is no longer expected to produce the league's national radio broadcasts. CBS had spun off its radio distribution arm, Westwood One, to private interests in 2007, eventually ending up in the hands of Dial Global prior to the 2011 season; CBS continued to produce the broadcasts through the end of that season. However, during the 2012 offseason, CBS announced it would begin distributing its sports radio operations through Cumulus Media Networks (the network holding the non-sports radio assets of the former ABC Radio Network), and since the NFL's contract remains with Dial Global through 2014, this would presumably end CBS's 25-year run of carrying the NFL's radio broadcasts. In CBS's absence, Dial Global may instead brand the broadcasts under the NBC Sports banner; Dial Global has been expanding its NBC-branded offerings in 2012 and is expected to launch an NBC-branded sports radio network some time in the near future. (NBC Radio had carried NFL broadcasts in 1985 and 1986.)

The NFL authorized a new rule loosening the league's blackout restrictions during the 2012 offseason. For the first time in NFL history, the new rule will no longer require a stadium to be sold out to televise a game; instead, teams will be allowed to set a benchmark anywhere from 85 to 100 percent of the stadium's non-premium seats. Any seats sold beyond that benchmark will be subject to heavier revenue sharing.[24] Teams have until July 15, 2012 to set the lower benchmark.

Rule changes

The following rule changes are approved by the competition committee for the 2012 season:

  • The Replay Booth can initiate replay reviews on turnover plays at any time during the game, similar to a change made in the 2011 season regarding booth reviews on scoring plays outside of the final 2:00 of the game or in overtime.
  • The overtime rules in the playoffs (adopted for the 2010 season) would be extended to the regular season. Instead of a straight sudden death, the game will not immediately end if the team that wins the coin toss only scores a field goal on its first possession (they can still win the game if they score a touchdown). Instead, the other team gets a possession. If the coin toss loser then scores a touchdown, it is declared the winner. If the score is tied after both teams had a possession whether the coin toss loser scored a field goal to tie it or punted it away, then it goes back to sudden death. If the score remains tied at the end of Overtime, the game ends in a tie.
  • The penalty for 12 men on the field (not in the huddle) is changed from a live-ball foul to a dead-ball foul, possibly in response to the New York Giants committing such a foul on defense in the late stages of Super Bowl XLVI, costing the New England Patriots seconds on a late drive.
  • Illegally kicking a loose ball now includes a loss-of-down penalty in addition to a 10-yard penalty.
  • Adding anyone who is subject to a crack-back block to the list of defenseless players.[25]
  • Last names on uniforms can now include Roman numerals (in the case of Robert Griffin III), Junior (Jr.) and Senior (Sr.) designations.[26]


The Carolina Panthers unveiled an updated logo and word mark in late January 2012,[27] though it has been reported that the actual uniforms will not be altered at the present time.[28]

The Denver Broncos will switch their primary home jersey color from navy blue to orange. The orange jerseys that served as the team's alternate colored jersey from 2002–2011 will become the primary home jersey, while the navy blue jerseys that served as the team's primary home jersey from 1997–2011 will switch to alternate designation. The change was made due to overwhelming popularity with fans, who clamored for the team to return to wearing orange at home, which was the team's predominant home jersey color from 1962–1996.[29]

The Houston Texans will celebrate 10 years as a franchise by wearing an anniversary patch throughout the season.[30]

This season will be the last in which the Jacksonville Jaguars will wear teal as their primary home jersey color, as the team will switch to wearing black uniforms at home starting in 2013.[31][32]

The Pittsburgh Steelers unveiled a new throwback uniform in April 2012, which will be worn for two undetermined games. The uniforms, based on the 1934 Pittsburgh Pirates (the predecessors to the Steelers), feature broad black and Aztec gold horizontal stripes across the jerseys and socks, reminiscent of bumblebees and prison uniforms.[33]

The Seattle Seahawks will replace Seahawk blue with College Navy as their primary uniforms. Their new uniforms feature a futuristic style with navy blue helmets. Their new uniforms consist of a navy blue jersey as their primary home jerseys, and an alternate wolf gray jersey. The Seahawks have three pairs of pants: navy blue with action green feather trim, white with navy blue feather trim, and wolf gray with navy blue feather trim. Each pair of pants, as well as the collar of the jerseys, feature 12 feathers, in honor of the fans, who refer to themselves as the 12th Man. The Seahawks also tweaked their logo, by changing the lower left stripe from light blue to gray.[34]

The Washington Redskins will wear throwback uniforms to celebrate their 80th anniversary [35] [36]

During the 2012 Pro Bowl, Nike debuted new team color specific cleats and new team specific Vapor Jet gloves. Similar to gloves worn at the collegiate level, the Vapor Jet gloves feature individual team colors and team logos on the glove palms.[37][38]

Nike will now be the official uniform provider for the NFL, succeeding Reebok, which had a decade-long partnership in that capacity. It is likely a few teams will take the opportunity to update their uniform designs at this time. Traditionally, star players wishing to change their name or number have had to purchase overstocked jerseys from Reebok. The reason for this is to recuperate losses potentially generated by the lack of sales of an out of date product. Despite initial perception and tweets that this policy would be lifted during the transition from Reebok to Nike, this is not true at the current time.[39]

On April 3, Nike unveiled the new uniforms for all 32 teams.[40][41] The new jerseys didn't show drastic differences except for the Seattle Seahawks uniforms which showed a major revamp.[42] Michael Vick stated "It's awesome. It's a great opportunity for Nike, and it's a great opportunity for the NFL" and "We'll feel good and we'll play good, and I'm very excited for the Nike brand."[43] The Carolina Panthers' new jersey has the phrase "KEEP POUNDING" inside the collar which commemorates Sam Mills' battle with cancer. Brian Urlacher of the Chicago Bears jokingly told NFL Network that his teammate, Julius Peppers, would get 50 sacks in the season due to the new uniforms.[44]

Coaching changes

Team: 2011 head coach:
at start of season
2011 interim head coach: 2012 replacement: Reason for leaving: Story/Accomplishments:
Jacksonville Jaguars Jack Del Rio Mel Tucker Mike Mularkey Fired Del Rio was fired after compiling a 69–73 (.486) record (including postseason games) in 8¾ seasons as head coach; the team has not made the playoffs since 2007. Del Rio was fired at the same time that Wayne Weaver, the owner of the Jaguars, announced his intentions to sell the team to Pakistani-American automotive parts builder Shahid Khan.[45]

Mularkey, previously the head coach of the Buffalo Bills from 2004–2005, had most recently been offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons.

Kansas City Chiefs Todd Haley Romeo Crennel Fired Haley compiled a 19–27 (.413) record, including one postseason loss, in nearly 3 seasons with the Chiefs. Team ownership cited inconsistent play and a lack of progress in their decision; Haley was also cited for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in what turned out to be his final game.

Crennel was the defensive coordinator for the Chiefs when he was promoted, and had previously served as head coach of the Cleveland Browns from 2005–2008.

Miami Dolphins Tony Sparano Todd Bowles Joe Philbin Fired Sparano compiled a 29–33 (.468) record, including one postseason loss, in nearly 4 seasons with the Dolphins. Ongoing speculation regarding Sparano's future in Miami prompted Dolphins owner Stephen Ross to dismiss Sparano prior to the end of the season instead of letting the speculation become a further distraction.

The Dolphins intended on hiring someone from outside the organization in the 2012 offseason[46] and followed through on that intent by hiring Philbin, the former offensive coordinator of the Green Bay Packers.

St. Louis Rams Steve Spagnuolo Jeff Fisher Fired Spagnuolo compiled a 10–38 (.213) record in three seasons as head coach of the Rams, including a 1–15 record in 2009 and a 2–14 record in 2011. He and general manager Billy Devaney were dismissed concurrently on January 2.

Fisher, who had spent the previous season out of football, had coached the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans franchise from 1994–2010.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Raheem Morris Greg Schiano Fired Morris compiled a 17–31 (.354) record in three seasons as head coach of the Buccaneers and ended the 2011 season with a ten-game losing streak.

Schiano had spent the previous 11 seasons as head coach of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights football team.

Oakland Raiders Hue Jackson Dennis Allen Fired Jackson compiled an 8–8 (.500) record in his lone season as the Raiders' head coach, but set a league record for penalties. He was dismissed after the Raiders, after the death of longtime owner Al Davis, hired a general manager (Reggie McKenzie, who then decided to hire his own coaching staff).

Allen had previously served as the defensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos.

Indianapolis Colts Jim Caldwell Chuck Pagano Fired Caldwell was fired after compiling a 28–24 (.538) record (including postseason games) in three seasons as head coach; the team suffered through a 2–14 record in 2011, in which quarterback Peyton Manning sat out the whole season after recovering from multiple neck surgeries. This record was the worst in the league and brought Caldwell's firing as well as that of 15-year general manager Bill Polian, and virtually every skill position player on the offensive side of the ball (including every quarterback on the roster).

Pagano had previously served as the defensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens.

New Orleans Saints Sean Payton Joe Vitt, Aaron Kromer Suspended Payton was suspended on March 21, 2012 for the 2012 season (starting April 1 and concluding with Super Bowl XLVII) for his role in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal, in which players would be rewarded under the table for injury-causing hits.

Vitt and general manager Mickey Loomis were also suspended, for six and eight games respectively, and Gregg Williams, the defensive coordinator at the time who allegedly oversaw the bounties, was banned indefinitely from the league (at the time of the ban Williams was the defensive coordinator of the St. Louis Rams).

Vitt will serve as head coach through training camp and the preseason, at which point he will serve his suspension and Kromer (the team's offensive line coach) will take over as interim coach until Vitt's suspension ends.[47]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Farmer, Sam (July 18, 2012). "NFL officials: Quality of games could suffer with replacement officials". Los Angeles Times.,0,4619781.story. Retrieved July 18, 2012.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Officials say NFL planned lockout". Associated Press. July 18, 2012. Retrieved July 18, 2012.
  3. "Refs file unfair labor practice charge against league". Associated Press. June 21, 2012. Retrieved July 18, 2012.
  4. "NFL to hire replacement officials". ESPN. June 4, 2012. Retrieved July 18, 2012.
  5. Aiello, Greg (December 6, 2011). "Greg Aiello's Twitter account".!/gregaiello/status/144023198504194048. Retrieved 2011-12-06. "Correct. In NYC. RT @IIWIISkinsBlog: @nfl can I get confirmation the draft will be held April 26-28th? Looking forward to it already."
  6. "NFL shifts CBS & FOX late doubleheader kickoff times to ensure more football for fans" (Press release). NFL. 2012-06-28. Retrieved 2012-06-28.
  7. "2012 Opponents Determined". NFL. January 2, 2012. Retrieved January 23, 2012.
  8. "Carolina Panthers to play first game away because of DNC". Charlotte Observer. January 17, 2012.
  9. "Every team will have a primetime game in 2012...NFL network to air 13 thursday night games in 2012". Eagles All Day. February 3, 2012. Retrieved April 14, 2012.
  10. "Goodell: NFL Network to air games in Weeks 2-15 next season". 2012-02-03. Retrieved 2012-02-03.
  12. Fahey, Cian (January 28, 2011). Croke Park Director addresses the NFL's visit to Ireland. Irish Central. Retrieved August 3, 2011.
  13. .
  14. "NFL ponders second UK game option". BBC News. May 13, 2009.
  15. Goodell: Some NFL teams could be London regulars. Associated Press. Retrieved October 26, 2011.
  16. Preseason game in TO moves to Ralph. WIVB-TV. Retrieved February 21, 2012.
  17. "Individual Tickets & Festival Fan Packages". Retrieved 2012-04-26.
  18. "NFL preseason schedule opens with Cardinals-Saints on Aug. 5". Retrieved 2012-04-26.
  19. The Pro Bowl returns for another season in Hawaii; game set for Jan. 27. Retrieved May 30, 2012.
  20. Associated Press (February 5, 2012). Goodell: NFL could drop Pro Bowl. Retrieved April 21, 2012.
  21. 21.0 21.1 Best, Neil (2011-12-14). "NFL renews lucrative TV deals". Newsday. Retrieved 2011-12-15.
  22. Pergament, Alan (February 15, 2012). Smash is a Buffalo hit, Luck gets praise, Jaworski off MNF in new deal. Retrieved February 16, 2012. Archived 2012-02-18.
  23. "Aloha! 2013 Pro Bowl to be Played in Hawaii on NBC Week Before Super Bowl XLVII" (Press release). NFL. May 30, 2012.
  24. Report: NFL team owners get more flexibility on blackouts. The Buffalo News. Retrieved June 30, 2012.
  25. NFL passes overtime rules to reflect postseason, all turnovers now reviewed. CBS Sports. Retrieved March 28, 2012.
  26. Robert Griffin III will be first NFL player with Roman Numerals on his jersey. Yahoo!. Retrieved May 24, 2012.
  27. "Panthers introduce refined logo". January 29, 2012. Retrieved January 29, 2012.
  28. "Panther's uniform will not change in 2012". Scott Fowler. January 31, 2012. Retrieved February 2, 2012.
  29. Klis, Mike (October 3, 2011). "NFL approves Broncos' switch back to orange uniforms". Retrieved October 3, 2011.
  30. Houston Texans (February 16, 2012). "Texans to celebrate 10th anniversary throughout 2012". Retrieved March 3, 2012.
  31. "Jaguars will be changing to black uniforms in 2013 | ProFootballTalk". Retrieved 2012-04-26.
  32. "Jaguars to switch to black uniforms in 2013". National Football Post. 2012-02-03. Retrieved 2012-04-26.
  33. Hensley, Jamison (2011-01-02). "Thumbs down to Steelers throwback jerseys - AFC North Blog - ESPN". Retrieved 2012-04-26.
  34. "New Seahawks Uniforms Coming in 2012, Says Team President". May 24, 2011. Retrieved February 2, 2012.
  37. "Nike NFL Cleats". @usnikefooball on Twitter. January 29, 2011.!/usnikefootball/status/163750424678113280/photo/1/large. Retrieved February 2, 2012.
  38. "Nike Unveils NFL Vapor Jet Gloves for 2012 Pro Bowl". January 28, 2011. Retrieved February 2, 2012.
  39. "Peterson outraged over price of number switch". February 1, 2012. Retrieved February 2, 2012.
  40. "Photos - NFL, NIKE Unveil New Uniforms". Retrieved 2012-04-26.
  41. "news: NFL, Nike roll out new uniforms for all 32 teams". 2012-04-03. Retrieved 2012-04-26.
  42. "news: Nike saves biggest changes for neighboring Seahawks". 2012-04-03. Retrieved 2012-04-26.
  43. 04:52 (2012-04-03). "NFL Videos: Vick's new threads". Retrieved 2012-04-26.
  44. "news: Urlacher: Tight Nike jerseys mean glory for Peppers". 2012-04-03. Retrieved 2012-04-26.
  45. "Jags fire Del Rio, announce team sale". ESPN. 2011-11-29. Retrieved 2010-11-29.
  46. Jackson, Barry (2011-12-12). Miami Dolphins fire coach Tony Sparano. Miami Herald. Retrieved December 12, 2011.
  47. "Joe Vitt tabbed to coach New Orleans Saints in Sean Payton's absence - ESPN". 2012-04-13. Retrieved 2012-04-26.

External links

2012 NFL seasonv · d · e
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NY Jets Pittsburgh Tennessee San Diego Washington Minnesota Tampa Bay Seattle
2012 NFL DraftNFL playoffsPro BowlSuper Bowl XLVII

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