The 2016 NFL season was the 97th season in the history of the National Football League (NFL) and the 51st of the Super Bowl era. The season began on September 8, 2016, with the defending Super Bowl 50 champion Denver Broncos defeating the Carolina Panthers 21–20 in the NFL Kickoff Game in a rematch of the Super Bowl. The season concluded with Super Bowl LI, the league's championship game on February 5, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston with the New England Patriots defeating the Atlanta Falcons 34–28 in overtime.
For the first time since the Houston Oilers relocated to Tennessee in 1997, an NFL team relocated to another state, as the former St. Louis Rams moved out of St. Louis, Missouri and returned to Los Angeles, its home from 1946 to 1979 (Anaheim 1980–1994). For the first time since the 2003 NFL season, neither of the previous season's Super Bowl participants made the playoffs.
The 2016 season also was the last season for the San Diego Chargers after playing in San Diego for 56 years before their return to the city of Los Angeles for 2017, where the franchise was based in for their first season in 1960.