2006 National Football League season
Regular season
Duration September 7, 2006 (2006-09-07) - December 31, 2006
Start date January 6, 2007
AFC Champions Indianapolis Colts
NFC Champions Chicago Bears
Super Bowl XLI
Date February 4, 2007
Site Dolphin Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida
Champions Indianapolis Colts
Pro Bowl
Date February 10, 2007 (2007-02-10)
Site Aloha Stadium
National Football League seasons
 < 2005 2007 > 

The 2006 NFL season was the 87th regular season of the National Football League.

Regular season play was held from September 7 to December 31, 2006. The NFL title was eventually won by the Indianapolis Colts when they defeated the Chicago Bears; the Super Bowl championship game, at Dolphin Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida on February 4.


The was the first season that the NFL used a "flexible-scheduling" for the last few weeks of the season, allowing the league flexibility in selecting games to air on Sunday night, in order to feature the current hottest, streaking teams. This was implemented to prevent games featuring losing teams from airing during primetime late in the season, while at the same time allowing NBC to rake in more money off of the higher ratings from surprise, playoff-potential teams that more fans would enjoy watching.

Under the flexible-scheduling system, all Sunday games in the affected weeks tentatively had the start times of 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT, except those played in the Pacific or Mountain time zones, which will have a tentative start time of 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT (or 4:15 p.m. ET/1:15 p.m. PT if it is a doubleheader weekend). On the Tuesday 12 days before the games, the league moved one game to the primetime slot, and possibly one or more 1 p.m. slotted games to the 4 p.m. slots. During the last week of the season, the league could re-schedule games as late as six days before the contests so that all of the television networks will be able to broadcast a game that has playoff implications.


This was the first season that NBC held the rights to televise Sunday Night Football, becoming the beneficiaries by negotiating the new flexible-scheduling system.[1] ESPN became the new home of Monday Night Football, replacing sister network American Broadcasting Company, who chose to opt out of broadcasting league games.[1] Meanwhile, CBS and Fox renewed their television contracts to the American Football Conference and the National Football Conference packages, respectively.[2]

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
(4) New England Patriots 1240.750385237 Details
(5) New York Jets 1060.625316295 Details
Buffalo Bills 790.438300311 Details
Miami Dolphins 6100.375260283 Details
AFC North
(2) Baltimore Ravens 1330.813353201 Details
Cincinnati Bengals [a] 880.500373331 Details
Pittsburgh Steelers 880.500353315 Details
Cleveland Browns 4120.250238356 Details
AFC South
(3) Indianapolis Colts [d] 1240.750427360 Details
Tennessee Titans [b] 880.500324400 Details
Jacksonville Jaguars 880.500371274 Details
Houston Texans 6100.375267366 Details
AFC West
(1) San Diego Chargers 1420.875492303 Details
(6) Kansas City Chiefs [c] 970.562331315 Details
Denver Broncos 970.562319305 Details
Oakland Raiders 2140.125168332 Details
NFC East
(3) Philadelphia Eagles 1060.625398328 Details
(5) Dallas Cowboys 970.562425350 Details
(6) New York Giants [f] 880.500355362 Details
Washington Redskins 5110.313307376 Details
NFC North
(1) Chicago Bears 1330.813427255 Details
Green Bay Packers 880.500301366 Details
Minnesota Vikings 6100.375282327 Details
Detroit Lions 3130.188305398 Details
NFC South
(2) New Orleans Saints [e] 1060.625413322 Details
Carolina Panthers 880.500270305 Details
Atlanta Falcons 790.438292328 Details
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 4120.250211353 Details
NFC West
(4) Seattle Seahawks 970.562335341 Details
St. Louis Rams 880.500367381 Details
San Francisco 49ers 790.438298412 Details
Arizona Cardinals 5110.313314389 Details

Source: 2007 NFL Record and Fact Book (ISBN 978-1-933821-85-6)
  • a Cincinnati finished ahead of Pittsburgh in the AFC North based on division record (4-2 to 3-3).
  • b Tennessee finished ahead of Jacksonville in the AFC South based on division record (4-2 to 2-4).
  • c Kansas City finished ahead of Denver in the AFC West based on division record (4-2 to 3-3).
  • d Indianapolis clinched the AFC #3 seed based on their head-to-head victory over New England (Week 9).
  • e New Orleans clinched the NFC #2 seed based on their head-to-head victory over Philadelphia (Week 6).
  • f N.Y. Giants clinched the NFC #6 seed based on better strength of victory than Green Bay (.422 to .383), while Carolina and St. Louis both were eliminated from playoff contention because the N.Y. Giants and Green Bay had better conference records (7-5 to 6-6).


Playoff seeds
1 San Diego Chargers (West winner) Chicago Bears (North winner)
2 Baltimore Ravens (North winner) New Orleans Saints (South winner)
3 Indianapolis Colts (South winner) Philadelphia Eagles (East winner)
4 New England Patriots (East winner) Seattle Seahawks (West winner)
5 New York Jets Dallas Cowboys
6 Kansas City Chiefs New York Giants


January 7 - Gillette Stadium   January 14 - Qualcomm Stadium          
 5  N.Y. Jets  16
 4  New England  24
 4  New England  37     January 21 - RCA Dome
 1  San Diego  21  
January 6 - RCA Dome  4  New England  34
January 13 - M&T Bank Stadium
   3  Indianapolis  38  
 6  Kansas City  8 AFC Championship
 3  Indianapolis  15
 3  Indianapolis  23   February 4 - Dolphin Stadium
 2  Baltimore  6  
Wild Card Playoffs  
Divisional Playoffs
January 7 - Lincoln Financial Field  A3  Indianapolis  29
January 13 - Louisiana Superdome
   N1  Chicago  17
 6  N.Y. Giants  20 Super Bowl XLI
 3  Philadelphia  24
 3  Philadelphia  23     January 21 - Soldier Field
 2  New Orleans  27  
January 6 - Qwest Field  2  New Orleans  14
January 14 - Soldier Field
   1  Chicago  39  
 5  Dallas  20 NFC Championship
 4  Seattle  24
 4  Seattle  21  
 1  Chicago  27*  

* Indicates overtime victory

This box: view · talk · edit

Pro BowlEdit

News and notesEdit

Major rule changesEdit

  • End zone celebrations became more restricted. Players cannot celebrate by using any type of prop, or do any act in which they are on the ground. Players may still spike, spin the ball, or dunk it over the goal posts. Dancing in the end zone is also permitted as long as it is not a prolonged or group celebration. The Lambeau Leap, though, is still legal.[3]
  • Defenders were prohibited from hitting a passer in the knee or below unless they are blocked into him. This rule was enacted in response to the previous season's injuries to Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer, Pittsburgh Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Brian Griese.
  • Down-by-contact calls could now be reviewed by instant replay to determine if a player fumbled the ball before he was down, and who recovered it. Previously, these plays could not be reversed once officials blew the whistle.
  • The "horse-collar tackle" rule enacted during the previous 2005 season was expanded. Players are now prohibited from tackling a ball carrier from the rear by tugging inside his jersey. Previously, it was only illegal if the tackler's hand got inside the player's shoulder pads.
  • To reduce injuries, defensive players cannot line up directly over the long snapper during field goal and extra point attempts.

Officials' uniform makeoverEdit

The 2006 season marked the debut of new officiating uniforms which are supposed to be more comfortable for officials to wear in extreme weather over the old polyester uniforms. The uniforms were designed by Reebok using a proprietary material technology to keep officials both warm and dry during the winter months of the season. On the shirt, the position and number are removed from the front pocket and the lettering and numbers on the back side were black-on-white and are smaller print and the sleeve shows the uniform number. Officials also wore full-length black pants with white stripe during the winter months to stay warm, which was criticized by media and internet board posters. This was the first major design overhaul since 1979, when the position name was added to the shirt, but later abbreviated in 1982.

New NFL commissionerEdit

On March 20, 2006, Paul Tagliabue announced his plans to retire as NFL commissioner. During an NFL meeting in Northbrook, Illinois, on August 8, league team owners selected Roger Goodell, the NFL's then-current chief operating officer, as the new commissioner. Tagliabue continued to serve as commissioner until Goodell officially replaced him on Friday September 1.

Tagliabue became NFL commissioner on October 26, 1989. During his tenure, the league has added four new teams; saw four franchises move (including two franchises---the Rams and Raiders---from Los Angeles, the second-largest television market in the U.S.); the construction of seventeen new stadiums; began its own in-house television specialty cable network, the NFL Network; has greatly increased television rights fees with its broadcasters, including the addition of the Fox network; and has maintained labor peace with the players' union.

Return of "The Duke" footballEdit

For the first time since Super Bowl IV at the conclusion of the 1969 season, the official NFL game ball was known as "The Duke" in honor of Wellington Mara, whose family owns the New York Giants. Son John is the current CEO of the team. The NFL first used "The Duke" ball in honor of Mara in 1941 after then-Chicago Bears owner George Halas and then-Giants owner Tim Mara (Wellington's father) made a deal with Wilson Sporting Goods to become the league's official supplier of game balls, a relationship that continued into its sixty-fifth year in 2006.[4]

"The Duke" ball was discontinued after the 1970 AFL-NFL Merger, and the merged league began using a different standardized ball made by Wilson. The only other time that "The Duke" ball name was used was during the two Thanksgiving Classic games in 2004.

One side of the new 2006 "Duke" football featured the NFL shield logo in gold, the words "The Duke", and the NFL commissioner's signature. The obverse side has a small NFL logo above the needle bladder hole, the conference names between the hole, and the words "National Football League" in gold. As per the custom, specially branded balls were used for the first week of the 2006 season ("Opening Kickoff"), Thanksgiving Classic, conference championships, Super Bowl XLI and Pro Bowl games.

Unprecedented sell-outsEdit

Through week 11 of the season, all NFL games had been sold out, and for the 24th time, all blackout restrictions had been lifted.[5] The streak was ended by the Jacksonville at Buffalo game in Week 12.[6]

Saints go homeEdit

The New Orleans Saints returned to their home at the Louisiana Superdome in Week Three. The Saints played home games during the 2005 NFL Season in San Antonio, TX, Baton Rouge, LA, and East Rutherford, NJ, due to the damage to the Superdome caused by Hurricane Katrina. The Saints finished the regular season 10–6, clinched a 1st Round Bye, and beat the Philadelphia Eagles in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. The Chicago Bears defeated the Saints in the NFC Championship, 39–14.

Game highlights on iTunesEdit

Starting September 18, fans were able to download highlights of their teams' games through Apple's iTunes Store. Each video costs US$1.99 each but fans have the chance of buying a "Follow Your Team season ticket" which brings every game of that team to the fan for $24.99.[5]

Also available will be NFL GameDay, the NFL Network's comprehensive Sunday night review which features post-game reactions and game analysis, all for $1.99 a show or $19.99 for the full season.

Death of Lamar HuntEdit

Lamar Hunt died in Dallas, Texas on December 13 from complications from prostate cancer at the age of 74. He is credited with challenging the NFL with the formation of the American Football League, which led to the subsequent merger of the two leagues.

Death of two BroncosEdit

At 3 a.m. on January 1, 2007, Denver Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams was shot and killed in Denver, within hours after the last regular season game against the San Francisco 49ers. Less than two months after, on February 24, 2007, Broncos running back Damien Nash collapsed and died after a charity basketball game at a high school. Both players died at the age of 24.


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

Record Player/Team Date/Opponent Previous Record Holder[7]
Most Points, Career Morten Andersen, Atlanta December 16 vs. Dallas Gary Anderson, 1982-2004 (2,434)
Most Field Goals, Career Morten Andersen, Atlanta December 24 vs. Carolina Gary Anderson, 1982-2004 (538)
Most Passes Completed, Career Brett Favre, Green Bay December 17 vs. Detroit Dan Marino, 1983-1999 (4,967)
Most Touchdowns, Season LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego (31) December 10 vs. Denver Shaun Alexander, Seattle, 2005 (28)
Most Rushing Touchdowns, Season LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego (28) December 10 vs. Denver Shaun Alexander, 2005
Priest Holmes, 2003 (27)
Most Rushing Attempts, Season Larry Johnson, Kansas City (416) December 31 vs. Jacksonville Jamal Anderson, Atlanta, 1998 (410)
Most Kick Returns for a Touchdown, Season Devin Hester, Chicago (5; 3 punts and 2 kickoffs) December 11 at St. Louis Tied by 9 players (4)

Regular season statistical leadersEdit


Points scoredSan Diego Chargers (492)
Total yards gainedNew Orleans Saints (6,264)
Yards rushingAtlanta Falcons (2,939)
Yards passingNew Orleans Saints (4,503)
Fewest points allowedBaltimore Ravens (201)
Fewest total yards allowedBaltimore Ravens (4,225)
Fewest rushing yards allowedMinnesota Vikings (985)
Fewest passing yards allowedOakland Raiders (2,413)


ScoringLaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego (186 points)
TouchdownsLaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego (31 TDs)
Most field goals madeRobbie Gould, Chicago and Jeff Wilkins, St. Louis (32 FGs)
RushingLaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego (1,815 yards)
Passer ratingPeyton Manning, Indianapolis (101.0 rating)
Passing touchdownsPeyton Manning, Indianapolis (31 TDs)
Passing yardsDrew Brees, New Orleans (4,418 yards)
Pass receptionsAndre Johnson, Houston (103 catches)
Pass receiving yardsChad Johnson, Cincinnati (1,369 yards)
Punt returnsAdam "Pacman" Jones, Tennessee (12.9 average yards)
Kickoff returnsJustin Miller, New York Jets (28.3 average yards)
InterceptionsAsante Samuel, New England and Champ Bailey, Denver (10)
PuntingMat McBriar, Dallas (48.2 average yards)
SacksShawne Merriman, San Diego (17)


Most Valuable Player LaDainian Tomlinson, Running Back, San Diego Chargers
Coach of the YearSean Payton, New Orleans Saints
Offensive Player of the Year LaDainian Tomlinson, Running Back, San Diego Chargers
Defensive Player of the Year Jason Taylor, Defensive End, Miami Dolphins
Offensive Rookie of the Year Vince Young, Quarterback, Tennessee Titans
Defensive Rookie of the Year DeMeco Ryans, Linebacker, Houston Texans
NFL Comeback Player of the Year Chad Pennington, Quarterback, New York Jets

All-Pro Team

Special teams
KickerRobbie Gould, Chicago
PunterBrian Moorman, Buffalo
Kick returnerDevin Hester, Chicago

External linksEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 "NFL announces new prime-time TV packages". Archived from the original on 2005-11-30. Retrieved 2005-12-13.
  2. "NFL to remain on broadcast TV". Archived from the original on 2005-12-04. Retrieved 2005-12-13.
  3. Expert: Simple celebration rule - stay on your feet - NFL -
  4. Michael Eisen - Story - 3.27 "The Duke" is Back -
  5. 5.0 5.1 All games sold out for 11th consecutive week at the Wayback Machine (archived November 25, 2006).
  6. "In depth: Frustration in Buffalo shows how NFL's television policies irking fan base". USA Today. 2006-11-26. Retrieved 2006-11-27.
  7. " - NFL Record and Fact Book". Retrieved 2007-12-18.
2006 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
2006 NFL DraftNFL PlayoffsPro BowlSuper Bowl XLI
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