2001 NFL season

2001 National Football League season

2001 NFL season
Regular season
DurationSeptember 9, 2001 – January 7, 2002
In the wake of the September 11 attacks, a number of games were re-scheduled.
Playoffs
Start dateJanuary 12, 2002
AFC ChampionsNew England Patriots
NFC ChampionsSt. Louis Rams
Super Bowl XXXVI
DateFebruary 3, 2002
SiteLouisiana Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
ChampionsNew England Patriots
Pro Bowl
DateFebruary 9, 2002
SiteAloha Stadium
2001 NFL season is located in the United States
Colts
Colts
Patriots
Patriots
Bills
Bills
Dolphins
Dolphins
Jets
Jets
Bengals
Bengals
Ravens
Ravens
Titans
Titans
Steelers
Steelers
Jaguars
Jaguars
Browns
Browns
Broncos
Broncos
Chiefs
Chiefs
Raiders
Raiders
Chargers
Chargers
Seahawks
Seahawks
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AFC teams: West, Central, East
2001 NFL season is located in the United States
Cowboys
Cowboys
Giants
Giants
Eagles
Eagles
Cardinals
Cardinals
Redskins
Redskins
Bears
Bears
Lions
Lions
Packers
Packers
Vikings
Vikings
Buccaneers
Buccaneers
Falcons
Falcons
Rams
Rams
Saints
Saints
49ers
49ers
Panthers
Panthers
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NFC teams: West, Central, East

The 2001 NFL season was the 82nd regular season of the National Football League (NFL), and the first season of the 21st century. The league permanently moved the first week of the regular season to the weekend following Labor Day. In the wake of the September 11 attacks, the NFL's week 2 games (September 16 and 17) were postponed and rescheduled to the weekend of January 6 and 7, 2002. To retain the full playoff format, all playoff games, including Super Bowl XXXVI, were rescheduled one week later. The New England Patriots won the Super Bowl, defeating the St. Louis Rams 20–17 at the Louisiana Superdome.

This is the last season with 31 teams as the Houston Texans were introduced as an expansion team the following season.

Player movement

Transactions

  • July 27: The San Francisco 49ers sign quarterback Ricky Ray.[1] Ray would go on to a career in the Canadian Football League.

Trades

  • July 20: The New Orleans Saints trade Robert Arnaud to Washington.[2]

Retirements

  • April 9, 2001: Three-time Super Bowl champion Troy Aikman announces his retirement, after failing to find another team.
  • After the 2000 season, defensive end Reggie White retired after spending his last season in Carolina.
  • After the 2000 season, Eddie Murray, who had played in 3 stints (1980-1995, 1997, 1999-2000) and Irving Fryar, who entered the NFL in 1984, decided they had played their final NFL games in Washington.
  • Warren Moon and Al Del Greco, two players who entered the NFL in 1984, retired after spending their last seasons in Kansas City and Tennessee, respectively.
  • Jessie Tuggle, who entered the NFL in 1987, retired after spending all 14 of his seasons with the Falcons.

Draft

The 2001 NFL Draft was held from April 21 to 22, 2001, at New York City's Theater at Madison Square Garden. With the first pick, the Atlanta Falcons selected quarterback Michael Vick from Virginia Tech.

Officiating changes

Mike Pereira became the league's director of officiating, succeeding Jerry Seeman, who had served the role since 1991. Pereira was a side judge in 1996 and 1997 before joining the league office, where he was groomed as Seeman's successor over the next three seasons.

Bill Leavy and Terry McAulay were promoted to referee. Phil Luckett returned to back judge, while another officiating crew was added in 2001 in preparation for the Houston Texans expansion team, the league's 32nd franchise, in 2002.

Due to labor dispute, the regular NFL officials were locked out prior to the final week of the preseason. Replacement officials who had worked in college football or the Arena Football League officiated NFL games during the last preseason week and the first week of the regular season. A deal was eventually reached before play resumed after the September 11 attacks.

Major rule changes

  • 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[3] and Oakland RaidersSeattle Seahawks,[4] 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 and roughing the passer will be strictly enforced.

2001 deaths

Regular season

Following a pattern set in 1999, the first week of the season was permanently moved to the weekend following Labor Day. With Super Bowls XXXVIXXXVII already scheduled for fixed dates, the league initially decided to eliminate the Super Bowl bye weeks for 2001 and 2002 to adjust.

In the wake of the September 11 attacks, the games originally scheduled for September 16 and 17 were postponed and rescheduled to the weekend of January 6 and 7. To retain the full playoff format, all playoff games, including the Super Bowl, were rescheduled 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 three divisions, as the conferences would be realigned to four divisions for the 2002 NFL season.

Canceling the games scheduled for September 16 and 17 was considered and rejected since it would have canceled a home game for about half the teams (15 of 31). It would have also resulted in an unequal number of games played: September 16 and 17 was to have been a bye for the San Diego Chargers, so that team would still have played 16 games that season and each of the other teams would have played only 15 games (the Chargers ultimately finished 5–11, making any competitive advantages to playing an extra game irrelevant).

New England at Carolina in week 17, January 6, 2002

As a result of rescheduling Week 2 as Week 17, the Pittsburgh Steelers ended up not playing a home game for the entire month of September (their only home game during that month was originally scheduled for September 16). The ESPN Sunday Night Football game for that week was also 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. Ironically, the Eagles and Buccaneers would both rest their starters that night, and 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 11 to 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 used at all in 2007, and since 2008, it is only used in the final week, except for the 2017 season, when no primetime game was scheduled for Week 17 due to that Sunday falling on New Year's Eve.

The games that eventually made up Week 17 marked the latest regular season games to be played during what is traditionally defined as the "NFL season" (under the format at the time, the regular season could not end later than January 3 in any given year; this changed in 2021, as the NFL expanded to 17 games with the end of the regular season pushed back one week as a result; the 2021 regular season ended on January 9, and under the new format, the latest the regular season could end is January 10).

Another scheduling change took place in October, when the Dallas at Oakland game was moved from October 21 to 7 to accommodate a possible Oakland Athletics home playoff game on October 21. The rescheduling ended up being unnecessary as the Athletics would not make it past the Division Series round.

Scheduling formula

    Inter-conference
AFC East vs NFC West
AFC Central vs NFC Central
AFC West vs NFC East

Final regular season standings

AFC East
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W L T PCT PF PA STK
(2) New England Patriots 11 5 0 .688 371 272 W6
(4) Miami Dolphins 11 5 0 .688 344 290 W2
(6) New York Jets 10 6 0 .625 308 295 W1
Indianapolis Colts 6 10 0 .375 413 486 W1
Buffalo Bills 3 13 0 .188 265 420 L1
AFC Central
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W L T PCT PF PA STK
(1) Pittsburgh Steelers 13 3 0 .813 352 212 W1
(5) Baltimore Ravens 10 6 0 .625 303 265 W1
Cleveland Browns 7 9 0 .438 285 319 L1
Tennessee Titans 7 9 0 .438 336 388 L2
Jacksonville Jaguars 6 10 0 .375 294 286 L2
Cincinnati Bengals 6 10 0 .375 226 309 W2
AFC West
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W L T PCT PF PA STK
(3) Oakland Raiders 10 6 0 .625 399 327 L3
Seattle Seahawks 9 7 0 .563 301 324 W2
Denver Broncos 8 8 0 .500 340 339 L1
Kansas City Chiefs 6 10 0 .375 320 344 L1
San Diego Chargers 5 11 0 .313 332 321 L9
NFC East
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W L T PCT PF PA STK
(3) Philadelphia Eagles 11 5 0 .688 343 208 W2
Washington Redskins 8 8 0 .500 256 303 W2
New York Giants 7 9 0 .438 294 321 L2
Arizona Cardinals 7 9 0 .438 295 343 L1
Dallas Cowboys 5 11 0 .313 246 338 L1
NFC Central
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W L T PCT PF PA STK
(2) Chicago Bears 13 3 0 .813 338 203 W4
(4) Green Bay Packers 12 4 0 .750 390 266 W3
(6) Tampa Bay Buccaneers 9 7 0 .563 324 280 L1
Minnesota Vikings 5 11 0 .313 290 390 L4
Detroit Lions 2 14 0 .125 270 424 W1
NFC West
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W L T PCT PF PA STK
(1) St. Louis Rams 14 2 0 .875 503 273 W6
(5) San Francisco 49ers 12 4 0 .750 409 282 W1
New Orleans Saints 7 9 0 .438 333 409 L4
Atlanta Falcons 7 9 0 .438 291 377 L2
Carolina Panthers 1 15 0 .063 253 410 L15

Tiebreakers

  • 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 (3–1 to Jets' 2–2).
  • Green Bay was the first NFC Wild Card based on better conference record (9–3 to 49ers' 8–4).

Playoffs

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


* Indicates OT victory
This box:
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Milestones

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

Record Player/team Previous record holder[8]
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 leaders

Team

Points scored St. Louis Rams (503)
Total yards gained St. Louis Rams (6,930)
Yards rushing Pittsburgh Steelers (2,774)
Yards passing St. Louis Rams (4,903)
Fewest points allowed Chicago Bears (203)
Fewest total yards allowed Pittsburgh Steelers (4,504)
Fewest rushing yards allowed Pittsburgh Steelers (1,195)
Fewest passing yards allowed Dallas Cowboys (3,019)

Individual

Scoring Marshall Faulk, St. Louis (128 points)
Touchdowns Marshall Faulk, St. Louis (21 TDs)
Most field goals made Jason Elam, Denver (31 FGs)
Rushing Priest Holmes, Kansas City (1,555 yards)
Passing Kurt Warner, St. Louis (4,830 yards)
Passing touchdowns Kurt Warner, St. Louis (36 TDs)
Pass receiving Rod Smith, Denver (113 catches)
Pass receiving yards David Boston, Arizona (1,598)
Punt returns Troy Brown, New England (14.2 average yards)
Kickoff returns Ronney Jenkins, San Diego (26.6 average yards)
Interceptions Ronde Barber, Tampa Bay and Anthony Henry, Cleveland (10)
Punting Todd Sauerbrun, Carolina (47.5 average yards)
Sacks Michael Strahan, New York Giants (22.5)

Awards

Most Valuable Player Kurt Warner, quarterback, St. Louis
Coach of the Year Dick Jauron, Chicago
Offensive Player of the Year Marshall Faulk, running back, St. Louis
Defensive Player of the Year Michael Strahan, defensive end, New York Giants
Offensive Rookie of the Year Anthony Thomas, running back, Chicago
Defensive Rookie of the Year Kendrell Bell, linebacker, Pittsburgh
NFL Comeback Player of the Year Garrison Hearst, running back, San Francisco
Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Jerome Bettis, running back, Pittsburgh
Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Tom Brady, quarterback, New England

All-Pro Team

The following players were named First Team All-Pro by the Associated Press:

Offense
Quarterback Kurt Warner, St. Louis
Running back Marshall Faulk, St. Louis
Priest Holmes, Kansas City
Wide receiver Terrell Owens, San Francisco
David Boston, Arizona
Tight end Tony Gonzalez, Kansas City
Offensive tackle Orlando Pace, St. Louis
Walter Jones, Seattle
Offensive guard Larry Allen, Dallas
Alan Faneca, Pittsburgh
Center Kevin Mawae, New York Jets
Defense
Defensive end Michael Strahan, New York Giants
John Abraham, New York Jets
Defensive tackle Warren Sapp, Tampa Bay
Ted Washington, Chicago
Outside linebacker Jamir Miller, Cleveland
Jason Gildon, Pittsburgh
Inside linebacker Brian Urlacher, Chicago
Ray Lewis, Baltimore
Cornerback Aeneas Williams, St. Louis
Ronde Barber, Tampa Bay
Safety Brian Dawkins, Philadelphia
Mike Brown, Chicago
Special teams
Kicker David Akers, Philadelphia
Punter Todd Sauerbrun, Carolina
Kick returner Steve Smith, Carolina

Week/
Month
Offensive
Player of the Week/Month
Defensive
Player of the Week/Month
Special Teams
Player of the Week/Month
AFC NFC AFC NFC AFC NFC
1 Brian Griese
(Broncos)
Ahman Green
(Packers)
Zach Thomas
(Dolphins)
Sammy Knight
(Saints)
Tim Dwight
(Chargers)
José Cortez
(49ers)
2 Peyton Manning
(Colts)
Jamal Anderson
(Falcons)
Takeo Spikes
(Bengals)
London Fletcher
(Rams)
Wade Richey
(Chargers)
Sean Landeta
(Eagles)
3 Priest Holmes
(Chiefs)
Kurt Warner
(Rams)
Corey Harris
(Ravens)
Michael Strahan
(Giants)
Phil Dawson
(Browns)
K. D. Williams
(Packers)
Sept. Brian Griese
(Broncos)
Marshall Faulk
(Rams)
Ryan McNeil
(Chargers)
Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila
(Packers)
Sebastian Janikowski
(Raiders)
Rodney Williams
(Giants)
4 Shaun Alexander
(Seahawks)
Ricky Williams
(Saints)
Deltha O'Neal
(Broncos)
Brian Urlacher
(Bears)
Matt Turk
(Dolphins)
John Carney
(Saints)
5 Tom Brady
(Patriots)
Brett Favre
(Packers)
Marvin Jones
(Jets)
Michael Strahan
(Giants)
Joe Nedney
(Titans)
Tim Seder
(Cowboys)
6 David Patten
(Patriots)
Rod Gardner
(Redskins)
Joey Porter
(Steelers)
Keith Brooking
(Falcons)
Joe Nedney
(Titans)
Todd Sauerbrun
(Panthers)
7 Corey Dillon
(Bengals)
Shane Matthews
(Bears)
Denard Walker
(Broncos)
Sammy Knight
(Saints)
Tom Tupa
(Jets)
John Carney
(Saints)
Oct. Jerome Bettis
(Steelers)
Ricky Williams
(Saints)
Deltha O'Neal
(Broncos)
Michael Strahan
(Giants)
Ronney Jenkins
(Broncos)
John Carney
(Saints)
8 Steve McNair
(Titans)
Ahman Green
(Packers)
John Abraham
(Jets)
Mike Brown
(Bears)
Matt Stover
(Ravens)
Brian Mitchell
(Eagles)
9 Shaun Alexander
(Seahawks)
Jeff Garcia
(49ers)
Jason Gildon
(Steelers)
Ronde Barber
(Buccaneers)
Tom Rouen
(Broncos)
Darrien Gordon
(Falcons)
10 Rich Gannon
(Raiders)
Randy Moss
(Vikings)
Anthony Henry
(Browns)
London Fletcher
(Rams)
Derrick Mason
(Titans)
David Akers
(Eagles)
11 Tom Brady
(Patriots)
Garrison Hearst
(49ers)
William Thomas
(Raiders)
Warren Sapp
(Buccaneers)
Troy Edwards
(Steelers)
Bill Gramática
(Cardinals)
Nov. Rich Gannon
(Raiders)
Jeff Garcia
(49ers)
John Abraham
(Jets)
Kwamie Lassiter
(Cardinals)
Jason Elam
(Broncos)
Brad Maynard
(Bears)
12 Steve McNair
(Titans)
Kurt Warner
(Rams)
Adalius Thomas
(Ravens)
Mike Brown
(Bears)
Matt Turk
(Dolphins)
Bill & Martín Gramática
(Cardinals & Buccaneers)
13 Priest Holmes
(Chiefs)
Todd Bouman
(Vikings)
Brock Marion
(Dolphins)
Aeneas Williams
(Rams)
Tim Brown
(Raiders)
Sean Landeta
(Eagles)
14 Kordell Stewart
(Steelers)
Anthony Thomas
(Bears)
William Thomas
(Raiders)
Grant Wistrom
(Rams)
Adam Vinatieri
(Patriots)
Darrien Gordon
(Falcons)
15 Vinny Testaverde
(Jets)
Chris Chandler
(Falcons)
Ray Lewis
(Ravens)
Ronde Barber
(Buccaneers)
Ken Walter
(Patriots)
Brian Urlacher
(Bears)
16 Jon Kitna
(Bengals)
Quincy Carter
(Cowboys)
Zach Thomas
(Dolphins)
Derrick Brooks
(Buccaneers)
Charlie Rogers
(Seahawks)
Todd Yoder
(Buccaneers)
17 Lamar Smith
(Dolphins)
Marshall Faulk
(Rams)
Peter Boulware
(Ravens)
Andre Carter
(49ers)
John Hall
(Jets)
Dorsey Levens
(Packers)
Dec. Kordell Stewart
(Steelers)
Marshall Faulk
(Rams)
Brock Marion
(Dolphins)
Simeon Rice
(Buccaneers)
Troy Brown
(Patriots)
Todd Sauerbrun
(Panthers)
Month Rookie of the Month
Offensive Defensive
Sept. LaDainian Tomlinson
(Chargers)
Fred Smoot
(Redskins)
Oct. Anthony Thomas
(Bears)
Kendrell Bell
(Steelers)
Nov. Chris Chambers
(Dolphins)
Kendrell Bell
(Steelers)
Dec. Dominic Rhodes
(Colts)
Andre Carter
(49ers)

Coaching changes

Stadium changes

In addition, the AstroTurf at Veterans Stadium was replaced with NexTurf after a preseason game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Baltimore Ravens was canceled for poor field conditions.[9]

Uniform changes

Following 9/11, every jersey had a patch to remember those who died on that day, while the New York Jets and New York Giants wore a patch to remember the firefighters who died.

Television

This was the fourth year under the league's eight-year broadcast contracts with ABC, CBS, Fox, and ESPN to televise Monday Night Football, the AFC package, the NFC package, and Sunday Night Football, respectively.

Pat Summerall announced that this would be his last season as a full-time NFL broadcaster. This would also be John Madden's last year of commentating on Fox, ending the 21-season Summerall–Madden pairing that dated back since 1981 on CBS. With Matt Millen leaving Fox to become the general manager of the Detroit Lions, the network tapped Daryl Johnston from CBS and the then-recently retired quarterback Troy Aikman to join Dick Stockton as Fox's No. 2 team.

Deion Sanders replaced Craig James as an analyst on The NFL Today.

References

  1. ^ "2001 NFL Transactions. Signings – July". National Football League. Retrieved December 8, 2020.
  2. ^ "2001 NFL Transactions. Trades – July". National Football League. Retrieved December 8, 2020.
  3. ^ "Panthers' Seifert confused by call". September 18, 2000. Archived from the original on October 17, 2000. Retrieved December 28, 2009.
  4. ^ Bush, David (December 17, 2000). "Bizarre Play Stuns Raiders". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved December 28, 2009.
  5. ^ "L.G. Dupre, 68, Colts Running Back". The New York Times. August 12, 2001. Retrieved February 3, 2020.
  6. ^ http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/football/news/2001/12/29/martin_funeral_ap/ Full of joy]
  7. ^ "Remember the Players of the AFL". Remember the AFL. Retrieved September 12, 2008.
  8. ^ "Records". 2005 NFL Record and Fact Book. NFL. 2005. ISBN 978-1-932994-36-0.
  9. ^ "Bad turf at Veterans Stadium the culprit". ESPN.com. Associated Press. August 14, 2001.

Further reading

  • NFL Record and Fact Book (ISBN 1-932994-36-X)
  • NFL History 2001– (Last accessed October 17, 2005)
  • Total Football: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League (ISBN 0-06-270174-6)
  • Steelers Fever – History of NFL Rules (Last accessed October 17, 2005)

External links

  • Football Outsiders 2001 DVOA Ratings and Commentary
    • Pro Football Reference.com – 2001