- The first 0-16 season in NFL history naturally caused the Raiders to fire Norv Turner. Al Davis elected to go to the college ranks, hiring USC recruiting coordinator Lane Kiffin, son of longtime Buccaneers defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin.
- Meanwhile, Nick Saban would retreat back to the college ranks, taking the head coaching job at Alabama. The Dolphins would replace him with Cam Cameron, offensive coordinator of the Chargers that was highly praised for his quick development of Philip Rivers.
- Conflicts between Mike Sherman and Carson Palmer led the Bengals to fire the former. On high recommendation by several offensive minds in the league, Cincinnati chose a lower profile replacement in Buccaneers wide receivers coach Hue Jackson.
With Kyle Boller not working out, Al Davis decided to try again for a quarterback at the top of the draft, selecting LSU’s JaMarcus Russell in what many observers saw as a perfect fit for the offense that Davis has always run. The top five as a whole was widely expected: Georgia Tech’s Calvin Johnson to the Lions, Oklahoma’s Adrian Peterson to the Saints, Wisconsin’s Joe Thomas to the Browns, and LSU’s LaRon Landry to the Redskins. The Vikings finally broke the mold when they took Cal’s Marshawn Lynch higher than most expected at 6th overall.
No trades happened until the middle of the round, when talent expected to be taken higher fell down the board, and regular playoff teams were pouncing. The Broncos traded up to get Florida’s Jarvis Moss, the Jets traded up to get Pitt’s Darrelle Revis, and the Colts traded up to get Penn State’s Levi Brown. But no player fell further than expected than Brady Quinn, who suffered a tumble all the way to #26 after both the Dolphins and Texans passed on him. The Browns came to the rescue by trading up with the Cowboys. Finally, the Super Bowl champion Patriots closed out the first round by taking Utah safety Eric Weddle.
- Seahawks 35, Buccaneers 20
- Steelers 42, Chiefs 7
- Colts 41, Chargers 17
- 49ers 34, Falcons 31 (OT)
Most of the wild card games were not that entertaining, and it was an especially bad weekend to be an AFC West team despite the path for the Chargers and Chiefs being cleared with the Broncos stumbling due to an injury riddled season for Tony Romo. The exception proved dramatic thanks to the surprising Falcons led by Matt Schaub at quarterback jousting effectively with the 49ers. An Andre Carter strip sack of Schaub, however, set up the game winning field goal for San Francisco.
- Giants 23, Seahawks 16
- Jets 56, Colts 21
- Jaguars 31, Steelers 29
- 49ers 27, Packers 26
The days of Bill Belichick criticized for not giving Peyton Manning weapons ended for good with the acquisitions of Randy Moss and Wes Welker as the Jets outgunned the usually highest powered Colts passing attack. Meanwhile, Brett Favre and Tom Brady seemed determined to outdo each other in the turnover category in a sloppy game barely won by the 49ers.
- Jets 37, Jaguars 3
- 49ers 19, Giants 16 (OT)
David Garrard had a humbling performance to conclude an otherwise stellar breakout season as the Jaguars proved no match for the Jets, with many believing that this was the strongest overall team Bill Belichick had put together in New York. Meanwhile, the 49ers gutted out another sloppy overtime win dictated far more by defense. Many observers of the game felt that a Subway Super Bowl would be more entertaining (in addition to having the allure of being a Manning Bowl), and whispers over the next two weeks were abound whether or not this was going to be it for Steve Mariucci regarding his long tenure in San Francisco.
Super Bowl XLII
- 49ers 41, Jets 6
In without a doubt the biggest and most shocking Super Bowl upset of all time, the 17-point favorite Jets had pretty much everything that could go wrong happen to them in Glendale against the 49ers. Despite season long offensive struggles, Tom Brady, Frank Gore, and Terrell Owens were all dialed in on offense leading the way for a total of 2 rushing and 3 passing TDs on the San Francisco side. Meanwhile, Peyton Manning was bashed repeatedly from the edges by Andre Carter and Tamba Hali, with Shawntae Spencer adding a pick six for good measure. Only a garbage time TD to Randy Moss that was then nonchalantly chucked into the stands by Moss prevented the first shutout in Super Bowl history.