2003 NFL season

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2003 National Football League season
Regular season
Duration September 4 – December 28, 2003
Playoffs
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
Pro Bowl
Date February 8, 2004
Site Aloha Stadium
National Football League seasons
 < 2002 2004 > 

The 2003 NFL season was the 84th regular season of the National Football League.

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 DolphinsSan Diego Chargers regular season match on October 27 was instead played at Sun Devil Stadium, the home field of the Arizona Cardinals.

The playoffs began on January 3, 2004. The NFL title was eventually won by the New England Patriots when they narrowly defeated the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas on February 1.

Major rule changes[edit]

"NFL Kickoff" event on September 4, 2003: Joe Theismann (L) and Joe Namath (R) at a military tribute
  • If an onside kick inside the final five minutes of the game does not go 10 yards, goes out of bounds, or is touched illegally, the receiving team will have the option of accepting the penalty and getting the ball immediately. Previously, the kicking team was penalized, but had another chance to kick again from five yards back.
  • League officials encouraged networks to immediately cut to a commercial break if an instant replay challenge review was initiated. Previously networks rarely utilized those stoppages for their prescribed commercial periods.

Coaching changes[edit]

Final regular season standings[edit]

W = Wins, L = Losses, PCT = Winning Percentage, PF= Points For, PA = Points Against

Clinched playoff seeds are marked in parentheses and shaded in green. No ties occurred this year.

AFC East
Team W L PCT PF PA
(1) New England Patriots 14 2 .875 348 238
Miami Dolphins 10 6 .625 311 261
Buffalo Bills [c] 6 10 .375 243 279
New York Jets 6 10 .375 283 299
AFC North
Team W L PCT PF PA
(4) Baltimore Ravens 10 6 .625 391 281
Cincinnati Bengals 8 8 .500 346 384
Pittsburgh Steelers 6 10 .375 300 327
Cleveland Browns 5 11 .313 254 322
AFC South
Team W L PCT PF PA
(3) Indianapolis Colts [a] 12 4 .750 447 336
(5) Tennessee Titans 12 4 .750 435 324
Jacksonville Jaguars [d] 5 11 .313 276 331
Houston Texans 5 11 .313 255 380
AFC West
Team W L PCT PF PA
(2) Kansas City Chiefs 13 3 .813 484 332
(6) Denver Broncos [b] 10 6 .625 381 301
Oakland Raiders [e] 4 12 .250 270 379
San Diego Chargers 4 12 .250 313 441
NFC East
Team W L PCT PF PA
(1) Philadelphia Eagles[f] 12 4 .750 374 287
(6) Dallas Cowboys 10 6 .625 289 260
Washington Redskins 5 11 .313 287 372
New York Giants 4 12 .250 243 387
NFC North
Team W L PCT PF PA
(4) Green Bay Packers 10 6 .625 442 307
Minnesota Vikings 9 7 .563 416 353
Chicago Bears 7 9 .438 283 346
Detroit Lions 5 11 .313 270 379
NFC South
Team W L PCT PF PA
(3) Carolina Panthers 11 5 .688 325 304
New Orleans Saints 8 8 .500 340 326
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 7 9 .438 301 264
Atlanta Falcons 5 11 .313 299 422
NFC West
Team W L PCT PF PA
(2) St. Louis Rams 12 4 .750 447 328
(5) Seattle Seahawks [g] 10 6 .625 404 327
San Francisco 49ers 7 9 .438 384 337
Arizona Cardinals 4 12 .250 225 452


Tiebreakers[edit]

  • a Indianapolis finished ahead of Tennessee in the AFC South based on better head-to-head record (2–0).
  • b Denver clinched the AFC 6 seed instead of Miami based on better conference record (9–3 to 7–5).
  • c Buffalo finished ahead of N.Y. Jets in the AFC East based on better division record (2–4 to 1–5).
  • d Jacksonville finished ahead of Houston in the AFC South based on better division record (2–4 to 1–5).
  • e Oakland finished ahead of San Diego in the AFC West based on better conference record (3–9 to 2–10).
  • f Philadelphia clinched the NFC 1 seed instead of St. Louis based on better conference record (9–3 to 8–4).
  • g Seattle clinched the NFC 5 seed instead of Dallas based on strength of victory (.406 to .388).

2003 Changes[edit]

Tennessee at Green Bay in the preseason; both teams made the playoffs

Playoffs[edit]

Playoff seeds
Seed AFC NFC
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)
For details on the NFL playoff format, see National Football League playoffs#Current playoff system.

Bracket[edit]

                                   
Jan. 3 - Bank of America Stadium   Jan. 10 - Edward Jones Dome          
 6  Dallas  10
 3  Carolina  29**
 3  Carolina  29     Jan. 18 - Lincoln Financial Field
 2  St. Louis  23  
NFC
Jan. 4 - Lambeau Field  3  Carolina  14
Jan. 11 - Lincoln Financial Field
   1  Philadelphia  3  
 5  Seattle  27 NFC Championship
 4  Green Bay  17
 4  Green Bay  33*   Feb. 1 - Reliant Stadium
 1  Philadelphia  20*  
Wild Card Playoffs  
Divisional Playoffs
Jan. 4 - RCA Dome  N3  Carolina  29
Jan. 11 - Arrowhead Stadium
   A1  New England  32
 6  Denver  10 Super Bowl XXXVIII
 3  Indianapolis  38
 3  Indianapolis  41     Jan. 18 - Gillette Stadium
 2  Kansas City  31  
AFC
Jan. 3 - M&T Bank Stadium  3  Indianapolis  14
Jan. 10 - Gillette Stadium
   1  New England  24  
 5  Tennessee  20 AFC Championship
 5  Tennessee  14
 4  Baltimore  17  
 1  New England  17  


* Indicates overtime victory
** Indicates double overtime victory

Milestones[edit]

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

Record Player/Team Date/Opponent Previous Record Holder[1]
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)

Statistical leaders[edit]

Team[edit]

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)

Individual[edit]

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)
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)

Awards[edit]

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

External links[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Records". 2005 NFL Record and Fact Book. NFL. 2005. ISBN 978-1-932994-36-0. 

References[edit]