|Duration||September 4 – December 28, 2003|
|Start date||January 3, 2004|
|AFC Champions||New England Patriots|
|NFC Champions||Carolina Panthers|
|Super Bowl XXXVIII|
|Date||February 1, 2004|
|Site||Reliant Stadium, Houston, Texas|
|Champions||New England Patriots|
|Date||February 8, 2004|
The 2003 NFL season was the 84th regular season of the National Football League (NFL).
Regular-season play was held from September 4, 2003, to December 28, 2003. Due to damage caused by the Cedar Fire, Qualcomm Stadium was used as an emergency shelter, and thus the Miami Dolphins–San Diego Chargers regular-season match on October 27 was instead played at Sun Devil Stadium, the home field of the Arizona Cardinals. This was the first season in NFL History where every team won at least 4 games.
The playoffs began on January 3, 2004. The NFL title was won by the New England Patriots when they defeated the Carolina Panthers, 32–29, in Super Bowl XXXVIII at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas, on February 1.
This was the last season until the 2016 NFL season where neither of the previous Super Bowl participants made the playoffs.
The 2003 NFL Draft was held from April 26 to 27, 2003 at New York City's Theater at Madison Square Garden. With the first pick, the Cincinnati Bengals selected quarterback Carson Palmer from the University of Southern California.
Dick Hantak and Bob McElwee retired in the 2003 off-season. Hantak joined the league as a back judge in 1978, and was assigned Super Bowl XVII in that position. He was promoted to referee in 1986, working Super Bowl XXVII. McElwee joined the NFL in 1976 as a line judge, and became a referee in 1980. He was the referee for three Super Bowls: XXII, XXVIII, and XXXIV. Walt Anderson and Pete Morelli were promoted to referee to replace Hantak and McElwee.
Within each conference, the four division winners and the two wild card teams (the top two non-division winners with the best overall regular season records) qualified for the playoffs. The four division winners are seeded 1 through 4 based on their overall won-lost-tied record, and the wild card teams are seeded 5 and 6. The NFL does not use a fixed bracket playoff system, and there are no restrictions regarding teams from the same division matching up in any round. In the first round, dubbed the wild-card playoffs or wild-card weekend, the third-seeded division winner hosts the sixth seed wild card, and the fourth seed hosts the fifth. The 1 and 2 seeds from each conference then receive a bye in the first round. In the second round, the divisional playoffs, the number 1 seed hosts the worst surviving seed from the first round (seed 4, 5, or 6), while the number 2 seed will play the other team (seed 3, 4, or 5). The two surviving teams from each conference's divisional playoff games then meet in the respective AFC and NFC Conference Championship games, hosted by the higher seed. Although the Super Bowl, the fourth and final round of the playoffs, is played at a neutral site, the designated home team is based on an annual rotation by conference.
|1||New England Patriots (East winner)||Philadelphia Eagles (East winner)|
|2||Kansas City Chiefs (West winner)||St. Louis Rams (West winner)|
|3||Indianapolis Colts (South winner)||Carolina Panthers (South winner)|
|4||Baltimore Ravens (North winner)||Green Bay Packers (North winner)|
|5||Tennessee Titans (wild card)||Seattle Seahawks (wild card)|
|6||Denver Broncos (wild card)||Dallas Cowboys (wild card)|
|Jan. 3 – Bank of America Stadium||Jan. 10 – Edward Jones Dome|
|3||Carolina||29||Jan. 18 – Lincoln Financial Field|
|Jan. 4 – Lambeau Field||3||Carolina||14|
|Jan. 11 – Lincoln Financial Field|
|4||Green Bay||33*||Feb. 1 – Reliant Stadium|
|Wild Card playoffs|
|Jan. 4 – RCA Dome||N3||Carolina||29|
|Jan. 11 – Arrowhead Stadium|
|6||Denver||10||Super Bowl XXXVIII|
|3||Indianapolis||41||Jan. 18 – Gillette Stadium|
|Jan. 3 – M&T Bank Stadium||3||Indianapolis||14|
|Jan. 10 – Gillette Stadium|
The following teams and players set all-time NFL records during the season:
|Record||Player or team||Date/Opponent||Previous record holder|
|Most Touchdowns, Season||Priest Holmes, Kansas City (27)||December 28, vs. Chicago||Marshall Faulk, St. Louis, 2000 (26)|
|Most Rushing Yards Gained, Game||Jamal Lewis, Baltimore (295)||September 14, vs. Cleveland||Corey Dillon, Cincinnati vs. Denver, October 22, 2000 (278)|
|Most Consecutive Field Goals||Mike Vanderjagt, Indianapolis||December 28, at Houston||Gary Anderson, 1997–98 (40)|
|Most Consecutive Road Games Lost||Detroit Lions||December 21, vs. Carolina||Houston Oilers, 1981–84 (23)|
|Most consecutive games with a sack||Tampa Bay Buccaneers (69)||November 9, 2003||Dallas Cowboys (68)|
|Points scored||Kansas City Chiefs (484)|
|Total yards gained||Minnesota Vikings (6,294)|
|Yards rushing||Baltimore Ravens (2,674)|
|Yards passing||Indianapolis Colts (4,179)|
|Fewest points allowed||New England Patriots (238)|
|Fewest total yards allowed||Dallas Cowboys (4,056)|
|Fewest rushing yards allowed||Tennessee Titans (1,295)|
|Fewest passing yards allowed||Dallas Cowboys (2,631)|
|Scoring||Jeff Wilkins, St. Louis (163 points)|
|Touchdowns||Priest Holmes, Kansas City (27 TDs)|
|Most field goals made||Jeff Wilkins, St. Louis (39 FGs)|
|Rushing||Jamal Lewis, Baltimore (2,066 yards)|
|Passing||Steve McNair, Tennessee (100.4 rating)|
|Passing touchdowns||Brett Favre, Green Bay (32 TDs)|
|Pass receiving||Torry Holt, St. Louis (117 catches)|
|Pass receiving yards||Torry Holt, St. Louis (1,696)|
|Pass receiving touchdowns||Randy Moss, Minnesota (17 touchdowns)|
|Punt returns||Dante Hall, Kansas City (16.3 average yards)|
|Kickoff returns||Jerry Azumah, Chicago (29.0 average yards)|
|Interceptions||Brian Russell, Minnesota and Tony Parrish, San Francisco (9)|
|Punting||Shane Lechler, Oakland (46.9 average yards)|
|Sacks||Michael Strahan, New York Giants (18.5)|
|Most Valuable Player||Peyton Manning, quarterback, Indianapolis and Steve McNair, quarterback, Tennessee Titans|
|Coach of the Year||Bill Belichick, New England|
|Offensive Player of the Year||Jamal Lewis, running back, Baltimore|
|Defensive Player of the Year||Ray Lewis, linebacker, Baltimore|
|Offensive Rookie of the Year||Anquan Boldin, wide receiver, Arizona|
|Defensive Rookie of the Year||Terrell Suggs, linebacker, Baltimore|
|NFL Comeback Player of the Year||Jon Kitna, Quarterback, Cincinnati|
|Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year||Will Shields, Guard, Kansas|
|Super Bowl Most Valuable Player||Tom Brady, Quarterback, New England|
In addition new turf was installed for the following teams:
The Denver Broncos are a professional American football franchise based in Denver. The Broncos compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league's American Football Conference (AFC) West division. The team is headquartered in Dove Valley, Colorado and plays home games at Empower Field at Mile High in Denver, Colorado.
The Los Angeles Chargers are a professional American football team based in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. The Chargers compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league's American Football Conference (AFC) West division. The Chargers play their home games at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, which the club shares with the Los Angeles Rams.
The 2004 NFL season was the 85th regular season of the National Football League.
The 2005 NFL season was the 86th regular season of the National Football League.
The 2002 NFL season was the 83rd regular season of the National Football League.
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 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 Rams 20–17 at the Louisiana Superdome.
The 2000 NFL season was the 81st regular season of the National Football League. The season ended with Super Bowl XXXV when the Baltimore Ravens defeated the New York Giants, 34–7, at the Raymond James Stadium.
The 1997 NFL season was the 78th regular season of the National Football League. The Oilers relocated from Houston, Texas to Nashville, Tennessee. The newly renamed Tennessee Oilers played their home games during this season at the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, Tennessee while construction of a new stadium in Nashville started. Houston would rejoin the NFL with the expansion Texans in 2002.
The 1986 NFL season was the 67th regular season of the National Football League. Defending Super Bowl Champion Chicago Bears shared the league’s best record with the Giants at 14–2, with the Giants claiming the spot in the NFC by tiebreakers. In the AFC, the Cleveland Browns earned home-field advantage with a record of 12–4, and they hosted the New York Jets in round one of the AFC playoffs. The Jets had started the season at 10–1 before losing their final five contests. The game went to double OT, with the Browns finally prevailing 23–20. The following Sunday, John Elway and the Denver Broncos defeated the Browns by an identical score in a game known for The Drive, where Elway drove his team 98 yards to send the game to overtime to win. The Giants would defeat their rival Washington Redskins in the NFC title game, blanking them 17–0 to advance to their first Super Bowl. The season ended with Super Bowl XXI when the New York Giants defeated the Denver Broncos 39–20 at the Rose Bowl to win their first league title in 30 years.
The 1982 NFL season was the 63rd regular season of the National Football League. A 57-day-long players' strike reduced the 1982 season from a 16-game schedule per team to an abbreviated nine game schedule. Because of the shortened season, the NFL adopted a special 16-team playoff tournament; division standings were ignored for seeding. Eight teams from each conference were seeded 1–8 based on their regular season records. Two teams qualified for the playoffs despite losing records. The season ended with Super Bowl XVII when the Washington Redskins defeated the Miami Dolphins 27-17 at the Rose Bowl.
The 1980 NFL season was the 61st regular season of the National Football League.
The 1979 NFL season was the 60th regular season of the National Football League. The season ended with Super Bowl XIV when the Pittsburgh Steelers repeated as champions by defeating the Los Angeles Rams 31–19 at the Rose Bowl. The Steelers became the first team to win back-to-back Super Bowls twice. It was also the 20th anniversary of the American Football League.
The 1978 NFL season was the 59th regular season of the National Football League. The league expanded the regular season from a 14-game schedule to 16 games, where it has remained since. Furthermore, the playoff format was expanded from 8 teams to 10 teams by adding another wild card from each conference. The wild card teams played each other, with the winner advancing to the playoff round of eight teams.
The 1976 NFL season was the 57th regular season of the National Football League. The year 1976 was also the Bicentennial of the United States although the NFL did not issue its own Bicentennial patch. The Dallas Cowboys did modify their helmet to honor the year, and were the only NFL team to recognize the Bicentennial.
The 1975 NFL season was the 56th regular season of the National Football League. It was the first NFL season without a tie game. The league made two significant changes to increase the appeal of the game:
The 1973 NFL season was the 54th regular season of the National Football League. The season was highlighted by O.J. Simpson becoming the first player to rush for 2,000 yards in one season.
The 1971 NFL season was the 52nd regular season of the National Football League. The season ended with Super Bowl VI when the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Miami Dolphins 24–3 at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans. The Pro Bowl took place on January 23, 1972, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum; the NFC beat the AFC 26–13.
The 1970 NFL season was the 51st regular season of the National Football League, and the first one after the AFL–NFL merger. The season concluded with Super Bowl V when the Baltimore Colts beat the Dallas Cowboys 16–13 at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida. The Pro Bowl took place on January 24, 1971, where the NFC beat the AFC 27–6 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
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 2009 NFL season was the 90th season in the history of the National Football League (NFL). The 50th anniversary of the original eight charter members of the American Football League was celebrated during this season.