Peyton Manning Declares Early: 1999 Season

Coaching/Management Changes

  • Declaring mission accomplished after winning his second Super Bowl, Bill Parcells retired as Jets head coach and GM. As expected, both roles were filled by Bill Belichick.  The smooth succession quite pleased ailing Jets owner Leon Hess, who would die just a few months later at age 85.
  • The experiment of bringing back Ted Marchibroda to Baltimore did not work, and he was fired by the Ravens, replaced by Brian Billick.
  • In the first year of the return of the Cleveland Browns, the team elected to hire Jaguars offensive coordinator Chris Palmer as their head coach.
  • After the resignation of longtime head coach Marty Schottenheimer, the Chiefs stayed in house, promoting defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham.
  • A 7-9 season was not enough to save Kevin Gilbride’s job with the Chargers, as he was replaced as head coach by Oregon State’s Mike Riley.
  • The Seahawks fired head coach Dennis Erickson, and then set off a chain reaction of coaching changes by poaching Mike Holmgren away from Green Bay, who also received control of football operations, something he was unable to do with the Packers given the presence of GM Ron Wolf.
  • The Packers received a double whammy to their staff when they lost quarterbacks coach Andy Reid to the Eagles, who had fired Ray Rhodes.
  • But the Packers would get retribution against the Eagles by prying away offensive coordinator Jon Gruden to ultimately replace Holmgren, who many observers previously thought was the in house favorite to succeed Rhodes in Philadelphia.
  • The Chicago Bears sent head coach Dave Wannstedt packing, and replaced him with Jaguars defensive coordinator Dick Jauron.
  • A 4-12 season also doomed Dom Capers in Carolina, as the Panthers replaced him with former 49ers head coach George Seifert.

NFL Draft

Quarterbacks went with the first three picks: Kentucky’s Tim Couch to the expansion Browns, Syracuse’s Donovan McNabb to the Eagles, and Oregon’s Akili Smith to the Bengals.  But then the Colts shocked everyone by taking Edgerrin James of Miami when Ricky Williams of Texas was still on the board.  This resulted in the Saints, rumored to be very high on Williams, to trade their entire 1999 draft, plus a 1st and 3rd round pick in 2000, to the Redskins to get Williams at #5.  The Redskins ultimately left 1999’s first round with Georgia’s Champ Bailey.  Two other quarterbacks were taken within the top dozen picks, UCLA’s Cade McNown to the Bears and Central Florida’s Daunte Culpepper to the Vikings.  This was immediately followed by Ohio State’s David Boston going to the Steelers.

Regular Season

2 Jets 13 3 3 Cowboys 9 7
5 Bills 12 4 6 Redskins 9 7
6 Dolphins 10 6 Giants 8 8
Patriots 8 8 Cardinals 6 10
Colts 3 13 Eagles 6 10
1 Jaguars 14 2 2 Buccaneers 11 5
4 Titans 13 3 4 Packers 10 6
Ravens 8 8 5 Vikings 10 6
Steelers 6 10 Lions 7 9
Bengals 4 12 Bears 5 11
Browns 2 14
3 Seahawks 10 6 1 Rams 13 3
Chiefs 10 6 Panthers 8 8
Broncos 8 8 Falcons 5 11
Chargers 7 9 49ers 4 12
Raiders 6 10 Saints 3 13


Wild Card

  • Titans 22, Bills 16
  • Redskins 27, Cowboys 3
  • Packers 30, Vikings 27
  • Dolphins 20, Seahawks 17

It was a rough weekend for quarterbacks in the NFC.  First, Troy Aikman suffered a severe concussion early in the game after being roughed late by Dana Stubblefield, spiraling the Cowboys into a blowout loss to their hated division rival Redskins.  Then, Brett Favre suffered a broken collarbone late in a comeback win against the Vikings after colliding with Dwayne Rudd on a quarterback run, ultimately snapping a streak of 143 consecutive games started for Favre.  Backup Rich Gannon led a brilliant drive to advance the Packers to the divisional round.


  • Jaguars 62, Dolphins 7
  • Buccaneers 48, Packers 21
  • Rams 49, Redskins 27
  • Jets 16, Titans 12

Any hope of Rich Gannon leading the Packers further ended abruptly when the fierce Tampa Bay defense picked him off five times.  Meanwhile, Bill Belichick put together a stout plan to shut down Eddie George and surprise the Titans by relying on his defense to guide the Jets to victory, despite having one of the strongest offenses in the league that year.

Conference Championships

  • Jets 41, Jaguars 14
  • Rams 11, Buccaneers 6

After humiliating Dan Mario in what could have been his last game, the Jaguars got a taste of their own medicine when Peyton Manning and Curtis Martin both had stellar performances that Jacksonville was helpless in stopping.

Super Bowl XXXIV

  • Jets 49, Rams 42

In the highest-scoring Super Bowl in history, the Jets’ Peyton Manning and the Rams’ Trent Green each threw for four touchdown passes.  But with just above a minute to go, on the first play from scrimmage after a touchback, Curtis Martin took a draw play 80 yards for the game winning touchdown.  His third of the game, it earned Martin MVP honors.