2004 National Football League season
Regular season
Duration September 9, 2004 - January 2, 2005
Start date January 8, 2005
AFC Champions New England Patriots
NFC Champions Philadelphia Eagles
Super Bowl XXXIX
Date February 6, 2005
Site ALLTEL Stadium, Jacksonville, Florida
Champions New England Patriots
Pro Bowl
Date February 13, 2005
Site Aloha Stadium
National Football League seasons
 < 2003 2005 > 

The 2004 NFL season was the 85th regular season of the National Football League.

With the New England Patriots as the defending league champions, regular season play was held from September 9, 2004 to January 2, 2005. Hurricanes forced the rescheduling of two Miami Dolphins home games: the game against the Tennessee Titans was moved up one day to Saturday, September 11 to avoid oncoming Hurricane Ivan, while the game versus the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, September 26 was moved back 7½ hours to miss the eye of Hurricane Jeanne.

The playoffs began on January 8, and eventually New England repeated as NFL champions when they defeated the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX, the Super Bowl championship game, at ALLTEL Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida on February 6.

Major rule changesEdit

  • Due to several incidents during the 2003 NFL season, officials are authorized to penalize excessive celebration. The 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty will be marked off from the spot at the end of the previous play or, after a score, on the ensuing kickoff. If the infraction is ruled flagrant by the officials, the player can be ejected.
  • Due to several instances during the 2003–04 playoffs, officials are instructed to strictly enforce illegal contact, pass interference, and defensive holding.
  • Timeouts can be called by head coaches.
  • In addition to the numbers 80–89, wide receivers will now be allowed to use numbers 10-19.
  • A punt or missed field goal that is untouched by the receiving team is immediately dead once it touches either the end zone or any member of the kicking team in the end zone. Previously, a punt or missed field goal that lands in the end zone before being controlled by the kicking team could be picked up by a member of the receiving team and immediately run the other way.
  • Teams will be awarded a third instant replay challenge if their first two are successful. Previously, teams were only limited to two regardless of what occurred during the game.

2004 NFL 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 1420.875437260
(5) New York Jets [b] 1060.625333261
Buffalo Bills 970.563395284
Miami Dolphins 4120.250275354
AFC North
(1) Pittsburgh Steelers 1510.938372251
Baltimore Ravens 970.563317268
Cincinnati Bengals 880.500374372
Cleveland Browns 4120.250276390
AFC South
(3) Indianapolis Colts [a] 1240.750522351
Jacksonville Jaguars 970.563261280
Houston Texans 790.438309339
Tennessee Titans 5110.312344439
AFC West
(4) San Diego Chargers 1240.750446313
(6) Denver Broncos 1060.625381304
Kansas City Chiefs 790.438483435
Oakland Raiders 5110.312320442
NFC East
(1) Philadelphia Eagles 1330.813386260
New York Giants [e] 6100.375303347
Dallas Cowboys [f] 6100.375293405
Washington Redskins 6100.375240265
NFC North
(3) Green Bay Packers 1060.625424380
(6) Minnesota Vikings [d] 880.500405395
Detroit Lions 6100.375296350
Chicago Bears 5110.312231331
NFC South
(2) Atlanta Falcons 1150.688340337
New Orleans Saints 880.500348405
Carolina Panthers 790.438355339
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 5110.312301304
NFC West
(4) Seattle Seahawks 970.563371373
(5) St. Louis Rams [c] 880.500319392
Arizona Cardinals 6100.375284322
San Francisco 49ers 2140.125259452

  • a Indianapolis clinched the AFC #3 seed instead of San Diego based on better head-to-head record (1-0).
  • b N.Y. Jets clinched the AFC #5 seed instead of Denver based on better record in common games (5-0 to 3-2).
  • c St. Louis clinched the NFC #5 seed instead of Minnesota or New Orleans based on better conference record (7-5 to Minnesota's 5-7 to New Orleans' 6-6).
  • d Minnesota clinched the NFC #6 seed instead of New Orleans based on better head-to-head record (1-0).
  • e N.Y. Giants finished ahead of Dallas and Washington in the NFC East based on better head-to-head record (3-1 to Dallas' 2-2 to Washington's 1-3).
  • f Dallas finished ahead of Washington in the NFC East based on better head-to-head record (2-0).


Playoff seeds
1 Pittsburgh Steelers (North winner) Philadelphia Eagles (East winner)
2 New England Patriots (East winner) Atlanta Falcons (South winner)
3 Indianapolis Colts (South winner) Green Bay Packers (North winner)
4 San Diego Chargers (West winner) Seattle Seahawks (West winner)
5 New York Jets St. Louis Rams
6 Denver Broncos Minnesota Vikings


January 9 - RCA Dome   January 16 - Gillette Stadium          
 6  Denver  24
 3  Indianapolis  3
 3  Indianapolis  49     January 23 - Heinz Field
 2  New England  20  
January 8 - Qualcomm Stadium  2  New England  41
January 15 - Heinz Field
   1  Pittsburgh  27  
 5  N.Y. Jets  20* AFC Championship
 5  N.Y. Jets  17
 4  San Diego  17   February 6 - ALLTEL Stadium
 1  Pittsburgh  20*  
Wild Card Playoffs  
Divisional Playoffs
January 8 - Qwest Field  A2  New England  24
January 15 - Georgia Dome
   N1  Philadelphia  21
 5  St. Louis  27 Super Bowl XXXIX
 5  St. Louis  17
 4  Seattle  20     January 23 - Lincoln Financial Field
 2  Atlanta  47  
January 9 - Lambeau Field  2  Atlanta  10
January 16 - Lincoln Financial Field
   1  Philadelphia  27  
 6  Minnesota  31 NFC Championship
 6  Minnesota  14
 3  Green Bay  17  
 1  Philadelphia  27  

* Indicates overtime victory

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

Record Player/Team Date/Opponent Previous Record Holder[1]
Longest Interception Return Ed Reed, Baltimore (106 yards) November 7, at Cleveland Tied by 2 players (103)
Most Touchdown Passes, Season Peyton Manning, Indianapolis (49) N/A Dan Marino, Miami, 1984 (48)
Highest Passer Rating, Season Peyton Manning, Indianapolis (121.1) Steve Young, San Francisco, 1994 (112.8)
Most Interception Return Yards Gained, Season Ed Reed, Baltimore (358) Charlie McNeil, San Diego, 1961 (349)
Most First Downs by a Team, Season Kansas City (398) Miami, 1994 (387)
Most Consecutive Games Won New England October 24, vs. N.Y. Jets Chicago, 1933-34 (17)
Most Passing Touchdowns by a Team, Season Indianapolis (51) N/A Miami, 1984 (49)

The Colts led the NFL with 522 points scored. The Colts tallied more points in the first half of each of their games of the 2004 NFL season (277 points) than seven other NFL teams managed in the entire season. [2] Despite throwing for 49 touchdown passes, Peyton Manning attempted fewer than 500 passes for the first time in his NFL career. [3]

Statistical leadersEdit


Points scoredIndianapolis Colts (522)
Total yards gainedKansas City Chiefs (6,695)
Yards rushingAtlanta Falcons (2,672)
Yards passingIndianapolis Colts (4,623)
Fewest points allowedPittsburgh Steelers (251)
Fewest total yards allowedPittsburgh Steelers (4,134)
Fewest rushing yards allowedPittsburgh Steelers (1,299)
Fewest passing yards allowedTampa Bay Buccaneers (2,579)


ScoringAdam Vinatieri, New England (141 points)
TouchdownsShaun Alexander, Seattle (20 TDs)
Most field goals madeAdam Vinatieri, New England (31 FGs)
PassingDaunte Culpepper, Minnesota (4717 yards)
Passing TouchdownsPeyton Manning, Indianapolis (49 TDs)
Passer RatingPeyton Manning, Indianapolis (121.1 rating)
RushingCurtis Martin, New York Jets (1,697 yards)
Rushing TouchdownsShaun Alexander, Seattle (21 TDs)
ReceptionsTony Gonzalez, Kansas City (102)
Receiving yardsMuhsin Muhammad, Carolina (1,405)
Punt returnsEddie Drummond, Detroit (13.2 average yards)
Kickoff returnsWillie Ponder, New York Giants (26.9 average yards)
InterceptionsEd Reed, Baltimore (9)
PuntingShane Lechler, Oakland (46.7 average yards)
SacksDwight Freeney, Indianapolis (16)


Most Valuable PlayerPeyton Manning, Quarterback, Indianapolis
Coach of the YearMarty Schottenheimer, San Diego
Offensive Player of the YearPeyton Manning, Quarterback, Indianapolis
Defensive Player of the YearEd Reed, Safety, Baltimore
Offensive Rookie of the YearBen Roethlisberger, Quarterback, Pittsburgh
Defensive Rookie of the YearJonathan Vilma, Linebacker, New York Jets
NFL Comeback Player of the YearDrew Brees, Quarterback, San Diego

External LinksEdit


  1. "Records". 2005 NFL Record and Fact Book. NFL. 2005. ISBN 193299436.
  2. Numbelivable!, p.35, Michael X. Ferraro and John Veneziano, Triumph Books, Chicago, Illinois, 2007, ISBN 978-1-57243-990-0
  3. Numbelivable!, p.146, Michael X. Ferraro and John Veneziano, Triumph Books, Chicago, Illinois, 2007, ISBN 978-1-57243-990-0


2004 NFL seasonv · d · e
AFC East North South West East North South West NFC
Buffalo Baltimore Houston Denver Dallas Chicago Atlanta Arizona
Miami Cincinnati Indianapolis Kansas City NY Giants Detroit Carolina St. Louis
New England Cleveland Jacksonville Oakland Philadelphia Green Bay New Orleans San Francisco
NY Jets Pittsburgh Tennessee San Diego Washington Minnesota Tampa Bay Seattle
2004 NFL DraftNFL PlayoffsPro BowlSuper Bowl XXXIX
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