2001 NFL season

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2001 National Football League 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 Champions New England Patriots
NFC Champions St. Louis Rams
Super Bowl XXXVI
DateFebruary 3, 2002
Site Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
Champions New England Patriots
Pro Bowl
DateFebruary 9, 2002
Site Aloha Stadium

The 2001 NFL season was the 82nd regular season of the National Football League (NFL). 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. In order 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.

Contents

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

Player movement

Transactions

Trades

Retirements

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.

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

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 XXXVI-XXXVII 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. In order 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 American-football.jpg
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 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 the "NFL season" (under the current format, the regular season cannot end later than January 3 in any given year).

Another scheduling change took place in October, when the Dallas at Oakland game was moved from October 21 to October 7 to accommodate a possible Oakland Athletics home playoff game on the 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

Tiebreakers

Playoffs

Jan. 12 – Veterans Stadium Jan. 19 – Soldier Field
6 Tampa Bay 9
3Philadelphia33
3 Philadelphia 31Jan. 27 – Edward Jones Dome
2 Chicago 19
NFC
Jan. 13 – Lambeau Field 3Philadelphia24
Jan. 20 – Edward Jones Dome
1St. Louis29
5 San Francisco 15NFC Championship
4Green Bay17
4 Green Bay 25Feb. 3 – Louisiana Superdome
1 St. Louis 45
Wild Card playoffs
Divisional playoffs
Jan. 12 – Network Associates Coliseum N1St. Louis17
Jan. 19Foxboro Stadium
A2New England20
6 NY Jets 24 Super Bowl XXXVI
3Oakland13
3 Oakland 38Jan. 27 – Heinz Field
2 New England 16*
AFC
Jan. 13 – Pro Player Stadium 2New England24
Jan. 20 – Heinz Field
1Pittsburgh17
5 Baltimore 20AFC Championship
5Baltimore10
4 Miami 3
1 Pittsburgh 27


* Indicates overtime victory

Milestones

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

RecordPlayer/TeamPrevious 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, SeasonCarolina (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 gainedSt. Louis Rams (6,930)
Yards rushing Pittsburgh Steelers (2,774)
Yards passingSt. Louis Rams (4,903)
Fewest points allowed Chicago Bears (203)
Fewest total yards allowedPittsburgh Steelers (4,504)
Fewest rushing yards allowedPittsburgh Steelers (1,195)
Fewest passing yards allowed Dallas Cowboys (3,019)

Individual

Scoring Marshall Faulk, St. Louis (128 points)
TouchdownsMarshall 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 (101.4 rating)
Passing touchdownsKurt 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 returnsRonney 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)
SacksMichael 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

Coaching changes

Stadium changes

In addition, the turf at Veterans Stadium was replaced with NexTurf after a preseason game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Baltimore Ravens is cancelled. Ravens coach Brian Billick told officials of the NFL that he refused to have his team play on a slippery and bouncy turf field which he deemed unsafe.

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.

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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" . 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.

Further reading