2001 National Football League season
Regular season
Duration September 9, 2001–January 7, 2002
In the wake of the September 11 attacks, a number of games were re-scheduled.
Start date January 12, 2002
AFC Champions New England Patriots
NFC Champions St. Louis Rams
Super Bowl XXXVI
Date February 3, 2002
Site Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
Champions New England Patriots
Pro Bowl
Date February 9, 2002
Site Aloha Stadium
National Football League seasons
 < 2000 2002 > 

The 2001 NFL season was the 82nd regular season of the National Football League.

Following a pattern set in 1999, the first week of the season was permanently moved to the weekend following Labor Day. With Super Bowls XXXVI-XXXVII already scheduled for fixed dates, the league initially decided to eliminate the Super Bowl bye weeks for those two years to adjust.

In the wake of the September 11 attacks, the games for September 16–September 17 were postponed and re-scheduled to the weekend of January 6–January 7. In order to retain the full playoff format, all playoff games, including the Super Bowl were re-scheduled one week later. The season-ending Pro Bowl was also moved to one week later. This was the last season in which each conference had 3 divisions, as the conferences were realigned to 4 divisions for the 2002 NFL Season.

Canceling the games scheduled for Sept. 16–17 was considered and rejected. That would have canceled a home game for half the teams of the league, and also would have resulted in an unequal number of games played (Sept. 16–17 was to have been a bye for San Diego, so that team would still have played 16 games that season and each of the other teams would have played only 15 games).

As a result of rescheduling Week 2 as Week 17, the ESPN Sunday Night Football game for that week was changed. It was originally scheduled to be Cleveland at Pittsburgh, but it was replaced with Philadelphia at Tampa Bay, which was seen as a more interesting matchup (it was the only night game the Browns had on the schedule, whereas the Steelers had a few others; so 2000 and 2001 marked the first back-to-back seasons for the Browns without a primetime game since 1974-76; the Browns would finally play in Heinz Field at night in 2003). Ironically, the Eagles and the Buccaneers would both rest their starters that night, and they would meet one week later in the playoffs. In recognition of this, when NBC began airing Sunday Night Football in 2006, there would be no game initially scheduled for weeks 10-15 and 17 - a game initially scheduled in the afternoon would be moved to the primetime slot, without stripping any teams of a primetime appearance. This way of "flexible scheduling" would not be utilized at all in 2007, and since 2008, it is only utilized in the final week.

The games that eventually made up Week 17 marked the latest regular season games to be played during what is traditionally defined as "NFL season" (under the current format, the regular season cannot end later than January 3 in any given year).

Also, this was the only NFL season where every jersey had a patch to remember those to die in 9/11, and the NY Jets and NY Giants wore a patch to remember the fire fighters who died.

The season ended with Super Bowl XXXVI when the New England Patriots defeated the St. Louis Rams.

Major rule changes Edit

  • Fumble recoveries will be awarded at the spot of the recovery, not where the player's momentum carries him. This change was passed in response to two regular season games in 2000, Atlanta FalconsCarolina Panthers[1] and Oakland RaidersSeattle Seahawks,[2] in which a safety was awarded when a defensive player's momentum in recovering a fumble carried him into his own end zone.
  • Taunting rules will be strictly enforced.
  • Roughing the passer will be strictly enforced.

2001 NFL Season ChangesEdit

Coaching changesEdit

Final regular season standingsEdit

W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, PCT = Winning Percentage, PF= Points For, PA = Points Against

Clinched playoff seeds are marked in parentheses and shaded in green

AFC East
(2) New England Patriots 1150.688371272
(4) Miami Dolphins 1150.688344290
(6) New York Jets 1060.625308295
Indianapolis Colts 6100.375413486
Buffalo Bills 3130.188265420
AFC Central
(1) Pittsburgh Steelers 1330.813352212
(5) Baltimore Ravens 1060.625303265
Cleveland Browns 790.438285319
Tennessee Titans 790.438336388
Jacksonville Jaguars 6100.375294286
Cincinnati Bengals 6100.375226309
AFC West
(3) Oakland Raiders 1060.625399327
Seattle Seahawks 970.563301324
Denver Broncos 880.500340339
Kansas City Chiefs 6100.375320344
San Diego Chargers 5110.313332321
NFC East
(3) Philadelphia Eagles 1150.688343208
Washington Redskins 880.500256303
New York Giants 790.438294321
Arizona Cardinals 790.438295343
Dallas Cowboys 5110.313246338
NFC Central
(2) Chicago Bears 1330.813338203
(4) Green Bay Packers 1240.750390266
(6) Tampa Bay Buccaneers 970.563324280
Minnesota Vikings 5110.313290390
Detroit Lions 2140.125270424
NFC West
(1) St. Louis Rams 1420.875503273
(5) San Francisco 49ers 1240.750409282
New Orleans Saints 790.438333409
Atlanta Falcons 790.438291377
Carolina Panthers 1150.063253410


  • New England finished ahead of Miami in the AFC East based on better division record (6-2 to Dolphins' 5-3).
  • Cleveland finished ahead of Tennessee in the AFC Central based on better division record (5-5 to Titans' 3-7).
  • Jacksonville finished ahead of Cincinnati in the AFC Central based on head-to-head sweep (2-0).
  • N.Y. Giants finished ahead of Arizona in the NFC East based on head-to-head sweep (2-0).
  • New Orleans finished ahead of Atlanta in the NFC West based on better division record (4-4 to Falcons' 3-5).
  • Baltimore was the second AFC Wild Card based on better record against common opponents (3-2 to Jets' 2-2).
  • Green Bay was the first NFC Wild Card based on better conference record (9-3 to 49ers' 8-4).


January 12 - Veterans Stadium   January 19 - Soldier Field          
 6  Tampa Bay  9
 3  Philadelphia  33
 3  Philadelphia  31     January 27 - Edward Jones Dome
 2  Chicago  19  
January 13 - Lambeau Field  3  Philadelphia  24
January 20 - The Dome at America's Center
   1  St. Louis  29  
 5  San Francisco  15 NFC Championship
 4  Green Bay  17
 4  Green Bay  25   February 3 - Louisiana Superdome
 1  St. Louis  45  
Wild Card Playoffs  
Divisional Playoffs
January 12 - Network Associates Coliseum  N1  St. Louis  17
January 19 - Foxboro Stadium
   A2  New England  20
 6  N.Y. Jets  24 Super Bowl XXXVI
 3  Oakland  13
 3  Oakland  38     January 27 - Heinz Field
 2  New England  16*  
January 13 - Pro Player Stadium  2  New England  24
January 20 - Heinz Field
   1  Pittsburgh  17  
 5  Baltimore  20 AFC Championship
 5  Baltimore  10
 4  Miami  3  
 1  Pittsburgh  27  

* Indicates overtime victory

This box: view · talk · edit

Home team in capitals


  • Wild-Card playoffs: OAKLAND 38, N.Y. Jets 24; Baltimore 20, MIAMI 3
  • Divisional playoffs: NEW ENGLAND 16, Oakland 13 (OT); PITTSBURGH 27, Baltimore 10
  • AFC Championship: New England 24, PITTSBURGH 17 at Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, January 27, 2002


  • Wild-Card playoffs: PHILADELPHIA 31, Tampa Bay 9; GREEN BAY 25, San Francisco 15
  • Divisional playoffs: Philadelphia 33, CHICAGO 19; ST. LOUIS 45, Green Bay 17
  • NFC Championship: ST. LOUIS 29, Philadelphia 24 at Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis, Missouri, January 27, 2002

Super BowlEdit

  • Super Bowl XXXVI: New England (AFC) 20, St. Louis (NFC) 17 at Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana, February 3, 2002


The following teams and players set all-time NFL records during the season:

Record Player/Team Previous Record Holder[3]
Most Sacks, Season* Michael Strahan, New York Giants (22.5) Mark Gastineau, New York Jets, 1984 (22.0)
Most Consecutive Games Lost, Season Carolina (15) Tied by 4 teams (14)

* - Sack statistics have only been compiled since 1982.

Statistical leadersEdit


Points scoredSt. Louis Rams (503)
Total yards gainedSt. Louis Rams (6,930)
Yards rushingPittsburgh Steelers (2,774)
Yards passingSt. Louis Rams (4,903)
Fewest points allowedChicago Bears (203)
Fewest total yards allowedPittsburgh Steelers (4,504)
Fewest rushing yards allowedPittsburgh Steelers (1,195)
Fewest passing yards allowedDallas Cowboys (3,019)


ScoringMarshall Faulk, St. Louis (128 points)
TouchdownsMarshall Faulk, St. Louis (21 TDs)
Most field goals madeJason Elam, Denver (31 FGs)
RushingPriest Holmes, Kansas City (1,555 yards)
PassingKurt Warner, St. Louis (101.4 rating)
Passing touchdownsKurt Warner, St. Louis (36 TDs)
Pass receivingRod Smith, Denver (113 catches)
Pass receiving yardsDavid Boston, Arizona (1,598)
Punt returnsTroy Brown, New England (14.2 average yards)
Kickoff returnsRonney Jenkins, San Diego (26.6 average yards)
InterceptionsRonde Barber, Tampa Bay and Anthony Henry, Cleveland (10)
PuntingTodd Sauerbrun, Carolina (47.5 average yards)
SacksMichael Strahan, New York Giants (22.5)


Most Valuable PlayerKurt Warner, Quarterback, St. Louis
Coach of the YearDick Jauron, Chicago
Offensive Player of the YearMarshall Faulk, Running back, St. Louis
Defensive Player of the YearMichael Strahan, Defensive End, New York Giants
Offensive Rookie of the YearAnthony Thomas, Running Back, Chicago
Defensive Rookie of the YearKendrell Bell, Linebacker, Pittsburgh
NFL Comeback Player of the YearGarrison Hearst, Running Back, San Francisco

External LinksEdit


  1. "Panthers' Seifert confused by call". 2000-09-18. Archived from the original on 2000-10-17. Retrieved 2009-12-28.
  2. Bush, David (2000-12-17). "Bizarre Play Stuns Raiders". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2009-12-28.
  3. "Records". 2005 NFL Record and Fact Book. NFL. 2005. ISBN 193299436.


2001 NFL seasonv · d · e
AFC East Central West East Central West NFC
Buffalo Baltimore Denver Arizona Chicago Atlanta
Indianapolis Cincinnati Kansas City Dallas Detroit Carolina
Miami Cleveland Oakland NY Giants Green Bay New Orleans
New England Jacksonville San Diego Philadelphia Minnesota St. Louis
NY Jets Pittsburgh Seattle Washington Tampa Bay San Francisco
2001 NFL DraftNFL PlayoffsPro BowlSuper Bowl XXXVI
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